Sunday, May 25, 2008

NYC Wine Notes - Our First Podcast!

We’d like to introduce NYC Wine Notes first Podcast!

Back in January I decided that one of this year’s resolutions would involve the “education of my palate.” I’ve been more involved in wine over the past 5 years having had my “wine epiphany” in 2003. Since then, I’ve sought to educate myself as much as possible in regards to wine regions, grape differences, production, tasting, and just about anything else that goes along with this wonderful grape juice.

One aspect that I feel has been lacking is a more organized or insightful approach to the actual tasting of wine itself. I feel I know the basics of pour, sniff, swirl, look for color, texture, finish, etc but I’ve always felt that I would use more direction. Namely along the lines of developing a better sense of balance, acidity, nuances of tannins, and other aspects I often read about but find myself guessing at in actual tastings.

With this wish came the rediscovery of a book that’s been on my shelf for a while, Jancis Robinson’s How to Taste.

The book itself is really almost a guide and textbook that takes you through all aspects of wine tasting. Starting at the vary beginning with how to sniff and swirl to detecting different types of acidity, noticing sweetness, saltiness, tannins, affects of alcohol content, and through to the analysis of grape varieties.

All this is done though a series of lessons or “practices” as she calls them which puts different wines side by side as a way of detecting each individual nuance she discusses in her “theory” sections. What better way to learn!

In the name of education, I got together with some co-conspirators, Brian and Lisa, and started to systematically tackle the “practice sessions” from the beginning.

I actually started the learning process back in February – click here – but I think we’re ready to start with the podcasts.

Our first two podcasts examine a variety of the basic elements of wine tasting such as sweetness (pg 17-18), acidity (pg 21/24), saltiness (pg 25), bitterness (pg 26), tannins (pg 29), and balance (pg 23).

In our first podcasts, we tackle these though non-wine related experiments such as tasting vinegar, cola, over seeped tea and a variety of other “condiments.” In our second podcast we then apply these experiences to actual wine!

Overall impressions… By breaking down the elements of tasting (acidity, sweetness, etc) first and then applying it to the wine, I felt we were really more able to isolate the components that make up a wine. It’s definitely a skill that I think I needed to refine for myself and I saw this as a big step in that direction.
Wines tasted included: Chateau Piada 2003 – Sauternes, 2006 Domaine de Pouy – Gascogne, 2005 Duck Walk Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer, and 2006 Domaine Girard et Fils - Sancerre.

Technical notes: To play, click on the link and the podcast with open automatically in your default media player OR right click on the link and save the mp3 file to your computer for later listening or transferring to your portable listening device.

Disclaimer: We are amateurs so the production value here, while ok, is not professional quality. (If you want professional quality, check out Grape Radio or 3 Wine Guys. We’re hoping to get to that level down the road.) Also, these first two podcasts are approximately 45 to 50 minutes in length each. Going forward, we’re hoping to become more succinct, much like on of my favorite food related podcast, Eat Feed.

To listen, click on the links below.

Listen to Podcast:
Podcast 1 (The non-wine taste test)
Podcast 2 (Lessons applied with actual wine)

We hope you enjoy them and look forward to your feedback.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Brooklyn Tasting Group: Northern Rhone

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of taking part in a tasting with the Brooklyn Tasting Group where the theme was Northern Rhone wines, both red and white.

The wines and the company where all wonderful. Kudos to our host and thanks for the invite.

eRobertParker thread with tasting notes here.

Wines included:
Cuilleron 2006 St. Joseph Blanc "Lysereas"
Chapoutier 2005 St. Joseph Blanc "Les Granits"
Vincent Paris 2006 Cornas "Granite 30"
Levet 2001 Cote Rotie
Porter Creek 2001 Syrah "Timbervine Ranch"
Jamet 1998 Cote Rotie

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1995 Clos du Marquis – St. Julien – Bordeaux

A really wonderful and lovely wine which expresses everything I like about Bordeaux.

Brick red in color with the fruit bursting out of the bottle when first opened. Black current and essential dark fruit at first. This receded some to a more classic leather and cedar aroma with hints of spices. Medium bodied and elegant with soft tannins, smooth texture, medium long finish, and exquisite balance.


Bought in Bordeaux on our trip in 2005 but it can be sourced for about $75 or so.

Friday, May 16, 2008

1997 Chateau Musar – Bekaa Valley – Lebanon

Disclaimer: Being of partial Lebanese heritage, I sometimes feel pre-disposed to like Chateau Musar. The sour cherry notes evident here are a case in point. Although such a taste is not for everyone, I feel it’s a nice component here.

Purple tinged with a not altogether slightly sour taste at first but reveals still bright cherry fruit. Second layer of cedar notes also emerge. Velvety texture with a medium long finish.

Note overly complex but a lovely wine nonetheless.

This was purchased for $40 from D. Sokolin on Long Island. They no longer have any in stock but it can be found elsewhere for about the same price.

Monday, May 12, 2008

2006 Standing Stone Riesling (Finger Lakes)

Standing Stone is another of my “go-to” Finger Lake Rieslings. Their 2006 Riesling is pale yellow with very evident minerality backed up by light citrus and some slightly more pronounced leeche or quince. Crisp and clean in taste and finish. All in harmony and overall a very nice wine.

This can be had for $13 at Northside Wine & Spirits in Ithaca, New York or $16 at Vintage-New York in Manhattan.

At $13 is a great QPR wine. At $16 is still am ok value but at that price, I start looking to entry level Old-World Riesling.

Even so, this is a solid B wine.

My one pet-peeve... Many Finger Lake wines use synthetic stoppers which I’m not a fan of and would much prefer that those wineries move to screw-cap. Standing Stone uses synthetic.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

2005 C. von Schubert Maximin Grunhaus Herrenberg - Riesling Kabinett - Mosel-Saar-Rawer - Germany

The 2005 C. von Schubert Maximin Grunhaus Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett is a prime example of why I love German Riesling. This sample is a Kabinett from the Mosel-Saar-Rawer region.

Light gold color with an almost Sauternes like aroma. Just a little touch of honey and a very fresh smell. Wonderful floral notes along with honeydew. Melon. Just a wonderful aroma. Light kiss of acidity. Soft. Medium bodied with a medium long finish. The aroma really stands out here.

Excellent wine which sells for $24 at Union Square Wines.