23 November 2011

All vintages

Since my honeymoon, one of my favorite pastimes has become taking part in wine tastings or, if at a restaurant, sampling a new wine flight. There are a variety of ways to take advantage of the cellars of Walt Disney World, but can you really go wrong with a flight accompanying a delicious meal in a Signature Dining location? I think not, and as evidence I offer up the Red Wine Flight of the Stars, found on the menu at The Brown Derby.

The flight is among several available at The Brown Derby, including a Taste of California flight and a Disney Legends Flight. I opted for the Red Wine Flight of the Stars for two reasons. One, if the stars shine brightest in Hollywood, who wouldn’t want a taste of that. And two, they had me at Marilyn Merlot. The current flight includes three 2-oz pours, one each of the 2008 Marilyn Merlot (Napa Valley), 2008 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast), and 2007 Greg Norman Estate Shiraz (Australia).

When the flight arrives, it comes paired with a laminated chart. Each segment is tied to one of the three wines and features accomplishments of the individual actor or celebrity, a copy of the wine’s label, a history of the vineyard and tasting notes on the specific wine. My palate isn’t nearly as complex as those who professionally rate wines, but I feel that gives me a little more insight into the average wine taster’s preferences. So, how did I rate the individual wines?2008 Marilyn Merlot – There was a fullness to the flavor of this wine that I wasn’t expecting, and the taste really hung around on the front of my tongue. It had a fruity, almost apple hint to it. As a general rule, I am not a fan of Merlots, however, this one was excellent and my favorite of the flight.

2008 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is a favorite of mine, however, this was seemed a bit thin to me. It was mild and warm, and I could feel a warmth to it that would be great for someone trying out Pinot Noir for the first time, but it was least favorite of the three. However, MacMurrary Ranch is featured in all three spots of the Disney Legends Flight, which makes me think this was not, perhaps, the vineyard’s finest offering.

2007 Greg Norman Estate Shiraz – While not ranked as high as the Marilyn Merlot, this Shiraz is a great wine, and it was a tough call. The notes I scribbled down the first time I tried this wine were, “Dark, sinister bite. Up to no good. Tickles the sides of the throat and the salivary glands.” I’ve had the wine since, and I stand by this appraisal. It also happens to be the most widely available of the three, at least in my corner of North Carolina.

If you are like me, then you’re probably looking for that perfect bottle of wine to go with your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. If you’re also like me, you’ve heard the rule of white wine with poultry enough times that it is ingrained in your culinary vernacular. However that doesn’t have to be the case. Personally, I believe any of the wines featured in the Red Wine Flight of the Stars would be perfect alongside turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and green bean casserole. For my dinner, I am bringing along the Greg Norman Shiraz, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be a smash hit!

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