Crassing at Crossing: Part II 12/21/10

Hello again to everyone in Internet land! I’m back and better than ever – and yes, I’m ready to write about some Crossing Vineyards reds. Did you miss me? It would be kind of pathetic, if you did. I mean it’s only been a couple of days. Seriously, what’s wrong with you?

To recap: when we last left our hero, he had bravely sampled four white wines, while taking copious notes and also bare-handedly preventing a runaway bus of somneliers from crashing into a schoolhouse. Six reds still stand between Jason and a successful tasting, however, each numerically greater than the last (and each also from 2008, unless otherwise noted). So red on! Haha. See what I did there?

First up was Crossing’s Merlot ($20). In the immortal words of Paul Giamatti, “If anyone orders Merlot I’m leaving. I am not drinking any f***ing Merlot!” But it would have been rude of me to shout this more than six or seven times without also tasting the wine, which I therefore politely proceeded to do. A transluscent ruby red in the glass, it smelled strongly of cherry and leather, with maybe some vanilla. On the palate it was dry and medium-bodied, with immediately mouth-coating tannins and a mid-length, red berry finish. A solid Merlot, but I still hate Merlot on principle, so it gets a B-minus.

thumbs up.

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Next was the Cabernet Sauvignon ($23). This was darker on the eye and heavier on the tongue: full-bodied and deep purple. Aromas of plum and blackberry were dominant, with a hint of blackcurrant. The wine delivered what the nose promised: a fruity attack with more plum and blackberry, then some tannins and a rather chocolatey finish. I unfortunately didn’t get to spend much time with this one, as the tasting sped up significantly around here so that we could get to dinner on time (don’t worry though, we didn’t).

thumbs up.

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Ah, Cabernet Franc ($22): one of my favorite grapes, and as with Viognier, this is largely Crossing’s fault. Popular red wines have a tendency to present similar, boring aromas, but Cab Franc has always been something of a wildcard. Pouring a pale crimson, it – the nose, you ask? Why, green peppers, chocolate and a note I said was redcurrant, my friend cranberry. Either will do – the important thing here was balance. Heat, tannins, fruit and acid were virtually indistinguishable, becoming as one in a harmonious symphony of sensation that ended on a long, peppery finish. But was it perfect? Not quite. Some more age might do the trick, to give the wine that extra touch of complexity.

thumbs up.

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Pinot Noir ($22) was next, which you may recognize as the grape Sideways made famous, or less likely, as the varietal used in the legendary reds of Burgundy. Reddish maroon in the glass, it gave off aromas of smoke and cherries, with a dry attack, medium body, and earthy notes on the palate. Well-balanced, it’s no doubt an enjoyable Pinot, and earns an easy

thumbs up.

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Afterward, however, we had the privilege of sampling Crossing’s Pinot Noir Reserve ($28), which poured an earthier shade of red, and smelled of strawberry, raspberry, pepper, and something strongly floral that the bottle calls “tea rose.” On the palate it was dryer than the peasant’s Pinot, much dryer in fact, to the point that the tannins almost overwhelmed the subtle, focused notes of vanilla and tea. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the “Reserve” comes in. Make no mistake: this is a great wine now, but rather tightly wound, and with a few more years to open up, I have a feeling it’ll tell us all its secrets.

thumbs up…for now.

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Last and most assuredly least was the 2010 Noveau (French for noveau, $15), made from Chambourcin grapes, widely planted in Pennsylvania and other states in the Mid-Atlantic region, and narrowly planted elsewhere. On the nose it smelled simply of strawberries, and might have tasted like them too, but I was too distracted by the residual sugar, which was lame. Acidity helped to balance, though.

thumbs up

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And with that, the tale of my crassings at Crossing comes to a cloying close. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these wines as much as I enjoyed drinking them (and yes, I’m being facetious). Until next time, Merry Tuesday, everyone.

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