Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Scholium Project: 2007 'Naucratis' (Lost Slough Vineyard)

In the past few weeks, I've stumbled across wines from two wine makers whose approaches are so original, and deliberate, that they immediately captured my attention. As luck would have it, I found the last bottle of Sean Thackrey's Pleiades XV in the Corkscrew, and it now sits on my shelf, awaiting sufficient courage to open it. Even though it's the largest production of all the wines produced by that medieval tinkerer, it's not easy to find.

I was floored when I saw The Scholium Project '07 Naucratis at the new CoolVines store. Apart from Abe Schoener's extraordinary philosophy (which seems to make so much more sense than everyone elses), there were only 275 cases of this wine produced! At $5 below the winery's own price, this was a no-brainer.

Schoener is known for making unique wines from small vineyards. So what? Doesn't everyone these days? But there's something compelling about Schoener's eloquently-written credo. After reading it, one can't help but admire his aim: to display the excellence inherent in the vineyard, rather than use it as an ingredient. Of course the particular way in which he displays this excellence is quite original. Perhaps in aiming for flavor ripeness, not Brix, and long macerations he produces interesting wines, that communicate secondary flavors with clarity, but also sometimes result in huge, alcoholic beasts that many people can't stand.

I was sold at "small-production", "vineyard-driven", and "unique", but when I also greatly respect Schoener's unabashed extremeness. Wine isn't all balance, balance, balance as the dusty old British writers say. Rather, wine (as life) is a balance between balance and extremes. Read it over again, I'm fairly sure it makes sense. With that in mind, I was more than eager to try this wine, which did not disappoint:

The Scholium Project 2007 Naucratis, Lost Slough Vineyard (100% Verdelho).

Pale green straw in the glass, this wine has a beautifully expressive (if not high intensity) nose of honeysuckle, papaya, cool stones, and traces of grass, genmai, smoke, straw, and lime. In the mouth it offers up sweet, luscious, beautiful fruit with medium-to-full body and gorgeously soft texture. Undeniably delicious, with excellent acidity, the fruit lasts over 30 seconds on the finish. The flavors are well-integrated and harmonious, and it's so damn yummy I'm smacking my fist on the table repeatedly. The alcohol fumes burn my nasal membranes, and it's definitely hot in the mouth (14.9%), but you know what? I don't care.

Score: 88-92 points.

Availability: Only 275 cases were made. $22.50 at CoolVines.

Food pairing: I would like to drink this with a plain baguette and a hard, salty cheese, perhaps piave, or even some saltier bleu cheeses, like Roquefort.

Tasting conditions: I tasted at room temperature, as I taste all whites. Glasses: Riedel Bdx, Ravenscroft Impitoyable.

Conflict of interest: I think CoolVines is a cool new store. No I'm not being paid to advertise for them. I do think they have a great deal on this particular wine, though.


elisamerced said...

*sigh* I want some :)

Rajiv said...

You can't have any: I drank it all ;)

elisamerced said...

aww :(

Rajiv said...

You could always try to find it there!

Anonymous said...

Abe's a stud, he did a PETS awhile back that was absolute money, alas, he made like, seven shot glasses of it...

Rajiv said...

Yeah, I later found out that the distributor made a mistake with the pricing on this - confused it with the Heliopolis. Lucky I grabbed it at the lower price!

If only you could replicate this stuff, like in Star Trek.