As I am writing, I am keeping a close watch on Florence and thinking about atmospheric pressure or, more importantly, the lack of it!
It was sometime in the 1980s that my wife and I were sitting on a garden bench chatting with a most respected winemaker.
We were high in the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco and he was complaining that a winery worker had just racked some wine (moving from one barrel to another) on a stormy day.
I was flabbergasted when he said: “You are Bermudian, so of course you understand pressure and liquid, as you use shark oil to forecast your weather.”
In other words, wine should only be racked on fine days when it is more settled in the barrel.
Our friend Neil Empson always reminds us to wait for a “Bermudaful” day before trying any of his Italian wines for the first time. He knows our weather as he and his wife, Maria, have been here numerous times.
Let me share with you what Robert Parker has to say about their very limited production Cignale 2011: “92/100. As always, the 2011 Cignale is a blend of 90 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 10 per cent merlot (aged for 24 months in oak).
“The wine represents a joint venture between vintner Alessandro François and importer Neil Empson, and it has brought lots of attention to Castello di Querceto over the years. This edition shows dark cherry and dark fruit layers with generous spice, cinnamon and grilled herb.” $58
In a recent article in Wine Spectator, it was suggested that wine may be perceived as having higher acids and tannins when consumed on a plane in flight.
It is proposed that pressure affects the sinus cavities and that higher pressure seems to make the wine taste (smell) better. There are those stormy, rainy nights and, although I shudder at the thought, even the occasional neighbourhood hurricane party.
My idea is that reasonably priced and rather intense wines might be best on such occasions and so I will suggest a few.
The winemaker comments on Bogle Essential Red 2015: “This compelling blend of old-vine zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah has created a ripe and mouth-filling wine. Richly textured fruit of dark berries and black plums is nuanced by the flavours of juniper and dried herbs.
“The juicy, jammy fruit is framed with spicy cedar and hints of pipe tobacco and cocoa as the American oak lingers through the ageing of 12 long months.
“Luscious from start to finish, this wine is easy to drink, but impossible to forget. Share it with your friends tonight.”
Well of course he will speak highly, but I will back it up with this from Wine Enthusiast magazine: “Wonderful dark and ripe fruit flavours fill out this wine beautifully, shaped by a velvety, softly tannic texture and mild acidity.
“Hints of chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon develop on the palate. From a long-time standard bearer for value, this wine is a no-lose proposition. 89/100.” $21.30
Pay $27.95 for the Phantom 2014 Bogle. Wine Enthusiast gives it 92/100 and writes: “Pure and delicious, this generous, lightly spicy and velvet-textured wine does a great job of combining ripe, tasty fruit flavours with an enticing oaky layer that seems to bring subtle sweetness.
“While full-bodied, it is not heavy, and has firm, fine-grained tannins to add texture.”
This is a blend to cover all bases with petite sirah, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
If the wind is howling and you need a white wine that can hold its own, try 19 Crimes Hard Chard 2017 from Australia; it’s bold and strong in character.
This deep rich and golden chardonnay is filled with stone fruit aromas and a sweet textured palate.
The criminally intense toasty oak notes have hints of butterscotch and are honey balanced with layers of ripe fruit. This full-bodied, powerful wine finishes with rich notes of butter and vanilla. $19.80.
Windy, or during the eye of the storm. If you would like to have an absolutely lovely red, I would say try our 85 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 10 per cent merlot and 5 per cent syrah from the 2014 vintage that The Hope family of Paso Robles calls Treana. Wine Enthusiast rates it 94/100 and says: “For lovers of the rich and ripe Paso Robles style, this is a high-value wine. Aromas of candied black cherry and vanilla pudding meet with roasted game and crushed gravel on the nose. Vanilla holds strong into the palate, where it blends with blueberry syrup and blackened caramel. Well-measured acidity and chalky tannins complete the experience. Editors’ Choice.” $43.90.
Now let us hope for calm waters.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm