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Posts Tagged ‘Beaujolais nouveau’

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2016 Edition

November 18, 2016 10 comments

beaujolais nouveau 2016There is no shortage of the grape holidays nowadays – we celebrate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and many other grapes, sometimes even two per day. However, the oldest grape celebration in existence is Beaujolais Nouveau Day, celebrated on the third Thursday in November, which happened to be November 17th this year.

Of course, Beaujolais Nouveau Day is not so much of a grape celebration (which would be a Gamay day) but really the celebration of the new harvest, which was a very old tradition in the Beaujolais region, neighboring Burgundy, in France. Georges Duboeuf, a famous French wine merchant, is credited with making Beaujolais Nouveau Day an international event more than 30 years ago. What was just a local harvest festival became an international event, widely anticipated and celebrated around the world, from Tokyo to Moscow to New York.

While Beaujolais Nouveau Day is [still] often dismissed as a marketing gimmick, I’m always looking forward trying the new Beaujolais Nouveau wines, to be able to see their evolution. Ever since this blog started in 2010, Beaujolais Nouveau was always part of it – here you can find the old posts from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In case you want to learn a bit more about the history of the celebration, please take a look at the post from 2012 – it contains more information than the other posts.

beaujolais nouveau

Here are the notes on the 2 wines I was able to taste this year:

2016 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $9.99)
C: Dark ruby
N: fresh fruit, intense, ripe raspberries, herbal undertones, not over the top
P: elegant, fresh, red fruit notes, crunchy berries, excellent acidity
V: 8-, very enjoyable and elegant

2016 Paul Durdilly et Fils “Les Grandes Coasses” Beaujolais Nouveau (12.5% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark ruby
N: spicy cherries, mint, inviting
P: very limited amount of fruit, big contrast with the nose. For the Beaujolais Nouveau, might be even too restrained.
V: 7, leaving desiring more on the palate.

Talking about the two wines I tasted, I have to admit that I forgot to lightly chill them, which is recommended. This definitely had no effect on Georges Duboeuf wine, but it might be a culprit behind the limited expression of the second wine.

Before we part, I want to bring to your attention the label of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. Besides the fact that I personally like it, the important part if that for the first time ever, the label for this wine was chosen by the wine consumers voting for one of the 12 different designs submitted for the competition. I think the consumers chosen well, right?

For the past 3-4 years, I find Beaujolais Nouveau a very enjoyable wine, well worthy of oenophile’s attention. What do you think of Beaujolais Nouveau? Any favorites? Cheers!

Month in Wines – November 2015

December 7, 2015 5 comments

November 2015 was an interesting month. On one side, I traveled intensely throughout the month, which definitely affected memorable wine encounters. At the same time, this month brought some very unique highlights, such as Chinese wine and a full range of Beaujolais Nouveau wines (never before I tasted 5 Beaujolais Nouveau in the row). And I can’t help myself – I really love the labels on some of the Beaujolais Nouveau wines – festive and uplifting:

Here is what was “wine-interesting” in November 2015:

1421 Gold Chardonnay Xinjiang China – sorry, no idea about ABV or a price – very nice and classic in its Chardonnay profile, good apple and lemon notes, well rounded. 8-

2010 Tolaini Al Passo Toscana IGT (13.5% ABV, $20? – don’t know Costco price, Merlot/Sangiovese blend) – nicely restrained, unmistakably Italian,  good taste profile, soft tannins, good acidity, good structure. 8-

2012 Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz Bin 28 South Australia (14.5% ABV, $28) – tar and tobacco on the nose, dark fruit, dark chocolate. Tobacco and pencil shavings on the palate, good fruit, good acidity, perfect balance. 8-

2011 Turley Estate Zinfandel Napa Valley (15.6% ABV, $38) – delicious nose of ripe raspberries with a touch of tobacco, a classic Zin. Soft and delicious on the palate, perfect balance, fresh fruit, dark chocolate, hint of smoke, perfect balance. An excellent wine. 8

Changyu Red Wine Blend Ningxia, China (ABV?, about $33 at a restaurant) – definitely a highlight – spot on Bordeaux taste profile, round and balanced. 8/8+

2005 Bernard Magrez Temperancia Toro, Spain (15% ABV, $11.99 WTSO price) – I got this wine earlier in the year from the Wine Til Sold Out (WTSO). It has a delicious dense core, with dark fruit and espresso. Full bodied and perfectly well integrated. 8-

