Archive for February, 2008

Better Wine Bar experiences

Friday, February 29th, 2008

This past Wednesday I visited two wine bars.  One was with a young woman after work and the other was with yet another young woman somewhat later in the evening.

The first wine bar was a South African wine bar which I have previously mentioned.  I was greeted warmly by two people that worked there.  I have been to the place twice before but I was greeted as if I was a regular.

When my companion arrived she indicated that she preferred white wine as red wine tends to have an effect similar to caffeine.  I was fine with that as a nice South African Chenin Blanc seemed like a nice wine to start the evening with.  The server allowed us to try two kinds and we chose one which was nice Quaffer (simple, easy to drink wine).

The only negative comment I have about my experience there was that the server, thinking he was doing his job, kept coming over and pouring the wine from the bottle into our glasses.  NOT A BIG DEAL of course but I MUCH prefer to do my own pouring.  This in my mind better allows me to see the evolving of the wine in the glass (where relevant – which here with the Chenin it was not) and also allows me to maintain a level in my glass that I am comfortable with – something that is important to someonewho likes to swirl their wine as much as I do.

The next wine bar is a place in my neighborhood that we were informed opened 7 weeks ago.  The place has an East side location that I have been to in the past.  This location was very impressive.  Quite large – not necessarily the best thing for a wine bar as the small, intimate setting seems to be the format that has proven to be most successful.  It was dimly lit and had a warm feeling.  I was most impressed by a storage room enclosed by see-through glass doors that kept the wines temperature & humidity controlled.  Something I might want to include if I were ever to open a wine bar (hypothetically speaking of course ;)).

But the best part about this wine bar was the service.  We were offered multiple tastes before ordering.  There was no pressure whatsoever.  And when the server could not answer a question she simply said that she better ask someone who could properly address the question – no BULLSHIT.  Which I very much appreciated.  BUT, it did not end there.  We finally decided on a California Syrah.  It was brought over, presented…and WAS OFF.  I think it may have been corked, but definitely off.  The server was extremely apologetic (which was not necessary) and was quick to offer to get us a different bottle.  the other California Syrah option was brought out and proved to be a very fine wine.  BUT, it did not end there.  Apparently embarrassed by how long it took for us to get a satisfactory wine (I process that while long I actually enjoyed) the server offered to get us a plate of food on the house.  My date had not yet eaten so we ordered a tuna tartare which actually went quite well with the Syrah (even though one might think that a tannic Syrah & salty raw fish might clash).

In all I had a lovely evening and I was very pleased with the warm service and decor in both locations.  Something to aspire to…

Happy wine bar hopping!


Rioja Tasting with the wine group

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The wine group I have previously mentioned that I get together with 2-3 times a month (on a good month) to taste wines with met last night. We tasted Rioja’s, and were treated to some older vintage wines last night. Our esteemed host was able to pick up 3 Rioja’s from the famed “Lopez de Heredia” winery and 4 others.

Of the 3 Heredia’s we had a ’99, an ’81 and a ’73 – what a fabulous year! We were all truly amazed that these older wines were still alive – which they were. How alive however became somewhat of a debate. More on that later. Before tasting the wines we were forewarned by one of the members that aged Rioja’s are soft & elegant and not the rich, big, concentrated wines we might expect from Spain. He was absolutely right as the ’99 Heredia was so soft & smooth I almost found it to be too much so. I wrote down that it was elegant, but that was partly because I wanted to write something nice (and seem sophisticated) so as not to write that I found it to be a bit boring – which I think would have been more accurate.

The ’81 however was a treat. Very complex. The others thought I was nuts as a few of them had finished their taste of this wine before I even tried mine. But I found so much going on in the nose that I was simply not ready to move on to tasting the wine. It started off with dried/jammy fruit. Moved on to tart berries. And then evolved onto what at first seemed like milk chocolate then became more bittersweet chocolate & finally struck me as rumball like. On the palate this wine was again very soft & elegant (there is that word again). the only disappointment was a finish that I thought could have been longer, but the finish on some of these wines was better the second time around.

The ’73 Heredia was very clear orange almost brown in color, with an almost clear rim – really showing its age. The nose started out with some off smells of rubber or corkiness but blew off somewhat to reveal a tarry earthiness, some subtle berries and even a little jammyness. On the palate this wine was very much alive as it was soft and silky with a slightly acidic and tart berry flavor.

