Archive for Red
California Merlot sure changed the quality perception & trajectory of this grape variety. Then to pile on, the movie “Sideways” made Pinot Noir cool….at the expense of Merlot. Needless to say Merlot sales dropped significantly….at least in our restaurant. Well, on the world stage, top echelon Merlot from Bordeaux, such as Chateau Petrus, has certainly NOT been tarnished. It is still one of the most expensive, highly sought after red wines in the world!!!! Why? Of course, supply & demand play an important role….BUT undeniably……so does the soil. With top echelon French wines, it really is about the soil, first & foremost. So…..on this night, we decided to try 4 Merlot based wines…..side by side. To make things even more fun,we will serve them BLIND!
When I was growing up in this industry, southern France was thought of as producing a sea of mediocre wine. Then…..later on…. several larger companies looked to take advantage of the ample sunshine to produce value oriented Chardonnay, Cabernet & Merlot in sizable quantities. Some had succeeded but more have fallen by the wayside.
When I was growing up in this industry, we were always taught…..there were only 5 noble grape varieties—Chardonnay & Riesling for white wines….AND Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir for red wines. Back then, many of our favorite Pinot based wines were light in color, elusive, more fragile & all about refinement, purity, finesse, nuance & seductive-ness. (Of course there were exceptions, but not like today!) As I have mentioned in past VINO tastings…we look in 2014….to show participants….our version of what is good wine…..examples which can serve as benchmarks, which subsequent wines tasted can be judged by. On this night, we will be featuring THREE examples of what we mean….1 each from California, Germany & Burgundy. We are, by no means saying this is all that Pinot can & should be. It is more about understanding where we came from….so we can ask better questions moving forward. Hopefully, this tasting will be insightful. Just another learning opportunity. To make things even more fun,we will serve them BLIND!
A customer 2 nights ago, asked me the difference…. between Barolo & Barbaresco. I thought that would make for an interesting blog…..especially if I could incorporate quotes from other notables on the subject. Just so you understand, There is NO ONE correct answer. It would therefore be crazy to generalize, as there are so many factors/variables which can influence the outcome. I am, however, just hoping by asking the questions, it will start the discussions….AND hopefully the comments from each will help to shed more light on the topic……from different perspectives. I have found that is a great way to learn.
Yes another Blind Tasting…..another opportunity to learn…to better understand what good wine can be……AND hopefully get better at listening what the wine wants to say….especially on this quality level.
2011 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais
Mike Officer & his team are one of the VERY TOP producers of Zinfandel out of California today.. His are real formidable, highly acclaimed wines, that’s for sure, which are well worth seeking out.
–Zinfandel “Saitone Ranch” 2011—is another old vine vineyard (planted in 1895) in that Olivet Lane corridor. The 2011 is 92% Zinfandel & 8% “other grape varieties. The wine sees 16 months in oak (22% new) & bottled unfiltered & unfined.
–Zinfandel “Carlisle Vineyard” 2011—is his own ranch, planted in 1927 on Olivet Lane & organically farmed. The 2011 is 82% Zinfandel & 18% other grape varieties (38 in all). Wild yeast fermented, 16 months in oak (27% new), bottled unfiltered, unfined.
So many people are looking to blind taste wines these days. Blind tasting is IN. Well, if you want to learn something from blind tasting, then one needs to be sure what you will be tasting has character & typicity.
Typicity? What is good wine? Now these are 2 characteristics one can learn something more about while blind tasting…..rather than which is the biggest, the loudest, the most impactful.
1997 was a VERY highly lauded vintage in Italy, which many people believe one of the best vintages ever. On this night we tried 3 standouts (16 years old), side by side. They are just now opening up again. Just another opportunity to learn.
1997 Terreno Chianti Classico Riserva
a very elegant, classy, highly refined 90% Sangiovese Riserva by superstar consultant Franco Bernabei. “The estate consits of 150 hectares of oak, chestnut trees, vineyards (30 hectares) & olive groves on an amazing terrain. The soil is of the galestro type with large amounts of stone at roughly 1000 feet elevation“. the 1997 had 10% of “other” red grape varieties (Cabernet, Merlot & Canaiolo Nero). Yes, this wine has really opened up again–classy, stylish with forest floor, cedar, stony nuances. This is a very pretty Chianti, which is NOT overdone or internationalized.