1. I got pregnant, which puts a big old kibosh on the wine drinking, at least for the most part. I can't say I didn't have a little now and then but when I did have it I was too busy being amazed and wistful to take any notes.
2. I had a (very cute) baby, which puts a big old kibosh on thinking in any coherent manner, even though I have been carefully drinking wine (oh boy, some nights I wanted to slap a nipple on the wine bottle and just go to town) once we weren't nursing every two hours. Anyway, I was too tired to think straight. In fact, some days I am still too tired to think straight. So bear with me.
Anyway, it's almost my birthday, and for my birthday my husband paid to get my blog out of Typepad hock, something I have been sort of meaning to do but I felt like I needed to have a Plan of some sort to bother doing. In fact, I guess I needed to get the blog out of hock first, and then just, well, figure out whatever. I'm not sure what I will do, and if I will be so completist about every little thing I drink, since that can be a bummer (it's sometimes hard to enjoy a bottle when you have to spend an hour taking notes and researching things and writing about it) but I'll figure something out.
So. Last night, knowing all this, I decided to get out an interesting bottle I've been meaning to drink, but have been saving for some occasion. The occasion was that I got a notice from them that they have some new releases, and well, I could write about it here, while I try the bottle and decide what to order from them next. Perfect! I could figure out if I wanted to get more from the producer AND write about a crazy fabulous bottle of wine.
Not so much.
So I haul out the bottle. The 2005 Scholium Project "Satrapies of the East". The Scholium Project is the baby of one Abe Schoener, and this was somewhat of a popular curiosity out in California a few years ago. I picked up two bottles when I was out there about 3 years ago... we drank the white a while back, and it was okay but not overly memorable, which I thought odd given the fact that this guy is a renegade of sorts. I liked him in theory since he was kind of self-taught and his wine was very polarizing... people either loved it or hated it. It sounded to me as though he was following in the footsteps of Sean Thackrey (what are you doing, Sean Thackrey? Not making wine, I can tell. Come back, we miss you!!!) in that he did things "all wrong" and still ended up with some interesting stuff.
Needless to say, I had some high hopes for this bottle, even though the other bottle was not all that unusual. This was a RED! It would be DIFFERENT!
Satrapies of the East is a red blend, and the first blended wine for The Scholium Project. All the wines used were wines that couldn't merit their own release. It's a roughly half-and-half Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, with some Merlot and Petite Sirah thrown in.
Sounds good, but the problem was, the minute I poured it, it was all acetone on the nose. Really intense acetone. I tried to get past it, and noted some raspberry/perfumey quality under the acetone, along with some black cherry Kool-Aid. I drank a little, and it was like a smack in the face (at least the first sip was)... not much fruit to speak of, save some sour cherry, and a lot of spice. Also a lot of acid and oak (hence the spice).
So here's the deal. Acetone is a fault. So we couldn't really drink the bottle. We tried, but it was just not happening. The wine would smell decent if you let it sit undisturbed (and you could get some more of the perfume/real aromas and understand what the intent possibly was), but the acetone would leap out the minute you swirled or tipped the glass. I'm not sure if I got a bum bottle or part of a bum batch (and with acetone I would think it would affect all the wine in the lot, but I see some reviews elsewhere online that indicate the wine was drinkable: I do not understand this) but it sucked. It's of course all part of the joy of wine- sometimes you get a bad bottle- but it makes me a little leery about trying more wines from The Scholium Project. Even if I love their wine descriptions and approach. We will see.
Our bartender friend next door came over because we were all "come try our fabulous wine" and he brought some wine, too. After this bottle we had:
- a decanted box wine I can't remember the name of, but it smelled like coffee beans and had a strange fishy finish, ick
- I also opened a bottle of the 2001 Bonny Doon Barbera/Nebbiolo and it tasted like Bovril. A lot of the old Bonny Doon wines taste like gravy to me, and I can't drink them, and this was no exception
Luckily for him said friend didn't go far for this spectacle. He also brought a bottle of the 2006 Vina Robles Red4, a Syrah/Tannat/Touriga/Tannat, and that saved us. It was a little rough around the edges and not very elegant, but it was flaw-free and I was happy to drink it given what we'd been through.
Next up: I BS my way into a Loire tasting! Nothing like some trial by fire to get things interesting!