This week's WWD is a bit shorter than usual, but I'm sure we'll be back with more taking part next week.
By Andy Freedman: Kluge Estate 2004 Albemarle 'Simply Red'
Selecting my WWD this week was no easy task. I had some amazing beers, including a bottle of Tröegs Nugget Nectar and a Magic Hat Big 100 IBU IPA, and we also drank several great value wines from New Zealand, Argentina and Spain.
But by far the most interesting wine I drank was a 2004 Albemarle 'Simply Red' from Virginia's Kluge Estate. Yes, Virginia.
I just learned a couple of weeks back that all 50 states make wine. At 140 wineries and counting, only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries than the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Simply Red is a Bordeaux-style red blend (47% cabernet sauvignon, 34% cabernet franc and 19% merlot). I tried it as part of a wine flight at Divine Bar in Manhattan that also included a syrah from Morocco, a Pinotage from South Africa and a red blend from the Duoro Valley in Portugal.
I've had several Bordeaux-style blends recently from the state of Washington, and honestly I'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this VA wine and one of those WA wines. The Simply Red is medium ruby in color with dark berry fruit, spice, cedar and earthy aromas that follow through on the taste.
On the palate, it is easy drinking and approachable with smooth tannins and good balance. The bit of complexity it has comes from being aged for 14 months in 100% French oak barrels (70% new and 30% 1 to 2 years old).
While this wine isn't gonna blow your mind, at $13 a bottle it is a great value wine that would accompany one of those new pizzas from Domino's quite nicely and is a nice representation of what they are producing in Virginia.
I had no idea that they were producing wines of this quality in VA and look forward to trying more soon, I can only hope somewhere in Virginia someone is trying a New York wine for the first time and saying the same thing.
After tasting tons of New York wines on Saturday, I decided to branch out a bit with a flight of big reds and some curious dessert wine at Ithaca's wine bar, Just A Taste.
This sticky pours reddish-black. Aromas of all kinds of sweets fill the glass: marzipan, cocoa, cake batter and caramel among them. It's very sweet on the palate, a little on the too-sweet side. I guess my NY palate still craves some acid. It's fortified, but not too hot (16%, so on the order of some Oz Shiraz…).
Pleasant astringency lives on after the nutty finish.
This wine put Uruguay on my wine map and gave me some interest in Tannat beyond the typically Brett-happy SW France region of Madiran. Looking forward to trying some more Uruguayan Tannat.
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