2012 Casey Flat Ranch Open Range Proprietary Red, California (14.8% ABV, $9.99, Blend: 52% Syrah, 33% Petite Sirah, 8% Merlot, 5% Mourvedre, 2% Cabernet Franc) – concentrated dark fruit, plums, dark chocolate, touch of cinnamon and a touch of tar. Scrumptiously together. 8-

2006 Monasterio De Las Viñas Reserva Cariñena DO ($15?, Garnacha 70%, Tempranillo 20%, Cariñena 10%) – out of all places, had it at hotel in Korea, and it was outstanding – firm, well structured, medium to full bodied, lavender and plums on the palate, perfect balance. 8

Beaujolais Nouveau wines

2015 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $10.99) – exceeding expectations. A new height for Beaujolais Nouveau. 8-
2015 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $11.99)  – a solid effort. 7/7+
2015 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $13.99)  – rivaling Dubœuf with may be even slight edge up. Would never identify as Beaujolais Nouveau in a blind tasting. 8-/8
2015 Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $10.99) – Classic Beaujolais Nouveau. Enough said. 7+
2015 Bouchard Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $9.99) – see above. 7+

And we are done here. Did you have any of the wines I’m talking about here? What were your recent wine highlights? Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! 2015 Edition

November 19, 2015 10 comments

Geoarges Duboeuf Beaujolais NouveauHave you looked in the calendar today? Yes, it is the third Thursday of November, which means that … Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived! All the wine stores around you should carry bottles with the festive labels, and there are multiple events and parties to celebrate the arrival of the new wine, the wine of 2015.

I know that many hard core wine drinkers scoff at the Beaujolais Nouveau wine and the whole celebration, considering the wine to be a plonk and the celebration only a marketing gimmick. Speaking for myself, I love to partake in this celebration, as may be the first wine holiday ever created (now we have ever increasing number of “grape days” throughout the year, to make sure we have enough reasons to open a bottle of wine).

Besides just liking the idea of celebration of the first wine of the harvest, I find that quality of the Beaujolais Nouveau is consistently improving, year after year. Thus I happily ran to the store today at the first available opportunity to get some Beaujolais Nouveau. 5–6 years ago Georges Dubœeuf Beaujolais Nouveau was the only option. Few years back, Joseph Drouhin joined the company. This year, I had a choice of 4 wines to pick from, so I decided to limit my tasting to 3.

I don’t want to give you any overall impressions until you will skim through the tasting notes, so here we go:

2015 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $10.99)
C: Dark Garnet, very unexpected
N: restrained, fresh berries with the touch of herbs. Very different from the previous years, a lot less fruity. More reminiscent of a traditional Beaujolais or a nice Chinon
P: outstanding. Fresh, open, perfectly balanced fruit, ripe cherries, medium body, medium-long finish.
V: 8-, very unexpected, would never guess in the blind tasting that this is a Nouveau wine. Not sure what kind of magic Dubœeuf used, but this is a pretty spectacular wine in its own.

2015 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $11.99)
C: dark garnet, another unexpected color
N: more traditional nose of freshly crushed berries, still not overboard, with underpinning of spices
P: delicious young wine, nice fresh fruit, finish mostly acidic
V: 7/7+, more in line with expectations of Beaujolais Nouveau – a very well made one, but still

2015 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau (13% ABV, $13.99)
C: dark garnet, one more wow
N: restrained, with acidity and minerality been in the lead, touch floral, may a bit of tart cherries
P: excellent, round, more of classic Burgundy in style, not a hint of “nouveau” on the palate, very fresh with a distant hint of smoke and tobacco on the palate.
V: 8-, outstanding. Again a complete surprise.

What can I tell you? Very impressive. Excellent wines, well made and tasty, and offering great QPR for what they are. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, this might be a great addition to your table. And if you don’t, Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 is well worth your attention. And if this Beaujolais Nouveau is any indication, the 2015 might be (yet again) the vintage of the century. Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! À votre santé!

