Here at The Daily Caller, we think that writing — and politics — is about facts and ideas; and we also think it’s about generally enjoying ourselves. After all, what are we fighting for? One of our favorite living philosophers, Roger Scruton, once penned a book called “I Drink, Therefore I Am,” and in that great Western tradition, we crushed a case of wine from a guy we know called Bear.
Now, before anyone gets hot and bothered, accusing us of being neocon shills for California wine cartels, shove it. As the great ethicist Richard Windsor once wrote, “If a man called Bear sends us free wine, we will drink it, especially if it is delicious, and it was.”
So want to use wine knowledge to impress friends and depress enemies? Let’s get started.
Mira Winery was started on a $1 bet: A well-respected grape-grower, Larry Hyde, offered Gustavo Gonzalez the chance to buy his syrah grapes, and James Dyke — Jim “Bear” Dyke Jr.’s pops — put his money up to see if Gustavo’s product could rival the French Rhones. Well, it did, and the Mira wines are the product.
Which brings us to the Mira wines:
Mira Winery’s Sauvingon Blanc 2010
Mira’s sauvingon blanc is 95 percent aged and fermented in stainless steel, 5 percent in French oak, and is pale yellow in color.
On the nose, the sauvingon has light, herbal grass notes, with a touch of citrus, honey suckle and apricot.
On the palate, the wine is light and soft; not as crisp as we’re used to with sauvingon blanc, but this was good. The apricot comes through in the taste, as do bright acids. The finish, long and lingering, is green apple.
Though all the Miras were great, at $22 a bottle, the sauvingon blanc is the most affordable and approachable of the Mira wines. We recommend pairing it with sweet oysters (not too briny!) or poached oysters with butter.
Mira Winery’s Cabernet Sauvingon 2009
One of the first things we noticed is that Mira’s cabernet is not 100 percent cabernet sauvingon: It is 95 percent cabernet sauvingon, 5 percent cabernet franc, all from Nappa and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.
Dark ruby red in color, Mira’s cabernet lets in just hints of light, and on the nose, we detected plum and currants, as well as a little bitterness. This is definitely a wine that will age, and if you have the patience, lay it down for a few years.
After first cracking the bottle, the cabernet was very tannic, with hints of leather and plum. It quickly began to change with air, though: In just over 30 minutes, we detected stronger plums and softer tannins on the nose, as well as a floral white blueberry and earthiness. On the palate, this shone through as well, while the tannins remained strong.
We drank this wine with vitello alla saltimboca, using organic, free-range veil from Rieley Brothers Farm, sage, prosciutto and provolone cheese in a wine reduction. That, we can assure you, was perfect — with the cabernet’s strong characteristics asserting themselves loudly over the other flavors. It sells for $48 a bottle.
Mira Winery’s Chardonnay 2010
Light in color, the chardonnay is aged for less than a year in steel. It’s light in color, with a honey lemon nose.
On the tongue, it was soft, with hints of honey and grapefruit. Not only is there not a hint of oak, but the fruits aren’t too heavy.
We’d pair this wine with a mild fish, possibly sole veronique, with grapes and a cream sauce.
Bottles sell for $28, making it perfect for bringing to a nice dinner.
Mira Winery’s Pinot Noir 2010
Aged in French oak casks for one year, the Mira Pinot Noir is a deep ruby red that is much lighter on the edge.
On the nose, it is louder than expected, with some leather, tannins, apple and prunes.
This pinot has a lot of bite. It has a slight tannic sting, with notes of spice and minerals. We’d call it a dry red, with a touch of prune. But after breathing for about 30 minutes, the fruit blows up with a delicious, dry cranberry.
This wine retails for $42, and we would serve it with a grilled tuna steak or a peppered pork loin.
Mira Winery’s Syrah 2009
Aged in french wood, this bad boy was the genesis of the Mira project. (Oh, and Bear paid that dollar. Today he is the president of Mira Winery).
Dark ruby red in color, the nose carries cherry and herbal spices.
On the palate, we detected cherry and currants, with briar fruit on the finish.
We paired this wine with blue cheese, and it stood its ground firmly, so if we had our druthers, we’d go with lamb or a big old blue cheese burger. The wine sells for $48.
But by this point, it was all we could do to keep some of the company from breaking out the cigarettes and whiskey. Before we knew it, the night had degenerated blossomed into loud music and a scuffle or two. We’ll let you guess who got the drunkest. (It was Will.)
And the moral of the story is: Drink more wine.