Imbibe Hour

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

American Wild Ale - Pucker up for a beer imbibing drink

"This beer is sour!!" I exclaimed when my wife gave me a beer she had in Belgium called a "lambic" some time ago in my imbibing early days of yore. Beer can taste like this? I said to myself, and in reality it can. There are varying degrees of sour beers out there of different sour levels and style. There was interesting properties about them, tart, viscous, fruity, vinous... there was much to explore here.

After some time, my road lead back to the heartland of America and away from Belgium to discover a style of beer called "American Wild Ale".

An American Wild Ale is a beer style that contains wild yeast, usually Brettanomyces, Pediococcus or Lactobacillus, which makes the beers sour, "funky" and musty. These are quite interesting and unusal to others, but to me quite fascinating.

Two particular wild ales I wanted to get my hands on are made by Russian River Brewing in California, one called Consecration and the other Supplication. Both are aged in oak wine barrels that held Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

So how did this turn out? Feel free to check out the video review below.

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Returning to Owen Roe and finding out about my a.. b.. c..

I love wine, and that goes without saying when imbibing good drink. I could not imagine my life without it. However, back in my exploring days of wine I found myself diving into bold reds seeming to find either jammyness, complexity, smoke, big tannins leaving much white wine in the background who often didn't share these characteristics. Sure, I would find out I loved Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, or the varying degrees of Rieslings from Alsace, even simple Vinho Verde from Portugal was a hit for me. But there was always one varietal that I never seemed to enjoy and that was chardonnay. I felt I could appreciate a good one, but I never could get much into so many of the oaky or ridiculously thick and buttery sensation that I felt. I soon learned to adopt a phrase I heard that was an inside joke among wine drinkers. You could call yourself and abc wine drinker. This meant, "Oh I am an A.B.C. wine drinker, I'll drink anything!"

Anything
But
Chardonnay.

And so my wine appreciation of chardonnay stayed like this for most of my life, until I went to visit Owen Roe. Owen Roe had been on mind for many years after trying some I think 95 rated cabernet (wine is scored on a 100 point scale) at a tasting I was at. Simply put for me the wine just was one of the best things I ever had, it might as well have been off the frikkin chart. To this day, I still don't know what year or varietal it was an I still kick myself for not making a note to remember it.

While visiting Oregon and Owen Roe, I purchased a case and decided on two bottles of chardonnay, the Columbia Valley 2009, mostly just so I could have something for my wife. I was enjoying all the other reds I was having and I figured well, they couldn't possibly screw this up for the chardonnay. Luckily I was right, when I got home and opened up a bottle a few weeks later I was floored.

Luckily I still had a second bottle and it seemed like I had to talk about this one, I just couldn't let me experience of this wine slide. It is aged only 7 months in the barrel in which 14% of the barrels are new French oak, the rest are neutral. The wine is only for sale in the tasting room, and is not that expensive.

This wine had this wonderful balanced buttery spice, almost like ghee. Small hints of oak, and citrus lemon and lime. In the mouth low acid with a good body, wonderful tolerable lime juice that isn't bitter on the finish, and soft velvet tannins. My only complaint... my first bottle was better. The second I opened up many months later and I think it lost some of its edge but it was still great.

Personal score:

First bottle: 93
The bottle I reviewed below: 91?

Hard to say I don't normally score wine, and I am not an expert but I'll never forget this wine.

Cheers and thanks Owen. OH and more importantly if you've read this far, please tell me a fav chardonnay of yours for the abc crowd cause I want another one!