Monday, July 27, 2009

Why Wine: Joeshico Wine Review; Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Today was a shopping day with Shirley. We did the Home Depot, BJ's, Best Buy, Panera for lunch, two grocery stores and one Mom and Pop wine shop. The 'honey do' list at home was longer. Back to my day job tomorrow. (Can't Wait)
While out doing her bidding, I was informed that my daughter Pam was doing a broiled Salmon dinner, so I was looking for a nice Sauvignon Blanc to accompany the meal. Unfortunately, there were no choices for a good New Zealand Savvie so down the aisles I walked searching for one that interested me. Should I take one from South Africa or a Bonterra organic from California? I decided on the Bonterra because I had done a review on their Cab/Sauv and was also still learning about organic wines. I made the right choice.
I've always said that New Zealand produces the best Sauv/Blancs and until now found nothing to change that. OK, NZ is still the best, but the Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2006 is as good.
I did not like the screw cap, only because I am a traditionalist and do enjoy using an opener to remove a cork, but will give in to a good wine.
The aromas were a nice mix of tropical fruits, green grass and kiwi. On the tongue the wine just exploded with more tropical fruit, citrus, melon and a bit of mineral. The finish was long and fruity. All this before the salmon was served. With the meal, the wine was like heaven. I could not have chosen a better accompaniment. And It's Organic! Must look for more organic wines. Haven't found one yet I did not like.
Bonterra Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2006, found at $13
Take it from an amateur wine lover....Great Buy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Decant Wine

Re-post from August, 2008

Last post was a little bit of History of the Decanter. Now let's talk a bit about "How to Decant Wine"
Simply put, "decanting wine" is pouring wine from the wine bottle into another container. Two reasons for decanting wine is to remove sediment from the wine you are drinking and to aerate the wine. Aeration of wine helps the acidity, sugar and alcohol to become balanced. This is commonly referred to as "allowing the wine to breathe". Red wines that have been aged for years, have a build up of sediment. Sediment, or potassium bitartrate (commonly known as cream of tarter), is formed during the fermenting process of wine making and settles to the bottom of the wine bottle. If the wine is stored properly, the wine bottle should be stored laying on its' side, tilted downward, so the wine touches the cork. While it is not bad for your health to drink the sediment, it may taint the taste of the wine. Better to decant. Young red wines and all white wines will not have a lot of sediment build up because of the short aging process. But, they still benefit from decanting because of the aeration that takes place during the decanting.

Before you touch the wine bottle to start to decant the wine, remember, the less you shake the wine bottle, the more sediment will stay on the bottom.

For decanting, you need: the wine bottle, a wine bottle opener, an empty container (such as a decanter), a wine glass, a towel and a light source.

Presumably, the wine bottle has been stored on it's side, so gently carry the wine bottle to the area where you will be decanting. Slowly stand the wine bottle upright, and if possible, let it stand for a little time to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the wine bottle. Carefully uncap the wine bottle and remove the cork. Smell the cork to make sure it's not musky or vinegary and check the cork for sediment. Take the towel and wipe the top of the wine bottle to remove any sediment or cork fragments. The next part is a little tricky. Turning the wine bottle around slowly, pour a small amount of wine into a glass, making sure you wet the entire inside neck of the wine bottle. This will remove any sediment clinging to the neck. Look for sediment in the glass. If any sediment is present in the glass, let the bottle rest so the sediment can settle to the bottom. If the wine is clear of sediment, you are ready to decant the wine. Most experts discard this first pouring of wine in the glass. Position the wine bottle in front of your light source. A widely used light source is a lighted candle. As you pour the wine from the wine bottle into the decanter, stop when you see the sediment start to come out. There should only be a small amount of wine left in the wine bottle that is full of sediment, and all the wine in the decanter should be clear.

You have just decanted the wine...salute!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Decanting Wine History

Re-post from January, 2009

In the case of wine, pouring the wine into the carafe from the wine bottle, also assists in the decanting of the wine. Decanting is the process of removing sediment from the original wine bottle by pouring only the clear wine into a serving container. Since most white wines and some young red wines are produced to be consumed within two to three years, not a lot of sediment builds up in the wine and decanting is not really necessary. But for older red wines, sediment assists in the maturing of the wine and must be decanted before it is drinkable. While sediment, (crystals of potassium bitartrate, commonly known as cream of tarter), formed from the fermenting of the wine will not hurt your health, it does have a gritty taste and may affect your taste of the wine.

Wine has been mentioned in our earliest recorded history. In Genesis 9:20-21 of the Christian bible, Noah planted vineyards, drank and got drunk. Ancient Greeks used casks, goatskins, and amphorae to store wine. An amphora was a very large clay jar or vase that had a large oval body, narrow neck and two handles that attached from the body to the lip on the top. A greasy rag was used to plug the cask or goatskin and olive oil was poured on top of the wine in the amphorae to help stop air from fermenting the wine. But it didn't really work, and wine had to be used fairly quickly, or it would turn into vinegar. Servants used a smaller version of the amphorae to serve wine at the dinner table. While still made of clay, a single person could lift and pour wine into individual drinking containers.

