John Paul Kaminga
Not a Summer White: Kalin Cellars Semillon 2001
I've been listening to Levi Dalton's fabulous podcast, I'll Drink to That, a lot lately. I started the episode with Mannie Berk, a truly legendary wine merchant, on the way to the shop this morning, and a couple things stuck with me. Mannie worked in Boston in city government before he worked with wine. In his own words, he "wanted to save cities", which is a notion that just leaves me entranced. With quiddity fleeing (bye bye Russo's) as new developments burgeon, the idea that things might be different brings wonder to my mind. I often think about the future of our city, and I'm filled with hope, but I also worry... Anyway, after talking about his brief history in politics, Mannie begins to speak about wine, and he quickly gets to asserting that "old wine is a different experience from young wine". I couldn't agree more.
There are a few wineries that specialize in releasing wines when they are mature. Lopez de Heredia is one, and we always have a red wine or two from them, but their white wines have become difficult to acquire. You will not be seeing an email about Lopez de Heredia blanco anytime soon. Lucky for you, Kalin Cellars also specializes in old releases, and their Semillon bears more than a passing resemblance to a fine vintage of Lopez de Heredia blanco. This 20 year old wine was just released from Kalin Cellars directly to the local distributor. It had been about 10 years since I'd last tasted a Kalin Semillon, so I could not resist trying a bottle right away. It lived up to all my expectations and then some.
Kalin Cellars Sémillon 2001 - $45
You could find aromas and flavors all day long... lemon candy and lemon oil, dried pineapple and mango, apple jelly, snuffed candle, roasted nuts, beeswax, caramel, green herbs... or you could just say that this stuff is really cool. Layered and intense, it has beautiful texture on the palate, with slightly bitter herbal flavors, and long honeyed notes; it is rich and opulent, but quite dry, with beautiful cut and freshness.
I found an old Parker note on a Kalin Semillon where he mentions how great Semillon is with salmon, and I am thinking how right he must be about that. I have no doubt that this particular Semillon would be a a brilliant pairing for a fatty cut of salmon with a crusty sear on it... the pairing sounds like something perfect for October through March... can't wait to try this wine again!