No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Norwich, Vermont Wine Tasting

It is Fall in Vermont. The hills are brightened by a deep burnt orange rush of leaves crawling their sides with yellow and red chasing them. The air is crisp but not yet cold. It is a relief after a recent heat wave.

Norwich is a very small town with a small creek ambling through it, and a wash of white buildings along Main. I have walked into a restaurant called Carpenter's and Main, named for it's location. The deep mahogany floors set the mood for the place. The tables are small, welcoming intimate dining. Tonight, however, the tables are held only in the back rooms. In the front the dark floors have been uncovered to host a wine tasting.

1. Frecciarossa Sparkling Riesling 'Nai' 2008

20% Pinot Noir. frizzante, or half sparkling. a light floral, woody nose. warm and dry in the mouth. lovely for fall weather. a wonderful opening to a meal. remarkably intense flavor for a white. touch of apricot. a bit of wood. strong minerals and a long finish.

A lovely start. I have just moved to the area and am private. Still, I wish to get out and see what is available here. This wine tasting is the first for me in the area. Each new person that enters the space knows most of the other people present already. People refer to each other by name and hug. I am quiet and talk only to the distributor, and the wine shop owner that I met the week before.

2. White Mare 'Les Granges des Felines' Blanc 2009

Picpoul and Sauvignon Blanc from Languedoc, France. weighty floral, and fog-ridden nose with a smoke scent. light butter taste, sharp sudden finish, very dry, hot in the mouth, light fruit and minerals with a touch of berry. would be good with a white fish.

I haven't been drinking wine very much since Spring. It's a bit of a struggle to reorient my thinking to naming the flavors. I take my time. I am sitting in a quiet spot on my own. Just me and the glass of wine and a pencil for notes. Except for when I stand again to taste the next wine.

3. Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Blanc 2009

this turns out to be my favorite of the whites. Eyrie Vineyards pinot blanc was the first to draw my attention to this particular grape. with this glass i drink from Eola Amity Hills in Oregon. light, pleasant, well balanced nose. lots of legs. bright and well balanced flavor. full in the mouth. slight melon taste, touch of heat at the front of the tongue. a bit of grapefruit and pear. lovely.

Drinking the Pinot Blanc makes me think of Flagstaff. My friend Ashley is applying to law school. It's a huge transition. I am hoping the applications go well, that thinking towards the transition is smooth going too. The first time I tasted Pinot Blanc was over dinner with her and Marie. They made me avocado pasta, and asparagus salad with garlic bread. I am craving avocado pasta.

4. Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner 'Gmork' 2009

the tasting jumps again to a new locale--Wagram, Austria. the 2009 is considered a wonderful year for this wine. Anton Bauer is popular for the Gruner Veltliner since its inception with 2008. good value. white flowers and citrus, very light nose. opens to a more fruity scent. light, fresh flavors. medium acidity. lime and chalky minerals. a touch of peach. earthy. would be good on a hot day.

It's getting darker outside. The deep mahogany floor adds to this. More people have come in for the tasting. Everyone knows each other. They are all married. I am sitting alone occasionally watching interactions. Happy enough to not exert myself socially. I am still tired from everything it takes to get to know a new place. Just watching, and tasting wine is fine with me.

5. Sighardt Donabaum Gruner Veltliner 'Federspiel' 2008

Gruner Veltliner is known as an Austrian grape. a bright, slightly floral nose. this one is from Wachau. a light smokey flavor with a touch of tobacco to it. would even work with meat. high acidity. very dry in the mouth, with a slight bite. well balanced flavors, with noticeable minerals.

The Wachau region is known for growing the grapes on steep hillsides with very little soil. The wine retains high mineral tastes as a result. Gruner Veltliner is the most commonly grown grape in Austria, competing with top white wines throughout the world. At the bar of the restaurant hosting the tasting there are maps of the various wine regions. People at the tasting tend to stick to who they know. I know why I am not speaking much to others. Still, it surprises me that others are similar.

6. Mallo Riesling Grand Cru 'Rosacker' 2004

the tasting moves back to France as we taste a Riesling from Alsace. surprising, open nose. flavors of fruit, light berry aromas. scent opens quickly and increases in peppery notes. almost a touch of smoked meatiness to the smell of it. flavors very light in the mouth. touches of pear and cherry. light acidity. lots of minerals. a pleasant, sort of surprising wine with a nice and long finish in the mouth.

Rosacker is a village in Alsace that grows Riesling. Known for its particular soils that produce unique mineral flavors in the wine. The legend has it that the soils are heavier here than in other locales, thus changing the flavors expected in Riesling.

Outside the sun is almost entirely gone. More people are arriving. Still, I sit.

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