Mulderbosch Rose of Cabernet, 2009 South Africa

Welcome to another edition of Wine Snobbery!  It is not noon, for once, as I write this- it is about 10:30 and I’m enjoying my post-work ritual which involves listening to laundry dry while I half-watch something bad on television.  Tonight it is “16 and Pregnant.”  There are so many things I could say about this show, but I will leave it at- don’t be a hater- you know it’s addictive.  Besides, I have a few brain cells to spare.

Let me start by saying that I am extremely ready for Spring, and so I’m ushering it in by drinking rose every day until it’s here!  Who would have thought that someone who grew up in Connecticut and went to college in Vermont could tire so quickly of a South Carolina “winter?”  But let me tell you- I’ve hated every second of this winter, with the exception of the beautiful snowfall we had a week or so ago.  That was nice.

But rose is the perfect Spring wine!  And THIS one in particular will really command your attention.  It is in no way wimpy.  You could even say it’s manly, even though it’s pink.  News flash, fellas- it’s okay to drink pink wine.  Not all pink wine is white zinfandel.  I think a good rose can be some of the most interesting, thought-provoking wine out there.  It’s a constant dichotomy between the fact that it’s pink- which makes people dismiss it- and the fact that it’s not quite white wine, and not quite red wine, but somewhere in the middle, in a somewhat unchartered territory for many people.

Here it is on my couch- I like to live dangerously by precariously perching the wine glass on the couch beside me for it’s photo opp, mostly because I am perfectly positioned and don’t want to get up.  Here’s a better photo that I thieved off another person’s blog-

You can really see just what a beautiful color this wine is- a brilliant strawberry red.  It’s nose is wonderfully fragrant- wild strawberry, lavender, rose petals, watermelon rind, grapefruit, and tropical fruits.  There is a hint of something clean, fresh and soapy to the palate- in a good way.  I am borderline obsessing over how good this stuff is- I’ve been sitting here for an hour and I can’t stop myself from now and then picking up the glass and exclaiming to myself- GOD this is good.  What I love most about it is that it has an air of sophistication and sexiness to it- an edge of herbs and grass on the finish that just make it so INTERESTING.  I love an interesting wine.  It’s like finding out a man (or woman, I guess) has some kind of obscure hobby- like, oh yeah- I rebuild old cars in my spare time and I specialize in Volkswagon Squarebacks- want to see?  Random and pleasantly surprising!

We’re currently pouring this by-the-glass at Cellar on Greene, so if you come in and let us know you read this blog, we’ll treat you to a free taste (or two)!  OR, you could always stop in to the Wine Sale this Saturday the 27th, where you can purchase a bottle for $15!  12-2 PM, like always!  I will be out of town, but it should be a good one.

In the mean time, PRAY for SPRING!  And drink rose!  Happy drinking, y’all!

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Can I get a taste of Riesling? Dr. L Riesling, 2008

This post might only hit home to a few of you.  If you just happened to stumble into my blog from a search engine, you might find another review that is more informative elsewhere.  That’s fine.  But if you care to read on, I will of course touch on how great this wine is, share a few tasting notes, and give it my ringing endorsement.  It’s awesome.  It’s an amazing value at $12.  It got 90 points from Wine Spectator, and was the number 62 wine of last year.  It rocks!

But I also want to share the reason why I chose to write about this particular wine on this particular day.  We, my “family” at the restaurants, and the 5 Points community, lost our favorite drinker of fine German Riesling this past week, James “Stump” Johnson.  I will never be able to see Riesling, think about Riesling, or drink Riesling again without thinking of him.  That is only a drop in the bucket.  There are countless other things that I will see, hear, and think about that will remind me of him and his sweet smile.  I hope that sometime soon those things will make me smile, because right now they only make me hurt.  I’ve never lost someone that I saw every single day, that I relied on every single day… that was just such a part of my life every day.  He’s just gone.  He is so gone.  When I say the words “James died on Thursday,” or “we lost James this week,” it still doesn’t feel real.  I can still hear his voice.  I can still see him walking.  It doesn’t feel right.  He is missing.  I miss him.  I feel alone without him around.  There is an empty space lingering in the air at Cellar, it’s tangible and I feel it all the time.  We all do.

Here he is, having his taste of Riesling.  He always asked for it in the same way, too… “Can I get a taste of Riesling?”  A taste is a technical term for about half a glass, or sometimes a full glass, depending on our mood.  James preferred German Riesling, which is why the Loosen Brothers “Dr. L” Riesling is such a good choice for today’s post…

The Dr. L  is a light, racy little Riesling.  It is tangy and perfectly balanced.  It smells like a warm summer day.  Baking spices, honey, honeysuckle, and peaches with a nice clean aura.  It strikes me as a very excitable wine- very eager.  Lovely, fresh tastes of nectarines, apricots, lemon and lime zest, and minerals are quite up front and boisterous.  A perfect freshness and zap of acidity finishes it off quite nicely.  This wine will please a Riesling afficianado, as well as serve as a lovely introduction for someone who doesn’t think they like Riesling- or doesn’t think they like wine in general!

My most favorite food and wine pairing in the worrrrld is Riesling and spicy food, especially Thai!  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  Anything light and spicy is perfect with this- ceviche, nachos, even a spicy sashimi preparation.  Or just a simple grilled white fish with lime, cilantro, ginger, etc etc.  This is making me crave my favorite Red Curry Duck from Basil in Charleston.  It is the epitome of refreshment to sip on a glass of Riesling like the Dr. L while chowing down on something that has a little heat. However, if you want to make a full tribute to Stump,  you would drink it while eating Fried Fish & Grits, or maybe the Spanish Chicken from the Blue Cactus (if you 86 the nuts, it is known as Stump Chicken), OR the Peach-Mustard BBQ Salmon from Mr. Friendly’s.  Or maybe KFC.  Although please choose the former… KFC is pretty gross.

But whatever you’re dining on, if you had the good fortune to know James, please raise a glass of Riesling and toast to the most kind-hearted, funniest, most loyal friend that many of us have ever known.  There will never be another James Johnson.  He adored me and would have done anything for me and I feel so lucky to have had him in my life.  I wouldn’t trade the pain I feel now for the time I spent with him.  It was worth it, James.  You were worth it.  All the messes, tastes of Riesling, Budweisers, $2, needing to buy air freshener for the bathrooms, and all the other inconveniences.  They were worth it just to know you.  Your best boss lady loved you lots.