Spring Wine Tasting Season is upon us

May 1st, 2014

Though the weather in NYC might be indicating otherwise, Spring is here and the Spring wine tasting events are in full swing.  I had the opportunity (& good fortune) to attend two such tastings the past few days.  The first was a Chianti event down in the Meatpacking area.  It was a partially outdoor venue and was well attended with a good crowd tasting the wines and speaking with winemakers.

What has been of most interest in the world of wine to ME lately are really unique wines; those wines that stand out as different in one way or another from others.  In general that “different” comes from aromas detected as soon as I put my nose in the glass.  And not all different is good.  Sometimes different is medicinal, oxidized or otherwise unpleasant.  But picking up on aromas that are not familiar to me is always fun.  And while the diversity of styles at the Chianti tasting was limited by the fact that all the wines came from the same region, there was a pleasantly surprising assortment of wine styles present.

The wines that stood out that afternoon were the simply made DOCG Chianti wines; those made mostly from Sangiovese and aged in either concrete or stainless steel tanks – not seeing any barrel aging.  The wines were fresh & lively, fruity, well made and easily drinkable.  These are wines I think a large percentage of people can appreciate as wines that don’t need a big steak to pair it with, instead great for sipping on their own or pairing with a more diverse range of foods.

What was pretty amazing to me is how many of these quality producers don’t currently have US importers and were at the tasting seeking representation.  I hope I’ll be able to help them out in one capacity or another as I embark on my next project.

The second tasting was a very different type of tasting.  It was Wine Spectator’s “Grand Tour”.  I’ve attended the WS tasting once before but was not prepared.  WS attracts some world renown wineries and I discovered them once they were all out of wine.  I was not going to make the same mistake twice.

First Growth Bordeaux…not the easiest first wine for a palate, but I was not going to miss out this time.  2004 Chaueau Margaux.  2007 Chateau Haut-Brion.  OH MY.  Both wines are babies and were in my (very inexperienced when it comes to top Bordeaux) opinion not showing too much about what makes them special, but they were beautifully aromatic, velvety soft and had long yummy finishes.  What a TREAT!

I got to taste some great Premier Cru Burgundy, some Barolo, Super Tuscans, WS’s #1 wine for the year the CVNE 2004 Gran Reserva Rioja and enough Champagne to plaster a big smile on my face for several days!  But there were also some very “fancy” (expensive) wines that didn’t do it for me.  They were in most cases good, but they didn’t really stand out to me as special and were certainly not wines I would spend my coin on (if I had that kind of coin).  In the end though, I marked about 30 wines I hoped to taste and figured I’d be in & out within an hour.  I ended up being there for just shy of the full 3 hours and tasted over 60 wines.  It was really a special night and I am super appreciative of my industry friend who helped me procure my ticket.

Spring Tastings

Spring Tastings

Takeaway for you…forget the score, forget the rating…trust your palate and when given the opportunity buy a wine YOU TASTED first rather than one someone else insists you will love.

Happy Spring Wine Tasting!

WTG

Sue your wine store!

April 12th, 2014

Wow, love this story.

Store promotes wine, tells guy he will love it. Guy buys 6 bottles. Guy hates wine, tries to return it. Store says no returns. Guy says what was in the bottle wasn’t what you promised would be in the bottle; give me my $ back or I sue you. Store says go ahead, try suing me. Guy sues. Guy loses. OUCH!

See it here: customer-who-didnt-like-wine-loses-case

What is the moral of this story?

Don’t buy your wine based on the promise of a store/salesperson/critic.

Taste it first (when possible).

If you can’t taste it, well there are smarter ways to buy wine than trust some dude who may know more about wine than you, but that dude doesn’t know more about YOU than you. So how???…I’ll show you soon…

Coming Soon (to a location near you)

Cancer prevention; red wine & aspirin

February 11th, 2014

Just saw a report that I thought to share. I’ve read about the hazards of pain killer ibuprofen, especially when mixed with alcohol. So I was please to read this report about aspirin & red wine. Hard to say what the next study will show, but this report has me thinking about washing down an aspirin with a nice glass of red tonight…



Happy red wine & aspirin tasting!
WTG

Wine fridge – which is the best (technology)?

January 20th, 2014

Amazingly it has been almost 1 full year since my last post. That isn’t because I don’t have wine related thoughts/stories/opinions to share. I guess it is a bit like staying in shape. When its a regularly engrained part of the day it is easy to stick to. Once a person starts putting off the regular runs or gym visits (or in this case blog posts) it can be real tough to get back into the swing of things.

But today I want to write a short post about wine fridges. I currently own 4 of them. Occupational necessity I guess. The first one I bought was a simple 12 bottle unit. I don’t recommend this one for anyone other than beginners if for no other reason than you will outgrow it very quickly. Mine is sadly rotting away in storage somewhere.

The second one I bought is at my folks place in the suburbs. It is a 120 bottle compressor unit that has worked great since the day I got it…even if I did outgrow that one pretty quickly as well.