P.S. After this post was written, I tried two more Beaujolais Nouveau wines, so here are the additional notes just to make the 2015 experience more complete:

2015 Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $10.99)
C: Bright Ruby
N: initially a typical Beaujolais Nouveau nose with fresh crushed berries, eventually becoming more restrained with additional herbal component
P: fresh tart cherries, crisp, fresh, with the vibrant acidity which makes the wine show quite complex
V: 7+, well made wine, simple and pleasant

2015 Bouchard Beaujolais Nouveau (11%–14% ABV, $9.99)
C: dark Ruby
N: fresh berries with a touch of green leaves
P: fresh crushed berries, crisp, vibrant, good acidity
V: 7+, traditional Beaujolais Nouveau, simple and tasty

Traditions of Wine

January 21, 2015 26 comments

Wednesday’s Meritage – An Award for Women in Food, Thanksgiving Wines, Ageing of the Napa Cabs, Screw Top versus Cork and more

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Meritage Time!

Abundance is the word today. Thanksgiving, the holiday which we will celebrate tomorrow in United States, is usually associated with abundance. Lots’ of food and fun. And so is today’s Meritage issue – lots of interesting things to share. Let’s go!

First, I want to bring to your attention an opportunity for an award for the deserving women involved with food. KaTom, one of the largest restaurant supply companies in the world, wants to create a special award to recognize women involved with food, and it is asking for your help with this. If you click on this link, you will get to the KaTom web site, where in the upper right corner you will find the link for the video and a special award survey. Watch the 2-minutes video and then take a short survey – this will greatly help KaTom in their quest to create that special award.

Well, it is kind of late, but still worth a few minutes of your time – W. Blake Gray wrote a blog post which might help you to select the right wine for Thanksgiving. Instead of focusing on the particular wines, W. Blake Gray gives you an idea of the broad categories which might fit well at the Thanksgiving table.

Do you like aged wines? Which wines do you think can age well? If you think about California Cabernet Sauvignon wines as age-worthy, you might find interesting this article written by Lettie Teague for the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Lettie is exploring in depth if California Cabernet Sauvignon wines can actually age as well as many of us think they are. I definitely agree with one of the takeaways – it is hard to predict if the particular bottle of wine will age or not. But – I’m willing to take a chance. Anyway, read the article and let me know what do you think.

In the next interesting post, Jamie Goode, one of the very well known wine bloggers and writers, ponders at the [almost eternal] debate of wine enclosures  – screw top versus cork. This is not a theoretical debate – Jamie actually is talking about blind tasting and comparing the same wines enclosed with cork and screw top. Based on what I see in the post, cork edges the screw top – but read the comments to see all of the outcry about spoiled, corked wines. As far as I’m concerned, I’m willing to take a risk of having a corked bottle in exchange for greatness, versus screw top which just doesn’t allow the wine to age properly – but this is not the popular opinion. Anyway, take a look for yourself.

Which country do you think is a number 1 importer of Beaujolais Nouveau wines? Prepare for the surprise, as this country is … Japan! This article from Decanter magazine is exploring the virtues of the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon using some numbers. Japan is the biggest importer of Beaujolais Nouveau – it imports more Beaujolais Nouveau than the next 9 countries combined. Definitely some interesting numbers, well worth your attention.

Last but definitely not the least – here is another nudge regarding the the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #13. The theme is Serendipity, and you really have to start working on it now, if you didn’t have already. No excuses – have some turkey, have some wine, and get to it. Even if you think you can’t write the #MWWC post, believe in yourself, just sit down and write – you can do it! For all the rules and regulations, please take a look at this post.

And we are done here. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Celebrating New Harvest – Beaujolais Nouveau 2014

November 23, 2014 6 comments

Beaujolais Nouveau winesOn Thursday, November 20th, all wine (and probably well beyond wine) social media outlets were filled with “Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé” messages, pictures and videos. For more than 30 years, what was at some point a simple local celebration of the new harvest, became a big international affair. Always happening on the third Thursday in November, the wine called Beaujolais Nouveau magically appears on the shelves of the wine stores and on the restaurant tables all over the world to ring in the harvest.

This international celebration is largely a result of the efforts of one man with the vision – Georges Duboeuf, the famous french wine négociant and producer. It was his vision and hard work which lead to the event celebrated from Paris to New York to Tokyo. At some point the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon became oversubscribed, leading to the glut of insipid wines saturating the market, creating a bad image associated with the whole Beaujolais Nouveau idea. But with the modern winemaking improvements, the quality of the Beaujolais Nouveau wines started to improve year after year, which brought the feeling of the celebration back over the last 5-6 years.

