Friday, January 27, 2012

6 Rules

I just read a terrific article, "6 Rules For Tasting Wine". What I love about this article is that it speaks to the non-wine expert. If you are going to attend a tasting or going to be somewhere with a lot of people who are knowledgeable about wines I suggest you take a few minutes and read this. Don't worry, you won't come off as an a$$hole! Check it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Malbec not a Montblanc

This week I went to the wine store with a very open mind. I didn't have a taste for anything and wasn't sure what I wanted to buy. I walked into my favorite wine shop and just wandered the aisles. I found myself in the Malbec section. If you are anything like me, you are wondering, "What is a Malbec?"
A Malbec is the flagship red grape of Argentina. I found a lot of information about how this grape is used in blending other wines. I don't know how important that is to other people, so I didn't really focus on that. But if you want to sound as if you know something if someone brings up Malbecs, some key points would be knowing that the Mendoza region of Argentina is the Malbec's shining star and it pairs perfectly with grilled meats, game and robust spicy dishes.

The salesman suggested I try Malbec, Chalten Reserva 2010.
When I try a new wine, I like to look up the tasting notes, just to see if I can taste the same thing. A quick google search (after checking the blogs I typically follow) I found the following:

The wine has a beautiful reddish/purple color as most good Malbecs do. The aromas are a mix of freshly crushed black cherries and toasty/smoky oak just enough to frame the exuberant fruit. On the palate, the flavors of cherries and spice are obvious, and the jammy fruit quality just keeps coming on strong, with hints of spice and sandalwood lurking in the background.

My thoughts- First I must say it has a beautiful color. Dark, deep, intense purple (Have I mentioned I'm a Ravens fan).

I wanted to love it, but I didn't. It was dry, to me and I am not finding dry wines to be my thing. I didn't find it overly fruity, but I did get the toasty, smokey oak thing. The initial sip is very smooth, and the spice does jump in on you at the end, I did like that. But overall, not a wine I would buy again. I think I prefer something a little fruitier, slightly sweeter, not so dry and a little less spice. Will I finish the bottle? Yup! It's drinkable and I would recommend for someone who prefers less fruity and dry wine.

Have you tried it?? Please let me know your thoughts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elude to Etude

  A few Saturday nights ago I had the immense pleasure of trying a wine that I would have never purchased.  I was invited to a dinner and as our party sat down and began perusing the menu, I was asked what many are asked around this time in the evening, "Red or white".  Recently, I have been drinking a lot of red, so I said red.  After much discussion at the table over which one, a decision was made.  This was a party of 16, knowing multiple bottles will be needed, they decided on a pinot noir,  Etude, Estate Grown Carnero, Napa Valley 08.
  Let me first say, my experience with most wine to date has been based on what I am willing to spend on a bottle.  What am I willing to spend?  $20 maybe $30 max.  Up until this evening, I had not found a bottle over $20 that I wanted to buy.  I have to admit, this was a great glass.  It had a beautiful color (not sure why I find myself noticing that, but I do find myself staring at a glass of wine and noticing the color) silky smooth, rich and very easy to drink.  The menu listed this bottle for $75, a helluva lot more then what I would pay for a bottle.  But it got me thinking... there are a lot of blogs out there dedicated to cheap or inexpensive wines and they all reiterate that price does not equal a great wine.  I wonder if I can find a pinot that I like as much as this one within my price range?  Not sure, but I am up for the challenge.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This bottle was purchased only because it was recommended by a good friend. A fairly inexpensive wine ($9.99) I didn't think much about buying it. She suggested this after I told her that I had gone to a friend's party the night before and had a glass of pinot noir and loved it. Since I had a few glasses and other wines, I neglected to get the name of what I had to drink. I was just excited to find something, other then a sweet wine.
As I drank I read some reviews of the wine. I decided to do this because I think it will help me get a better understanding of what I am drinking and if I should follow the recommendations of the reviewer. I found a review:
Light bright black cherry hue with fresh fruit aromas of spicy strawberry with slight cinnamon notes. Quite nice!
Palate--Juicy acid,with mouth watering presence. Light on the palate with strawberry notes and a decent finish.
This is a value "Coastal California" sourced Pinot Noir wine and Mark West does it well. Be sure to read the labels of the Mark West line of wines as they source grapes from all over the world. For $10, it tastes real and varietal so raise a glass.
My thoughts- It is very light. When it first hits your tongue it smooth and juicy. But as it works it way down your throat, the spiciness of it hits you. My drinking buddy did not like this. He took one sip, and said, "Not for me". Me on the otherhand, after one glass, I'm not sure. The taste is unexpected. I think I was expecting richer, heavier...I would drink another glass, but I am feeling a pretty strong buzz right now! :-) Before I pass final judgement, I think I need to drink another glass with a nice meal. So far thumbs up!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time for a Wine Cellar?