Aside from the 3 Heredia’s we had a Crianza, 2 Reserva’s & 1 Gran Reserva. We did not conduct this tasting blind but I was not really paying much attention to name/label/status etc. That said, it was the Gran Reserva, a 1998 Muga Prado Enea that I enjoyed the most of the 4. This ruby/purple colored wine had A LOT going on in the nose. And it evolved in a short time in my glass. It began with hints of fruit and earth, and then showed some of the Piny-ness I have been detecting a lot lately. From there I sensed some oak, but there was more – and it was driving me a little nuts as I had a hard time figuring out what it was. And then it hit me. COLA – it was part flat cheap Cola, part Cherry cola. Real interesting & complex. On the palate it showed cherries (Bing cherries even), some mocha and was both mouth coating & silky smooth. Again, I was somewhat disappointed by what I thought was only a medium length finish. BUT, on the 2nd tasting of this wine about an hour or so later all the fruity, floral & cola aroma’s were still there while the finish this time was NICE AND LONGGGGG……

Back to an issue I eluded to earlier. The issue of how “alive” these older wines were. I suppose that their life was less of a debate then how to treat these senior citizens. I have always learned that older wines that once possessed a strong backbone – good acidity & strong tannins – are age worthy but as they age they soften, both in structure and mouth feel.  The soft smooth mouth feel is one of the things that makes these ageable wines so desirable. But their age also has left them with little protection from the environment. Yes they can be decanted, but I learned that this was to remove any sediment buildup – not to be done vigorously to aerate (as is done with younger wines) as the aeration will hasten their imminent deterioration.

This deterioration is what I found with the ’73 & VERY SADLY with the ’81 Heredia. Now mind you, this is not a knock on the wines. These wines were both very much alive when we first had them. Just that extended decanting and then enough exposure to oxygen (to me) allowed these wines to lose whatever aroma’s they had left. On the palate they were both still OK, but I was disappointed that they really seemed to die.

It was a debate as our host and some others felt that this was simply how these older wines were, and that it did not suit my taste. Something which is a distinct possibility. Either way, overall the night was a treat as I had a chance to try the oldest wines I have ever tried. And becoming more familiar with aged wines is something I hope to be fortunate enough to continue to do.

Have a wonderful wine-weekend & Happy Spanish Rioja wine tasting!


Alto Adige Wines Grand Tasting

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Alto Adige Grand Tasting this afternoon. While there were winemakers in attendence, many of them seemed disinterested in speaking with the guests. For the most part it was salespeople/marketing professionals doing the pouring. A shame as the winemakers who were in fact there and pouring were personable, approachable & quite charming. I enjoyed the conversations I had with them.

In all there were probably over 150 wines and I somehow managed to taste about 110 of them. A new record high for me. And amazingly my palate felt relatively fresh throughout. I did try to re-calibrate my palate a few times with water & bread, but overall I made it through more wines than I ever have before. I guess I’m making progress.

Of the 110 (or so) wines, I started with the whites and ended up tasting about 66 of them (if my count was accurate). I then tasted about 44 reds and 3 sparkling wines. I am NOT going to even attempt to review all the wines, but there were some standouts which I would like to mention.

Of the whites, it felt like I tasted 100 Pinot Grigio’s. Of course the number was not that high, but few were of distinction and I eventually passed on Pinot Grigios. I also tasted Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Biancos, Gewurtztraminers, Sylvaners, Muller Thurgaus, and a few whites which were blends of some of the aforementioned varietals.

Of the whites there were 4-5 standouts. Not necessarily the “best” (a term I do not believe exists with wine), but those that possessed interesting & unique characteristics.

The Andriano Cantina “Tor di Lupo” Sauvignon Blanc 2006, a wine the pourer called a CRU wine, was quite interesting. While it was nicely crisp & fresh with a citrusy palate like a good Sauvignon Blanc should be, it was the nose that really stood out for me. Yes, it had that nice grassy smell, but interestingly this was more of a brown grass or even hay smell. Probably not for everyone, as many might prefer the fresh cut GREEN grass, but I enjoyed it for its uniqueness.

Another Sauvignon Blanc, the 2006 “Palladium” by K. Martini & Sohn was similarly unique. Again, the crisp acidity and freshness was there, but this may be the first time I think I really smelled the apparently desirable cat’s pee. To me it was more reminiscent of the kitty litter in my parents house growing up, but the unique aromas were interesting and as such made it a wine I gave more though to.

