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Posts Tagged ‘#MWWC4’

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Chateau Latour, Natural Wines, Sauternes 2013 and more

October 30, 2013 7 comments

Inniskillin Cab Franc Ice WineMeritage time!

Let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #79, grape trivia – Cabernet Franc. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about red grape called Cabernet Franc. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: One of the most famous wines in the world has Cabernet Franc as a major (2/3 or so) components of its blend. Do you know what wine is that?

A1: Unimitable Château Cheval Blanc uses at least 2/3 of Cabernet Franc grapes in their main wine

Q2: Cabernet Franc has a special relationship with the frost. Can you explain that?

A2: Icewine! The grapes should be frozen on the vine in order to produce the Icewine. While Icewine was typically produced from the white grapes, Inniskillin estate in Ontario was one of the pioneers who started producing Icewine from the red grapes, namely Cabernet Franc.

Q3: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Bourgueil, b. Chinon, c. Saumur-Champigny, d. Saint-Chinian

A3: Saint-Chinian. It is an AOC in Languedoc area which doesn’t make wines out of Cabernet Franc. The other three AOCs are located in the Loire, and all make Cabernet Franc wines.

Q4: This unique grape grows only in one place in the world, and it is a cross between Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Do you know what grape it is?

A4: Caberlot. I admit this was a difficult question. However, I mentioned this grape before, when I discovered it during VinItaly tasting this year (here is the link).

Q5: In Italy, Cabernet Franc is often confused for another rare Bordeaux grape. Do you know the name of that rare grape?

A5: Carmenere.

Looking at the results, we don’t have a winner today – however, both Frankly Wine and Eat with Namie get honorable mentions for properly answering 4 questions out of 5. Well done!

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

Boy, what an eclectic mix I have for you today! First, just a quick last minute reminder – #MWWC4 vote closes today. If you still didn’t read and vote, you might have your last chance to do it here.

Now, how much do you know about Chateau Latour? Same as the most, you probably heard of it as a producer of one of the most sought-after wines in the world, and you probably know that it is generally very expensive. Recently, Chateau Latour made a lot of press by pulling out of the En primeur (wine futures) system, where wines are acquired by consumers before they are actually released, hedging both on saving the money and availability of the wine. Here is the link to the Wine-Searcher article, where you can actually learn a lot of interesting facts about Chateau Latour. I also want to mention that Wine-searcher website is really becoming a great source of wine information, not just the price comparison tool.

Next subject – Natural wines. How much do you know about natural wines? What do you think of them as a category? Well, the article I want to bring to your attention is not exactly natural wine 101 tutorial, but it is rather a rant by the Europe’s Best Sommelier of 2013, Arvid Rosengren, who is based in Copenhagen. A lot of his comments are most relevant for the local food and wine scene, but nevertheless, it makes a very interesting read.

Are you a fan of Sauternes, a sweet wine gems from Bordeaux? If you are, I have a good news for you – 2013 is a great year, and you should be looking for these wines when they will be released. Contrary to 2012, when Chateau d’Yquem, the most coveted producer in Sauternes, decided not to produce their flagship Chateau d’Yquem wine, 2013 harvest shows a lot of botrytised grapes, which is a necessity to produce sweet wines in Sauternes. By the way, if you like red Bordeaux, 2013 doesn’t look all that great. Here is the link to the article where you can learn more.

The last piece I have for you has nothing to do with wine. It is written by Kimberly at whiskeytangofoxtrot4 blog, where she is talking about the power of the words. While her post, called Word, sounds rather personal, I think it is a very powerful writing and it definitely will worth few minutes of your time.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty, but the refill is on its way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Global Champagne Day, Dishcrawl SoNo, Tempranillo Day and more

October 23, 2013 6 comments
Arrayán Petit Verdot, Spain

Arrayán Petit Verdot, Spain

Meritage time!

Let’s start from the answer to the wine quiz #78, grape trivia – Petit Verdot. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions regarding the red grape called Petit Verdot. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Explain the meaning of the name Petit Verdot

A1: Petit Verdot stands for the “little green”, as a reference to the small size of the grapes and the tendency to retain green (underripe) grapes even at the harvest time

Q2: Name four grapes, main blending partners of Petit Verdot in France

A2: We are talking about classic Bordeaux five here, the blending partners of Petit Verdot are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec

Q3: True or False: Australia’s plantings of Petit Verdot far exceed the plantings of Petit Verdot in France

A3: True. Australia embraced Petit Verdot starting from the second half of the 18th century, increasing its plantings, where Petit Verdot plantings in France had being on the downturn for a while.

Q4: While Petit Verdot is a difficult grape to work with, two events were major contributors to the demise of Petit Verdot in Bordeaux. Can you name those two events?

A4: Phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800s and the frost of 1956. As a difficult to grow and not essential grape, Petit Verdot followed the path of Malbec, with a dramatic reduction in plantings after the cataclysmic events.

Q5: While it is not impossible to find a pure 100% Petit Verdot wines made in Bordeaux, those wines are rather the exceptions. What is the typical percentage of Petit Verdot in Bordeaux blends?

