Posts Tagged ‘spanish wine festival’

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Chinese Terroirs, #MWWC3 Last Chance, [again] Wine Reviews and more

September 18, 2013 10 comments

Y d'YquemMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #73, grape trivia – Sémillon.

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

Q1: Name a grape, primary blending partner of Sémillon

A1: Sauvignon Blanc. While Muscadelle is also allowed as part of the blend in Bordeaux, the most popular combination worldwide is Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Q2: Below is the list of years. There  is something common between all of them (and of course it has a relationship with Sémillon) – do you know what is common among those years?

1930, 1952, 1964, 1974, 2012

A2: This is a partial list of years when Château d’Yquem Sauternes, the most famous Sauternes wine, was not produced. Since 1825, there were only 10 years when d’Yquem Sauternes was not produced: 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992 and 2012.

Q3: Ture or False: Sauternes produces only sweet wines

A3: False. Dry wines are also produced in Sauternes, under a designation of Bordeaux Supérieur. Example – “Y” by Château d’Yquem, 50% Sémillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc.

Q4: Name a key factor for the great tasting dry Sémillon wines

A4: Bottle age. While acidity is important, dry Sémillon wines, such as those produced in the Hunter Valley in Australia,  are known to fully develop and really blossom after about 10 years of age in the bottle.

Q5: What is Semageddon?

A5: Semageddon is a new annual event in Napa Valley, created to celebrate Sémillon grape. You can read more about the event here.

This was somewhat of a difficult quiz. We don’t have a winner, but we have three people who get an honorable mention – the drunken cyclist, EatwithNamie and Vinoinlove.

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

What do you know about wine in China? Do you think China will be able to produce the wines we will all crave? Well, can’t tell you about the craving yet, but the hard work already started. Here is an interesting blog post from The Wine Economist blog, talking about the Chinese Terroir quest which is already under way.

Another interesting post is coming from the Joe Roberts of a 1WineDude fame. Joe is bringing up a well beaten subject of the wine reviews, relevance of the wine critics, collective wisdom of the crowd-sourced wine reviews (yep, of course the CellarTracker) and more. You can read the post here, and of course please make sure to read through all the comments.  I personally don’t understand why is it so popular and necessary to return to this subject over and over again. I might respond with the rant of my own – if I do, you will be the first to know.

Next important subject: Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #3 is almost over! You need to make a final effort to convert your obsession into possession, and finally publish that blog post. Submission deadline is September 23rd, and for more details please check this formal announcement with all the rules and dates.

As I mentioned last week, Spanish Wine Festival is coming to New York City. If you love Spanish wines and want to taste something amazing, don’t miss this event! For more details and tickets please click here.

And one more event I want to bring to your attention. If you love (or at least like) whiskey, this is the right event for you. WhiskeyFest is coming to New York on October 11-12. For more details and tickets, please use this link.

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, Oh No, Don’t Lose The Bottle, Wine Prices, Reminders and more

September 11, 2013 5 comments
Donna Paula Torrontes

Donna Paula Torrontés

Meritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #72, grape trivia – Torrontés.

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

Q1: Name three varietals of Torrontés growing in Argentina

A1: Torrontés Riojano, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino

Q2: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 90-94 range Outstanding. True or False: there are no Torrontés wines with Outstanding rating?

A2: True. The highest rated Torrontés from Bodega Colomé has a rating of 88 points.

Q3: As established by DNA analysis, Torrontés is a cross of two grapes. One of them is Muscat of Alexandria. The second grape played an important role in the early days of winemaking in the United States. Do you know what grape it is?

A3: Mission. Torrontés is a cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Mission grape, which used to be widely planted in California in the 1800s.

Q4: Most of the Torrontés is growing in pretty unique conditions, for most of the plantings being at a high altitude. Name one problem which needs to be controlled for the production of the high quality wines.

A4: Overproduction. Torrontés enjoys almost ideal growing conditions, with dry mountain air, no diseases and plenty of water – but that doesn’t allow grapes to concentrate the flavor and produce high quality wines.

Q5: True or False: Torrontés produces both dry and dessert wines

A5: True. Santa Julia, Susana Balbo and number of others produce Late Harvest Torrontés wines.

