There won ?t be a specific post for wine and Valentine ?s Day this year, but I will cover the subject today, tomorrow (featuring Valentine ?s Day suggestions from around the Internet), and Wednesday. I did a Valentine ?s post last year because I wanted to emphasize sparkling wine, but that job is pretty well done. And I ?m not a big fan of the holiday that must not be named, anyway.
I am, however, a huge fan of the J Vintage ($90, sample, 12.5%), price be damned. Is ?very yummy ? too technical a wine term to describe it?
Look for layers and layers of complexity and flavor ? some pear fruit, some yeastiness (but not overdone the way many French wines at this price are), and even some melon. Don ?t often get that in a bubbly. In all of this, the wine is not as aggressive as J ?s non-vintage wines, which means less citrus and more subtlety in the fruit flavors. But there are still lots and lots of tiny bubbles, for those of us who love that.
Is it worth nine bottles of a quality $10 Spanish cava? That all depends who you are going to share it with.
Let ?s be straight about this: The recession, as horrible as it has been, has been great for wine prices. Nothing illustrates this better than the J Pinot Gris, which was just another California wine until J decided it needed something more affordable to sell during the recession and slashed the price by 25 percent.
Does this make up for unemployment, suffering, and hard times? Nope. But to paraphrase Sam in ?Casablanca ?: ?It sure do take the sting out of being recess-ed. ?
This vintage of the pinot gris ($15, sample) is the third at this price, and it ?s certainly the most interesting. The alcohol is lower, and the wine tastes fresher, more lively, and not as soft. There is lots of citrus in the front (lemon and lime?), a tropical-ish middle and a lingering finish that’s pleasant if not very obvious. All in all, a wine that deserves the term yummy.
Serve this chilled on its own or with something fried ? chicken, seafood or mushrooms would all work well.