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Posts Tagged ‘secret wine santa’

The Post Which Could Have Many Names

May 29, 2016 8 comments

Blog post title is something I consider to be important, may be even essential. Good title facilitates the flow of thoughts and actually, once I get a title in and I’m happy with it, the writing usually flows effortlessly.

The post you are reading could’ve have many different titles, such as “More Creative Wine Labels”, “City Winery with Worldly Wines”, “Secret Wine Santa Over-delivers”, “Art in and of the Wine Labels”, or “Better Late Than Never” and I’m sure I would be able to come up with a few more – hence the title you see at the top. As for all of these possible titles – read on and you will figure it out.

As some of you know, there is a game of Secret Wine Santa, originated by Jeff a.k.a The Drunken Cyclist – here is Jeff’s post about it from the last year. The game, of course, is played closer to the actual Santa-related period. All participants get assigned a random recipient, who then gets from the secret Wine Santa one or two bottles of wine, preferably arriving before Thanksgiving. If you think that I have a nerve talking about Wine Santa when the temperatures on the East Coast are trailing above 90°F – well, may be I do. But I have an excuse – I always wanted to play this game twice a year, but shipping wine during summer is not good for the wine, so much for that thought – but then at least I get to talk about it (no, I didn’t plan it like that – life did).

Of course the Santa stays secret only until the wine arrives. When I opened the box, I found a nice handwritten note from Nancy Koziol, introducing me to the two absolutely gorgeous looking bottles from the winery I never heard of, called Brooklyn Oenology:

Brooklyn Oenology

Going beyond the beautiful labels, it turned out that the wines are produced by Brooklyn Oenology, the first urban winery in the New York City – they have a tasting room open in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, so technically right in my backyard (still never visited them so far). Brooklyn Oenology, or BOE for short, sources their grapes from around the New York state (as you can see below in the wine descriptions) and in the future they even plan to bring actual winemaking facilities into Brooklyn.

Now, talking about the labels – not only they are beautiful, but to top that off, BOE really thought of the people like myself, who spend countless hours trying to neatly peal off the labels from the bottles for the notes journals. These labels are peel off labels – how smart is that! I can’t help it not to share this paragraph from the About page on the BOE web site:

“In addition to sourcing New York grapes, BOE draws upon the Brooklyn and greater New York areas to create its identity. Each wine’s label showcases contemporary art by a Brooklyn artist and features a new piece of work for each vintage. They’re not just for viewing; they are double-layer, easy-to-peel stickers, so the customer can preserve the artwork”.

What is most important, that these wines are not just labels – they are first and foremost, unique, different and delicious wines.

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For what it worth, here are my notes:

2012 Brooklyn Oenology Gewürztraminer Finger lakes, New York (12.8% ABV, 100% Gewurztraminer, fermented with skin and seeds)
C: concentrated gold, the wine is made with the “orange wine” methodology
N: concentrated honeyed fruit initially, but then quite closed, not perfumy at all, which is usually a trait of Gewürztraminer
P: very unusual, more of a qvevri style, clean acidity, very restrained, but opens up to some nice finish with touch of fruit.
V: 8-, very thought provoking, interesting wine

2010 Brooklyn Oenology Motley Cru North Fork of Long Island, New York (13.5% ABV, 57% Merlot, 19% Syrah, 14% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon)
C: dark garnet
N: warm, inviting, ripe sweet fruit, blueberries
P: medium to full body, soft, round, fresh fruit, touch of pepper, violet, clean acidity, excellent balance, long lingering finish. On the third day the wine became even more polished. Delicious.
V: 8, an excellent bottle of wine, good for all occasions.

Here is the story of [yet again] boundless creativity and passion in the world of wine. Thank you wine Santa for this wonderful discovery – and I already can’t wait to see what next November might bring. Cheers!

Did the Wine Santa Delivered? Mine did!

December 25, 2014 16 comments

wine santaHey secret Wine Santas and their equally secret gift recipients, are you there? I know that the secret Wine Santa mission was once again orchestrated by The Drunken Cyclist (here is the secret post about it). If you are not familiar with the “Secret Wine Santa” operation, it works as any secret Santa game often played in the offices, only better, because there is no chance of getting wine themed underwear, you can only get wine.

All the participants provide their addresses to the Secret Wine Santa headquarters, i.e. Jeff aka The Drunken Cyclist, who then magically assigns the Santas with their respective recipients, and voila – the wine magically appears at your door step, sent directly from the North Pole and delivered by the reindeer, or something like that. Anyway, you got the idea.

I put on my Santa’s hat and send two bottles of wine – 2007 Krupp Brothers Black Bart Marsanne Napa Valley and 2011 Michel Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda Shiraz Victoria, Australia. I can tell you that my work was only 50% successful – my recipient, who will remain secret, doesn’t like white wines with the oak on them, so Marsanne didn’t really work. However, for all I understand, Mathilda Shiraz became a nice surprise, as it was for me, with its pronounced peppery qualities. All in all, I think I did okay as a Secret wine Santa, but there is definitely a room for improvement.

The best part of the Wine Santa game is that it is a two way street – you send wine, but you also receive wine! I don’t know if this was an accident or a deliberate decision, but my “secret” Santa was Chef Mimi – who was my wine recipient last year. The wine, which arrived a while back, was accompanied by a very nice letter, explaining why Chef Mimi have chosen this wine for me – it is one of her favorite wines. The letter also gave me the story of the people who make this wine, who are Chef Mimi’s neighbors.

Erba Vineyards Proprietary Red It took me a while to find a good moment to open the wine, and finally I did. I used my trusted VersoVino to help the wine to breathe a little faster, but with or without it, what a treat it was!

Erba Vineyards is located in the Napa Valley at a high elevation site (1100 – 1500 feet above sea level) near Atlas Mountain. The vineyard was planted in 1998 with 5 of the Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot) and Syrah, with majority of plantings (70%) been Cabernet Sauvignon. First commercial release of Erba Vineyards wines was in 2003.

The wine my secret Santa have chosen was 2007 Erba Mountainside Vineyards Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley (14.8% ABV, $55, definitely a Bordeaux blend but composition is unknown). On the nose, the wine had beautiful, very fragrant bouquet of cassis with touch of herbs. One the palate… How should I describe the palate to you… Polished? Elegant? Textbook? Yes, all of that and more. Layers of fruit, cassis and blackberries, ripe and succulent, but not overripe at all. Underneath of the fruit, layers of herbs – sage, eucalyptus, may be a touch of mint. All interweaved  together into a beautiful, firm package with clean acidity and perfect, impeccable balance. A textbook Bordeaux blend and one very beautiful wine, which was gone in no time. I generally don’t like to rate presents, but if I have to – Drinkability: 9-

There you have it my friends. If you had been on the either side of our wine Santa game, I hope to read about your experience. And if you had not, I hope you will join us next year, it is fun! It is so much fun that I’m even thinking we should have a summer mid-year rehearsal.

Thank you very much Secret Santa Chef Mimi for the delicious wine! And to all of you who celebrates, Merry Christmas! Cheers!

 

 

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