Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Chardonnay Day, Wine Appellation Earth?, Best Blogging Tips and more
First and foremost, let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #57, Grape Trivia – Grenache. Below are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: Name two grapes which are traditional blending partners of Grenache
A1: Yes, we are talking the famous GSM blends, and the blending partners of Grenache are Syrah (Shiraz in Australia) and Mourvèdre (known as Monastrell in Spain and often called Mataro in Australia).
Q2: Below is the list of countries which use Grenache in the winemaking. Sort the list by the area of Grenache plantings, from the highest acreage to the lowest:
A. Australia, B. France, C. Italy, D. Spain, E. United States
A2: The correct answer is France, Spain, Italy, US, Australia (so it will be BDCEA). The culprit here was Italy, in my opinion, there Grenache is known as Cannonau – I didn’t expect that Italy grows so much of it… Here is my source of data – an article at Wine Folly’s web site.
Q3: One winery in US is often credited with spearheading the success of Grenache in US. Can you name that winery?
A3: Tablas Creek winery in California – they imported Grenache cuttings from France to the US in 1990, and it was the beginning of great Grenache wines in US. Here is an excellent article about Grenache on Tablas Creek’s web site.
Q4: A few centuries ago, Grenache was a popular blending addition in one of the regions in France, until it became illegal by the AOC rules. Do you know what region was that?
A4: Actually, it was Burgundy, where addition of Grenache was popular way to add body to otherwise finicky Pinot Noir wines. Of course it is illegal practice for the long time.
Q5: Same as for the number of other grapes, Grenache exists in three different grape variations – Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris. There is one wine where it is absolutely legal to use all three grapes as the part of the blend. Can you name that wine?
A5: Châteauneuf-du-Pape! Well, I should’ve post the question as “type of wine” – but in any case, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CdP for short) AOC rules allow inclusion of all three different Grenache grapes into the same wine. I always thought that CdP allows 13 grapes to be blended together in production of CdP wines, but it appears that the rules has recently changed, and now there are 18 grapes which are all allowed for use as winemaker desires.
And the winner is…(drum roll)… The Drunken Cyclist with five correct answers! He is definitely on the winning streak for a while and once again he gets unlimited bragging rights. I want also to acknowledge The Winegetter, Red Wine Diva and Eat With Namie who all got 3 out of 5 questions right – definitely a commendable effort.
Now, to the interesting stuff around the web vine – boy, there is plenty to share!
First, sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow is 4th annual Chardonnay Day! Well, Chardonnay is not such a hard wine to get, right? You still got time to make sure you will celebrate in style, whatever your style is – Burgundy, Chablis, Big California, California-pretending-to-be-Chablis, I-am-unoaked-and-almost-like-Pinot-Grigio-chose-me – anyway, any kind of Chardonnay goes. And if you want to officially assert your participation, here is a link to the event page where you can officially join the ranks of Chardonnay aficionados.
Next, I want to bring to your attention an interesting post by Mike Veseth of The Wine Economist fame. The post is titled Is This the Beginning of Juice Box Wine? and it is talking about true globalization of wine in terms of production – one of the new wines from Barefoot called Impression and it is produced from the juice sourced from all over the world, so the wine doesn’t state any appellation on the label. What do you think of such approach to winemaking? Will this be a fluke, or will we see more of the wines from appellation Earth?
As you know, I’m a big fun of Stéphane Gabart’s blog, My French Heaven. I find his food pictures as some of the most incredible I ever come across, in the blogs or on Pinterest. Now Stéphane was very kind to write a blog post called “20 tips for stunning food photography“, which definitely worth your attention if you want to master your food picture taking skills. Also, as this is not the first time I refer to some of the “best tips and practices”, I decided to create a dedicated page for the Best Blogging Tips, where I will be collecting all the references like this one. If you have any suggestions as to what should be included in that “Best Blogging Tips” collection, please let me know – I hope to make it into a very useful resource for all.
Next subject is … beer! Yes, even in the wine blog there is a place for a beer. When you hear about the beer called Nuclear Tactical Penguin – is that the beer you would want to try? Well, okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely interested. But turns out that this beer is practically impossible to get in US, so the best thing one can do is to enjoy it vicariously. This is what I did when I read this post at Wayward Wine blog. Outside of just great description of the beer, you can also learn about Frozen Beer category and how those beers are made – I think this reading will be well worth the time. Also, while looking for another beer from BrewDog company, this one called Sink the Bismark, I came across the list of 10 most expensive beers in the world! Now I want to try BrewDog’s The End Of History (55% ABV and still a beer!), but considering that it costs $765 for 330 ml, I will need a sponsor… anyone?
And last, but not the least subject for today – Wine Blog Awards finalists are finally announced. No, I didn’t make it to the list of finalists (sigh). But I would like to congratulate Jeff a.k.a. The Drunken Cyclist as he got into the finals in the Best Writing category. Anyway, this week is the public voting week, so you can cast your vote for the best blog here.
That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but more wine is coming. Cheers!
While all the wine lovers agree (feel free to smack me if you disagree) that we are currently living through the wine revolution, where more and better wines are available from and in more place around the world, the same sentiment applies to the beer lovers. More and better and different beers are available to the beer aficionados throughout the world, coming from everywhere in the world. There are many liquor stores advertising the fact that they have multiple thousands of different beers in stock – no questions that the beer revolution is here.
Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to catch a glimpse of that beer revolution myself – my friend Zak had to taste a bunch of new beers for his Cost Less Wines store, and I happened to be around at the same time (lucky occasion). We tasted through a dozen of beers, one literally better than the other – and below you will find pictures and my notes. Here is also a disclaimer – while I can describe the wine in words to some degree, I can’t describe beer – at all. So below are mostly pictures, with some minimal words – but I will at least tell you whether I liked the beer or not.
