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Burnett Ridge Wines @ Market Wines

Notes from a tasting of Burnett Ridge wines at Market Wines with Burnett Ridge owner and wine maker Chip Emmerich on November 14th 2009.

 A taste of 5 wines for $5.00.

Burnett Ridge Sauvignon Blanc from Patianna Vineyard                                           $16.99

I’m a Marlborough Man when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, as in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. I’m hooked on that aggressive mineral-grapefruit thing. Chip’s California version is softer and much less assertive. A little more apple and melon than grapefruit and a lot less citrus-astringent character.   People being weaned off Chardonnay will like this version. Muted and quaffable. Just enough acidity.

Russian River Dry Rose (Rose of Pinot Noir)                                                                   $17.99

Pretty, blush color. Very dry and crisp. A little tart. Subtle berry (strawberry, cherry and raspberry) notes. Nicely acidic. An option to serve with the Thanksgiving turkey.

Forchini (that’s pronounced fork-eeny, people) Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 $25.99

Classic Pinot floral and ripe cherry aromas. Light and quaffable. Serve it just a little chilled on a hot day if you like. A bit of pleasant tannins. Nicely acidic. Throw all that white vs. red wine food pairing nonsense out of the window. This is a very good acidic red that will pair nicely with the rich, white meat of a Thanksgiving turkey without overpowering the meal. Or just drink it as an aperitif before the meal.

Purple Trillium 2007? (I forgot to note the vintage)                         $25.99

All of the Bordeaux blending grapes are here (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec) instead of the Trillium of earlier expressions. Pretty dark ruby red in the glass. A little earthy and leathery on the nose but with plenty of fruit. Big, deep flavor. Nicely tannic and mouth filling. Trilliums are cellar worthy so put it down for a while if you can defer gratification. I can’t. This remains my favorite Burnett Ridge wine but I like the Super Tuscan and the Three Kings almost as well.

Zinfandel North Coast   2006     $18.99

I love big, jammy Zins. This one isn’t huge but there is a lot of plum and spice here. Fruit forward enough but nicely balanced. A little musty in the nose. The problem with a 5 wine tasting, where you actually drink the wines instead of chewing and swishing them and spitting them out, is that your palette is pretty much shot by the fifth tasting. I like this wine but I probably didn’t fully appreciate it in this setting.

 Chip has a dilemma. He does not have a vineyard so he sources all of his grapes from California and has the juice shipped here to Ohio. This puts him at a considerable cost disadvantage over the estate wineries on the coast. Burnett Ridge wines are good and sometimes excellent but they are not value buys. You can usually find a comparable California wine for a few dollars less. You should buy Burnett Ridge wines anyway and support a quality, local business.

Market Wines at Findlay Market on Elder Street conducts wine and beer tastings every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturdays are hectic so if you like to have more room and fewer competing elbows at the bar go on Sunday. I rather like the hustle and bustle and sociability of the Saturday tastings so I make sure I arrive early to get a seat. Typically you taste four wines (two white and two red) for three dollars. It’s a steal so buy a bottle on your way out.

Market Wines is a small wine and beer shop with loads of character. It’s in the old Elder Café and has the original bar and non-functional telephone booth. Mike Maxwell, the proprietor, knows his stuff and loves to talk wine and beer.

 See you there.


November 2009

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