Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am a bad blogger, part two: Brickhouse

As previously noted, I am clearly terrible at the 'go to a wine and food event and take tons of delectable-looking pictures of wines and food and happy people, so that everyone who reads it realizes that I lead an amazing lifestyle and they should be incredibly jealous that they're not in the wine industry' style of blogging. For a great example of that kind of blogging, please check out my coworker Jameson's work at Esquin's official blog. (P.S.: This blog is in no way associated with that store. In NO way. My boss doesn't even know about it, I don't think, and probably wouldn't care about it if she did. Anyway, the opinions held are mine and mine alone and don't reflect anything on anyone else.)

However, I promised that I would at least take a stab at it, and so here's what I've got: No pictures, only my rather-fuzzy account of how things were. Please remember my official disclaimer: I am a human, and an extremely flawed one at that, and my mind could have easily fooled me into thinking that I tasted/smelled/saw something that I didn't. Buyer beware.

Part The Second: Brickhouse

We started out with a sample of Brickhouse's 2009 Chardonnay, fresh from tank and bottled only a few days previously. It was nice- a light peachy amber in color, with muted aromas of stone tree fruit and baking spice. I thought it was a little bit closed down, but having just recently been bottled, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt. Bottle-shock is a bitch, after all. However, there was a nice bit of a mineral element to it. I'd really like the opportunity to try it again in a few months when it's calmed down.

Next up from the Brickhouse table was their Gamay (of which I have no idea what the vintage was; by the time I got to it I had had a few other wines, and things were starting to get a little bit warm and fuzzy). Wow! This was a great experience: The fruit was vibrant, the acidity was exciting, and the length was long. This is the sort of thing that a cru Beaujolais producer would (I imagine, not actually being a cru Beaujolais producer myself) love to produce! It had great concentration for a wine made of a lighter-skinned grape, lots of character, length, and depth of flavor. I was very impressed - especially since I'm not the biggest Gamay advocate. I used to hate the grape, and it's grown on me in the past year or so - having had the opportunity to taste some of the better examples of Gamay wines undoubtedly aided in that - but I rarely think of it as one of the more noble varieties. This, however, pushed me further in the direction of 'Gamay fan-boy.' Out of everything that came out that evening, this was the most food-friendly wine. The acidity present in the glass afforded it the ability to stand up to rich, fatty dishes and lean seafood-driven dishes alike, while the flavors and tannin profile were lean enough as to take a back seat to the flavors of the food. Yum.

The last wine that Brickhouse offered was their 2008(?) Boulder Block Pinot Noir. I put the question mark there because it was another unlabeled bottle that the woman (whose name I unfortunately didn't catch) pouring for the winery said had been bottled only a few days previously. I have to wonder at the wisdom of presenting a wine in such a fashion. On the one hand, it offers a feeling of exclusivity to the person trying the wines; they're in a position to try something not yet available to the average consumer, and this is a special thing. It's particularly common at industry tastings such as this one for something like this to take place. However, as is evident from my confusion about the vintage, it can be difficult to recall the specific details of a bottle that is unlabeled and so therefore has no visual memory to present to the recipient. Also, the wines don't always show well - as was the case here. This wine was tight as a drum, showing plenty of structure and tannin but little by way of fruit - some high-toned red elements were about all that I could get out of it. Again, bottle-shock can ruin a tasting; just because a wine seems amazing when it's in barrel or tank doesn't mean that is going to necessarily be true right after it is bottled. So I don't want to pass judgement on this wine; if I have the opportunity to try it several months from now, I'll go ahead and develop an opinion on it then.

It just goes to show you that sometimes more can be less.

All in all, the Brickhouse wines showed the least well at this tasting. That's not to say that they were bad wines; the opposite is the case. However, the method that they were presented in hindered their ability to shine. Also, they are not necessarily made in a style that works particularly well for chaotic events such as this one; they are (or at least, I have noticed them to be in my limited contact with them) structured, tightly-wound, and need patience and age. The Beaux Freres wines (and the Soter wines, as I'll write about later) on the other hand are lush and soft, fruit-driven and approachable, and captivating in this kind of environment - they draw the drinker's attention in, while the drinker has to draw the Brickhouse wines out.

Up next: Soter

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