Scattered toward every wind …

Cat Amongst the Pigeons 2008 Unwooded Chardonnay (Australia)/2007 Atteca Old Vines Garnacha (Spain)
Sunday, 31 January, 2010, 4:26 am
Filed under: Wine & Food

My favorite red and my favorite white from the wine and cheese party I threw when I traveled back to Baltimore last week …

Cat Amongst the Pigeons 2008 Unwooded Chardonnay

2007 Atteca Old Vines Garnacha

My good friend Dave and i traveled down to historic Ellicott City, MD from Baltimore to one of my favorite wine shoppes, The Wine Bin. I love this particular shoppe, firstly, because it is in an old brick firehouse, and second-of-ly because the owners are awesome people who stock what they like … this means they are able to speak passionately and informatively about the wine they carry. Dave and I drove down on Saturday afternoon prior to the party to look over potential suitors. Dave is more of a white wine drinker, and I, as evidenced by this blog so far, am more of a red wine drinker. After chatting up the owners for a bit, we began our search. I am a sucker for Spanish wine … Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell, all good, if you ask me. I gravitated toward a display in the center of the shoppe that featured a large selection of Spanish wines. Dave, meanwhile, browsed through the over 200 wines under $20 that the Wine Bin carries. I looked for my two favorite Spanish reds, Las Rocas and Monte Oton, both garnachas … both were sold out. My search for something new began …

Meanwhile, the owners were gracious enough to open a couple of whites for Dave and I to taste. Dave had, up until this point, picked out an Australian Cabernet Shiraz blend. So as we began tasting the couple of whites that were opened for us, Dave began to slowly drift away from his first decision. Based a couple of comments I made about my dislike for fruit juice, one sided white wines, they opened a bottle of Cat Amongst the Pigeons Unwooded Chardonnay. I was skeptical, yet gave it a try. I find most white wine to be too sweet, and it either tastes like Welch’s white grape juice, or apple juice that has sat in the fridge way too long. This one, an unoaked chardonnay from Australia, was surprising. If I do like anything about white wine, it is when there is a lot of oak present. The fact that this particular chardonnay was unoaked worried me. I worried it would be overwhelmingly sweet and fruity. I was wrong …

Sorry I doubted you, Cat Amongst the Pigeons ...

I found Cat Amongst the Pigeons to be really, really good. Nice and dry with lots of minerality and citrus in the finish. A little pear and a little stone fruit present as well. I found that the minerality more than made up for the absence of oak. When I tasted it again at the party, hours later with food, I found that more sweetness was brought out, which bothered me a little at first, but once my palate adjusted, I found Cat Amongst the Pigeons to be a white wine that I will definitely be buying in the near future (provided I can find it in Seattle). it was especially good with a nice, creamy gouda.

2007 Atteca Old Vines Garnacha

I try not to judge a wine by its label, but some labels are so damn aesthetically pleasing, that I can’t help but to be interested. Sadly, a great label and a great wine are not always congruous, but sometimes, the stars align. Atteca piqued my interest. A Spanish old vine Garnacha … “Old vine”, in particular, caught my eye. I’ve been a big fan of the old vine zins for a while now, so I was excited. My hope was that the old vine garnacha would carry the same punch, the same intense fruit and spice of a good old vine vinfandel. Whether this hope/logic is sound, I don’t know, but I hoped for something good.

And something good is what I got. The Atteca was everything a good garnacha should be: lots of berry and cherry, a good deal of spice, and a nice, smooth mouth feel with enough tannins to hold on through the long finish. A bit of mineral was present as well (I think the vineyard mentions graphite in their description?), but I really liked the amount of spice … some vanilla and some toasty oak notes. I’m guessing this wine would benefit immensely from being held for a year or two before popping it. If you do open it right away, let it breathe. I would definitely buy it again if given the chance!

So, I suppose the wine and cheese party was a success … I had some pretty terrible wine, but also came away with a couple of new wines to try to have on hand in the future. I hope to be able to find Cat Amongst the Pigeons and Atteca here in Seattle!

Coming up next: The Wolftrap, from Boekenhoutskloof of South Africa …

The Wolftrap


1 Comment so far
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I have nothing novel to offer because I agree with the vast majority of what you’ve been writing about these wines.

What I do want to point out to everyone out there who reads Brian’s blog is this: as Brian’s housemate, I advise that you should do all that is within your power to convince someone you live with to start a wine blog. Trust me, it’s a very good deal for the rest of the household!

Comment by gloaminganddawn

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