There is historical evidence that glass was discovered in 5000BC in Syria and there is evidence of a glass vase from Mesopotamia, dating 1500BC. With the establishment of trade routes during the The Roman Republic (500BC - 27BC) and the Roman Empire (27BC - 476AD) , glass production increased tremendously. Light weight serving containers made out of glass were used to transport liquids. After the fall of the Roman Empire, glass production decreased. Serving containers were still made out of clay, but also of bronze, silver and gold. During the Middle Ages, wine was produced mainly by the very rich, such as kings and noblemen, and by priests and monks for church services. Because of the method of storing wine and the quick aging of the wine, wine consumption was mainly local or within short distances of the wineries, a few days travel by horse and wagon or by boat. Then, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, several developments lead to our modern day wine production. Late in the Renaissance Period in Venice, Italy (late 1500s, early 1600s), glass blowers revived the art of making wine bottles. In the 1600s, the French started using wine bottles and corks (first used as stoppers by the ancient Egyptians) to store wine. In the 1700s in Germany, grapes well past the time for harvesting, were used and produced an unexpected sweet tasting wine. Madeira shippers in Spain, attempted to add brandy to wine as a wine preserver, thereby being able to ship wine over longer distances. And in the early 1730s in England, glass stoppers were first invented. This lead to the aging of wines, and because sediment build-up in the older red wines, the decanter.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Wine: Joeshico Wine Review; Damiani Wine Cellars Meritage 2007

It seems every winery in the Finger Lakes has a Meritage. Most are nice bordeaux style blends that are very popular and very tasty and very distinct to each winery. Years ago I struggled to find one to like, now I am finding it difficult to taste one I don't like. And then, there comes along one that is over and above any I have tasted before. Such is the case of the 2007 Damiani Wine Cellars Meritage. I was given the '07 on a recent visit to the Damiani tasting room. Recently bottled, it will be released around Sept/Oct.
The aroma was so pleasing, I put my glass aside and just gave a little sniff about every minute for about 15 minutes. At first, a delightful black cherry, then a hint of smoke or tobacco and then another hint of licorice and vanilla. I was updating My Pro Cycling blog and enjoying just sniffing my wine glass.
When I finally decided to taste, I was presented with a mouthful of cherry and mixed berry type flavors and an oh so pleasant, but little peppery finish. I finished the one glass and saved the rest for the following evening (tonight) when I planned on my weekly Why Wine Blog update. This wine was so good after opening, the second night was not much of a change. I did get some leather and dried apricots on the nose and a bit smoother finish.
This Thanksgiving I'll be supplying the wine. Looking forward to a nice roast turkey and a Damiani '07 Meritage.
I am not big into buying one wine by the case or storing any wine, but I think I will make an exception for this one.
When released, the '07 Meritage will probably sell between $20 an $25, and if that's the case then

Take it from an amateur wine lover: Great Buy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why Wine: Joeshico Wine Review; Heron Hill Cabernet Franc dry Rose' 2006

I know those close to me won't believe this, but I am actually going to review a Rose' wine.
In doing so, I am showing them that I can accept the fact that for almost all of my adult life I have been very stupid or as Lenn Thompson said 'Are you nuts.' Yes Lenn, I was nuts.

On our recent wine tour through the Finger Lakes, I begrudgingly tasted a dry Cabernet Franc Rose' from Heron Hill Winery. Until that first taste settled on the palate, my belief was that all Rose' wine was sweet and I am not a big fan of sweet wines. But at that point, I became aware that this is one of the best summer wines I have tasted in a long time. Doesn't beat my favorites, (dry Rieslings and Sauvignon Blanc), but is a very pleasant add to my summer wine collection.

Winemakers notes:
In certain years when the Cabernet Franc has a higher acidity than normal some of the harvest may be suitable for rosé winemaking. We honor the traditional way of rosé winemaking in that the whole allotment of grapes were used specifically for this purpose. The hand-picked grapes were de-stemmed and crushed directly into our tank press. The tank press was sealed and the skins were allowed 24 hour contact time with the juice. The resulting juice once pressed was the perfect hue of pink.
The fermentation was conducted in stainless steel tanks. Nice steady, cool fermentation. The acid is crisp, the aromatics are light and fruity. The brief contact with the skins during pressing not only imparts some color to the wine, it also picks up some lighter red wine aromatics. While there are some bright citrus notes detectable in the wine, the more prominent aromatics are a combination of strawberry and watermelon.
Pairs well with a brunch menu including lox, bagels and cream cheese or take on a picnic and serve with a summer terrine of prosciutto, roasted peppers, smoked eggplant and chevre.

My notes:
I picked up the white aromas of citrus and a little peach. There was a very slight aroma of melon. On the palate there was a bit of berry like and peppery sensation with a light citrus finish. I was going to try this with a pork roast, but couldn't wait and finished the wine by itself.
This is my first Rose' in 38 years so I'm going to have to search out a few more dry Rose' wines to compare. That ought to be fun. Until then it will be added to my summer must haves and at $16.

Take it from an amatuer wine lover...Great Buy!