Archive for March, 2011:

March 31, 2011

By Shannon

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The Five Characteristics of Wine Assessment: Connectedness

 

Connectedness

Connectedness, the most difficult quality to point out, “is the bond between the wine and the plot of land it was born in” (MacNeil, pg. 6). Connectedness makes wine different from any other wine by having an appreciation for it because of where it comes from. Knowing the wines history, where it comes from, and how it is made can help you gain an appreciation for it and the sense that “it could not have come from just anywhere, but rather is the embodiment of a single piece of earth” (MacNiel, pg.6). Connectedness is something that is very hard to identify in wine, however, you can easily define it by trying a Cote-Rotie from the northern Rhone or a German riesling.

Connectedness is the last of the characteristics of great wine. I hope that through the description and helpful hints to discovering these characteristics in wine, you can more efficiently assess wine for what it truly is, rather than just whether you like the taste or not. So now that you are a little more knowledgeable in the wine department, think of these five characteristics while getting your drink on!!

Interesting Wine Fact: Kosher wine… Never heard of it. But apparently they have been around for a while. I hear that kosher wine used to taste like a cross between kool-aid and crushed up aspirin, but in recent years have as much credentials as some fine wines. So, what does it take for wine to be kosher? Well like most kosher foods, wine has to be made under the supervision of a rabbi and must be handled by a sabbath-observant Jew, otherwise it is deemed un-sacramental. Among kosher wines, there are non-mevushal and mevushal wines. Non-mevushal wines are only consumed by rabbi or sabbath-observant Jews. If it was consumed or touch, even accidentally, by a non- Jew or a non-sabbath-observing Jew, people who strictly follow kosher dietary laws will not drink this wine. Meshuval wines are shared among non-Jews and Jews. The difference between the two is that meshuval wine is boiled, making the wine less tasteful, but ‘morally sterile’, while non-meshuval wine is not boiled and has better flavor.

The Wine Bible

References: MacNeil, K. (2001). The Wine Bible. Workman Publishing Company Inc: New York, NY.

March 30, 2011

By Shannon

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The Five Characteristics of Wine Assessment: Complexity

 

Complexity

Complexity is not something that can be seen or easily identified. Rather it is the element of the wine that draws you to it. For me, La Crema Pinot Noir has complexity. After tasting this wine, no other wine tasted the same to me and there was something about this wine that had me always going back to it. I was completely drawn to this wine! When a wine contains complexity, it stays with you. It “impels you to repeatedly return for another smell and sip because each time you do, you find something new” (pg. 5). As I noted before, complexity is not something that can be looked for… It is a phenomenon. To discover the complexity of wine, try drinking a mature Bordeaux or Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.

Interesting Wine Fact: The type of wood used to make a wine barrel have a huge influence on the flavors and aromas of wine. Oak barrels are the best to use for many wines. Without oak, many of the wines we all know and love would be completely different. However, it is important to note that with some wines the oak barrel can change the flavor too much and take over the actual flavor of the varietal, but with most wines oak is what gives it boldness and enhances the flavor and aroma of the wine. There are hundreds of species of oak used in making barrels, but among those the most commonly used are American oak, which are mainly found in the Midwest (holler of if you hear me, Midwest!!) and French oaks found in central and eastern France. Oak affects wine in such a complex way that it is hard for me to explain, but basically oak wood contains many complex chemical compounds that enhance the wine’s aroma, flavor, and texture. Oak barrels have been used for centuries in the wine making process because of its profound effect on wine, however, back in the day winemakers had no idea why oak barrels were so much better. Today, we have enologists are studying why oak wood transforms wine in such a powerful way.

Next: Connectedness

The Wine Bible

 References: MacNeil, K. (2001). The Wine Bible. Workman Publishing Company Inc: New York, NY.

