The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Smither, Raitt, & Sauvignon Blancs

Well, I’m back after two weeks on the road traveling on business. It’s difficult to blog from a hotel room as I usually use a Sprint connection which isn’t the best thing for embedding videos. So, tonight I’ve got two of my favorites. One is strictly out of the mainstream, although you’ve probably heard his songs done by the second artist who went from obscurity to pop stardom.

Chris Smither is a fabulous folk artist and a great finger picker. I heard him back in 1990 and was fascinated by his music. He’s also one of Bonnie Raitt’s favorite songwriters. She does his song, “Love Me Like A Man” better than anyone. Also, in my humble opinion, Bonnie Raitt is one of the best slide guitarists around. I first heard her in Chicago back in 1974 at a Soundstage concert, just her and her guitar. Wow, she was amazing. The last song in her set, SRV shuffle features Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray, all blues greats. Anyway, here’s some blues for ya.

Chris Smither
Train Home:

Crocodile Man:

Origin of Species:

Statesborough Blues:

2000 Lotus Blossom Festival:

Drive you home again:

Lay the old man down:

Bonnie Raitt:

Love me like a man:

With John Lee Hooker; I’m in the Mood:

Pride & Joy:

Thing called Love:

SRV Shuffle:

Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite summer wines. They are crisp, light, and refreshing, great for sipping on a warm summer night while I sit on my deck and watch the stars. The Wine Spectator featured American Sauvignon Blancs in its latest issue and I’m glad to see them getting more press, however, for my money, and yours for that matter, I don’t think you can beat New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc.

California versions of this wine are usually characterized by a lemony citrus and apple bouquet and palate. While some are very good, they can also be a bit harsh or biting compared to their neighbors down under. New Zealand versions seem to be softer, yet just as crisp with overtones generally dominated by a grapefruit bouquet and palate.

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($16.00) is a classic New Zealand style wine. It has that citrus grapefruit bouquet and light crisp palate, rich in grapefruit and pinapple. It’s got a bit of a peppery finish with a very pleasant zing. I rank it up there with my favorites (Whitehaven-$20.00 and Kim Crawford-$16.00).

In contrast, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2007 also comes from Marlborough—the region that produces the best Sauvignon Blancs in New Zealand. The intensity in the nose is not as strong or distinct as other Sauvignon Blancs from the region. It has more of a California Sauvignon Blanc nose and flavor with hints of lemon, green apple, pear, and mineral flavors. The finish is crisp and long.

Both wines are good. The Wine Spectator rated the Nobilo a 92 while it gave the Kim Crawford a 90, although it included the Kim Crawford in its list of 100 best wines for 2008. My wife likes the Nobilo whereas I like the Nautilus, Kim Crawford and Whitehaven best. Just goes to show you that while the ratings of the various wine guides may give you a general idea of what’s good, in the end it comes down to a matter of taste.

You can’t go wrong with any of these. Try one this week and enjoy!

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