Thank ye

It’s a good time to be me. I’ve had some truly wonderful, seriously memorable wine experiences lately, all of which make me so grateful for everything I have to be thankful for. A few of those, with more to come:

Page• I’m thankful to Page Knudsen Cowles (left) for sharing her family’s debut wines from the Willamette Valley vineyards that for years has supplied Argyle with stellar grapes for its sparking wines. The 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir was one of the most beautiful and ethereal domestic pinots to navigate through my stupendously lucky palate in recent years. It’s got that combination of intensity, grace and mystery that makes us pinot lovers swoon. Unfortunately, the wine has sold out, but the 2013 Knudsen Dundee Hills Chardonnay, a clean and focused offering with balance and purity, is available at the winery’s website. This is a winery to follow, folks.

• I’m thankful that Rivers-Marie had a wee bit of 2013 Silver Eagle Pinot Noir left last week when I realized I had not ordered nearly enough last month. I scarfed up two more bottles, then celebrated by taking a bottle of the 2010 Silver Eagle to dinner. Our two Europhile friends Jim and Ann loved it as much as we did. Almost simple at the outset, it soon piled on layers of fabulous flavors and textures. I’m not saying River-Marie is the country’s best pinot producer, but it’s my favorite for sure.

• I’m thankful that my friend Morgan came to town earlier this week and took me to dinner at Spoon & Stable on his company’s dime. He loves wine as much as I do, and he ordered two sublime wines: a 2005 David Duband Clos Sorbe 1er Cru Morey-St. Denis, sublimely Burgundian in its precision, concentration and complexity, Pepeand a 2001 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (link is to the 2003), a revelation that starts hearty and almost chunky but then becomes the height of elegance. I had no idea Montepulciano d’Abruzzo could be this good. (BTW, Morgan has just launched a fantastic literary website.)

• I’m thankful to have friends like the aforementioned Jim, who brought a wrapped bottle that he had intended to give me at my retirement party last summer. It was a 2001 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Nei Cannubi Barolo, and its bouquet filled the room at Piccolo. The taste sensations lived up to the nose. This was supposed to be an “off” year in Piedmont; yet more evidence that brand trumps vintage, even at the high end.

Chuck• Finally, I’m thankful that the inimitable Chuck Kanski continues to champion rosé in the Twin Cities. Thanks in no small amount to his efforts, over the last five years Twin Citians have finally learned how wonderful these wines can be. His rosé tasting is one of the area’s most wonderful wine-soaked events every year, and this time around he’s moving to larger quarters. It’s a stupendous steal at $35; tickets available here.




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