I had been closely following the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration ever since this blog started – here are the posts from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. While working on this post, I checked my notes on the past releases of Beaujolais Nouveau, and it looks like with the exception of 2011, all the vintages were very consistent, offering good quality, very drinkable wine which gave a lot of pleasure. I know that some people dismiss Beaujolais Nouveau as a marketing gimmick and simply refuse to drink the wines – however, I wholeheartedly disagree and I believe this young celebratory wine well worth wine aficionados’ attention.

This year, I had an opportunity to try two different Beaujolais wines – 2014 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $9.99) and 2014 Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau (12.5% ABV, $10.99). Talking about interesting experiences, for the first time I remember drinking Beaujolais Nouveau, and definitely for the first time while writing this blog, I found two of the different bottles of wine which taste nearly identical. This was very puzzling experience, as I was looking for the different descriptors, and couldn’t find any. Okay, they were not 100% the same wines, of course – but differences were very subtle, may be in the particular fruit profile being more pronounced in one wine and not in the other, and majority of the description would stay the same. To acknowledge that, I will give you a description for both wines at the same time.

Color: Bright Garnet

Nose: Freshly crushed red fruit, lavender, unmistakable aroma of the young wine

Palate: Red fruit, cherries, tart blackberries, violet, lavender, medium body with some structure, vibrant acidity, good balance, medium finish.

Verdict: a good wine, easy to drink, fresh, should play well with the wide range of food due to the substantial acidity. Yes it will do just fine on your Thanksgiving table (will be definitely on mine). Drinkability: 7+/8- for both – really hard to decide.

Yet another Beaujolais Nouveau day becomes a history. Well, of course not so fast – the wines will be available for a while, and while they are not meant for aging, overall textural presence of the two wines I tasted suggests that these wines can last for the few years – but this is definitely not what you want to do. And than that mind boggling similarity between the two totally different wines – I don’t know what to think of it, except that may be the similar winemaking methods used, like carbonic maceration and such, lead to the similar results for the two totally unrelated wines. Perhaps this is not a very solid explanation, so I would love to hear your theory if you got one.

Did you already have the Beaujolais Nouveau 2014? If you did, what kind and what did you think of it? Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC13 Reminder, Zinfandel Day, How To Start A Blog, WS Top 100 and more

November 19, 2014 11 comments

MWWC_logoMeritage Time!

Lots of things to share – let’s  get to it! First of all – the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #13. The theme is Serendipity, and I really hope the theme is intriguing enough to see a lot of entries in the contest! For all the rules and regulations, please take a look at this post.

Last week we celebrated Tempranillo, and yet another grape holiday is upon us. On Wednesday, November 19th, we are celebrating an iconic American grape – Zinfandel! The Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines are made pretty much everywhere in the world – but Zinfandel, in its pure form, is a real representative of an American winemaking culture. It is very easy to celebrate Zinfandel – just find a bottle of your favorite Zin, open it up and say “wow”. That’s all what is required.

When it rains, it pours. Wednesday is a Zinfandel holiday, but on Thursday, November 20th, we are going to celebrate the new grape harvest! November 20th is a third Thursday of the month of November, which means … yes, Beaujolais Nouveau time! I know, Beaujolais Nouveau often gets bad rap from the wine aficionados, but to me, the wine considerably improved over the last 5-6 years, and now it is a real wine which gives you real pleasure. I’m very much looking forward to tasting the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau. And don’t forget that this new wine is celebrated all over the world – from Paris to New York to Washington to Chicago, you can find many events celebrating new harvest and life – just use the faithful Google, it will help you find the live event if you care to attend one.

On Monday, November 17th, Wine Spectator released its annual Top 100 Wines List for 2014. 2011 Dow Vintage Point was declared the wine of the year. What is amazing to me is that my friend Zak (wine store owner), predicted this exact wine to be the wine of the year in 2013 – and now it is, only one year later – that is very impressive in my opinion. The list looks quite diverse, with entries from all over the world. One of the interesting facts is that 3 out of the Top 10 wines are from Portugal. The least expensive wine on the list is priced at $10 (Bodegas Montecillo Rioja), and the most expensive one is Ornellaia at $240. You can analyze the list in many more ways – here is the link for you. Note that you can also go through the past 25 years of the Top 100 lists using the same link.