I will give you my notes to match the pictures – but no, we didn’t taste the beers in that order – sweet ginger beer at the beginning of tasting is a bit much… I also made an effort to give you links for additional information for every beer. Here we go:
Full Sail Nut Brown Ale, Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Oregon – excellent, very round, smooth.
Pandora’s Bock, Breckenridge Brewery, Colorado – beautiful color in the glass, touch of caramel on the palate.
Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Crabbie’s, Scotland – ginger candy, very soft, smooth, refreshing, pretty much a ginger ale with alcohol.
Agave Wheat, Breckenridge Brewery, Colorado – sweet, light, similar to Belgium beer, refreshing, touch nutty.
Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout, Samuel Smith Old Brewery, Tadcaster, England – there was four of us, four guys tasting this beer – you should’ve heard a simultaneous foodgasm (moan, scream, whatever) coming from all four guys! This was a pure chocolate on the nose, and liquid chocolate on the palate. I don’t know why this is called beer – this is just something else. Perfect!
Russian Imperial Stout, Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, Vermont – in the glass, looks like motor oil. On the palate – this is coffee, not beer! A wow beer ( if you like coffee)!
Session Premium Lager, Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Oregon – excellent beer – light, refreshing, wheat style
Session Black Lager, Full Sail Brewing, Hood River, Oregon- tobacco on the nose, light, hint of coffee and chocolate on the palate. One of the lightest lagers I ever had, excellent.
Bengali Tiger, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, New York – very perfumy, with orange and spices on the palate. Very elegant.
The Crisp, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, New York – excellent beer. A touch of citrus, light, creamy.
Sweet Action, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, New York – touch of sweetness, simple, orange zest, hint of anise at the finish.
3Beans, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn, New York – Perfectly delicate coffee drink. Just wow.
That’s all I have for you for today. This was a great tasting, with many wow beers, but what is even better, there was not a single dull beer in the group, which is very impressive. Welcome to the beer revolution. Cheers!
So it is a picture of Blue Moon beer label. Okay, it is a vintage beer. 2012 vintage to be precise. It is interesting, but not necessarily strange. I believe vintage beer can age – however, I never tried aging beer before. But – never mind the vintage part. There is something a lot more peculiar about this beer label, something which I never saw before. Do you see what I see?
Comment if you see the strange part! Happy Sunday, everyone! Cheers!
Does beer belongs to mostly a wine blog? You bet – anything which gives you a tasty experience does, and beer is no exception. It is interesting to observe feuds between beer and wine drinkers. Allegiance to one kind of drink can be almost religious, and then nobody is sparred during the “ahh, you are a [that other nasty beverage] drinker” encounters.
Yes, I would admit that beer is not a typical drink for me. One one side, I know how to preserve the leftover wine in the bottle ( vacuum pump, argon,…), and I’m really not sure what to so with the beer leftovers. Another issue for me is that once beer goes into the bottle, it doesn’t evolve anymore. The beer is valued for its freshness, and effectively for the “sameness” of the taste – any bottle of Samuel Adams Lager is expected to taste the same. Wine is a living thing, including in the bottle, so while you have an expectation of the taste, there is always an element of mystery when the wine bottle is opened.
I have to admit that the beer tasting experience we had last weekend made me think that I actually have to pay more attention to the beers! Many years ago (1993/1994, if I’m not mistaken), I was a member of “Beer Across America” club, where I was getting 2 6-packs of micro-brewed beers every month. It was very enjoyable experience for about year and a half, and then it became boring, so I stopped the membership (I wonder if this is the story with most of those “monthly clubs”). Tasting the four beers last weekend reminded me of that excitement – and I want to share the experience.
We had total of 4 different beers. The word “different” doesn’t even come close to explain how diversely those beers tasted. The most “standard” (only in terms of previous experience) was beer called La Chouffe, unfiltered Blond Ale, produced by Brasserie D’Achouffe from Belgium. Very fruity and pleasant beer, with lots of sweet notes on the palate. This was a very good example of Belgium Blonde Ale, completely adhering to its distinct style.
The next one was beer called Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer from Scotland. I would highly recommend this beer for any scotch-lover, as after smooth and round palate comes perfect finish with hint of single malt scotch (Highland or Speyside in style). Oak also imparts some interesting honey and vanilla notes on the palate, all in all making Innis & Gunn a very enjoyable beer.
The next beer should really be designated as “wine, masquerading as beer”. Rodenbach Grand Cru, another beer from Belgium, had probably the most unexpected taste from this group (polarizing too, as my friends Kfir and Hadas didn’t like it at all, so it is two against one). To make wine parallel even more visible, you have to know that this beer undergoes double fermentation and resulting beer is produced as a mix of one-third of young beer and two-thirds of the beer aged in the oak casks for two ( Sic!) years! Therefore it is no wonder that liquid in your glass tastes “vinous” and has a great balance of acidity and fruits, with acidity being extremely noticeable, quite similar to any good wine. This beer should be experienced in order to truly believe it…
Now last, but not least – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, the original smokebeer from Germany. Not sure if I should be ashamed or not, but I definitely missed whole group of smoke beers – I discovered Belgium beers long time ago, but never heard of the smoke beers, which seems to be a category with good amount of offerings, considering that Wine Enthusiast has the whole section covering them. This particular beer which is called Schlenkerla, is brewed over the smoke of the burning beechwood logs, and then matured in the cellars. The resulting beer offers smooth taste with pronounced smokiness, which all together creates very delicious experience.
That’s all the experience I wanted to share, but if I can give you an advice – go find those beers and experience them for yourself. If you think you don’t like beer, give one of those a try – you might learn something new about yourself…