I have since gotten two new fridges and these are the ones I want to write about today. The first is a cool looking thermoelectric fridge. And the most recent one is the New Air 33 bottle compressor wine cooler.

I am writing about these two as they are the ones I have in my small NYC apartment and you may have noticed a difference to them I included when I named them. The cool looking one on the right cools the air inside through thermoelectric technology while the New Air model uses the standard refrigerator technology know as the old compressor.

I am not a technician nor do I play one on TV. But the fact is my thermoelectric one has broken down a few times and I’ve tried repairing it each time. The repair isn’t too tough for those who are adventurous, but sadly each time I repair it, it works for a few days/weeks/months and then breaks down again.

The compressor fridges on the other hand I’m sure break down as well. And the repair might not be as easy. But I’m happy to report that I have never been faced with the scenario as mine just keep ticking & working like a charm.

So Wine Tasting Guy here reporting that the New Air 33 bottle wine Cooler is a winner and if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive cooler to keep your wines (or at least about 35 of them) in the proper temperature this is a purchase that I think you will be pleased with.

As always HAPPY WINE TASTING…(& be on the lookout for my next new project to be released soon….)
WTG

Stop wasting wines

January 25th, 2013

There are many things to do to prevent “leftover” wine from going bad, but to check out what I believe to be the most practical/easy/EFFECTIVE way to do it, check out one of my favorite YouTube videos…starring….ME ;-)
What to do with “leftover” wine

 

Wine Wand – WOW!

November 5th, 2012

Yet again, it has been a while since my last post…can’t say it has been writers block anymore.  I have so much to say…

My infatuation with tasting wine hasn’t waned and I was recently in touch with a new friend, Jeff over at Vini Wine Bar in Davis, CA.  He is one of the great ones in this business, making wine accesible to all & encouraging people to taste wine whenever possible, in his case by utilizing wine dispensing machines to enable small tastes of wine for people before they go ahead and purchase bottles.  Great work Jeff…keep it up!

Though I’m primarily writing today as relates to wine aeration devices.  I’ve previously spoken highly of one such gadget I really like, the Vinturi.  I think it does a great job of helping young wines open up quickly, eliminating the need to wait for a wine to open up.  But I was recently introduced to a very cool device known as the Wine Wand.  While not inexpensive, this is a device like no other.  Rather than force the wine through a device that introduces extra oxygen to the wine to speed up the aeration process the Wine Wand is a Philip Stein product.  Philip Stein is best known for their watches and devices that work with “Frequency Technology”.   Frequency technology is based on the idea “that natural frequencies (have) the power to improve one’s overall wellbeing”.  The frequency technology in their watches “provide information to the biofield that makes the person more resilient and adaptable to stress”.

Getting back to the wine wand, I tried it last night for the first time and I was impressed.  It seemed to accomplish what it set out to accomplish, specifically help a wine to open up and become more aromatic and soft within 2-3 minutes.

How does it work you ask??…from the Philip Stein website: “The Wine Wand has been created to accelerate the aerating process of wine by replicating the natural frequencies of air and oxygen, and infusing them into the wine.  This process allows your favorite wine to be perfected and ready to drink in only 2 or 3 minutes. ”

Well, I must sadly admit that all this natural frequency stuff is way over my head.  But I can tell you that the wine opened up nicely and showed REAL WELL when I used the wine wand.

So if you are in Davis, CA go visit Jeff at Vinibar and if you are looking for an elegant and unique wine “open-upper” (hey, its not an aerator) for the wine lover who seemingly has everything check out Philip Stein’s new Wine Wand.

Happy Wine Tasting!

WTG

 

“Uncorked” & Oregon Pinot at City Winery

March 30th, 2012

I’m a big believer in the importance of tasting wine.  It is the best way to learn about your wine “likes & dislikes” and whenever possible you should taste a wine before committing to the bottle.

Given the significance I place on tasting I was psyched to learn about and visit a GREAT new wine shop in the West Village called “Uncorked”, serving 40 wines (small but FREE tastes) from wine dispensing machines.  The space is real intimate with about 250 offerings (all you really need) and the founder/owner runs it himself.  A former finance guy, Paul invested his savings into building this store to pursue what had become a passion – wine.  In my opinion he did and is doing a great job.  Real Enthusiastic, official policy says he’ll give you up to 3 tastings gratis, but having met him I’d bet if you show him that you are serious about buying he’ll give ya more than that.  So if you are looking to pick up a bottle and have a few minutes to try some wine head on down to Christopher street and check him out.

Speaking of tasting wine, friends at City Winery are hosting Oregon’s Willamette Valley Wine Association who are pouring their wines on April 16th.   The “Sideways” effect brought Pinot Noir more notoriety, but what style Pinot do you like? As a Burgundy lover I tend to enjoy the somewhat earthy characteristic in some Oregon’s Pinots rather than California’s brighter & fruitier Pinot Noirs.  Check out the tasting to see which you prefer.  In addition to Pinot Noir, they are sure to be serving some great Pinot Gris as well as other varietals.  $75 isn’t cheap, but it’s a great deal for the opportunity to taste wine from 50 Oregon wineries.

