Sunday, January 31, 2010
clear visual, full intensity, deep garnet
clean nose, full intensity; smoke, leather, light body cigars, les petits fruits rouges (little red fruit; meaning rich cherry, strawberry, and even a bit of blackberry)
0 dryness, mod+acid, mod++tannin; tasting of green tea, blackberries, green apple, something like cured meat
body is moderate+
alcohol is a bit hot at 13+%
length of palate is very good at 10 seconds++
Backyard Vineyards 2007 Meritage, Okanagan, BC $25
Well this was a rich tasting wine with lots of potential. As a novice I would say that since I let this breathe for over 30 minutes with little growth in the palate, it must need a few more years in the bottle to develop. It is also a wine that does best with food, not on its own. I would really like to try this in another year.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
These days Gewurz is grown most notably in Germany, Alsace (France), California, New York State and BC to name just a few locales... I love Alsatian Gewurz, and Russian River Valley (California), but one of my favorite places for value for money is BC. Herein lies my dissection of a value-priced BC wine.
clear visual, light intensity; pale straw
clean nose, moderate+ intensity; roses, lush stonefruit, honey, light grassy nose, a bit of kerosine
01 sweetness, mod++acid, 0 tannin; flavors of honeysuckle, peaches & apricots, rose water, minerality such as granite, a touch of green apple
body is moderate++
alcohol is moderate+ (13%)
length on the palate is moderate to full (7 to 10 seconds)
Backyards Vineyards, 2008 Gewurztraminer (Okanagan Valley, BC) $15
Some really lovely bouquet, but the flavor is somewhat over-the-top with the acids right now. Drinks better 20 minutes out of the fridge, as thats when the aromas really start going. I actually had this with a Quebecois style pea soup, which while not traditional, brought out lovely characteristics in both - probably because of the ham. A roast ham would work with this, as well as lighter spiced roasted chicken or pork... try maple & bacon wrapped pork loin!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
New owners have taken over the "Neck of the Woods" winery (Okanagan, BC) and I was able to taste their 2006 Merlot today.
clear visual, moderate intense; light garnet
clean smell, full intensity; barnyard smells (yes I know that sounds a bit gross, but it's just individual taste and I actually like it), Russian tea, leather, dark chocolate, over-ripe plums
00 dryness, moderate++ acid, moderate+ tannin; green cherries, leather, mushrooms, dark chocolate
moderate+ alcohol (almost 13%)
decent length (6 seconds+)
Neck of the Woods, 2006 Merlot, $10
So I would say that either I tasted an off bottle (it didn't taste corked) or this wine is poorly balanced... the acids are overbearing and in my mind spoil the nuances that come accross so well in the nose. There were alot of tannins, which to me mean that someone built this wine to last, but if it's like this after 3 years I honestly don't know how much potential there is for it.
This wine used to be $17, and has been reduced to $10. Even at that price, I won't be buying it.
Monday, January 25, 2010
yes, still the same question, and now I know how to answer it... it is like the difference between Evian water and tap water. Easy. But how to re-enforce that tasting perception in wine? Well those craazzyy guys @ Marquis Wine Cellar put me onto Muscadet, and so - we Muscadet Today.
visual is clear; pale straw with hints of lemon
nose is clean, moderate intensity; dust, granite, some honeysuckle and mild lemon
palate is very dry (00), moderate+acid, 0 tannin; granite, dust, meyer lemon, grapefruit, underripe green grapes
moderate body, moderate+ alcohol (12%), long length (10 seconds+)
Muscadet 2005 "Domaine L'Ecu" (France) $25
A bright, crisp, clean wine. Very well balanced and high enough in acids (think young riesling) that you might want it at the beginning of the meal as an appertif to open the palate, or the middle of a long meal as a palate cleanser. With a simple meal (1 course) I would probably serve a herbaceous roast chicken (rosemary, thyme, garlic), or something sinfully rich like coq-au-win. I imagine that a traditional sommelier would want to serve it with fish, perhaps sole Veronique (with olives) or even a 1990's-style cedar-planked salmon.
