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Special occasion, special wine

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Luciano Pavarotti and Meat Loaf perform Come Back to Sorrento

Sometimes it is not about pairing with a cheese selection or a meal, but just having a wine that fits your mindset at the time.

Let me give you a few examples. As you read this, it will have been two weeks since my wife called out a bit of news to me that required a glass of wine to match my frame of mind. It would have to be the type that Robert Parker has been known to call a blockbuster, powerhouse or fruit bomb.

I look through our cabinet and there I see a bottle of 2018 Bogle Phantom and decide that it will certainly suffice. I feel that this hearty Californian blend of petite sirah and zinfandel will be perfect with its aromas of baked cherry cobbler and ripe cranberries, all framed with nutmeg and allspice and the soft warmth from ageing two years in American oak. I read where the Wine Enthusiast gave it a 92/100 and referred to it as “oozing with blackberries, milk chocolate and vanilla”.

As I take the first sip and detect its seductive and mouth-filling personality, the intense lyrics of Paradise by the Dashboard Light come to mind, as do memories of long ago and having one hand on the steering wheel of my little Morris Minor convertible and the other arm around my close and lovely passenger.

Goodbye and thanks for the great rock and roll Meat Loaf and may this Covid curse soon be gone! Before writing, I always check stock levels and I must tell you that Bogle is fairly low. Upon checking I find out that our latest shipment has ended up in Singapore, so that is a good one to add to world shipping problems that we are all aware of. Phantom is $31 (Stock #8045).

If the classics are more your genre, then I suggest you find a video of the legendary Luciano Pavarotti on stage with Meat Loaf as they sing Come Back to Sorrento. I have just tasted a new arrival and am confident that it would be the perfect listening match. The grape mix is, appropriately, a duet of 50 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 50 per cent cabernet franc and they perform together wonderfully.

Our 2018 Austin Hope Paso Robles Quest has notes on the label by the winemaker that state: “Its mix of grapes are a combination that is concentrated, soft, supple and expressive.” I will add that it also displays a beautiful creamy nose with hints of sweet mint and coco. Blackberry, dark chocolate, and fresh tobacco all create a rich integrated finish along with soft, supple tannins. $42 (Stock #8007).

Now for a “three birds with one stone trick” as I give you music, wine, and Black History Month all in one attractive, clear bottle, with the letters LVE painted on the front. Under them are “French rosé” and “Legend Vineyard Exclusive”. This lovely Languedoc appellation rosé is a project of the first black man to receive an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. He even played the title role in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. I should have suspected that he might get involved with wine, as John Legend was the stage act when my wife and I attended the closing night black-tie banquet at the 2013 New York Wine Experience.

LVE rosé is a brilliant, pale pink colour. It exudes fruitiness and elegance, and the nose is aromatic with delicate notes of peach blossom, raspberry and apricot. On the palate, crisp light notes of fresh-picked strawberry and white nectarine lead to an elegant and a mineral finish. No need to tell you what music to listen to as you share a bottle of this rosé. It is new to Bermuda and recently we thoroughly enjoyed a bottle in our home. $32.50 (Stock #6046).

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Brown Estate, the first Black-owned winery in Napa Valley. I quoted their winemaker when describing their merlot, petite sirah and zinfandel blend called 2019 Chaos Theory as I had not yet tasted it. Now we have, and I can affirm that it is absolutely lovely, and displays my two favourite wine attributes – fine balance and yumminess. I suspect that, as it is named after – and cleverly displays painted on the bottle – the 1961 scientific theory espoused by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, their description may be more complex. $53 (Stock #6892). Great for this particular Black History Month!

As I should especially concentrate on wine for Valentine lovers next week, let me suggest a perfect Super Bowl-watching one for now. It must be Californian, and I bring back memories of tasting fine wines in “Super Bowl city” with one of the state’s most talented winemakers (at the California Wine Experience in Los Angeles).

The 2017 Sbragia Gino’s Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, that has 5 per cent petite syrah added, is just perfect to experience with all the excitement and sunshine of California and what I expect to be a well-fought Super Bowl. The colour is deep garnet and Ed Sbragia says that it represents the type of wine that his grandfather, Gino, made each year.

Experience aromas of freshly turned loam, baking chocolate and allspice, along with lush ripe red fruit and a core of sweet, red currant and strawberry. $42 (Stock #6803). The suggestion is that it be served with polpettone (Italian meatloaf) and so, like I started, I wrap this up with Meat Loaf and hearty red. In the case of the singer – and actor in over seventy movies – one thing that he said annoyed him was being referred to as Meatloaf, as his name consisted of two words. It all started when his father saw his newborn son for the first time and said that he looked like four-and-a half pounds of meat.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published February 04, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated February 02, 2022 at 11:14 am)

Special occasion, special wine

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