  I read an article the other day entitled, The $2500 Wine Cellar.  I can imagine what you are thinking, "Pretty lofty goal for a novice wine drinker" and you are right.  That is a pretty far out there idea for someone new to the wine game.  To be honest, I have no desire to build a wine cellar at this time.  It got me thinking about the wine I have collected up to this point.
  I was given a "bar/wine rack" as a gift many years ago.  Before I started my search or education about wine there were maybe 1 or 2 bottles in the rack.  The obligatory bottle of champagne that was never opened one new years night and/or the bottle of wine that was either given by a dinner guest or from a business associate.  But since I've been reading, receiving recommendations and shopping the wine rack is slowly filling up.

Notice, the bottle of champagne still there
Before this year is over I may need to start my own wine cellar!  Ok, maybe not build a cellar, but I may need to invest in better wine storage.

  I did enjoy the article and found some very useful information.  Thanks to this article I added some more wines to my shopping list (not sure if my wallet appreciates that) and added to my ever growing knowledge of all things wine.  I highly recommend reading as much as you can while you are in your beginning stages of wine learnin'.  Sometime you may think an article or blog is not for you, just by the title.  Don't let that fool you.  Check it out, read it and you never know, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sweet Reds

I honestly don't remember purchasing this bottle of wine. It may have been given to me, I really don't know. But I saw it sitting there and figured I should pop it open and give it a try. With my history, one would think I'd love this wine. It's cheap (I just looked it up, under $10), sweet and red. And yes it is sweet, but I'm just not a fan. I'll finish the bottle, don't get me wrong (I hate to waste), but I would not buy this again.

I searched the internet looking for a description and mostly what I found were negative reviews. I don't want to be a negative nelly, it's not that bad. I think it's probably a perfect wine for a very new newbie to wine. The reason I'm not a fan, I don't care for wines that I can drink as if I'm drinking a glass of fruit punch. And while it's not that sweet (maybe more in line with grape juice), I prefer to know I'm drinking a glass of wine.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wine Blogs

Thanks to the amazing world of Twitter, I have been in wine blog heaven. I have read some very informative and useful blogs. My favorites are listed.  They are insightful, interesting, easy to read, don't talk down and have a different point of view. If the blog is too technical, or about outrageously expensive wines, I will not list. If it's not an easy read (I base this on my ease of read scale, you are entitled to use another), if I find it difficult to find the actual post in the midst of ads and other things, I will not list.
To make it easy, I will list blogs that I like. Please take the time to check them out and let me know your thoughts.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tacos and Beer

  I don't know about you but sometimes a quiet night in with the one you love is way better then hitting the bars or clubs.  This past Thursday was just one of those nights for me.  We decided to go to one of my favorite places Chipotle.  After we placed our order we decided to head to our local wine shop to pick up a few drinks for the evening.
  I wasn't in the mood for wine and truth be told I'm not a big beer drinker.  I started drinking beer only to get drunk.  I would always order Coors Lite and drink and party the night away.  But for a night in, curled up with my man, Coors Lite is not it.  I picked up Samuel Smith's Organic Raspberry.  What goes better with tacos then Raspberry Ale??  Come to find out, nothing!  Boy do I LOVE this beer.  Sweet, not syrupy, light and tart..  When you open the bottle you are greeted with a very strong aroma of raspberries.  It's smooth and absolutely refreshing.  I can only drink half a bottle at a time (I may be a light weight) but it just means more for the following day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Beajolais or not to Beajolais

