This past week we have been doing a bit of travel around the midwest. One of the things I enjoy doing when I travel is seeing what the local wine shops have available. I find it fascinating to look around and see what distributers and buyers choose to carry, because I always find some treasures that I simply would not be able to get in the Phoenix area.
We started our trip visiting Scott's parents in Youngstown OH. Most of the selection there was pretty generic, and something I would find at my local Safeway. But, on the last evening, we tried a somewhat local wine. Nittany Mountain White, from Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery in Central Pennslyvania. This was an off dry blend that we served as an apertif while making dinner for Scott's folks. Served extra cold, the complexity was not lost, but instead had a lovely bouquet, and was quite refreshing on this warm early evening. We had it on it's own, but it would be delicious with a spicy Asian dish, or with appetizers like shrimp cocktail. Don't you just love to go somewhere and find a local wine that's drinkable?
From, there we flew to Minnesota, but not without a long layover in Philly (thanks to some effects of the hurricanes.) Fortunately, we spent our time in the US Airways Club which had a few complimentary snacks and more importantly, a bar! Unfortunately, the best red on the short list was the Yellowtail Cab Reserve. Well, when traveling and dealing with flights, I look at it as "emergency wine" anyway, so we took it.
On to the gem of the week... Paso Creek 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Our first night in MN, we hadn't yet had time to hit the local wine shop, so we depended on my dad's collection. While he has a great cellar in the basement, it is usually very heavy in the French reds and whites. We were looking for something a little heavier, and noticed this one. I pulled it out, and thought, eh, if it's not great, we will use it in a reduction. Well, it was a rather delightful surprise. This was a big juicy red, with a lot of oak (although not cloyingly so.) Smooth, with just the right amount of tannins, it had a nice balance. It's not a Napa Cab, but could easily hold it's own with a much better price tag. Looking it up, it retailed for approximately $15.99. I only hope I can find it when I get back to Arizona. For this price I'll buy a few.