Back from Oregon

My blog has been quiet over the last week. That’s because I was out in Oregon trying pinot noir and pinot gris primarily. The coast where i was staying was really wet and cold. Not good grape growing area, but as soon as you move inland a bit, say around McMinnville, the weather warms up nicely. I was able to try wines from the $11 – $85 range, and both ends of the range were excellent. On the main page of www.mywinepal.com i will be providing reviews for the wines that I really enjoyed, but for the moment, to whet your appetite, here are a few recommendations:

Rex Hill Reserve Pinot Noir, 2006. This wine is produced by the winemaker barrel sampling and picking the best barrels to blend. This wine was medium garnet. Violet and plum aromas. Violets, ginger, cloves, and vanilla flavour. US$42

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2006. 2006 was a hot year in Oregon so all wineries have very ripe fruit and a larger volume of wine produced. This wine was light garnet in colour. Spicy, strawberry, smoky, vanilla and cherry aromas. Spicy, light oak, with a cherry finish. US$38

Redhawk Vineyard and Winery Redhawk Red. This is a popular table wine for this winery. It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This wine was dark garnet in colour. Plum, currant and dark fruit aromas. Sweet black fruits, soft tannins and long length on the palate. US$11 (an unbelievable price)

Enjoy!

Bourgogne: Tour De Terroir tasting at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fest

March 30, 2009 08:04:21
Posted By Wine With Karl

Friday evening was a “tour” across Burgundy. We tasted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. Luckily only 9 wines this evening compared to 15 wines the previous evening.

First wine was Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurora Rose Brut, a cremant de Bourgogne. Cremant is a sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne. 100% pinot noir. Light salmon colour, strawberry aroma and flavour. Cremant is usually less expensive than Champagne but uses the same methods so try some cremant.

Next was Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Los 2005. This is chardonnay from the northern Chablis region. Chablis is known for being steely and mineral, but with age comes complexity. This one had lemon, spice and mineral aroma. Light oak, apple, citrus flavour, and had a soft mouthfeel.

Chateau de Cordon Andre Pouilly Fuisse Les Vielle Pierres 2004. Pouilly Fuisse is the region just on the northern border of Beaujolais. The grapes for this wine are also chardonnay. Being further south, the grapes get more sun and heat and have more flavour and creaminess. Unfortunately the wine I had came from a tainted bottle so I can’t tell you about it. Approximately 1 in 12 bottles suffer cork taint world-wide.

Our fourth wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Mersault 2006. More chardonnay, this time from the Cote d’Or, the main part of Burgundy. I marked this wine as a star. Fermented in barrel, this wine was full bodied, rich, with apple, spice, citrus and hazelnut flavours with a toasty finish. Pair with lobster.

The fifth wine was the George Dubeouf Beaujolais Villages 2007. A “village” wine is a step up from a simple Beaujolais. It typically has riper fruit and at least 0.5% more alcohol. Gamay is the red grape in Beaujolais. This wine had cherry and banana aromas. Cherry and juicy fruit gum, flavours. The banana aroma and juicy fruit gum flavours come from the carbonic maceration fermentation (i’ll blog on that separately).

Next, the sixth wine was the Domaine Piron Chenas Quartz 2007. Chenas is the smallest Cru within Beaujolais, and has produced an excellent quality wine. This was medium reddish purple. Cherry aroma. Big cherry fruit flavour, a good level of acidity and medium tannins. A star for this one.

Our seventh wine was the Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus 2006. Pinot noir here. The vineyard was once owned by nuns, thus the origin of the “Baby Jesus” name. The vineyard is in Beaune, which is the main city in Burgundy. This wine had beautiful cherry blossom aroma. Soft mouthfeel, cherries and strawberry flavours. Very well balanced. My OVERALL favorite of the tasting.

The eighth wine was the Olivier Leflaive Wines Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens 2005. Remember, Pommard produces masculine wines. This vineyard grows on iron rich soil, giving the wine more body and firm tannins. Garnet colour and big legs (high alcohol). Cherry and strawberry flavour. Full bodied, firm tannins, cherry flavour.

Our final wine was the Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin Bel Air 2006. I do love the wines from the Gevrey-Chambertin appelation. This wine had beautiful cherry and vanilla/oak aroma. Good acid, cherry flavour, medium body.Tour de terroir

Enjoy!