  I may have mentioned this once or twice before, I'm new to this wine thing.  I've been drinking wines based on what friends recommend, what I see in the store or what I read in a blog.  But I often find myself asking the question, "What is pinot noir, or a Syrah?  I've heard people say, "I only drink Grigio or I never drink Zin."  What do they mean?  Hell, if I know.  I am not at the point where I can say I will only drink anything.  Deciding to never drink a Zin or Syrah because I had a glass that I didn't like would be like saying, "I don't date blondes because I dated one in middle school and he was mean to me."  Granted some people do go through life like that, I'm not one of them.
  That all being said, I think it's time we delve into what is a Zin or the difference between Pinot Noir and Grigio.  Let's begin with a wine I've reviewed Beaujolais Nouveau.  What is a Beaujolais Nouveau?  It's a wine made from Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France and released in the same year of its harvest.  They are typically released on the third Thursday of November.  I found some interesting facts about Beajolais Nouveau.  While I wasn't a huge fan of this wine, I highly recommend you try a glass.  Truth be told, after doing all this research I am tempted to try it again myself.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

German Reds

On this trip to the wine store I went directly to the Germany section. There I found myself stuck between two wines Red Vin Sweet Red ($8.99) and Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Dornfelder Red 2010 ($11.99). I hemmed and hawed, walked the aisles, did everything except ask someone who worked there. I did stand there while one of the employees helped a couple, but walked off before he could look my direction.

I read the descriptions:
Red Vin Sweet-Rheinhessen Germany-Made from the native Dornfelder grape, this sweet red combines silky tannins with flavors of raspberry and plum with a pleasant sweet finish. Pair with cheese, spicy Asain cuisine, or just by itself.
Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Dornfelder Red- Pfalz Germany- A delightfully fruity red wine with a hint of sweetness. The intense fruit flavors of blackberry and cherry have a surprisingly full bodied finish.

How did I decide?
  1. I didn't want something too sweet
  2. I remembered a chat a had with an old friend. He sent me an article about cheap wines and said, "I'm of the mindset that you find a small store that has a small collection of $10-$20 bottles and go crazy there.
I decided on the Dr. H-B.  I liked it.  The description was pretty accurate, slightly sweet not syrupy.  My drinking buddy, not so much of a fan.  He took one sip and made a yucky face and dumped his glass down the drain.  Will I finish the bottle?  Yup, it's not that bad!  Will I recommend it?  Yeah, to someone who is looking for a not so sweet, inexpensive bottle of red.  Will I buy it again?  Probably not.  It's a screw top and maybe that should have made me think twice, but I didn't want to be prejudice against screw tops. =)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Decoding Sparklers

  I read an article today that I thought I should share.  It contained a cheat sheet on decoding sparkling wine.  This is a must have for the new wine drinker.  I know this is late for the biggest day of all for drinking sparkling wine.  But look at is this way, you have an entire year to perfect your knowledge and pick something amazing for your family and friends next year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

At first blush

  I went to my local wine shop and explained my wine experience or lack thereof and was taken to the sweet reds section. There I picked up an inexpensive bottle ($11.99) of table red, Rivata Casa Rossa

and I grabbed a french wine that a friend recommended, Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 ($9.99).

I actually liked Rivata Casa Rossa. It was pretty sweet, a little too sweet for me.  But if you are looking for an inexpensive table red for a mixed group I think it will do.  My friends liked it too.  I was with a group of people that don't normally drink wine, so I can understand why something sweeter went over so well.  I was not a fan of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It was a little flat...I'm not sure if that is the proper adjective to describe it.  All of the descriptions I read said it was a sweet wine.  I didn't find it to be sweet at all.  Maybe I had something a little too sweet prior to drinking this.  I may have to give it a second try.

  After telling my friend about my not so fond feelings about the Beaujolais, she suggested I try some German reds. I went back to my local wine shop and purchased Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Red 2010, I'll let you know about this in the future.