Friday, September 28, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Doubling Up With Double Decker

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words "double decker"? It's a 2 level red bus that roams the streets of London, right? I'm sure that's what most people think of first...but for me, it's a two level red bus that roams the streets of Paris. Here's why...

On the Chunnel Train, 2005
Many moons ago, when the Winey Son and Daughter were in 7th and 3rd grade, our Winey Cousins were living in London for a few years. They were (and still are) the kind of cousins that are your friends, and would have been even if you hadn't been related - pretty cool, huh? They were also the kind of relatives/friends who insisted we visit them for spring break and stay with them in their mews home. Not being idiots (who would turn down free lodging in London?) we flew "across the pond" for 10 days of London. While we were there, we decided that it would be a lot of fun to take the Chunnel train over to Paris for 2 nights. Easy as anything - and a ton of fun to ride under the English Channel. (The Winey Children will tell you the best part was the dining car. Isn't that always the case?)

Winey Daughter & Winey Husband on that
Paris Double Decker bus ride, 2005
Anyway, given that our time in the City of Lights was limited, we decided to buy tickets on the famed Paris double decker sightseeing bus line. (The better to see the city than to speed through it underground on the Metro.) That first sunny spring day, we climbed to the top of the bus and began our journey through Paris. Heading toward Notre Dame, we navigated some rather small and narrow neighborhood streets. As we approached an intersection in one of these charming neighborhoods, an elderly man was crossing the street just ahead of the bus. The bus kept moving forward until it looked as if we would totally flatten that man into a French crepe. Our then 9 year old daughter, being the good Samaritan that she is, decided that she alone would save this gentleman by screaming, at the top of her little lungs, "HEY DUDE. WATCH OUT!!!" First of all, I don't think I'd ever heard her use the word "dude" before this. Second of all, the man obviously did NOT understand what this small blonde child was screaming at him. Thirdly, the bus was a flat front bus and did stop in time to avoid smushing him. Fourth and so on: Winey Hubby and I could not stop laughing. Winey Son couldn't believe his sister had done this. And from that point on, for all these many year, the phrase "Hey dude, watch out!" has been a family joke and evoked memories of a very fun Double Decker Bus ride.

So, where is the wine in all of this? It's in a bottle labelled "Double Decker", a line of wines from the Wente Family Estate. (See my article: Choosing Wente Wines). I was fortunate enough to be sent two of the three Double Decker offerings.

The Double Decker Red Blend (2009, 13.5%, California) marries Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Barbera together. It gives off a strong cherry bouquet. It is absolutely luscious in the mouth, with flavors of cocoa, mocha and black cherries. The finish is smooth with some very light oakey tones to it(the only oak used to age it is termed "neutral" oak, so there are no biting tannins).

I am loving red blends more and more. Why not take a lesson from Mother Nature and combine the best of what she gives us? This could be a new favorite red around the Winey household.

Now on to the white side of this double decker tasting. The Double Decker Pinot Grigio (2010, 13%, California) brings the scents of tropical fruit and fresh air to your nose! It tastes of zesty citrus, some tropical fruit and ends in a wash of tart green apples. The feel of this wine is smooth as well - but with a tiny bit of a mineral bite before it rounds out into a softer ending. So full of taste and liveliness. (I had some fun tasting this while making dinner: If you eat a strawberry and then sip it, the tartness of the wine really comes out - almost to where you'd think you were sipping a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But, if you nibble a blueberry and then sip this wine, the taste mellows a bit and becomes a bit rounder. YUMMY. And yes, that is the technical term.)

The Double Decker winemaker is fifth generation winemaker Karl D. Wente. He may be 5th generation, but he does wonders on a double decker level. These wines sell for under $10 a bottle and I would suggest a case for your next party. Or simply to fill your wine rack up. I'm heading out, on a double decker bus if I can find one here in the suburbs of Cleveland, to find more of them!!

I was sent these wines for sample purposes. Very happy about it, too!

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