Venica 2008 Ronco del Cero

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on July 23, 2010:

Now I’ve seen it all…a Scottish beer brewery, BrewDog, released a beer that sold out in a day. What’s so special about that? Two things actually. One, the beer is 55% abv. That’s not a typo. And two, the beer bottle is encased in…get this, a stuffed grey squirrel or a stoat. Of lesser note, individual bottles sold for $650 or $900. A 39 year-old Pasadena woman was arrested after attempting to run over the brother of her ex-boyfriend and fled. Police stopped her later but she was still so pissed that she ended up throwing her urostomy bag at the officers, who were then doused with her urine. Never piss off a scorned woman, she will piss back. A Chinese wife of a provincial official was mistakenly beaten for 16 minutes by six police officers, assigned to guard the office building and subdue petitioners, thinking she was a protester of the government and seeking redress for layoffs or land seizures. Ranking officials, once notified of their mistake, apologized profusely for giving the woman a concussion and damaged nerve tissues. Welcome to China’s version of “building a harmonious society.” Kiss the ground and be thankful you live in America, baby!

In the new August 31st edition of Wine Spectator is the announcement of the “World’s Best Wine Lists,” led by “The Magnificent Seven” new Grand Award winners. The first restaurant detailed is Alex, located in the uber-hip, ultra-luxe casino resort, Wynn Las Vegas. The menu is…ya know, why bother with a menu? The cuisineist has basically three choices: a $125 prix fixe three-course, a $295 seven-course tasting menu with wines ($185 without), or a three- or five-course vegetable menu ($80-110). The creations highlight the utmost in quality and freshness over serving size. Alex’s wine storage recently expanded to 14,000 bottles with access to the hotel’s 600,000 bottles. Wynn Las Vegas caters to the high-roller, so there’s no surprise when Alex revealed they sold five bottles of 1982 Mouton (@ $2300) in a week. If I was a line cook there, I’d be extracting every last drop from the discarded bottles!

So you ask, hey wineman, what does this have to do with the wine? Glad you asked. This wine was paired with crispy wild king salmon with spring vegetables, roasted pepper, and olive chutney. There could not be a more perfect pairing as the velvety texture of salmon meat and the fresh herb-basket of veggies supplied the spice and tang needed to call for a high-acid and citrusy partner. It is pairings such as this that define truly haute cuisine.

Executive chef: Alex Stratta. Chef de cuisine: Devin Hashimoto. Sommelier: Paolo Barbieri. Wynn wine director: Danielle Price.

Don’t bother trying to find this wine in the Seattle area. Only five outlets in the USA carry this, and the nearest is in Los Angeles.

So tonight, I tried to match the food pairing with something comparable in south central Woodinville and picked up some good ol’ KFC original recipe and grilled chicken. There’s something to be said about lower tier value food-wine pairings…I just forgot what it was. Still, this was one of the best food pairings experienced with a sauvignon blanc.

Tasted at 47-54 degrees on the IR thermo gun. One of the “darker” sau blancs, although still a brilliant light gold. Bracing aromas of orange zest, guava, peach, white flowers, summer herb garden, and grapefruit lead to palate-embracing flavors of lilikoi, Sweet Tarts, and Meyer lemon.

100% sau blanc. DOC: Collio. Alcohol: 13%. TA 0.54%. From the hill (Ronco del Cero) where the initial owner first planted sau blanc vines in 1929. Cold macerated for 12-14 hours at 46-50 degrees F. Soft pressing under nitrogen and decanted statically at 50 degrees F. Stainless steel tanks. “Batonnage” once a week for two months to improve body.

Music pairing: “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. Rated: 92. Value: $25. Paid: $20. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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