Archive for May, 2010

Riesling World Tour 2010

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

I was attending a Spanish wine tasting in the city a little over a week ago that happened to be taking place the same day as the big Riesling tasting.  Which provided me with just enough time to sneak away to one of my favorite tastings of the year.

The 2010 Riesling tasting was very much like previous Riesling tastings I’ve attended.  A nice representation of producers who presently import their wines with several seeking importers.  And of course the favorite table, the library selection, called “1990’s – a decade of great Rieslings”.  Here the exhibitors had a chance to submit a wine from their library to be shown to the attendees.

I find Riesling to be interesting for several reasons.  It is a white & is often sweet wine (or at least there is residual sugar in it).  Often disrespected, there are many highly regarded wine people who are cult Riesling lovers.  Before attending the first Riesling tasting I’m not sure that I understood the Riesling fascination.  But I think I have since gotten it.  These are wines that when at their best possess an array of tantalizing aromas.  They are incredibly versatile in their food pair-ability.  They can run the gamut from bone dry to thick, rich & sweet.  They come from a cool climate region so they generally have a fair share of acidity – necessary to balance the residual sugar found in many Rieslings.  And as I have learned from the library table at these tastings, Rieslings can have very long lives.

While I tasted a ’97 Spatlese & 90 Spatlese that I thought had hints of oxidation, I also tasted Spatlese from ’90, ’91, ’97 & ’98 that I found to be incredibly youthful.  The library table also had Auslese, beerenauslese & a trockenbeerenauslese that kind of blew me away.  Sure these are not chugging wines (which wines are?), but the assortment of smells and flavors really is mind blowing.  My favorites were two Auslese.  The 1995 Mo-Rhe-Na Mosel Auslese had a deep lemon color bursting with aromas of honey, lychee, and other exotic fruit.  It was nicely balanced by a lively and youthful acidity and a finish that lingered quite pleasantly.  My other favorite was the 1992 Weingut Pauly-Bergweiler, another Mosel Auslese that was golden in color, and it too possessed exotic fruits, to go along with floral and bubblegum aromas and flavors.  Once again a wine that despite its age, was crisp and lively and showed no signs of slowing down.

So the next time you are out picking up Sushi, Thai or Indian takeout for dinner, stop by your favorite wine shop and grab a bottle of chilled Riesling.  I’m quite confident that you will love the way the wine cools the heat of the spiciness while cleansing your palate with its clean crispness.

Happy Riesling Wine Tasting!


Burgundy club – Corton/Pernand-Vergelesses

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

I met with my Burgundy club this past week.  With the warmer weather we moved on to whites and we tried 7 wines from the Corton & Pernand-Vergelesses regions.

The first two wines were village wines from Pernand-Vergelesses; Domaine Rollin Pere et Fils (which I learned means “father & son”).  A 2004 & 2005.  The wines were completely different.  I found the ’05 to be a bit oaky while I thought the 2004 was a little oxidized.

We then tried a 2007 1er Cru from the same region; Chandon des Briailles that was sadly corked.

The next 4 wines were all Corton wines.

The 2004 Domaine Maillard Grand Cru had aromas of hay, pear & citrus.  It was tart & creamy with citrus and honey flavors.  It had a long, bright rising finish.  Quite pleasant.

We then tried the 2002 of the same wine and I found it to be quite oxidized – burnt sugar & almost sherry like.  Not my style.

We finished with the 2004 & then 2000 of the Domaine Chandon de Brailles Grand Crus.  The 2004 had citrus & honeydew aromas.  It was bright with Caramel, honey & red apple flavors and a crisp long finish.  While the 2000 seemed a bit reduced at first – it had a rubbery citrus nose.  It blew off and showed the most unique characteristic – artificial lemon ices.  I thought that was cool and was pleased that the palate was also interesting showing minerality & citrus, leading to a sea shell kind of profile.  It had a nice bracing acidity and a decent finish.

In all I really enjoy these wine club gatherings.  Exploring the revered Burgundy region is a treat.  BUT, this tasting was a bit underwhelming for me.  As much as I enjoy whites – I really do, I think that generally they are less interesting.  There are a lot of great wines out there these days, but many of them are kind of generic.  Tasty, fruity and similar to lots of other wines.  What I enjoy most about the Burgundy tastings is how unique Burgundy wines often are.  And while I enjoyed the lemon ices & sea shell traits of the last wine we tasted, in all I was disappointed by having a corked wine, 2 oxidized wines and 3 others that were nice, citrussy with good acidity, but nothing special.

Happy Wine Tasting!


Dirty Pinot

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

One of my bosses recently asked me to taste a bottle of Pinot that we import from New Zealand.  I asked him why and he indicated that there were a few people who recently let him know that they didn’t like it – it wasn’t fruity.

Anyone who knows my wine preferences or has been reading my blog long enough knows that I don’t particularly care for the new style of Pinot – big, rich, clean & fruity.  Those California Pinots getting the high scores – I can’t stand them.

Back to the New Zealand Pinot  – I was also showed a response by the winemaker to an inquiry about the wine from my boss.  It was really brilliantly written by a talented winemaker who has been making New Zealand Pinot for about 20 years.  In essence he said that Pinot is a strange and oftentimes unpredictable animal – ever evolving between clean pure red fruit to earthy, barnyardy & even a flat out dirty wine.

It is that Pinot complexity and unpredictability that attracts me and I would suspect so many others to the varietal.  As wine coincidences would have it, I recently read a piece by Robin Garr in the 30 Second Wine Advisor.  Garr’s “Pinot Theory of Evolution” speaks to Pinots amazing evolution in the glass… and I couldn’t agree more.

I am often blown away by the Burgundy I taste with my wine club.  The good ones are elegant, (not overpowering like so many new world Pinots), multi-dimensional (so many different characteristics) & complex (changing in the glass over time).  Sadly, Pinot is a tough animal and as good as the good ones are, that is how bad the bad ones are.

I tried that Pinot my boss asked me to taste and you know what, it was somewhat Burgundian in style…and it was spectacular!

Happy dirty & evolving Pinot Wine Tasting!