The Muri-Gries Estate & Monastery Wine Cellar (how would you like to be the person to answer the phone at that place?) 2007 Muller Thurgau was another interesting wine. Like some of the others it had a sweet smell to it, reminiscent of honey & melon. But there was more there & as I kept swirling and smelling a new scent came out. SWEET BUBBLE GUM. WOW. I typically don’t go for that artificial sweet smell/flavor, but it really suited this wine. On the palate it was nice & round and well balanced. I definitely recommend seeking this one out. BUT, do it SOON! I had the 2006 version of this wine and it was nothing like its younger sister. It could have been vintage variation, but it could also be that this wine MUST be drunk young!!

Finally, a wine from a winery whose wines I really enjoyed (several standouts from this winery). On the white side, the 2006 “Amistar” Gewurztraminer from the Peter Solva & Sohne winery was very interesting. The truth is that it was one of the few wines that I thought was a tad flabby and could have used a bit more acidity. But the nose….WOW. There was some nice melon and pear, but what got to me was the smell of BATHROOM AIR FRESHNER.

On the red side of things there were Some Cabernet’s, some Merlot, a few Cab Francs & some Pinot Neros (AKA Pinot Noir), but there were also a lot of “Lagrein” and some “Schiava” , both of which I knew nothing about before the tasting but are apparently native varieties (the Schiava is said to account for 30% of total vineyard area in Alto Adige). And then of course there were some blends. I was impressed by a lot of the wines, and would like to mention a few standouts.

I’d like to start with an unusual red. A red dessert wine. I’m not typically a fan of sweet reds as they generally remind me of a poorly made port. So when I approached a table and was offered a “Moscato Rosa” I was hesitant. I ended up trying two of them by different producers, but the Abbazia Di Novacella “Praepositus” Moscato Rosa 2006 was a wonderful surprise. I would guess that this Red Moscato is a relative to the White Moscato (or Muscat) grape, which is known as a white grape that when fermented actually smells like grape (while most grape wines smell of fruit other than grape). Back to the Praepositus, it had a nice almost port like smell, but what impressed me most was that it was not overpoweringly sweet on the palate. It  had a nice smooth, round subtle elegance to it. Certainly something I will keep a more open mind to in the future.

The Laimburg Winery “Selyet” Pinot Nero Riserva 2004 was a standout at a table of reserve Pinots. I was only fortunate enough to taste 4 of the 8 Pinot’s at this table, but to me this was the one. It had a very lite red almost pink orange color and had a very soft earthy & minerally smell. No fruit – and that TO ME is a good thing with this varietal. I have not been enamored by the fruit forward style done with Pinot Noir as it comes off as artificial to me. Some people love it, and to them I say CHEERS! Just not my bag baby! Anyway, the “Selyet” was real elegant possessing a nice range of foresty flavors and aroma’s such as earth, mud & pine. It did have a touch of heat at the end, but it had enough acidity that I am sure it will age gracefully and some (if not all) of that heat will dissipate.

The other red reserve table was a table of Lagreins (the native varietal referred to earlier). I tasted 8 of the 11 Lagreins at the table and they were all very nice. All had nice fruit, good minerality and a rich color and body. The K Martini & Sohn “Maturum” Lagrein Reserva 2005 stood out to me as it seemed to have the most distinct nose and was more fruit driven on the palate than the other Lagreins. Much like the Pinot I enjoyed, this Lagrein possessed earthy, foresty & piney aroma’s. Interestingly enough on the palate it was nice and round and very fruit driven, but not overpoweringly so. And this stood out to me as most of the other Lagreins seemed to be more minerally & acidic.

The Laimburg Province Winery made a few wines I really enjoyed. One in particular was a blend – their “Col de Rey” IGT 2003. This blend of 20% Tannat (a grape originally from SW France), 30% Petit Verdot (a Bordeaux varietal) and 50% Lagrein was very nice. A variety of dried & jammy fruit on the nose led to a rich and silky wine with very well integrated tannins (that can still use some softening) and a nice long finish.

I stayed to the bitter end (no pun intended) of this event and I am glad I did. My first go around there were too many people at the Peter Solva & Sohne table and so I skipped it. Right around 6PM, as many of the tables were being broken down I noticed that the gentleman pouring wines for Solva was still there so I went over and told him of the earlier crowds that scared me away. He was warm and offered to walk me through his wines. WHAT A TREAT. I have already mentioned their Gewertztraminer which had that interesting bathroom air freshener smell to it. I then tried the Schiava which was light and didn’t really do anything for me.  But from there I tasted 4 more of their wines and enjoyed each one more than the next. After the Schiava I tried their “DeSilva” Lagrein 2006. It was a light Lagrein but what stood out was more than the earthy or minerally nose that many of the others possessed. This one had depth and as I was smelling it I was struck – cow manure! OK, a weird descriptor and one that read by most would not seem appealing but I must admit that it stood out and made the wine more interesting to me.