Talking about the results, I was glad that there we people who said that they had Torrontés before and they like it. And of course there were those who said that they never had it before – I hope this quiz will make at least one person curious enough to go and find a bottle of Torrontés to try – this shouldn’t be difficult at all. We have only one person who attempted to answer the questions – while Linda from Foxress didn’t answer all the questions correctly, she definitely gets an honorable mention for attempting to solve the quiz.

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

Boy, there are lots of things to talk about. First, I came across an interesting article by Chris Kassel, who writes an outstanding blog called “Intoxicology Report” – if you enjoy the high level of language sophistication almost to the point of reading challenge (for me it is), read Chris’s blog, I promise you will not regret. In this article, Chris shared his view on the latest series of commercials themed “Lose the Bottle” and produced by Black Box Wines. I don’t want to take away from your pleasure of reading Chris’s hilarious comments, so I recommend you will read the article first, and then watch the commercials.

Next, Steve Heimoff ponders at the high prices of the brand new wines in their first release (here is the link to the blog post). Steve is talking about new Central Coast wine made by Raj Parr (famous sommelier at RN74 in San Francisco) and released at measly $90/bottle; he is trying to figure out the logic and reason behind such a high introductory price. My personal view on the price of wine is that any price is possible, but in the free market, you have to have enough people willing to pay the money, and if you do – good for you, and if you don’t – you are out. The post is definitely an interesting read, and make sure to read through the comments, some of them being quite interesting.

Another post from Steve Heimoff is an excellent set of instructions for the perfect day in Napa Valley. I like his take on the tasting at the most of Napa vineyards nowadays (“slurp 3 of something for $25”), so if you are planning a Napa getaway, make sure to read this post which will help to improve the experience.

Now, a friendly reminder: you need to possess your possessions – the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #3 with the theme “Possession” is still on, with the deadline for submissions on September 23rd. Get possessed and write. All the rules and other important information can be found here.

Do you like Spanish wines? Do you live in New York City or in a close proximity of? Don’t miss Spanish Wine Festival 2013, taking place on October 4th at The Metropolitan Pavilion. This will be your great opportunity to experience Vega Sicilia, Emilio Moro, Clos Mogador, Clos Martinet, multiple Rioja verticals and many other outstanding wines. Click here for all the details.

And the last update for today. I changed my Top Wine Ratings page ( I mentioned it in the post yesterday), and I also added the menu links for my top dozen wines for 2010, 2011 and 2012 – for all of you who likes the lists, these are a few more to play with.

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!

Spanish Wine Festival, In Pictures

June 28, 2011 3 comments

About 10 days ago, I attended Spanish Wine Festival, organized by PJ Wine in New York. I can give you a summary of the event using only one word: Overwhelming. It is challenging to produce any kind of detailed summary, because there are literally no bad wines in such a well organized tasting event. There are some wines which will leave you indifferent, then there are some which are great, but not ready, and then there is great amount of wines where you go from “wow” to “wow, this is great” and to “wow” again. Therefore, I will simply give you a report in pictures. No, I didn’t get a picture of each and every wine I tried. All the wines shown below are personal favorites, and they are all highly recommended. And the good thing is that PJ Wine regularly carries most of them.

Well, let’s go.

1999 Vega Sicilia Unico and 2000 Vega Sicilia Unico, from Ribera del Duero. These are the wines to be experienced – balanced and luscious:

2006 Clos Mogador, Priorat – powerful and balanced:

Lopez de Heredia Vino Tondonia Rioja – 1976 Gran Reserva, 2000 Rosado and 1993 Blanco: 18 years old White Rioja and 11 years old Rioja Rosado – both are fresh and vibrant. Wow! And Gran Reserva – beautiful and mature wine, which will still keep going for a while.

Bodegas El Nido line, including flagship 2006 El Nido – gorgeous layered and balanced, and requiring another 10 years to really blossom:

Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero, including full Malleolus line – wines of incredible balance and elegance:

More Rioja – Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 1995 and 1999, as well as CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva 2001

1997 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, 1995 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 and 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial – probably the best Rioja wines. Period. Classic and amazing.

