Posts Tagged ‘Syrah’

Blending Wines…

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Has it only been a week?  Time does fly when you are having fun, but I have been doing SO MUCH running around that I can’t believe I have only been in Israel for 1 week so far (OK, 9 days).  I have 6 days left, but I know that will fly.  I’m headed up North tomorrow to the Galil region which includes the highly regarded Galil & Golan Heights viticultural sections. Can’t wait!

But what I wanted to write about tonight was some quick “blending” tidbits.

 wine blending

While at a winery last week talking to a winemaker he had some visitors.  While telling the people about his wine, a woman noted that they were all blends – no 100% varietal wines.  When the winemaker briefly walked away to take a call she mentioned to me and the two others in her party that she thought blends were inferior to wines made from only 1 grape varietal.  I told her that I thought otherwise – what about Bordeaux, which can consist of up to 5 grape varietals?  She was surprised to hear this, and a gentleman who was with her then said that yes they are blends, but they consisted mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Once again trusty Wine Tasting Guy told them that many Bordeaux (generally Right Bank) have a majority Merlot.  This too surprised them.  In the end they realized that this winemaker is making quality wines and they purchased a few bottles.

The second blending story took place tonight, following the completion of the Succot holiday.  I was in Jerusalem for the last day and made my way upon the holiday’s completion from Jerusalem to a winery near Sederot.  There I worked with some winemaker friends on a blend.  I am by no means qualified to concoct a wine blend.  Like everyone else I know if I like a wine or not.  And yes I may be able to comment on and attempt to assess a wine, but create a blend???  We were playing with 3 varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah & Sangiovese.  It was a lot of fun and I learned a thing or two but in the end I think I made things harder on my winemaker friends as opposed to being able to help them out. 

A quick recommendation.  Make your own blends!  No, I’m not saying you should go become a winemaker (although that isn’t a bad idea either), what I’m saying is it is OK to mix wines.  If you happen to have some leftover wine from 2 or more bottles you MAY want to consider mixing them.  I wouldn’t mix different colors, vintages, or very different wines.  And truthfully, more often than not the new wine will probably not be as good as the original wines.  But I DO like to mix bottles for 1 reason.  TO PREVENT OXIDATION.  If I find myself with more than one open bottle and want to best preserve the wines, the best thing to do is to fill ONE bottle and re-cork, removing all oxygen.  Although the wine might be a little weird, at least it won’t be ruined – something that happens with extended exposure to oxygen…

Happy wine blending!!


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!


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!