I then was offered their “Amistar” Cabernet Franc 2005. Most Cabernet Francs that I have had, or even wines that have just a touch of Cab Franc in them, don’t suit my taste. Again, there are many people who think I am nuts, but Cab Franc generally has a distinct green bell pepper aroma & flavor to it that some people absolutely flip for. Not me. Hey, some guys like blonds, me not as much. But the “Amistar” Cab Franc… BAM! Possibly my favorite 100% Cab Franc EVER. NO GREEN PEPPER. Now I detect Cab Franc in Bordeaux wines that only have 5-10% Cab Franc. And I detect it because of how little I like the green herbaceousness it omits. There was truly none of that in this wine. It was late and I did not take such great notes, but I do vividly remember being blown away by the fact that I found a Cab Franc with no green pepper that i really enjoyed. If any of you have the same feeling about green bell pepper in Cab Franc I STRONGLY recommend you find this wine and try it out.

The last wine I want to mention from this tasting (finally, he’ll shut up!) was also from Peter Solva & Sohne – the Amistar Rosso. There was a 2004 Rossa and a 2003 “Edizione” Rossa that i took to be a reserve as it had the same unique blend as the regular Rosso but was given some new oak while the Rossa I think had mostly (if not all) used oak. The other difference I was told was that the Edizione Rossa had a higher percentage of fruit which was late harvested. i thought this was quite interesting. They harvest their fruit at different times and consequently get different attributes & flavors from the fruit. The 5 varietals used in this blend were Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Merlot (30%), Lagrein (30%), Petit Verdot (5%) and Cab Franc (5%). I guess the Alto Adige version of Bordeaux as they used 4 of the 5 Bordeaux varietals and replaced the 5th (Malbec) with the local Lagrein. This wine had HUGE tannins! It was a very BIG wine. But is was also quite silky and although I had to be dragged out of the building at this point I did note 2 stars (more than the 1 I usually note for wines of interest) and managed to write “Wow” & “interesting” in my notes for the wine.

In all this was a very nice tasting. It was a nice crowd, but not too crowded. They had some food tables with cheese, bread, crackers & some dips to either re-awaken or completely mess up the tasters palates. There was sufficient time to taste through most of the wines. The pourers were all quite knowledgeable – and when they couldn’t answer a question there was a winemaker not too far away. And the wines,  many of which I did not think were of great distinction, were all quite enjoyable. Yet I just spent all this time writing this blog post as clearly there were enough wines that did in fact stand out in my mind.

So the next time you are considering broadening your wine horizons think about the Alto Adige region of Italy and try a Lagrein or one of the other wines made here. I’m sure you will be happy you did!

Happy Italian wine tasting!


“Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Improve Memory”!!!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Yes, the news we have all been waiting for.  Drinking actually HELPS IMPROVE our memory.  I’ll drink to that.

“Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts may improve the ability to create and maintain memories properly, according to a new study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.”

The full article, compliments of wine spectator online, can be found here.

Now maybe I’ll remember that wine I drank the other night.

Happy remembering!


Casual wine tasting

Monday, February 25th, 2008

A real quickie today…

A friend threw a very casual wine tasting at his place on Saturday night.  He bought about 12 bottles, I brought over 4 and people brought their own.  No theme to the tasting, just grab a glass and pour yourself some stuff.

Stuff I noticed which I found interesting.  There was a guy there who liked white but not red and some ladies who had no interest in white and would only drink red.  Found that to be a little role reversal.  So much for stereotypes.

Everyone was responsible with their drinking.  Parties such as these are easy to pull off in Manhattan as there is sufficient public transportation for getting home.  One girl acted out a bit – seemingly a reaction to too much wine, but otherwise a fine time was had by all.

I was designated pourer for many people and as such I was privy to people’s reactions to the wine and ONLY the wine (they did not see the bottle, label, price, etc.).  Two of the favorites were an Israeli Cab/Merlot blend from the newly imported Ruth Winery.  And the other was a Chilean Cab made by Caliterra.  Both very fine wines indeed.

