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james suckling uncorked

Family Sunday Dinner


Posted: Nov 13, 2006 12:35pm ET

I had dinner with my father, stepmother and sister at her house in Ridgefield, Conn. My dad was visiting from San Diego, and he was really excited to try a couple of wines that he bought at the local wine shop, which apparently had “shelf talkers” with my scores attached to them. He bought a bottle of 2001 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva ($29) and 2000 Grand Corbin St.-Emilion ($25).

I joked with him, “I guess we will see if I know anything about wine!”

Anyway, I made dinner last night. We started with a light penne with sautéed prawns and zucchini and then oven-roasted halibut on a bed of asparagus and a creamy mushroom sauce. The two reds were delicious. My sister and father preferred the refined and fruity Chianti Classico while my stepmother and I preferred the Bordeaux. And they went just fine with the two dishes because they were balanced and not overly alcoholic, or overly anything for that matter!

My father was surprised how well the reds went with the fish. He’s a traditionalist and a long-time wine collector, and always thinks fish with white wines. But he enjoyed the reds.

Just as a sideline, I keep thinking about a bottle of 2004 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast I bought the other day in Palm Springs for dinner with my mother and stepfather. I paid 60 bucks, and the wine was very good, but nothing special. Give me the other two bottles and change I had with my father any night of the week!

I mentioned this to my father and he even said that he was surprised how good the Chianti Classico and St.-Emilion were, considering their prices. “What can you get from California that is outstanding quality for the same price?” he asked.

My father was making a gross generalization, of course. I have found many very good to outstanding California wines at that price, particularly Zins and Sauvignon Blancs. But I still feel slightly stung by that bottle of Merry Edwards ….

Brad Coelho
New York City —  November 13, 2006 4:31pm ET
Your father's generalization isn't entirely off base James. Just wanted to chime in regarding Ridgefield; as my parents live in New Milford, which is just about a half hour drive away. Considering that I was born and raised in the area, your post seemed to strike a sentimental chord. Now that I live in New York City, Connecticut's bucolic scene seems eons away. As far as the wines, your observations are spot on. Nothing beats solid Sangiovese and quality Bordeaux w/ food...whether it be fish or meat :) Us 'New Worlders' sometimes forget the beauties of acid!
Colin Haggerty
La Jolla, California —  November 13, 2006 5:24pm ET
James-Did you pay $60 for the Merry Edwards blend (that is, not the Meredith Estate)? If so, you got ripped off. It normally sells for $30. Heck, even the Meredith Estate sells for $51. What were you drinking? I would agree that, at $60, the regular Sonoma Coast blend would be way overpriced.
Totv
La Quinta, CA —  November 13, 2006 6:49pm ET
Let me guess....you probably bought the wine at Jensen's. Which their wines are ALL overpriced!
James Suckling
 —  November 14, 2006 8:11am ET
Jensens......ouch.

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