A believer in second chances, as well as interested in getting under the hood of American (and other new world) wines, I sacrificed my regular sushi for a visit to the Tasting Room at Uptown Park in Houston, Texas. My previous visit was for a taste of seasonal wines last fall. On Saturdays, they do have their “the Black Door”, which is $20 tasting menu (7 wines and a risotto), offering a great variety of wine experiences.
As one does not get to see the bottles (they bring you the wine in a glass), and the menu does not give the vintage, I can only list the wines without their year. And, subsequently, I cannot tell or know whether my liking or not of the wine has to do with a given vintage or the wine in general. Anyways, these were on offer yesterday:
Sparkling Wine Demi-Sec, by the Nice Winery, Mendoza, Argentina: Very sweet, almost grapefruity aromas. Felt like I was getting sugar coating on my teeth!
Etoile Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay, by Evening Land: Citrus aromas, almost watered down feel in the mouth, a tad “sour”, and short.
Willamette Valley Chardonnay, by Argyle: Oaky and smoky aromas, which I cannot seem to get past…..
Etoile Pinot Noir Bourgogne Rouge, by Evening Land: Subdued nose, fresh and fruity, light, and unmistakingly pinot noir.
Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, by Mac Murray Ranch: More oaky flavors here, with toasty oak and anis aromas. A tad minty, and short.
Retrospect Meritage, a 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot blend, by Retrospect: Sweet fruit aromas, silky texture.
Cabernet Sauvignon, by Tormentoso (South Africa): Plum aromas overwhelmed a bit by the toasty oak, vanilla and licorice aromas. Sweet on the palate, a bit like the sweet (frozen) berries you sometimes get with your ice cream at not so great restaurants.
The risotto was great, and I did order some salumi and prosciutto to go with the wines too. As for the tasting as such, I am stuck between the following: Is it so that “all” new world wines are made to satisfy a (sweet tooth type) palate that prefers vanilla, licorice, and toasty wood flavors, or is it just me being served the wrong wines. If the former, I will retreat into my little world of Italian and French wine experiences, but as I am not convinced, I will continue to look for new world wines that are made to express terroir and what nature has to offer.
Hence, the Tasting Room (and Vino Volo, and others), we will return. The world of wine is too interesting to not to.
The selection from the Seasonal Tasting last fall.