Gay wine culture: the uncontrollable urge to pair Arroyo Grande wines with Ariana Grande
The stroke of December leads to the dawn of pregnant holiday plans which I’ve decided to not spend in Vancouver for the first time. Christmas, the first of my big two, has passed – and I planned for the Eve to be a quiet one, and it was legitimately fantastic. Why don’t I roast vegetables more often, while listening to Ariana Grande’s Christmas music, and then watch episodes of Grand Hotel while sipping Crémant? I spent the 25th at a friend’s, a polar opposite yang to the previous night’s yin. Ever watch someone combine your Premier Cru Champagne with Korbel, but then have your cringe melt into a shrug because it’s Christmas? Yeah.
And then the other holiday evenings. Y’all. One night involved all of attending the opening of a new exhibit at the GLBT Museum, attending a fantastic art exhibit at Strut, and then drunken shenanigans for a friend’s birthday. Another: an ugly sweater wine party, a great one until an Uber whisked us away to a drastically different Part 2 involving shirtless men dressed up as reindeer. We recovered from the curveball and went dancing instead, because holidays. You know your holiday sweater is great when people stop to take pictures with it in nightclubs. All thanks to a colleague’s artistic abilities, ones which I clearly do not possess!
It won’t be the first time I do New Year’s Eve alone if I choose to do that, jumping into 2018, but a bottle of Champagne, a home-cooked meal, and a movie are better than people make the combination seem. But it looks like I might be going out for my first New Year’s Eve away from Vancouver!
Catching up with my tasting notes! The penultimate California Wine Appellation Specialist seminar: San Luis Obispo.
Tablas Creek 2013 “Patelin de Tablas Blanc” (Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $20 USD.
The first thing I noted was this furtive cross of yeast and browned butter, later showing underripe stone fruits and apple. It’s as creamy as I expect, but the finish barely brings memories of a salted caramel ice cream I ate at a bar just a few days earlier with a friend. Quality certainly eclipses the price. Seek this one out. 54% Grenache Blanc, 25% Viognier, 13% Roussanne, and 8% Marsanne.
Tangent 2012 Grenache Blanc, Paragon Vineyard (Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $25 USD.
I prematurely guessed that this one was Riesling, because there’s that intense emanating lime with a focus on petrol, and a Cava-like meaty minerality. The green apple and peach kernel take over on the palate more than the nose would suggest. It’s a little warm, but fuck. I guess that’s the Grenache Blanc showing. Apparently this isn’t a super unusual expression for the grape, especially at 5 years, so this was even double decanted before we tasted it.
Chamisal 2012 Pinot Noir (Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $43 USD.
Even after 5 years, the nearly opaque ruby has an edge of purple. I get plum jam, black cherry, and baking spice. The light tannin really lets the sweet and sour plum to send a jolt down your tongue, because it’s 7PM and I need something to wake me up. Aged 10 months in French oak.
Dolin 2012 Pinot Noir, Rincon Vineyard (Arroyo Grande Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $40 USD.
More red fruits and forest floor compared to Chamisol’s take on Pinot Noir. But like the previous, I find it’s not supremely expressive on the palate. Slightly more grip than the previous, and finishing with blackberry skin. Aged in 30% new French oak.
Piedrasassi 2013 Syrah, Rim Rock Vineyard (Arroyo Grande Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $64 USD.
Winner of the fucking night. I’m surprised that this wine expresses itself so supremely well – with flavours of this broad meatiness, kalamata olive tapenade, and hints of red fruit- with native yeast, no sulphur, and 4 years of age. Excuse me? It has such immediate acidity to it that just thinking about it is making my mouth water. Girl, yes. Very well done.
Tablas Creek 2013 “Esprit de Tablas” (Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017.
In stark contrast to Piedrasassi’s liquid olive tapenade of a Syrah, this blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache, and 10% Counoise brings imagery of fruitcake, chocolate-covered raisins, baked red fruit, and a hint of dried banana peel. It’s meant to be channelling Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I get it.
Daou 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Adelaida District, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast, California) Dec 2017. $85 USD.
A deep glass-staining purple. Loads of coconut, oak, and intense black fruit, but it’s almost just slightly closed on both the nose and the palate. It’s not only until after I revisit it that I got any of the grape’s signature secondary greenness. It’s also pretty mouth-coating, finishing in dark chocolate. Wines like these are kind of like receiving dick pics: a bit distracting, and you raise an eyebrow, but hey. Maybe the wood will go somewhere.