Representing Toro: 2007 Numanthia and 2007 Termanthia, silky smooth, balanced and powerful:

More Rioja – 2004 Martinez Lacuesta Reserva, great wine from the great year:

Starring Garnacha from Campo de Borja – 2008 Alto Moncayo and 2007 Aquilon – beautiful, soft and spicy:

Jerez, a.k.a. Sherry  is coming back – take a note of it. All Barbadillo wines were simply delicious, and Colosia Amontillado was also right in the league:

I would like to thank PJ Wine folks profusely for arranging such an amazing line up of wines for the event. And if I can make a suggestion, myself (and I’m sure, hundreds of other wine lovers)  would really enjoy PJ Wine Grand Tasting event in the Fall – we can only hope that PJ Wine will be kind enough to organize one…

Tasting Wines of Sierra Cantabria and Teso La Monja

May 26, 2011 Leave a comment

As you know by now, PJ Wine is one of my favorite wine stores (you can find some of my impressions here). It is not just due to the great selection of wines, with Rioja being a superstar. It is also based on the fact that PJ Wine is a great source of education and experience (double-winner – education is free most of the time). Store runs great seminar program, where (if you are fast enough to get on the list) you can experience many great wines of the world.

Few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to get into the seminar about wines of Sierra Cantabria and Teso La Monja (the event was sold out in a matter of hours). Both Sierra Cantabria and Teso La Monja wines are produced by Eguren family (you can find complete information here), and of course you already figured out that both are produced in Spain.

Sierra Cantabria wines come from Rioja. In addition to producing full line up of traditional Rioja wines ( Crianza/Reserva/Gran Reserva), of course made out of Tempranillo ( for more information about Rioja wines you can click here), Sierra Cantabria also produced the series called Collection Privada, with each wine being made only in exceptional years. Currently, it includes wines made in 1996 ( first ever vintage for Sierra Cantabria), 1999 and 2000. Tasting the Collection Privada wines, the first one from 1996 was very nice, with good bouquet of spices, acidic and bright. There were only 300 cases produced in 1996, so this wine is not easy to find. While 1996 was drinking well already, both 1999 and 2000 were simply not ready and needed more time in the cellar. These wines are produced from 55-60 years old vines, and made with the focus on quality, not quantity.

Second group of wines presented at the seminar were also made by the same Eguren family, but come from another region in Spain called Toro. Teso la  Monja is the latest project for the winemaker Marcos Eguren. Toro wines are made out of the grape called Tinta de Toro. If you would look in Wikipedia, you would see that Toro is designated as another name for Tempranillo. In reality, it is actually a clone of the Tempranillo grape, which has it’s own characteristics and is different from Tempranillo itself – same as famous Brunello, made out of Sangiovese Grosso grapes, tastes totally different from regular Sangiovese-based wines, Chianti.

Three wines from Teso la Monja had being represented in the tasting. First was 2007 Teso La Monja Almirez Toro – the wine had nice balance and lots of dark fruit – blackberries, black currant and spicy oak. Next wine was 2007 Teso la Monja Victorino Toro – beautiful, round with plums and blackberries, showing nice minerality. This wine is produced from 65+ year old vines and aged for about 18 month in oak.

Last but not least in the tasting was 2007 Teso la Monja Alabaster Toro. This wine was simply outstanding. Very dense, very big , with lots of fruit and in the need of time. Just to give you an example of care which goes into the making of this wine – the grapes are de-stemmed by hand, and then pressed with the feet. This wine definitely needs time before it will show off in its true beauty. The only challenge with this wine is related to the fact that at $156, it is not a bargain, and essentially QPR is becoming more of an issue, at least for me. Of course, if we will compare Alabaster with El Nido or Vega Sicilia wines, QPR might be on par – nevertheless, I think some time is needed before Alabaster has enough recognition to demand such a price.

All in all, it was a great experience with 6 exciting wines and lots of information – and I can’t thank folks from PJ Wine enough for continuing bringing great events to the wine lovers. And while on the subject of great experience, I can’t help to note that PJ Wine is organizing Spanish Wine Festival, which will take place on Friday, June 17th at 6 PM in Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 West 18th Street in New York City (please click here for more information). This event is not free, but for $99.99 I think it constitutes a great value – you will be able to experience wines of Vega Sicilia (keep in mind that typical bottle of Vega Sicilia costs in excess of $400, plus, it is very difficult to find), El Nido, La Rioja Alta, Clos Mogador and hundreds of others. The Festival will also include food from many good places in New York. I believe Spanish Wine Festival is a great value and shouldn’t be missed.

And as this was the post about Spanish wines, I think we need to finish it appropriately: Salud!

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