By Erik Johnson, Sommelier
I am extremely excited to invite you to our many wine events taking place over the next few months. The Wine Mondays series is one of my favorite programs we have here at L'Espalier - it really enables our guests to experience L'Espalier in a more casual setting, while tasting and learning about many different wines they may not ordinarily get the chance to experience.
TIPS FOR THE HOME BUYER
Lately, while working as sommelier here at L'Espalier, many people have been inquiring abouth which wines they can purchase for their home enjoyment. I'll be updating this section regularly so as to provide some inside "tips" on what's hot this season.
Currently, the 1997 Bordeaux vintage is drinking beautifully. Although not a powerful year, such as the 1995's and the 1996's, the wines possess soft and sweet tannins and are reaching their peaks now. This is a good vintage to purchase because the prices are very reasonable and the more notable producers have made some delicious bottles. Look for Château Lynch-Bages, Château Gloria, Château Gruaud-Larose, and Château Pichon-Baron. This is a great vintage to enjoy now while waiting for the sleeping giants of 2000 to come around.
Other things to look for are: 2000 and 2001 Alsace, 2000 Rhône reds, and my spies in Burgundy tell me that the 2002 vintage is going to be unbelievable.
ON L'ESPALIER'S LIST
After many years being dubbed a Francophile, I've decided to come out of my immersion from French wines and lately have been tasting some really incredible Italians. I've had a great deal of luck with the wines of the Friuli region in Italy. It seemed to me to be a natural port of entry for my exploration of Italy because they mainly grow French grape varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This region also offers tremendous values when compared to their French counterparts.
One of the outstanding producers I've found is Ronchi de Manzano. Their entire line up is very tasty - I most enjoy their "Le Zuccle" bottling which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Another spectacular find is the 1998 Trabucci Amarone from the Veneto region. It has beautiful ripe fruit of plum, blueberry, and cassis with a smooth peppery finish.