Usually when I try a new wine, I like to buy more than one bottle, so I can try it in different circumstances. Different temps, with different pairings- you get the idea. Last night, the first Friday of the first week of my new job and the Chef and I decided to just have a few drinks at home to celebrate.
Easy enough to choose for him, he likes a couple different kinds of beer or a mixed drink on occasion. Me, there is another story. Sometimes I'll take a beer, sometimes I want a cocktail (not those girly concoctions with umbrellas and flowers and an entire fruit salad on a skewer) but a nice martini (dirty, cosmo, apple) or maybe Campari and soda, Captain Morgan and something. I've been known to thrown down a jager bomb or four.
Most occasions though I will opt for wine. So last night I chose a couple bottles from a local Iowa winery, Santa Maria in Carroll. Beautiful winery- looks like an Italian piazza but in the middle of small town Iowa. They have some of the best reds in the state and usually, if I'm buying wine there, I go with the reds.
Last night however, I chose two whites. I'm only going to talk about one because I never got around to opening the second bottle, so I'll save that for next Friday.
Thinking it was a Riesling style wine I picked the Frontenac Gris. It's a nonvintage wine. The label claims a tropical fruit palate with hints of honey on the finish. My impression was old grapes fermented in a musty basement with bits of old match heads floating around before straining. The actual flavor of the wine wasn't that bad, it was a little too sweet for me, more like a dessert wine than a sipping wine, but what I couldn't get past was the aroma. It had a very pronounced sulphur smell that just made it very unpleasant to me. I drank the first glass well chilled and that brought the fruitiness out but couldn't hide the smell. The second glass I had let warm slightly to cool room temp and still, same thing, the fruitiness was slightly less pronounced and the alcohol was more "there" but again, that smell...... I didn't finish the bottle.
Overall it was such a bad experience that I didn't want to open the second bottle. I felt like my palate and ability to taste with an open mind was done for the night.
Santa Maria has some very amazing wines. Besides using Iowa-grown grapes, they purchase grapes from other regions and have a Syrah that is fabulous, a Riesling reserve that is a standout and probably my favorite of all their wines, Tempranillo. They have a beautiful winery with a restaurant and loads of party rooms and such.You can check it out at www.santamariawinery.com .