’nuff said…Happy Wine Tasting!

WTG

EXPERTS FAIL CHAMPAGNE TASTE TEST

February 2nd, 2012

It has been forever since I’ve posted but I saw this and LOVED IT!

I guess I liked it because I still think too many people don’t trust their own palates, instead preferring to rely on “experts”.  Hogwash I say…check out this cool article about how much the experts really know…

EXPERTS FAIL CHAMPAGNE TASTE TEST

In a nutshell….”An experiment using a range of Champagnes served in black glasses showed that experienced tasters and wine commentators can’t distinguish different styles of Champagne, or indeed, red grapes from white.

So there you have it folks…these are the experts whose opinions you are relying on.

Trust your palate & ENJOY WINE!

WTG

Final post…(for now) – JUST TASTE DAMMIT!

November 16th, 2011

Hey Wine Tasting Guy fans…

What can I say, I have neglected you over the past few months.  I guess that is what happens when you are running the marketing (and PR) department(s) for a multi-million dollar food & wine importer/distributor (yes, gratuitously patting myself on the back).

But I digress…I want to leave you all with a final message.

As evidenced in the title, I am writing today to encourage you to JUST TASTE DAMMIT!

What do I mean…well, I believe people need to taste more wines.  Shortly after getting into the wine industry a well known winemaker shared the secret to a good palate with me.  She advised that I TASTE TASTE TASTE.  Like anything, to get good requires lots of practice – or just doing.

Whenever possible taste wine.  Go to wine bars, attend tastings, get together with friends and open several bottles, or just get together with a loved one and pop the cork on something special.

And most importantly…form your own opinions about wine.  Stop looking at scores, reading tasting notes, asking wine store clerks or choosing a bottle based on the label.

Sure wine critics are useful.  I learned a TON participating on a wine forum with a wine mentor (and good friend who recently passed away).

But all these critics know is what appeals to THEM…what wines THEY like…they have no idea if you will like the wine or not.

Try to find stores offering tastings or with Enomatic/Wine Station machines and taste the wine before you buy it…it is the best way to ensure you will love your wine!

Ohhh…one more thing – wine should be fun…remember not to take it TOO seriously! ;-)

Happy Wine Tasting!

WTG

Guest post: The Differences Between Wine Glasses

July 31st, 2011
Given the busy schedule (and wine-writer’s block) I figured I’d post this guest piece passed along by reader Andy.  I’m not sure that I agree 100% percent with all the content, but it is informative and provides some good guidelines.  Enjoy…
WTG
The Differences Between Wine Glasses
Wines are notoriously varied and to suit your pallet effectively not only is it necessary to accompany a meal with correct wine, it is also equally important to ensure you drink the wine out of the correct type of glass.
The glass you choose to drink out of is not usually one of the first considerations but the difference between the glasses are carefully measured and created to suit the aroma or taste of the type of grape you are drinking.
Red wine glasses are created to enhance the aroma and the thick taste of the wine whilst allowing it to breathe and sit comfortably at room temperature. Of course different red wines have different characteristics and the different types of glasses can suit these perfectly.
Should you be a fan of the thick bodied reds in the vain of the Merlot and Cabernet, the glass of choice is the Bordeaux glass as it has the specifications to suit thick bodied red wine perfectly. A Bordeaux glass tends to have a tall and wide bowl that is intended to allow aeration and direct the wine towards the back of the mouth. Whereas the Burgundy glass tends to have a much larger bowl suited to more delicate wines such as Pinot Noir. The Burgundy glass is designed to contain the aromas much more effectively and direct the wine to the tip of the tongue. Both types of glasses are intended to help the wine remain at an even temperature even after being exposed to the body temperature of the hand holding the glass.
White wine glasses are slimmer and the difference between the large glass and the small glass tend to be negligible. Both are designed to reduce the heating effect of the hand, especially when you consider that Rieslings are best served at around 7 degrees Celsius and full bodied or high quality wines tend to be served at around 10 degrees Celsius to keep the temperature right you either have to drink it fast or ensure the quality of the glass.
As any connoisseur will tell you, the smaller the serving, the better the taste, so now we won’t be forced to drink 175ml as the smallest measure, we can start to enjoy a selection of different wines of an evening without feeling them the following morning. Full information of the amendment to the Licensing Act can be found in this “Wine Shots” article.
The differences between the wine glasses may seem negligible, but once you have been to a wine tasting event and understand the chemistry behind the aeration and flow of fluid you will recognise the reasoning behind these subtle differences between wine glasses. All in all these different glasses have been created as a way for us to enjoy our favourite tipple that little bit more.
Andy is a novice wine connoisseur that has done a lot of research on the subject. Follow his Twitter and why not ask about his current favourite wines on the high street @andym23