Frank Mitolo and his winemaker, Ben Glaetzer, dropped by for lunch last week to talk about how they make the Mitolo wines in McLaren Vale. Several of their bottlings have jumped out at me in my blind tastings, including a 2005 Cabernet that displays much more fruit and depth than most Aussie Cabs, without losing that savory edge that identifies it as Cabernet.
"Better bring your car," said my friend Stewart, who works for the Aspen Times. "I have a box of wine for you." It was a sampling of wines from Woody Creek Cellars. You've probably never heard of Woody Creek Cellars.
I don't have steak that often, so when I do, I want to drink something special with it. The conundrum for me is that my favorite wines with steak are youthful and fruit-forward. They should have a backbone of acidity and fine tannins, and enough density to stand up to the meat.
Despite the famous aphorism about too many cooks, eight of Washington's best winemakers put their heads and hogsheads (of wine) together to make a special bottling. And it's darn good, if totally unlike anything each of them might have made on their own.
Steve Wynn, the legendary Las Vegas hotelier, sounded irritated. He was on the other end of a phone call recently. "Why," he demanded, "is Wine Spectator calling me about what our restaurants are supposed to be? Can't you make your own judgment?" Actually, no, I couldn't.
I am perched atop a high stool at a wrought-iron table in the patio of D19, one of my favorite restaurants in Aspen, Colo., where we spend a good part of our summer. It's a warm noon, but we are protected from the sun by a wide umbrella.
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