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What’s In A Wine Geo Somms Glass: Greg Masinton
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Two days in the Valley of the Sun edition:

Never pass an opportunity to seek out reasons to drink more wine.


Weekend travel is a great one. So, with my own good advice in mind, I took a weekend trip from the home base in Denver to Scottsdale, AZ. There’s a good restaurant scene, warm weather, the Barrett-Jackson auto auction, Phoenix Open preparation, Rock and Roll Marathon (probably shouldn’t drink before or during that one…but after is fine) and this year’s Super Bowl in a couple weeks. With travel and time off comes wine, food and friends. Here’s a sample of what we were drinking, in January, in the Valley of the Sun.

2012 Mayacamas Sauvignon Blanc Mount Veeder
2012 Mayacamas Sauv Blanc

Once arriving in Scottsdale from the colder climate of the Rockies (and fighting the airport public), the desire to return to a solid “warm weather wine” is overwhelming. Seriously, breaking out the shorts again when it’s 75 degrees outside just screams for a cheese plate, some apple slices, a few dates and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. One of the few that is good to age, the Mayacamas was still young and really citrusy with hints of lime and kiwi fruit. It paired perfectly with the desert sunset.

2009 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan

The best thing about a friend showing me his latest, updated and indexed wine inventory is being able to compare…and shop for the next wine to open. The worst part is knowing his list is better than mine, yet not being allowed to open what I want. Selfishness. Oh well. At least I found a diamond in the rough. This Bordeaux was only about $45 on the shelf, but is good enough to rival wines twice the cost…which made my buddy eager to open and pour this smokey and herbaceous wine with powerful red fruit and earth. It was the perfect way fully decompress from travel.

2011 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir, Los Carneros

When four people at dinner order four different fish – roasted trout, grilled sea bass, cedar plank salmon and seared sea scallops – with roasted vegetables, the only thing we could do was go Pinot Noir. This one really fit. A more delicate Pinot than years past for Sinskey, the essence of bright red berries just pops in this wine but also brings an acidity that balances perfectly with the oils in the seafood. All fish were paired.

2012 Retromarcia Chianti Classico2012 Retromarcia Chianti Classico

A glass of Chianti with a Roma tomato, parmesan and basil flatbread? Why, yes, I will…Thank you. The freshness and minerality of the Chianti Classico is simply perfect with Italian tomatoes. And, there is nothing more Classico than Retromarcia, an organic winery that dates back over a thousand years.

2001 Clark-Claudon Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Estate

If the wine is ready and the people are there, drink it! This is kind of a sexy wine to drink when the trip is winding down, if you know what I mean. It’s complex and spicy, but balanced with hints of chocolate and black cherry. It’s not something that would have been the obvious choice to go with the pepperoni, sausage and green pepper pizza from Grimaldi’s, but it worked on all levels.

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