A5: It is very often 1% to 2%, and in general stays under 5%. There are exceptions, of course.

Bonus question: what was your personal encounter with Petit Verdot? Do you have any memorable bottles?

Australia, Spain and [interestingly enough] Long Island, New York come to mind when I think of single-grape Petit Verdot bottlings. Some of the wines were just purely spectacular, like 2007 Jamesport Petit Verdot  from Long Island, or this 2007 Arrayán Petit Verdot from Spain.

I’m glad to report that we had a good participation in the quiz, and most importantly, we have a lot of winners! Patrick Kleiner (who has no web site), the drunken cyclist and Vino in Love are all correctly answered all 5 questions, so they are our ultimate winners and get unlimited bragging rights. Well done! I also want to mention Duff’s Wines and Eat with Namie as they both made only minor mistakes and got about 4.5 correctly out of 5, so they both get an honorable mention.

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

I don’t have much of the interesting reads for you today, so it is mostly various events announcements.

First, don’t forget that Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #4 (#MWWC4) is in its final hours  – it ends today, on October 23rd. The theme is “oops” – send your submission over to TheWineKat, and best to do it on Twitter with the hash tag #MWWC4.

Next, it appears that this coming Friday, October 25th, is a Global Champagne Day 2013 (I’m sure TheDrunkenCyclist is oozing with joy :- ) ). You have an option of finding a good place to celebrate in style, or just crack open whatever sparking goodness your heart desires, and celebrate the celebration drink!

While you still have time to get ready, don’t miss the International Tempranillo Day coming up on November 14th. There are plenty of Tempranillo events happening all over the country, and the good Tempranillo bottle is so easy to find nowadays, you have no excuse to miss this celebration.

Last but not least, at least for the local Connecticut foodies, Dishcrawl event is for South Norwalk (SoNo) will take place on November 20th. Based on my recent dining experiences in South Norwalk, this event shouldn’t be missed! For more details and to get your tickets, please visit Dishcrawl site.

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

Wine’s Oops Moments

October 22, 2013 14 comments

MWWC_logoThe Monthly Wine Writing Challenge started about four month ago with the goal to take the wine bloggers to the “next level” – one single word sets the theme, and all the willing wine bloggers create their best interpretation of the theme and its connection with the world of wine. In those four month the challenge themes went from “Transportation” to “Trouble”, then to “Possession”, and now to the current theme “Oops“, as set by the winner of the previous round, The Wine Kat.

Opps. What is the first thing which comes to mind when you here that short, but extremely universal expression? I don’t know about you, but somehow the first association for me was the song. I know I can’t compete with Food and Wine Hedonist when it comes to the hedonistic references to the popular culture, but in any case, Britney Spears “Oops, I did it again” was the very first thing which came to mind when I read the new theme, so here it is:

Yep, this video has nothing to do with wine, so let’s try to find our track here.

Life is generally filled with “oops” moments. Some can be funny, some can be sad. Some can be innocent, and some can be deadly, like missing the stop sign at a busy four-way intersection. The worst part of the oops moments is that they keep happening over and over, as we forget to learn from the previous ones. Technically, you are not supposed to step on the same rake twice, nevertheless, we like doing it over and over again.

Wine world is particularly prone to the oops moments. Problem is that you try one wine, and you think that you know them all. While there are so many factors affecting the taste of wine at a given moment – you mood, food, surroundings, company, price, label, your friend’s opinion, how long the bottle was open, is it at the optimal temperature… had enough? Nevertheless, it is enough to have one Chardonnay from Napa Valley not to our liking, where we will immediately generalize and come to the conclusion – okay, I’m not drinking Napa Chardonnay, just period – I had one, I know them all. That alone is a great source of the oops moments. But that is not all. Additionally, we are often not shy at all to state our opinion, as people think they have to have an opinion about wine, and it should be expressed, loud and clear – “yes, of course, they only make cheap wine in Australia”, “yes, I already had the Bordeaux once – it is a complete crap”.  Often, it seems that wine simply breeds arrogance and snobbery – which leads to the multiple embarrassing oops moments.

Overcoming this tendency is actually a hard work, and we really need to keep the focus to stay humble and thoughtful around wine – for our own good.

Let me give you an example of couple of my own profound, embarrassing oops moments. About 6 years ago, I visited Ridge winery in California in Santa Cruz region. Ridge had being making wines since 1962, and has somewhat of the cult following, especially for their Monte Bello Cab. I visited the winery with the friend, and we were also on the mission to find a good bottle (at the reasonable price) to bring it that same evening for dinner at another friend’s house. So we tasted through the full line of wines, and we didn’t like a single one of them. I don’t know what could’ve caused that – may be it was a Root day for me, may be I was just in the wrong mood for the tasting, may be something else. But the important thing is that based on that tasting, I made a strong conclusion for myself – Ridge doesn’t make good wines, it is all marketing fluff. Then about 3 years ago, I saw a tweet from Jancis Robinson, where she mentioned that she is working on the line of classic wineries for a big tasting, and she is including Ridge as one of the exemplary wineries in US. Here comes me, who already tasted Ridge once, and therefore I’m an expert on the subject, with the comment that I don’t understand why is she even mentioning it, as I was at the winery and didn’t like any of their wines. Jancis responds to my comment that she disagrees, and Ridge shows perfect sense of place. Next thing someone sees my comment and gets very upset as it is impossible not to like Ridge, and if I don’t like it, I have to be blocked (I even wrote the post about it). Well, no, we didn’t get to the oops moment yet.

