As fall is officially upon us, the chill in the air creates a craving for a beverage that will warm us from the inside out. There are the usual October options of Hot Cider, Pumpkin Lattes, and Chai Tea, but for myself, and the rest of the wine drinkers out there, there are a few more options that will not only warm you up, but help you wind down a bit as well. (cheesy, I know, but its true).
About two weeks ago I attended a trade tasting at a beautiful location right off the FDR. There were hundreds of wines to taste sandwiched between 200 pages of descriptions. I know it seems a bit overwhelming, and trust me, my first tasting was more than just overwhelming. I have learned to scan the book with two main priorities in mind, 1) Choose items that I am unfamiliar with to better educate myself, then help spread the love and; 2) Choose regions, varietals, and producing styles my customers will enjoy. In the end, that is the joy of the wine business, having a personal experience with a wine, and then being able to pass that experience along to others.
Ok, I will jump right to the chase here … most of the wines were delicious, all in their own right, but there were a few that I kept thinking about over and over again. I spoke with the wine maker, talked about every detail down to why they chose the very basic labeling style and screw cap. It is about the liquid, the pure, essential, end result of someone’s dedication, hard work, and passion. It is what is inside that bottle that will create the total experience.
This wine that I am currently obsessed with (promise I have only drunk two bottles since the tasting, so don’t judge) is a 2006 Syrah from Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California and produced under the Kunin label. The wine is a current release, as the wine maker believes it extremely beneficial for the wine to see a few years of bottle aging before consumption. I am going to go out on a limb and say that is a correct statement. The first sip was silky, almost the way pumpkin pie lays over your tongue. It left me with a very long, intriguing finish that was soft, but still tight and precise. When I took the second sip, all the densely woven nuances began to unweave. Ripe, very rich dark fruit came through, but integrated in a very old world style, backed by notes of graphite and herbs. It even maintained a leathery, slightly smoky mid-palate with all of the other fresh flavors remaining bright. Kunin, I am a fan! The next cold, rainy fall day when I just want to curl up with a glass of wine and escape from the daily pressures of life, this will be my choice, and I suggest it be yours as well. Until next time my friends – Cheers!
Andrew Sarubbi studied wine with the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, California, as well as with the Sommelier Society of America in Manhattan, NY. Andrew is also a Certified Specialist of Spirits and an active member of the United States Bartenders Guild. He specializes in the Historical and Cultural references associated with all alcoholic beverages. Andrew has been the Manager of McKinney & Doyle Fine Foods since 2004, over seeing all things Restaurant related, including the buying and directing of the entire Beverage Program. Please direct all questions, comments and other feedback to Andrew@Mckinneyanddoyle.com