Our good friend and Bryant Distributing sales manager Jimmy C. invited Shannon and I out to lunch to kind of catch up with all the samples he had been accumulating for us, deciding we should retreat to a neutral spot – one of Northern Kentucky’s best kept gourmet secrets, the Japanese restaurant Jo-An in Erlanger – along with some wines from Kermit Lynch, Folio Fine Wines, Winebow and my favorite American Riesling producer right now, Pacific Rim from Columbia Valley.
The food at Jo-An rocks, but like Jimmy told us, the service is odd – at lunchtime it’s get ‘em fed and get ‘em out fast. Which is cool, we at DEP’s have the turn-and-burn mentality too. The funny thing is, every single time I have ever eaten at a Japanese restaurant, the soundtrack in my head plays The Tubes’ “Sushi Girl.”
Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2007. Grade=Outstanding. Though getting old, it still has nice fruit aromas and flavors of apples and pears, with a hint of melon.
Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc 2009. Grade=Outstanding+. Crisp, light, with notes of fresh cut hay, guava, gooseberry, and lemon peel.
Pacific Rim Riesling Dauenhauer Vineyard Oregon 2007. Grade=Amazing. Delicious, with candied pear, Rainer cherry, apricot marmalade, chamomile tea and petrol notes. Finishes wonderfully.
Pacific Rim Riesling Wallula Vineyard Columbia Valley 2007. Grade=Amazing. White peaches, flint, white flowers, apricot and a hint of lime zest come together in this luscious, light-to-medium-bodied white.
Falesco Vitiano Rosato 2009. Grade=Outstanding. Richer than expected with pretty notes of ripe strawberries, some roasted herbs, and watermelon rind.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Rosato 2009. Grade=Outstanding. A bit lighter than the Falesco, with sweeter notes of watermelon and pomegranate tea.
Domaine Dupueble Beaujolais 2009. Grade=Outstanding. Cherry cola, marjoram, mint and mulberry. Soft and plush with some bright acidity. Very nice.
Palacios Remondo Rioja La Vendimia 2008. Grade=Outstanding. Surprisingly dominated by Grenache, this Rioja is soft and fruity, with zesty notes of white pepper, bing cherries and red raspberries. Finishes with splashes of baking spices and light oak.
Chateau St. Martin de la Garrigue Tradition Rouge 2008. Grade=Outstanding. A terrific red value from Southern France. Shows off medium-bodied tannins, some red and black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of mineral, earth and spice.
Les Traverses de Fontanes Cabernet Sauvignon VDP 2009. Grade=Outstanding+. A serious surprise, this inexpensive Cab is medium-bodied, juicy, with red and black currants, blackberry jam, hints of mocha, black tea leaves, pepper and smoky plums.
Chateau Lascaux Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge 2008. Grade=Outstanding+. An impressive red blend with gamy red and black berry fruit flavors, baked earth, pepper and black truffles.
Clos Coutale Cahors 2008. Grade=Outstanding. One of my favorite French Malbecs, this red boasts dark plum, smoky spices, blueberry pie, cloves and forest floor.
Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007. Grade=Amazing. Damn, this is a helluva value! Big, bold aromas and flavors of black fruits, cedar, tar, baked earth, chocolate, espresso, mint, and coffee. There’s a lot of Cab for clocking in under $20.
Le Volte Vino de Tavola Rosso IGT 2007. Grade=Amazing. A great intro to the Super Tuscan style, brought to you by Ornellaia, one of the legendary producers of Bolgheri. Rich, opulent dark fruits, roasted herbs, wet stone, violet, chocolate and espresso bean.