Then, about 8 month later, I was again in the close proximity of Ridge, and decided to give it another try. I don’t know what was different that time – may be a cheerful girl who was pouring the wine, a different weather, a flower or fruit day – don’t know, but… I not only liked the wine, I loved each and every wine I tasted (here is my post about the experience). Now, here you have a classic oops moment. I wish I could’ve kept quite in that twitter dialog with Jancis, I really wish I would’ve kept my opinion to myself – but no, I had to show my expertise – and eat my embarrassment thereafter.

In the spirit of “oops, I did it again”, I need to give you another example, this one is a very recent one. You see, I like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – fresh grapefruit, lemongrass, vivid acidity – very nice wine in general. I know that you can buy the majority of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the range of $10 to $16, and they will be very good wines for the most of the cases. And then there is Cloudy Bay – a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which typically costs $26 or more. In my mind, the picture is clear – what can be so different about Cloudy Bay compare to any SB which is $10 to $16 cheaper – I had the others, I’m sure it can’t taste any differently (smart and not arrogant at all, right?). Then I see a blog post by Stefano, where he speaks very highly about Cloudy Bay, and the little genius inside gets me to make a comment that Cloudy Bay can’t be so much better and different to warrant paying that much more money for the bottle.

And then I come to the trade tasting, and see the Cloudy Bay being poured. I take the first sip, and it becomes my instant “oops” and “oh sh!t” moment, as the wine is stunningly beautiful, and of course I will be glad to pay more money for it – as it is really different from the mainstream.

There you have it my friends. The oops moments are unpleasant, and they will hunt you down – it really worth an effort to avoid at least the repetitions. Stay open, stay humble and keep learning – the wine world is yours to enjoy. Cheers!

P.S. If you got your own glorious “oops” moment and you are willing to share – this is what the comments section is for…

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC4 Theme, Merlot is Back!, And a Few Videos

October 9, 2013 15 comments

Meritage time!

Let’s start from the answer to our weekly wine quiz #76, grape trivia – Roussanne. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Roussanne.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Explain the source of the name Roussanne

A1: Name Roussanne most like comes from the word “roux”, which refers to the reddish color of the grapes.

Q2: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Hermitage, b. Côte-Rôtie, c. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, d. St.-Joseph

A2: b. Côte-Rôtie. Roussanne is allowed to be blended into the red wines of the three other regions – but the white grape allowed to be used in Côte-Rôtie is Viognier.

Q3: Outside of Northern Rhône, the traditional bending partner of Roussanne is…

A3: Grenache Blanc is the most popular blending partner for Roussanne outside of Northern Rhône

Q4: Roussanne was re-introduced in California in the 1980s, only to be proven in the late 1990s to be not the Roussanne but another grape. Do you know what grape was that?

A4: Viognier. Randall Grahm, winemaker from Bonny Doon winery, brought [illegally] a number of cuttings of supposedly Roussanne from France at the beginning of 1980s. In 1998 it was found that the grape is actually Viognier, not the Roussanne.

Q5: One of the first California “Roussanne” wines from the 1980s had a specific name. Can you name that wine?

A5: The “Roussanne” wine was produced by Randall Grahm under the name of Le Sophiste.

Sadly, there was very little participation in this quiz – I have to acknowledge Julian at VinoInLove, who was a sole participant – thank you Julian! I guess I’m going to far into the vineyard with some of my latest quizzes… Well, one more white grape, and we are switching back to the red right after.

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

First of all, we have a new theme for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge! Now in its 4th round, it is hosted by The Wine Kat, winner of the round #3. The theme of the #MWWC4 is… OOPS!, and I can tell you that oops is looming, as the submission deadline is already very close, it is only two weeks away – October 23rd. Get your writing pants… oops, may be glass? Writing hat? Well, whatever oops gets you moving, get it on and start writing. The theme announcement and all the important dates can be found here.

Just a quick question at the moment. What do you think of Merlot? Do you still have an image of Miles “I’m not drinking no #$%^ Merlot”, or does it trickle back to you table and Cellar? Well, I can tell you that about 100 Merlot producers from California want to make sure you will once again look at Merlot seriously. Tomorrow, October 10th, is actually the start of #MerlotMe, a month-long celebration of Merlot, taking place both with the live events and all over the social media. You can find more details about the festivities here – and don’t wait, grab your bottle already!

Continuing the theme of Merlot, I wanted to share with you this video, made by one of the Merlot pioneers, Gundlach Bundschu:

And for no other reason, but just for your enjoyment on this Wine Wednesday, here is the video which I wanted to share a while ago – a “Blurred Lines” parody, made by the enterprising folks at Jordan (in addition to making great wines, they also have one of the best social media outreach in the wine industry):

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!

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