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Summing up Wine Blogging Wednesday, Plus Some Surprises

March 25, 2012 1 comment

 

In my last post about Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, I promised to sum up the experience with my Single – 2007 Mara Pinot Noir Laughlin Road Ranch, Russian River Valley, so here we go.

When I tasted 2007 Mara Pinot Noir about 1.5 years ago (October of 2010, here are the notes), the wine was coming out as big and brooding, with wide shoulders, and tremendous elegance and balance. One and a half years later, the wine took on a lot more subtle expression, coming out in elegant layers. Here are more detailed notes: Blueberries and blackberries on the nose, with a hint of nutmeg. Lots of red fruit on the palate, fresh strawberries and red plums, lots of tannins. More tannins. More tannins. Good acidity, and good balance. Lots of pleasure.

I always like to leave some amount of wine to be tasted at the next day just to see how the wine develops and what might be the aging potential (pumping the air out with Vacuvin) – this is exactly what I did with this wine. It became even more mellow than the day before, but still had lots of tannins in the finish, and perpetual elegance. I think this wine has at least another 8-10 years to reach its peak, so will see how it will develop. All in all, it was a great experience for the Singles night.

Now let’s talk about the surprises. When I was reaching out for the bottle of Mara Pinot the day after Singles night, I noticed a bottle standing next to it with the Vacuvin rubber cork on top. This was a bottle of M. Cosentino California Ol’ Red – I completely forgot about this wine, which by now was standing there for 6 days. Oops was the first thought – this is going to the dump. It was nice and very drinkable when it was open on Saturday, but now, on Thursday? Also interestingly enough, this wine can’t be any further from Singles which I had the night before – if you remember our discussion about single vineyards, this Ol’ Red wine is made from the grapes coming from the biggest circle – entire California, and to top it off, it is not even a single vintage wine, as it doesn’t have vintage designation on the label.

Well, I have to give a chance to any wine, can’t just dump it – I have to at least give it a try, right? So with the first sip came literally a Wow emotion ( from oops to the wow) – the wine practically didn’t change since Saturday! It was still coming out as nice and complex red. Dark cherries and dark chocolate on the nose, more dark chocolate and cinnamon on the palate, blueberry jam, good tannins and good acidity (Drinkability: 8-). Coupled with the fact that this wine costs $11.99, you get here quite a value. I’ve had a very few wines which would last that long after the bottle was open (well, some of them, like Dunn Cabernet, need 6 days just to start opening, but this is whole another story), hence the nice surprise.

That’s all, folks. Let’s raise the glass to the great surprises in our lives. Cheers!

 

War Of The Glasses: Does Wine Glass Matters?

July 6, 2011 4 comments

Of course the topic of wine glasses and their effect on wine’s perceived quality (which includes smell, taste and overall pleasure) is a very popular subject among wine lovers (professionals are also not immune to such discussions). I have no intention to claim any original or unique thoughts on the subject – instead, I want to merely report on my own personal experiment.

We started with 6 different glasses and a bottle of wine. For this experiment, I wanted to use a wine with classic flavor profile, nothing too obscure – seems that Cabernet Sauvignon would ideally fit the bill. I can tell you now that I was moderately happy with the choice of wine. While I like Cosentino wines, this 2005 Cosentino Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was more fruit forward than I appreciate, but still it was not a very bad choice.

The glasses included: Riedel Cabernet Sauvignon Glass, Riedel Universal tasting (also can be called “restaurant special”, 489 0 in Riedel nomenclature) glass (holds 20 oz), a wide open, almost “square” glass (don’t know if it has a special name), small (8 oz) universal tasting glass, plastic cup and small paper cup.


Now for the notes (results are presented in the exact succession as glasses were assessed):

Riedel Cabernet Glass:
Nose: big concentration, noticeable alcohol, smell of a wet dog (must be something wrong with me)
Palate: lots of fruit, black currant, still quite sharp

Riedel Universal (489 0):
Nose: good concentration of the fruit, alcohol is less noticeable
Palate: very good fruit, round taste

“Square” glass:
Nose: some fruit are a bit more open (black currant), overall less alcohol, less fruit concentration.
Palate: taste is ok, a bit less of everything

Small universal tasting glass (8 oz):
Nose: almost like previous one, noticeable fruit
Palate: the softest of all! Nice round fruit

Plastic cup:
Nose: literally nothing
Palate: ok, similar to the one above

Paper cup:
Nose: none
Palate: bad

Let’s try to come up with some conclusions now. I think two universal tasting glasses fared the best – size difference didn’t matter. Of course bigger glass was more convenient to use, but outside of aesthetics of wine appearance in a bigger glass, they delivered literally the same flavor and taste. We can also safely say that paper cups shouldn’t be used if you are drinking wine to enjoy it (that was a definite looser). Plastic cup can be used, but you will lose the pleasure of the smell, so if you can avoid it, then avoid it. “Square” glass was okay, but again you will be losing on the aroma details. Lastly, Riedel Cabernet glass still requires more experiments. It was definitely not the best glass in this tasting, but I believe that it might enhance the taste of some particular Cabernet wine, most likely less alcohol, old-world style wine, where it will actually be able to enhance subtle aromas and flavors.

For now, don’t drink your wine from the paper cups, and save the money by avoiding those super-expensive “specialty” glasses, and you will do quite well. And if you have an opinion (different one? even better!) – leave a comment, and let’s have a debate. Cheers!

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