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Notes from America

March 8, 2010

2005 Podere Tramanti Innocento, a Tuscany, over veal cappellini pasta at the Ristorante Volare of Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee. Dark red. Powerful bouquet of dark fruits and licorice, although the palate registered mainly plummy sangiovese against a background of scorched earth. Medium-bodied with dusty tannins leading to a long spicy finish. A fairly good table wine but I could have mistaken it for a New World.

2006 Shafer Merlot, over a fillet mignon at The Stock Yard in Nashville, Tennessee, supposedly one of the top 10 steakhouses in USA, but I’m not quite convinced. A deep dusty red. Typically big wine, predominantly ripe dark fruits, highly extracted, copious notes of burnt toast, smoke and licorice, spicy, ending in a tannic finish with minty herbal overtones. Doesn’t possess the suppleness of Old World merlot. Not cheap at USD125, but other stuff on the restaurant list was almost exhorbitant. A current vintage Cakebread cabernet was listed at USD255, whereas I remembered it going for only USD125 at an upmarket restaurant in Chicago in 2007.

2005 Bert Simon Serrig Herrenberg Kabinett Riesling, at the same dinner at The Stock Yard (above). Its pale colour belies a lovely powerful bouquet of apricot and nectar. Full-bodied, very fresh and lively, the terrific acidity lending it a crisp finish but never over-the-top. Has substantial fat in the middle though not quite the unique petroleum character. Sweeter than what I’d expect from a kabinett; behaves more like a spatlese. Quite excellent, really. Only USD56. And what happened was the waiter dropped the bottle while uncorking, resulting in considerable spillage. He replaced it with another bottle and knocked USD10 off the cost, and still gave me a full glass of what remained in the first bottle for free.

2007 Red Diamond Merlot, served during a reception at ACGME Conference at Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee. Dark red. Simple and straightforward quaffer without pretension. Red and dark berries, weighty, with a finish of sweet licorice.

2008 Coppola Shiraz, at the SAS Business Class lounge (with its Ikea furnishing that’s decidedly low class) that SIA utilises in Newark Liberty airport, New York. A very deep red. Medium-full. Very clean notes of unmistakable warm shiraz fruit, generous with good density, a hint of undergrowth, peppered with a bit of spice, moderate finish. A very decent effort from the moviemaker.

2007 Penfolds Thomas Hyland Adelaide Hills Chardonnay at the SAS Business Class lounge (above) in Newark Liberty airport, New York. Absolutely pale and, predictably, offers only a dash of citrus and lemon without any substantial body. Short. But it, nevertheless, went well with the very decent fried rice that finally appeared.

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