Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday Night Reds Unveil Pork Belly and a Rather Loose Cab

One of my favorite ways to end a long work week is a visit to PS Wine & Specialty Foods in downtown Palm Springs. The low-key Friday night tastings hosted by Vern and Paulette Wright always provide an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends and taste some extraordinary wines.

This particular visit was all about reds, and as my fellow wine lovers know, I am enthralled with the deep, inky kind. First up was a 2006 Duas Quintas, a light red made from the Touriga Franca grape grown in Portugal's breathtaking Duoro region. The fruit was whispy on the tongue, with a nose evocative of dark raisins.

Our next taste was a Paso Robles Cab from Laurel Cellars. This 2006 gem was one of the most aromatic wines I have encountered in a while, with musky sandalwood and spice redolent of my favorite Caswell-Massey cologne. This wine had really ripe tannins, which prompted my friend Danny to remark "This makes you wanna chew!" His wife Julia concurred, pronouncing it "a slutty steal."

I really thought I'd stuck my face in a jar of my mother's homemade blackberry jam by mistake when I encountered our third taste of the evening. St. Francis Winery & Vineyards produces some of the most elegant wines in Sonoma County, and their 2006 Cabernet proves that theory. The tannins are tight and indicative of a young Cab, while the nose is reminiscent of a ripe Zinfandel.

The final sip of the evening was a rich offering from Lodi's Klinker Brick Winery. I have a particular affinity for Old Vine Zin, and their 2007 vintage received 91 points from Wine Spectator and is a spectacular combination of black licorice and jelly bean. Vern was proud to note that his palate screamed "bacon!" upon tasting this one. Personally, I thought it had more of a pork rind appeal...but to each his own...

PS Wine & Speciality Foods: 188 South Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs 760-322-4411

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