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.

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