Archive for Wine Thoughts
We served the 1992 Zilliken Spaetlese “Saarburger Rausch” the other night in VINO & it was an awesome, breathtaking, mineral driven white wine with eye popping intricacies, breed & stunning harmony.
For those unfamiliar with aged sweet wines from Germany, you will be surprised to find that a wine’s apparent sweetness changes with bottle age. This 1992 Spaetlese, for instance, had pronounced sweetness when released, greatly buttressed with high levels of acidity which produced a fabulous sweet sour tension on the palate.
Someone asked the other day what type of wine do I feel deserves more attention than it is getting. There are actually many, but for this unusually warm Summer, I answered Beaujolais.
Historically Beaujolais is a much maligned wine, one a friend once categorized as an “Ugly Duckling”.
At least part of the issue is sadly “fruity” wines are not in fashion.
I have often wondered why? Fruity after all can be cooling, refreshing, uplifting and delicious. Apples, pineapples, papaya & tomatoes, for example, are fruity and a lot of people enjoy each on a regular basis. Imagine on a hot day biting into a cold apple or pineapple. How refreshing would that be? Then why not a fruity wine?
photograph by Kalei Nuuhiwa, Makakolu Photography
The Pacific Ocean of California is VERY different from the same body of water we experience here in Hawaii. Where our water is warm & inviting, it is real cold & gnarly there. The winds that come of the ocean there are therefore quite chilling….& it follows the cut in the mountains by the various rivers such as this one to create very different climatic conditions, especially during the respective growing seasons.
LEVEL THREE “How We Taste Wine”
I am now proposing a simple way of tasting wines, breaking it down into five easy parts to make it more digestible. When we taste wine, our goal is to gather information that will help us talk to our guests about the wine and how well the wine pairs with food.
PART ONE – Is the Wine Dry, Sweet or Somewhere in Between?
To keep things simple, let’s define sweetness as the presence of sugar and define dryness as the absence of sugar.
With this in mind, is the wine you are tasting…
LEVEL TWO “Gathering Information on the Wine”
Understanding wine can be quite daunting. As you know, wine geeks have their own lingo and to complicate things further, foreign languages are often used. So how can we simplify the understanding of the wines on our list… for us and our guest.
Here’s a simple way to break down the world of wine: consider the grape, where it was grown and the winemaker.
PART ONE – Identify the Grape
Let’s consider an example using food. How can I describe the difference between two tomato salads, one by Chef D.K. and one by Alan Wong? First, let’s identify the tomato. Is it Beefsteak, Roma, Cherry or Currant?
Because of modern technology in the vineyard and winery today, there is a virtual ocean of well-made wine available to us. The same kind of thing could be said about there being many good restaurants. Please keep in mind, however, that we want to be more than just a ‘good’ restaurant. We’re trying to offer “good”, interesting and unique foods. We’re also looking to serve “good”, interesting and unique wines, more and more.
There are NO shortcuts to understanding ‘good’ wine, but here are three basic levels to help you understand how we define “good” wine, how we find it, and how we taste it.