There is something to be said about taking a step back, grabbing a breath, and slowing down. This week was slightly more disruptive than normal, the Misses was traveling for work and I was stuck at home being a single doggy parent. Once the dust settled we decided to take it easy this weekend and stay close to home. Saturday night we made a trip over to Swirl: A Wine Bar in Solon, Ohio. This was the first time we visited this cool little spot. It was a little too cold for us to enjoy the outdoor patio, but we didn’t have a problem finding a spot at the bar. The wine by the glass menu is a nice mix of Old World (Italy, France, Spain, and Germany) and New World wines (United States, Australia, South America, etc.). Although, it looks like their sweet spot lies with Italian wines. With our seats at the bar, I decided to try their French wine flight since I have previously admitted that I have a pretty weak French knowledge base.
2012 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages Gamay: ($12 retail)
This is a 100% Gamay. The Gamay grape is a new one for me, I don’t think that I have ever tried it before. It started with a very pronounced strawberry nose, just a ton of berry. The strawberries were again present in the flavor, but also cherry and cranberry. Additionally, it carried a slight earthiness and graphite flavor. It starts slightly tart and zesty with the fruit flavors, but quickly subsides and moves into a smooth finish with vanilla and cocoa flavors. Overall it had a nice medium to light body, with nice level tannins and crisp acidity. Fun wine for my first time Gamay experience.
2012 Vignerons De Mancey Bourgogne Pinot Noir: ($18 Retail)
Another 100% Varietal wine, this was an exceptionally interesting pinot. The nose was a surprisingly strong red apple aroma. It was such a surprise it was almost distracting, not to imply it was unpleasant. The flavor was a more pronounced berry flavor, with only a hint of red apple. The fruit was very powerful in the start, but blended into a mild earthiness to finish. A second surprise with this Pinot was the level of dryness it brought. It was highly astringent, but left the fruit and earth to linger as it pulled the moisture through the finish.
2010 Chateau Sablard Du Grande Moine Red Bordeaux Blend: ($20 Retail)
This blend had aromas of dark fruit and plum with an earthiness mixed with oak. The flavors were very bold, both plum and currants were present, but well balanced with an earthy tone and graphite. The flavors carry well through the finish and even linger slightly long.
Overall this was a very fun flight for me due to my lack of knowledge on French wines. It allowed me to taste the wines, really examine them for what they were, and not what I expected them to be. In my opinion one of the hardest parts of writing these reviews is remaining unbiased by my preconceived notion of what the wine should be. So, at times, I appreciate not knowing what I’m getting into. Also, it lets me expand my context and knowledge with it the preconception.
Of course I couldn’t make it out of the place without grabbing one more glass. I stuck with the French theme of the night.
2009 Chateau Damase Bordeaux Superieur: ($18 Retail)
Another Bordeaux blend, it presented an interesting earthy nose that carried light plum and prune aromas. The plum carried over into the flavor, but was also accompanied by raisin, currant, and earth. The flavors along with a minerality carry from the start, but transition into a cocoa, cherry, and raisin flavor in the finish. There is a balanced level of tannins and acid, and also an interesting spice that lingers. Overall a very nice wine.
I really enjoyed our stop at Swirl. It has a nice quiet feel, but doesn’t lack the energy of a larger bar. It’s quiet enough to be enjoyed, but busy enough that you don’t feel alone. I appreciated the diversity of their wine menu, it’s not overloaded with your typical California/Oregon/Chile selections that are too common these days. I look forward to exploring their large selection of Old World wines. Who knows maybe I’ll try the Italian flight next.
Au revoir (see what I did there? French!)