Recently I came across a blog post which provides excellent tips for the beginner bloggers about the content, dealing with social media, promoting the blog and all other related issues. I’m sure many of my readers already know most of this, but it never hurts to go through a refresher course – there is a good chance of finding something new. And for the people who are contemplating to start their own blog, having that good of an advice might be a tipping point. Here is the link to the post. I will also make it available on my Resources page.

Do you want to know in advance when the wine holidays are taking place? Me too – and this is why I’m glad I found this calendar, which lists most of the wine holidays in a very easy to understand format – here is the link so you can see it for yourself.

Last for today is a note of the new service called CorkSharing. If you plan to visit a winery, you can use the service to book your tasting in advance – when you arrive at the winery, you can just proceed to the tasting without waiting for it in line. The list right now includes 11 countries and 166 participating locations. I think this is an interesting service, especially if you plan your winery visit in advance.

And we are done! The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way. Cheers!

Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – Well Worth Your Attention

November 25, 2013 18 comments

It that time of the year again – the festive labels are lining up in front of the wine stores to remind us that we are entering into literally a six week of non-stop celebrations – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, friends, families, holiday parties. With its festive label, coming out every third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau signifies both arrival of the wines of the new harvest, and the arrival of the holidays.

Beaujolais Nouveau Arrived!

Beaujolais Nouveau Arrived!

The tradition of celebration of the new harvest with the wines of Beaujolais is well more than hundred years old. It became linked to the third Thursday of November in 1985, and then little by little, became a huge marketing success. That huge success became the worst enemy of the wine, with the producers starting to make soulless, insipid wines, void of any substance – and Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon almost died at the very end of 20th century, with people simply ignoring the wines as only a marketing ploy.

Luckily, over the last few years, the situation started to change to the better, or I would even dare to say, to the “much better”. The wine behind festive labels started to show substance and character. I think Beaujolais Nouveau offers a very unique opportunity for the wine lovers, as you can taste every new vintage of the same wine, and compare – something which is rather difficult to do with many other wines – and you can see how the wine is changes year over year.

This year I had an opportunity to taste two different Beaujolais Nouveau wines – one from Georges Duboeuf, and another one from Jean Bererd & Fils, Domaine de la Madone – technically a Beaujolais Villages Nouveau, which is a different AOC designation, but for all intents and purposes it is produced in the same way as a regular Beaujolais Nouveau.

Can the wine be made better and better every year? Of course the question is way too generic to have an answer, but I can tell you that in case of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, the answer is “yes”. I was quite happy with the 2012 wine, but I think this year it is even better. The 2013 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (12% ABV, $10.99) showed beautiful dark purple inky color in the glass. The nose was full of bright fresh fruit – ripe cherries, succulent raspberries, some violets. The palate came in quite restraint and structured, even firm – good fruit presence of the same dark cherries and ripe raspberries, but not over the top, showing of respectfully mature, concentrated wine with good acidity and medium finish. Depending on the serving temperature, the acidity was more of less noticeable, and overall the wine showed well balanced. Definitely recommended for your Thanksgiving table, perfectly attune to the Harvest celebration. Drinkability: 8-

The 2013 Jean Bererd & Fils Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais Villages Nouveau (13% ABV, $10.99) had very similar inky purple color in the glass. On the nose, it exhibited very similar notes of dark cherries and raspberries. And yes, the palate profile was very similar, but somehow, while the wine was perfectly drinkable and enjoyable, also showing firm structure, I was unable to find the right temperature when acidity was fully in check and harmony with the rest of the wine. Still, not a bad wine by all means. Drinkability: 7

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When it comes to Thanksgiving, which we are about to celebrate, my choice of wine tends to be all-American – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel – but nevertheless, I love opening the celebration with the glass of Beaujolais Nouveau – that clearly sets the mood to the Holidays, which have arrived.

Did you happen to taste Georges Duboeuf or any other Beaujolais Nouveau wines? What do you think? Happy Holidays and Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Wine Spectotor Top 100, Perfect Holiday Gift Solution, and more

November 20, 2013 4 comments

Duboeuf Beaujolais wines 5Meritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #82, grape trivia – Gamay.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about red grape called Gamay. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Gamay is closely associated with every third Thursday in November. Can you explain why?