Final point I want to make about the evening touches on a point I raised just the other day that was confirmed by a guest.  It was a gentleman who indicated that he knows very little about wine.  I responded that what is most important is that he recognize what he likes.  He proceeded to tell the story of a snobby, pretentious and overall demeaning sommelier who completely turned him off from wine for many years.   He apparently is SLOWLY re-opening up his mind to wines, but the incident left him feeling that his wine knowledge was so inadequate that he’d be better off avoiding wine altogether.  SAD.  I hope I was able to shed a more positive light on industry people to this person.

I will be attending a more formal Rioja wine tasting later this week and look forward to sharing the results and feedback…

Have a wonderful & wine filled week!


Another rude sommelier

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I went out with a young lady to a wine bar last night.  I have been to this place once before and my experience was quite good.  Despite this bar’s attempt to be “hip” and serve their wines in stemless glasses, my request for proper stemware has been granted on both visits to the location.

But that is NOT what stood out most about last night.  Upon our arrival we were seated by a very warm and friendly young woman.  I asked my date what type of wines she was interested in, and she responded “sweet” (shocker!).  I chose to interpret sweet as “fruity” and explained as much to our server.  She suggested Pinot.  I told her that new world Pinot is generally too “artificially sweet” tasting to me.  And she offered to bring some taste’s of old world Pinot’s.  We happily accepted.  She brought an Italian Pinot and a French Bourgogne.  My date liked the bourgogne (which was quite fruity) while I preferred the Italian Pinot which I found to be more elegant & earthy.

But since we were considering a bottle, we remained undecided.  At which point IT happened.  The sommelier came over.  My last time at this bar I was helped out by a very sweet and un-intimidating female sommelier.   Last night was another story altogether.  The sommelier did not smile once.  He was pushy (or at least it felt that way), cold and suggested we “try” a unique Italian varietal which he believed fit the description of what we were looking for.  I apparently misunderstood his use of the word “try” and thougt he was offering us another taste.  Instead he came over with a new bottle which he presented.  I stopped him before he opened it (thankfully) and told him that I must have misunderstood – I thought he was going to allow us to TRY it before choosing it.  Again, icy cold – NO.  At which point I told him that we would like to taste our wine before ordering a bottle.  He reluctantly brought over a Sangiovese for us to try.  While I was not thrilled with his demeaner, the wine pleased both my date and I and we ordered a bottle.

But boy did we have plenty to talk about.  I was MAD.  Mad that guys like this are keeping genuinely interested people from feeling more comfortable about wine.  It is guys like this who perpetuate the intimidation of the industry and have people instead choosing spirits or beer over wine – fearing that their lack of knowledge combined with people like that are going to make them feel stupid.

OK, deep breath Wine Tasting Guy.  He is not worth getting so worked up about.  But it is just really frustrating.  Not to mention that it is simply bad business.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  I did end up expressing my frustration to the owner so I suppose we will see what happens.

But the point I am making is that while there is A LOT to know & learn about wine, it should be fun, not intimidating,  exciting, not overwhelming and the experts should be warm and graceful not cold and pretentious.

On this snowy NY friday I wish you all a WARM & TASTY weekend!


Kosher Food & Wine Event

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The event took place at the Puck building this past Wednesday evening. What can I say? I was disappointed. I recently wrote about a Chateauneuf du Pape event at Tribeca grill that was absolutely fabulous. No crowds, just enough wine & time to taste everything and very friendly people (even the French winemakers).

The kosher event had more wines, much more food, and took place at a time that was more conducive to drinking wine (in the evening rather than the afternoon). I will readily admit that there was a time before I made the transition to the wine industry that I would have been thrilled with an event like this. But given that i am now more interested in evaluating wines and hearing the stories behind the wines, this kosher event fell short.

The hall was too dark to evaluate color. Samples were being poured from older vintages – and I mean whites, which should be consumed young and fresh. The people pouring the samples were clueless as to what they were pouring (the winemaker was sometimes by his wines table – but often was not). And the crowds. ARGHHHH! One never wants to have to PUSH & SHOVE to get a sample, but this event was not for the timid. I tried not to follow the herds by shoving my glass into the pourers face, but I found that it was a strategy that while rude, it was effective. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I did not want to wait 5-10 minutes with an empty glass. I had a lot of “work” to do, and waiting while others shoved in front of me was going to really hamper my ability to get through as many wines as possible. So I became pushy – NOT something I am proud of. I did however attempt to apologize for my behavior to as many people as possible.