March 27, 2011

By Shannon

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Pinot Noir, Reds

La Crema – Pinot Noir 2008

There is nothing better than a nice dinner with great friends and delicious food, but then when you top it off with great wine, you will find that there is almost nothing better… I always here that wine is the most sensual drink in the world and compared to all wines, pinor noir is the most sensual of all. Pinots are lighter in color than other reds, which leads beginning wine drinkers to falsely assume that this varietal is a cheap, weak, and dull-flavored wine. NOTE TO SELF: Never judge a wine by its color! Great pinot noirs are actually quite flavorful despite its lighter body and because of its stubborness as a grape, it is actually not cheap because it is made with care and precision. Compared to other reds pinot noir is far less tannic and is the most difficult to make. The grape is extremely hard to grow and is very sensitive to its climate.

Of all of the classic wines, I prefer pinot noir. I have consumed more pinot noir than any other varietal and I have found that you can almost never go wrong when choosing a wine of this variety. I don’t recall ever drinking a pinot noir that has not been good, however I do have a favorite… And that would be La Crema Pinot Noir. The first sip I ever had of this wine was a completely new experience to me. It was smooth. It was flavorful. It felt warm and creamy on my palate. It was love at first sip for me!

This was our first choice at our wonderful evening out and let me tell you, we couldn’t have chosen better. With notes of black cherry, plum, and spices, this wine will fill your palate with a wonderful blend of flavors. Its smoothness will coax you into a state of relaxation… Well, I was coaxed into relaxation at first,  until it got the best of me :) Needless to say, this wine keeps you coming back for more. Its one of those wines that just goes down too quick and you don’t realize it until its too late! To purchase this smooth talking wine, click here.

March 27, 2011

By Shannon

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The Five Characteristics of Wine Assessment: Expressiveness

  Expressiveness

When assessing the expressiveness of a wine, you should think about the wines clarity. Does the flavor stand out? Are its characteristics clearly projected? Or is the flavor muddled, or weak? The definition of expressiveness offered by The Wine Bible is “the quality a wine possesses when its aromas and flavors are well-defined and clearly projected” (pg. 5). Expressiveness is clarity, precision, and boldness of flavor, characteristics, and/or components. To learn more about tasting expressiveness in wine, try a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and think about its intensity.

 Interesting Wine Fact: The difference between red wine and white wine is that the grapes in red wine are fermented with the skin on the grape, while grapes in white wine are fermented without the skin. Fermenting the grapes with the skin provides more tannins in red wine than in white and obviously gives the wine color. Tannins act as a natural preservative and since red wine has more tannins than white, red wine contains more natural preservatives…. So drink more red wine :)

 Next: Complexity

The Wine Bible

References: MacNeil, K. (2001). The Wine Bible. Workman Publishing Company Inc: New York, NY.

March 26, 2011

By Shannon

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The Five Qualities of Wine Assessment: Integration

Integration

Integration can be described as the harmony of flavors in wine. A wine is said to have integration when you cannot point out one single flavor or characteristic. Integration is the perfect blending of components and characteristics that “presents itself like a sphere in the mouth” (MacNeil, pg. 5).  For example, you try a Caberbet Sauvignon that has notes of coffee, chocolate, and berries. If this wine has a strong integrated value, then you will not be able to taste one single note or flavor over another. All of the aromas and flavors will blend together to create a smooth, and savory experience. The author suggests that we learn more about integration and how to identify it in a wine by drinking a white Burgundy, such as a Meursault, while thinking about harmony.

Interesting Wine Fact: “Legs” is the term deemed to the rivulets that we see streaming down the glass after we swirl it. Other countries have other names for this, such as tears or church windows. Some wine drinkers believe that a great tasting wine can be identified by the shape of its ‘legs’. The wine is said to have a good flavor if the legs have nice shape, however this is FALSE! The truth is that the shape of the legs are caused by “the rate at which liquids evaporate and the differences in surface tension between water and the wine’s alcohol content” (MacNeil, pg. 4), and has NOTHING to do with flavor or greatness in wine!

Next: Expressiveness

The Wine Bible

References: MacNeil, K. (2001). The Wine Bible. Workman Publishing Company Inc: New York, NY.

 

 

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