A1: Beaujolais Nouveau is coming into town! While Beaujolais Nouveau was always the first wine of the harvest to be delivered to the restaurants and shops in Europe, in 1985 the phenomenon became more organized, settling on the third Thursday of November to make the new release available.

Q2: Carbonic maceration is an important method in production of wines made out of Gamay. Can you briefly explain what is carbonic maceration and how does it helps here?

A2: Carbonic maceration is a process where the grapes in a sealed tank are subjected to the flow of CO2, which start fermenting the juice inside of the whole grapes before they will be crushed. The resulting wine becomes fruity with very low presence of tannins. This process is particularly used inproduction of Beaujolais Nouveau and other Beaujolais wines. For more information, please refer to Wikipedia article.

Q3: Fill in the blanks: In Beaujolais, Fleuri is considered to produce the most ___ wine, and Moulin-à-Vent produces the most ___ wines.

A3: In Beaujolais, Fleuri is considered to produce the most feminine wine, and Moulin-à-Vent produces the most masculine wines. Feminine and Masculine are the descriptors typically used by wine professionals to describe the wines of Fleuri and Moulin-à-Vent wines.

Q4: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Brouilly, b. Côte de Brouilly, c. Côte Chalonnaise, d. Juliénas, e. Régnié

A4: c. Côte Chalonnaise. The other four names are part of Cru de Beaujolais ten villages, but Côte Chalonnaise doesn’t belong there (it is an AOC in Burgundy).

Q5: True or False: Beaujolais Nouveau wines can be aged for a few years before consumption.

A5: False. The whole point of aging the wine is to wait for it to develop further in the bottle and become more enjoyable. Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be enjoyed right away and should be consumed by May of next year – it doesn’t improve in the bottle.

So for the winners, Jeff the drunken cyclist continues his winning streak – he got correctly 5 out of 5, including the difficult question #3. Great job, Jeff – unlimited bragging rights are yours! I would like to also acknowledge Wayward Wine,Whine And Cheers For Wine and Eat with Namie  who all correctly answered 4 questions out of 5. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

On Monday, November 18th, Wine Spectator published their Top 100 list of Wines. Yes, I know, many dismiss the whole notion of Wine Spectator ratings and Top lists as closely associated with the advertizement dollars spent with publication. True or not, but I still have a lot of respect to Wine Spectator and definitely curios to see their “top wines” list. As Wine Spectator celebrates 25th anniversary, they whole web site is open to the public (typically it requiressubscription). I would highly recommend that you will take advantage of this opportunity and explore the site which has a great wealth of wine information. Also, here is the link to the WS Top 100 wines of 2013. I have to admit that I’m happy with Wine Spectator’s choice for the wine of the year – 2004 Cune Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva. In general, Cune Imperial makes great wines, and I think it is an excellent choice for the wine of the year.

Thinking about holiday gifts? Does your list include any wine lovers? If yes, you are in luck, but you will need to act quick. On December 2nd, WTSO will conduct a Gift Marathon (full info can be found here). As a traditional WTSO Marathon, there will be no announcements of new wines. But each wine will come gift packaged, with one bottle and two varietally correct Riedel glasses in the box. Most importantly – free shipping on each package (no minimums), and each packaged can be shipped directly to your gift recipient – this is the best part! Prices start from $44.95 per box (free shipping). I think this is a deal not to be missed, so point your browser to WTSO on December 2nd and happy hunting!

You know Wine-Searcher is a great resource for finding the wines online and comparing the prices. Are you curious what the other people looking for on the wine-searcher? Here is an interesting article, which tells you what the consumers in America are looking for. Based on the article, looks like most of the times people are looking for red Bordeaux blends – which makes sense, as there are a lot more Bordeaux blends produced nowadays. Anyway, for your own analysis and lots more data, take a look at the article.

When you make dinner, how often do you think about what wine should be opened for the food you are serving? Sometimes the pairing can be quite difficult, so I have no problems taking my food and wine separately. But when you hit the mark and the wine and food “work” together, it becomes the whole new level of experience. To help you in this process of pairing food and wine, here is the link to the web site I recently came across – I think it has a lot of good suggestions. Take a look – you might be able to pleasantly surprise yourself and your guests during your next dinner.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Tempranillo Day, Beaujolais Nouveau Coming Up, The Widow Who Reinvented Champagne, and more

November 13, 2013 8 comments

DSC_0185 Retro Cellars Petite SirahMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #81, grape trivia – Petite Sirah.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about red grape called Petite Sirah. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Name the grape: In California, Petite Sirah is a popular blending addition to ___?