All that said, if you were a wine & food lover without any agenda you should have really enjoyed this event. It was a social scene. There were a tremendous amount of kosher wines, some of which cost about or more than $100 per bottle. There was plenty of food, some of it I hear was pretty good. And there were even some spirits to try. Sadly I did not get a chance to taste the Cognac, but I did try the “kosher for passover” tequila and it was not half bad.

If you were there and enjoyed it, good for you. I hope you discovered a wine which you previously hadn’t been aware of and that you decided you like because you tried it and it worked for YOU!

Now if I can only convince the people throwing the event to allow press/trade to come 3-4 hours early next year rather than only 1 hour early…

Happy KOSHER wine drinking!


Wine Deal – yet ANOTHER Aussie Shiraz, with full disclosure!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

The following wine caught my attention for a few reasons. And none of them were taste (I haven’t had the opportunity to try it), or the insane price for which it is being sold.

The 2006 Winner’s Tank Shiraz Langhorne Creek is being sold here for $11.97. There were two other online outlets selling it for $11.99, while others were selling it for $13, $14 & as much as $17 a bottle.

But the reason I felt compelled to write about this deal is that it is an UNDER $15 bottle of wine. Having just written about the increase in prices of Australian wines I thought it would only be fair to include a wine that should fall into most people’s wine buying budget. Not that it should matter, but it did receive a 91 from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, and apparently has been a consistent “best buy”.

The other thing about this wine that stood out to me was in its description the producer proudly proclaims something we do not see a lot of. They specify their oak treatment method – something common when using barrels, especially new french oak barrels.  But here no barrels were used.  Given that this wine was produced in Australia & that the price is as low as it is, many might have guessed that it did not see the inside of a barrel. Rather it must have been aged with some other form of oak. But here the producer (seemingly proudly) states that this wine “spent 9 months in tank with French oak staves“. While Oak staves are more expensive and said to be better than oak chips or oak powder (yes, some producers use a powder to provide the oaky aroma & flavor profiles) I still commend this full disclosure and definitely want to give this well priced wine a try. I suggest you do the same. And while you are at it why don’t you tell me what you thought about the wine.

Off to a big kosher wine & food event tonight. I hope and expect to blog about it no later than tomorrow. I’m sure I will have a lot to say…

Until then, happy quaffing!


Wine Deal – another Aussie Shiraz – AND …

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Although $37 is a lot for a bottle of wine, when others are selling the same bottle for NO LESS THAN $45 and as much as $70 the $37 price tag doesn’t seem so bad.

The Two Hands ‘Harry Edward’s’ Shiraz being sold here for $37 was given positive ratings by both Wine Spectator (91) and Robert Parker (91).

I haven’t tasted this wine so I don’t have much more to say about it…

…but I have A LOT to say about all these Australian wines reaching stratospheric (relative term, I know, but…) prices.   Australia has long been known for economic wines of high quality.  Many of these previously “well priced” wines have since taken their receptive audience, high scores & raised their price to the “luxury” level.  In addition to these luxury wines, many of the under $20 and even under $10 bottles of Australian wine wil likely be raising in price in the near future.  The weakening dollar is affecting all wine imports – Australian wines included.  Furthermore however, Australia has been dealing with a severe drought which has led to much smaller than usual fruit output.  Which means producers will be making less wine & the supply of Australian will be down.  Simple economics tells us that as long as the demand is there, as the supply goes down the prices will be driven up.

I bring this up as I think that this will be one of several factors leading consumers here in the US to try wines from new regions (hello Israeli wines), maybe ones where the price may suddenly make the wines much more appealing relative to their Australian brethren.

Remember, keep an open mind about wine & drink what you like!


Wine – Deal of the day

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Sadly this is yet another wine I have not had the opportunity to try, so I can only recommend it on the basis of it being priced better here than in other places I found it for sale.

The Domaine Terlato Chapoutier Shiraz Pyrenees Malakoff, A 100% Australian Shiraz (although the label makes it look more like a Cote du Rhone), is well priced here at under $30.  It can be found elsewhere online for between $33-$42.  It received a 93 from Wine Spectator (not that that should matter as much as YOUR PALATE) and looks to be an interesting wine.  Not cheap at $30, but seemingly a good deal where others are asking $35, $40 & even $42.

If you go for it let me know what you think.

Happy wine buying!