Sunday, April 01, 2007

Naia Rueda Verdejo and Viña La Playa's Axel Cabernet

Food and wine and the life of our newborn intersect more often than in most households. It's tough for me to know which of our blogs should play home to posts on such topics. But, as I've been remiss in documenting my consumption lately, here goes...

I spend a considerable amount of time waiting for Axel to be more interested in food. He'll suck on apple chunks (Fuji's from the farmer's market), reportedly likes pears (a non-descript Bartlett I think), and wants nothing to do with either bananas or avocados. Yesterday he seemed to know approximately what to do with a hunk of baguette. I caught myself ogling a toddler at Cafe Fanny, who purposefully clawed at the scone her mother had ordered, with something approaching jealousy. My mood was compounded by the fact that even though she was clearly older than Axel, he was nearly twice as big as she was.

And speaking of jealousy, it was with something approaching it that I observed our friends' finding a bottle of wine that shared the name of their daughter Naia. The wine's description seemed to suggest a mediterranean future for her, where she'd be the life of some warm, sandy party: The 2004 Naia Reuda Verdejo has bright, ripe peach, fresh apricot and honeysuckle aromas, with traces of lime and orange zest. On the palate, there’s zingy acidity that begins as tart, white peaches then develops into rounder, sweeter honeydew and cantaloupe melon flavors. The wine’s bright fruit and electric acidity are a real palate cleanser and the wine is very refreshing. All of which is pretty spot on, as I found out when they served a bottle at the first dinner we had at their place after our friends brought their little girl home.

After six and a half months, I was happier than I should have been to stumble into Buckingham Wine & Spirits and discover a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon named Axel; the relative rarity of the name (to say nothing of La Play's corporate clout) reinforced by a small but proud ®. Wine Enthusiast offered up this 92 point assessment:The surprise of the moment from Chile has to be this full-throttle keg of dynamite Cabernet. It’s a cellar wannabe with credentials. First off, it’s brilliantly ripe, with forceful black cherry, cinnamon and wood spice on the palate. Huge tannins, poking acids and a couple of floors’ worth of depth make it praiseworthy. Imported by Cabernet Corporation. Cellar Selection. I'd only add that the wine is awfully bright at first blush. I'd recommend decanting even if I took the more prosaic route of having a glass and re-corking for a night.

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