A1: Zinfandel. You can find a small percentage of Petite Sirah (5% – 10%) in many Zinfandel bottlings

Q2: When it comes to the wines in the United States, there is an interesting similarity between the Petite Sirah and Primitivo. Can you explain?

A2: The similarity comes from the fact that both Petite Sirah and Primitivo were the part of the same request to the TTB (government organization in charge of labeling), to allow use of Durif interchangeably with Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel with Primitivo. It is interesting to note that contrary to the information in Wikipedia, which says that both requests were never resolved, it appears that Durif is officially recognized as a synonym to Petite Sirah, while Primitivo and Zinfandel are not – you can find the complete list of the approved names through the link to the list of approved grape names in this US government document.

Q3: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Arizona, b. Illinois, c. New Mexico, d. New York, e. Texas

A3: d. New York – there is no Petite Sirah wines produced in New York (at least in the meaningful quantities).

Q4: In the bad, rainy growing season conditions in California, Petite Sirah can be a savior – can you explain why and how does it help?

A4: As the Petite Sirah is mildew resistant and provides supple tannins, color and structure, in the bad years it can be added to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other wines to improve the quality.

Q5: What love has to do with the Petite Sirah?

A5: “P.S. I Love You” is a consortium dedicated to the promotion of Petite Sirah wines.

Talking about the results, the drunken cyclist continues his winning streak, so he gets ( again) the prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

First of all, tomorrow, November 14th, is an International Tempranillo Day! Tempranillo, the noble grape of Spain and Portugal, and rising star of Texas, is a source of many wonderful long-living wines, and it is definitely the grape worth celebrating. TAPAS, the society of producers and advocates of Tempranillo, lists a number of events celebrating the grape. But you don’t even need to go anywhere to celebrate the Tempranillo – just grab a bottle, may be of Magnificent Rioja (but really, any Tempranillo wine will do), pour, smell, sip and enjoy!

Now, the next Thursday, November 21st, is a third Thursday in November. Do you know what it means? Yes, you are right – Beaujolais Nouveau! Every third Thursday in November, the young Beaujolais wine of the same year’s vintage, called Beaujolais Nouveau, is becoming available in all the wine stores around the world. It is not just the wine – Beaujolais Nouveau also means celebration and fun. Don’t forget to get the bottle and join the festivities!

I’m sure you know that classic Champagne with the yellow label on it – Veuve Cliquot, which would literally translate into a “widow Cliquot”. But do you know the role the Barbe-Nicole Cliquot Ponsardin, the actual person behind that label, played in pretty much enabling the whole Champagne industry to exist, and for the mere mortals to be able to afford a bottle of Champagne? Barbe-Nicole’s  perseverance and her invention of the riddling were some of the key elements in making Champagne into what we readily enjoy today. Here is an article for you which is definitely worth reading – it is somewhat long but very fascinating and will be well worth your time.  And you might even complement the reading with the glass of Champagne in your hand – it will be very appropriate.

Last piece I want to bring to your attention is Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2013 list, gradually exposed at the rate of a few wines per day at the Wine Spectator web site. There are various contests taking place right now to predict the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year 2013, including the one which Wine Spectator runs by itself. So far the Wines #10 – #7 had been revealed, and more wines will be announced every day finishing with the Wine of the Year on Friday, November 15th. The full top 100 list will be published on Monday, November 18th. Looking at the 4 of the top 10 announced so far, I can only say that I’m a bit surprised. One of the selection criteria for the Top 10 is affordability – with the wines #10 and #9 priced at $135, and wines #8 and #7 priced at $120, I feel like I missed the memo about substantial increase in my salary, as those prices are definitely outside of the “affordable” realm, at least in my book. Also, as “availability” is another factor, highly allocated Quilceida Creek (wine #10) makes it also an interesting choice. I plan to come back to this subject next week, when the full Top 100 list will be announced – but any of your comments meanwhile will be most welcome. 

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!