Last night I had myself some Ca’ Del Sarto Pino Grigio. I don’t remember if it’s 2011 or 2005. I’m betting on the former– as it tasted new. To me it was pretty average for a wine. My first impression was sort of sour, with a kind of steel/wooly under and after taste that I’m not fond of. Blindfolded, I would have thought it was a Chardonnay.
Granted, this snapshot was taken when the wine was too cold– because, let’s face it, Cortland’s Garage is mostly beer joint. I thought longingly of the Crispin Cider I could have had. (but then, I think that Stella Artois’ efforts in the Cider direction are finer than the beer itself– to say nothing of the fine offerings Crispin graces us with!) Then I realized that it is a wine, and needed maybe a little TLC.It was nice that it was served in a stemless glass. This way it was easier to warm. A little swirling and swishing revealed it was starved for oxygen. The fruits that were raved about by others slowly emerged, but as distant hints in a sea of sour grapes. If there was kiwi, it was still a bit underripe. Think, the tart end of unsweetened golden berries, but without sharpness. Perhaps my palette was ruined by first impressions. I didn’t really think it was creamy, but it’s dryness didn’t bite.
The bouquet was so close to being great. An asperated breath like –ozone and a touch of windex– with distant floral note that was just out of reach. You really wanted more of the floral richness, but it was playing keepaway. Indeed, it came up to what I think of as the right temperature before the food came. I kept trying it, and getting the same impressions. Eh, it’s not offensive, and it is certainly better than no wine. But I wanted something… more from it.
Then my ceviche and salad came.
First of all, the ceviche was delicious, with shrimp scallops and whitefish perfectly balanced. I had this with the chopped salad– and the two together were fantastic. Each was good on it’s own, but they really played well off of each other. For the ceviche, the lemon/lime base was cut by a drizzle of sweet tomato and mango, with avocado and just enough cilantro to sing. Seriously, they did not suffer from Obsessive Cilantro Disorder. That distinguishes them from so many places that could have been great!
The chopped salad added a bit of bitter tang from the greens, creamy eggs and hearts of palm, underscored by an earthiness with fresh baby bellas. Perfect! Then, a sip of wine, and both flavors became more intense, and delightful. Perhaps the charm of this wine is it’s capacity for accompaniment. The wine itself even developed some personality.
The strange thing, I usually taste wines better when I’m hungry and haven’t had food yet. This was an inversion of what I know of my wine tasting self. I have had one other wine get better with food, and strangely, that dish also had mango with it. As I recall that was Windham Hill, another white.
So it was not a lack of quality. Usually, “cheap wines” (not about cost) go flat with competition. I don’t know if my tasting neurons were asleep at the switch, or if this wine just doesn’t appeal to me on it’s own, but grows with competition.
I should probably taste it again. Perhaps chase down the 2005 for comparison. Have some different food, maybe start with coffee.
So, what’s my score? Wow, I haven’t scored a wine before. But my review is so nebulous, I think I should finish with clarity. Ah… Let’s call it a C+, with a solid B for the right food accompaniment. There would be a footnote that the wine taster may have been having a bad [taste]bud day. I will come back to this one.I’m not sure why, but this painting entertains me a great deal. In fact, I found a lot of great wine related art this time around. I’ll have to have a voter’s choice competition for my Whino night graphic! Sorry, it’s been so long, but I can only try wines when my health is good.