Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Most Perfect Thirst Quencher for Indian Summer

A perfect picture of Indian Summer. Photo by Peter Rufi.


hot days after a killing frost has come. There’s nothing quite like Indian Summer.

Right when we’ve abandoned all hope of green for the next nine months, right as we’ve resigned ourselves to living in fleece, sweaters and GORE-TEX, Nature itself bestows a blessing, as if to entice Persephone once more. The piercing sun assaults the eyes. The fiery hues of autumn blaze fiercely against a crisp blue sky.

The still, still air dares us to keep buttoned up; soon layers and layers of clothing come off, prompting many to shed far more than they normally would. The skin flushes hot, almost feverish against the rays, as if greeting a long lost love.

There’s something quite fierce, quite brazen about Indian Summer that borders on rude. Just a little too over the top. And now there’s a wine that meets its audacity, step by step.

Meet Viñas Casas Patronales Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010.
Like most Sauvignon Blancs, Casas Patronales reveals the tell-tale signs of a very strong aroma (nose), a lingering taste after swallowing (long finish) and its characteristic flavors (notes) that are both vegetal (specifically, green pepper) and citrous (typically lime or grapefruits).

The Indian Summer Effect
Now add the Indian Summer effect. Make it bold. Make it unexpected and exciting. Make it not-too-refined, but a welcome change of pace. Make it borderline rude. And that’s Viñas Casas Patronales’ Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010.

Vina Casas Patronales Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010 has a very prominent nose among other characteristics. Photo from Snooth.

The nose is not only strong, it flies from the bottle as if on broomstick. A rhombus 3000 for sure, Harry Potter himself would struggle to keep upright. No need to puzzle what that scent can be. It slaps the unsuspecting in the face, saying “Snap outta it!” and leaves a calling card that reads, “floral, stupid, with a side a grapefruit.” You have been dutifully forewarned.

The nose – the physical one, not the metaphorical one – checks in with the brain, the brain sends a one-word message to the tastebuds: “Incoming.” The mouth salivates in anticipation. And then it hits. Once more, the nose gets knocked as the barest sip explodes the palate. ZOING!

One sip. That’s all it takes. Flavors saturate the entire mouth. Green pepper becomes freshly picked green peppers. Citrus becomes a dripping newly peeled grapefruit with a shot of lime juice chaser. And then like a streaker, new flavors burst onto the scene. What’s that spiciness? Is it nutmeg? And the tell-tale minerality? Yep. There it is. In fact, the mineral aftertaste is almost a bit too sharp and tangy. (I did say borderline rude.) Right when the tell-tale long finish begins to take shape, Casas Patronales takes up residence, pulls up a chair, sits rights on down, and begins to read Ovid all night long. This wine goes nowhere quickly. The finish waits and waits and waits until it decides it wants to leave.

Serve chilled, but not too much. Let nothing get in the way of this taste. Serve with flavorful oily fish: mackerel, salmon, sea bass. As bold as it is, Casas Patronales even pairs well with a good hunk of meat or stinky cheese.

Bold, crisp, fresh, almost rude, Viñas Casas Patronales Sauvignon Blanc Reserva has it all: the perfect Indian Summer wine.

Next Up: Real Hard Cider.

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