Going to a wine tasting

You might be apprehensive, but do it. Going to a wine tasting is a great way to learn about wines. You will get the chance to try several wines in a row. The speaker will typically describe something about each wine before you try it, and give his/her opinion on what flavours they tasted and aromas they smelled. Practice makes perfect.

When you are trying wines at home, you may have one, maybe two wines. This is OK, but you can only compare one against the other. This can be a problem if you have one red and one white wine, as the two will likely be very different. What you want to do, if you do open two wines, is to pick two of the same varietal, e.g. two cabernet sauvignon. What you should also do is open wines from two different price points. Try a sub $20 and a $30-$40 Cabernet Sauvignon for example. Can you taste a different at the higher price point? Usually the higher price point wines use riper grapes, have more concentrated flavours and are aged in oak barrels for an extended period. The lower price point wine, may use lesser quality grapes (maybe picked before they reached thier full ripeness and may have some green grapes mixed in) and if there is oak, it could be from oak chips added to the fermenting tank. You will get a less expressive, thinner wine, with maybe a very oaky flavour, for example. It may not happen and you get a very nice inexpensive wine. There are many around. But usually you should be able to taste and smell the difference.

So wherever you are reading this blog from, go to google or yahoo and try to search for wine societies near to where you live. In Vancouver, BC, there is the South World Wine Society, BC Wine Appreciation Society, Australian Wine Appreciation Society, and a few more. At these societies they usually show wines from different price points and usually follow a theme, such as Cabernet Sauvignon from around the world, or compare Australian to South African wine. These wines have been picked specifically to show their differences.

If you are shy, you can get MyWinePal to host a wine tasting at your home. Here is the link: http://www.mywinepal.com/education.html Enjoy!

Marche aux Vins in Beaune

There is a lot of wine to taste in Burgundy. Besides driving through the wonderful vineyards and stopping and wine makers’ doors, there are wine merchants. One is the Marche Aux Vins, which is across the street from the amazing Hospices de Beaune, Hotel Dieu, a hospital built in the mid 1400’s to take care of the sick people regardless of their wealth. At the Marche aux Vins you get to travel through their underground cellars and try wines from 16 crus. Covering Chablis to the Maconnais, through Cote de Beaune, Cote de Nuits and the Cote Chalonnaise. Upon entering and paying your 10 Euro entrance fee, you are given your own tastivin (little metal cup you sometimes see on tv shows with very erudite people pontificating about wine) to sample the wines. The wines ranged in price from 14 – 39 Euros. There were 3 white wines to taste. There was a Marsannay, Pouilly-Fuisse, and a Mersault. All were light bodied with citrus, oak, and apple flavours. The red wines were more exciting. A lower priced red I enjoyed was the Beaune Hospices de Dijon, 1999, for 22 Euros. It had a nice vanilla, cherry nose. It was very fruity, with low tannins. A bit more expensive bottle as from Pommard. Pommard is traditionally a more firm (masculine) wine than from other parts of Burgundy. It had meaty, earthy aromas. Good red fruit flavours with low-medium tannins. The top end red wine of the tasting was the Corton Les Languettes Grand Cru 2000 for 39 Euros. It had cherry and sausage aromas. The cherry and sausage continued on the palate. It had medium tannins, good acidity and a long finish. Very impressive. That is all from Burgundy. Salut!

What am I drinking today?

Well it is summer, so you would think a nice, crisp white wine, or maybe i’m a contrarian and would go for a big red (maybe with some BBQ), but you would be wrong on both counts. Today I am sipping on the 2007 Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Rose from Westbank in the BC Okanagan. Rose is becoming more fashionable. I have seen greater numbers of roses on store shelves and in restaurant lists over the past 2 years here in Vancouver. Rose is actually produced from red grapes, the only difference between a rose and a red wine is the length of time that the skins stay in contact with the juice during fermentation. Depending on the winemaker this could be 16-22-24 hrs or more. But the longer the skins are in the fermentation vessel, the more colour comes out, plus tannin (the stuff that makes your mouth feel dry).

The rose I am drinking today is a blend of varietals: pinot noir and merlot. This wine has a nice strawberry aroma with a tinge of orange on the palate. Not too heavy. Would be nice with some grilled salmon, or a lightly flavoured cheese. Enjoy.