Friday, January 22, 2010
- clear color; intense ruby
- clean nose; smoked tea, leather, lanolin (wet sheep's wool - but in a really good way)(no- really)
- 00 dryness, moderate+ acid, moderate+tannin; chalk, cherry, blackberry, vanilla & apple pips
moderate+body, high in alcohol @ 14% (but very smooth- tasting more like 11 or 12%), deep length on the palate (more than 10 seconds)
2006 Mencia , $25
"Baltos" from Dominio de Tares in Bierzo, north-western Spain
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
another day, another wine...
todays self-taught lesson is: DON'T BE INFLUENCED BY THE LABEL.
That is to say, don't be influenced by a $50 label, a $9 label, a well known winery or someone you've never heard of. And so, today I bought a BC bottled Shiraz @ $8.50 and an Argentinian Syrah @ $18 (both tasted blind: DJ, Will, Sebastian, and any other sommelier reading this)
clear wine, light ruby color
intense nose, aroma of leather, smoke, oak & even a bit of cedar
0 dryness, moderate- acid, moderate+ tannin, fruit forward flavors with apple, smoke & caramel, long finish
This is an easy drinking wine, without a great deal of structure. It drinks like a Syrah should, but doesn't have much in the way of complexity
clear wine, deep ruby color
mild nose, aromas of chocolate, cherry and oak
00 dryness, moderate+ acid, moderate+ tannin, intense flavors immediately of cherry, blackberry and black peppercorn, long finish
This is not an easy drinking wine. I wish the nose matched the mouth a bit more, but was overwhelmed with the rich flavors.
WINE A $8.50, non-vintage , Copper Moon (cellared in BC) Shiraz
WINE B $18 , 2006 Riservado, Don Miguel Gascon (Mendoza, Argentina) Syrah
And so I learned two lessons today. The first lesson was learned before, but worth revisiting: just because a wine is $8, that doesn't mean it can't be a decent drink (the inverse is also true). The second lesson is that at this point I really enjoy easy drinking wines.
There is nothing wrong with this! As my Dad says, "there are hamburger wines and steak wines". At this point, I can really enjoy, and even savor, a well-made hamburger wine. What I want, is to be able to do the same with a steak wine. An osso bucco wine. A venison occo bucco topped with black tuffle wine.
That's why I'm in school. Wish me luck!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wine has such an immense history that I'm certain I'll be reading about it for the rest of my life. After we learn the history though, we learn what the difference is between TASTING wine and DRINKING wine.
To taste a wine is to try and discern the characteristics that make it what it is (aroma, flavor, acidity, color, etc).
To drink a wine is to succumb to those characteristics.
I realize now that I have tasted few wines, and succumbed to many and truth be told I plan to succumb to many more...
(1) the nose (most important) *what do I smell?
(2) the taste *acid level? tannin level? dry or sweet? alcohol level? what flavors come through? how long is the flavor?
(3) the color *is it clear? what color is it (can determine age)?
And so I will continue reading theory tonight, sipping on Limonbaci, succumbing just a little.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
My earliest memories about wine are going into my grandparent's cellar with my Dad. He stored the wines he made down there - I was probably only 4 or 5 years old and we would come upstairs for whatever family feast it was... wine was as important as the roast beef or the mashed potatoes. Wine was a part of the experience.
Now I am a chef, finishing my Certified Chef du Cuiscene course and want to feel like I did when I was a kid, and my Dad & I would sit at the kitchen table on a Saturday morning and plan dinner, plan what wines would be served & mostly, plan an experience.
And so I have started the International Sommelier Guild's level 1 course.
It is the beginning.
I admit that whatever I may know about wine I know only through the grace of my father's patience, and the rare moments in my life I was able to keep quiet long enough to listen to friends of mine who are already sommeliers. I know enough to know how much I have to learn... it will be 3 years of studying to become a certified sommelier, and that's only if I can balance my life enough to make this happen.
But maybe that's the whole point of wine? To make us take the time for balance; for friends and family, for long discussions late in the night and summer bbqs, for romantic evenings. Maybe that is why we learn about wine: so we can create more experiences with the time we have.