I just came across two interesting wines that could serve as complements to different courses at the same meal. One, a left-behind from the Texas Roussanne cross-comparison tasting I conducted two weeks ago. I omitted the 2010 Cap Rock Winery Roussanne, Bingham Vineyards. Texas High Plains ($17.95). It has a taste of citrus (Meyer lemon) and, unusually, juniper. I would rate it average relative to the pack we tasted in the article. Best with food, it will pair well with chicken, fish or pork.
The most interesting thing here is the recent history of the winery, which would make the script to Sideways read the like the instructions to defuse a bomb. Cap Rock Winery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just before Christmas day in 2009 and was subsequently put up for auction. New Mexico’s well-known sparkling wine producer, Gruet won the auction with a bid twice as high as the next highest. Maybe they used some free software they found on the Internet to value the business? But, realizing their error, they failed to complete the deal. The bankruptcy trustee conducted a second auction in late 2010. The family of Jim and Cathy Bodenstedt bid $2.5m and won the auction.
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I talked to Cathy and her GM, Phillip Anderson, in May and they told me their plan is to make quality wine and to source all of their grapes from Texas. The beautiful winery facility also offers opportunities as a venue for wedding ceremonies and corporate meetings. This 2010 Roussanne was made literally days after they got the keys, so it is the forthcoming 2011 vintage by which they should really begin to be judged. I’ll be looking for better than average wines out of the gate, and then steady improvement year by year as their experience increases and their vines age. They have a new winemaker, new management team, and likely new equipment as well. If they do things right, Cap Rock can become a top name in Texas wine. Mentally note them as a name to watch.
The other interesting wine that I ran across is a totally different kettle of fish (whoever associated fish with kettles?). The 2009 Château de Saint-Cosme “Valbelle” Gigondas, France ($70) is a Rhône wine that won the “best of the reds” vote from eight of ten experienced palates at a recent trade tasting at The Commissary. I was one of the admirers, and I unreservedly recommend this expensive blend of Grenache and a little Syrah. It is rustic to the point of being atavistic with the tastes of herbs and spices embedded in spicy Grenache dark fruit. Its soft tannins give it a pleasing charm. It is pleasant to drink now but don’t be impatient. Have yourself cryo-preserved and lock the cellar in the meantime. It will keep for a decade. Famous wine critic Stephen Tanzer rated this wine 90-92. I side with the 92 end of that scale. In fact, higher. It is the best Gigondas I have tried and I collected famous producer Paul Jaboulet‘s for several years. This wine borders on Châteauneuf-du-Pape complexity.
It is great with lamb, duck, or dark game meat and, like those hookers who came in for the Superbowl, should be available around town.