May 30, 2005

One of the songs I can’t identify is a beautiful swaying between a simple vocal round and total anarchy. Valerie Price and Brenna Whittaker have utterly satisfying voices, rich in any octave. It’s fantastic and haunting.

One of the last songs of the day is, once again, unknown to me, at least in this form. Valerie continues to emote as the song dies away, Lydia (accordionist) and Brad whispering light chords and just as our collective breath was to be taken away by the silence and then a drumstick scratching across the edge of cymbal (that came next), an ice cream truck drove by.

May 29, 2005

With war as the theme, Brad has a piece partially penned in Mandarin. He translates (and my memory is fuzzy), “The Noble Leader thinks. He continues to think. He is still thinking.” And so on till the end, “The Noble Leader realizes that he can not only have poor people fight the war, he can also make them pay for it.” Snickers all around.

May 28, 2005

Brad Cox is a fantastic pianist and composer who lives at present in Kansas City and we are the richer for it. An afternoon concert for the Memorial Day weekend and Brad has assembled one of his large scale bands, tenor sax, baritone sax, flautist (also piccolo), drummer, stand-up bass, a gifted accordionist who plays with a band here called Tango Lorca, and three singers.

Part of the afternoon is given to re-tooled gospel tunes. As usual with Brad, there are songs I should recognize but can’t. He twists a Zeppelin tune into a signature changing nightmare. Or dream.

Brecht and Weill’s Alabama Song is delightfully recognizable. The three singers trade the verses about; it’s wonderful and silly. Since the theme of the show is war, they do a version of Randy Newman’s Let’s Drop the Big One Now.

May 27, 2005

I had two Riscal Ruedas recently: the 2004 showed lots of apples with orange and a note of lime leaf; it was a barely warm bowl of apples. The mouth was apple laden as well, with notes of orange and melon, soft and creamy, simple but very pretty.

I found a bottle of 2002 Riscal as well. And it wasn’t aging particularly well. Well, I take that back. It was really pretty, with some barrel hints leading to truffle and mushrooms notes. But it was already slipping, and I’d like to think that Verdejo has better longevity than that.

Yllera Vina Cantosan 2004 Rueda had a very bright and pretty lime laden nose. There were complexing notes of orange, lemon, melon, white pepper and red apple. The mouth was more of the same, good and classic Verdejo (apple, melon, and orange) with some white pepper and basil mint hints at the end.

May 26, 2005

Marqués de Riscal virtually invented modern Rueda. It was a place of ancient styled dessert wines, and Riscal rescued theVerdejo grape from its interminable grave. Unfortunately, at least to my way of thinking, Riscal noted a similarity to Sauvignon Blanc, or so the story goes, and planted that as well. Sauvignon Blanc features in a number of Ruedas, and I love the Verdejo grape so much that I regret Sauvignon Blanc’s annoyingly vocal presence.

May 25, 2005

One of my favorite unheralded grapes on the planet is the white grape of Spain’s Rueda area, just abutting the region of sexy, showy Tempranillo, Toro. Aura Verdejo 2003 has a very full nose of orange, baked red apple, melon and baked lemons; the mouth continues the theme with melon, lemon, cinnamon, baked and green apples and a hint of white pepper. Friendly and layered and happy with rich dishes.

May 24, 2005

Vionta Albariño 2004 was pretty as well. This Albarino has a floral touch but it’s more about orange, green apple, the cinnamon hint we associate with red apple, with much the same flavors in the mouth: orange green and red apple, but even more melon with some lemon. It’s round, soft, simple, and a bit floral and spicy in the end. I had it with grilled scallops and we drank the whole bottle.

May 23, 2005

Another version of the more generous style of Albariño comes from Pazo Pondal near the Portuguese border. The 2004 has a pretty floral and even slightly earthy note on a nose of round and creamy apples with an orange hint. The flavors are round, soft, easy, showing creamy apple with a cinnamon hint, red apple, apricot hints, and some lemon zest.

Pazo de Senorans 2004 has a very generous nose of apricot, flowers, earth hint, and bright orange; the mouth is round, the flavors are very orange, with hints of baked green apple; there is a soft, floral end with touch of cherry, ripe, bits of leaf, and baked apple hints.

May 22, 2005

Condes de Albarei winery in the Val do Salnes in Galicia is always offering fun Albarino. The 2004 shows a soft and floral nose with orange, apricot, baked apple with earth hints. The wine carries a round, but tart pear and apple finish, with baked green apple pie. Its tartness screams for shellfish.

One of my favorites is Lusco Albarino; their 2004 shows a friendly sweet orange and apricot nose, brightly floral almost like jasmine. The wine has some great layers of orange zest, lemon zest, green pear, green apple. The finish offers red pear skins, almost a roasted pear hint with banana.

May 21, 2005

Maior de Mendoza Albariño 2004 is from a more northerly, cooler area that typically offers an Albarino that is very focused upon tart notes. This has red apple with orange and apricot tinges, with a touch of earth and cinnamon; the mouth is red and green apple, lemony, tart, almost intense, like lemon dipped green apple slices, with pleasant length. It’s capable of handling far more dishes than one might think, because of its tangy acidity.