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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!

 

Singles Night Out – Wine World Singles, It Is

March 21, 2012 6 comments

Confused by the title of this post? Don’t be. It is wine we will be talking about here, not marital statuses – but these are the wines which are usually quite special.

Looking at the wine label, you will always find designation of place. For new world wines, it is usually easy to see where the wine is coming from – Napa Valley in California, Maipo Valley in Chile, Barossa Valley in Australia. For some of the old world wines, it might be more tricky to figure out the place versus just the wine name, but with the little effort, you can always find out where the wine is coming from.

Wine is made in different places all over the world. Each place has its own unique characteristics, called Terroir – soil, climate, altitude, typical weather conditions, ecological surroundings – all contribute to unique terroir.

Let’s talk about wine origins for a second. Imagine nested circles. First circle is a big geographical area, like California or Bordeaux. If the wine is made out of the grapes grown anywhere in California, it can have a California designation on the label. If the wine is made out of the grapes grown anywhere in Bordeaux, it will have a Bordeaux designation on the label, most typically something like “Grand Vin de Bordeaux”. The next circle will be smaller, representing some specific area within the bigger region – for instance, Napa Valley instead of the whole California, or Medoc instead of the whole Bordeaux. If the grapes are grown only in Napa Valley instead of the whole California, this will be appropriately designated on the label. Inside Napa valley, there are again smaller grape growing areas, each one with its own unique terroir – for instance, Stag’s Leap District or St. Helena. Again, if the wine is made out of the grapes grown in such a specific area, it will be stated on the bottle.

Now we need to place one more circle inside of all the circles we already drew – this circle should signify the Estate, or the whole winery. If you saw something like “Estate Grown” on the label this is what it usually relates to. Okay, now let’s jump to the smallest circle of all – yes, we got to the level of individual vineyards. Wine makers and grape growers always made an effort to identify which vineyards or even parcels of the vineyards produce the best grapes, and subsequently, best wines have being produced from the best vineyards. The wine produced from one individual vineyard is commonly referred to as a “Single Vineyard” wine and often carries the name of the vineyard on the label. This is definitely a common practice for California wines – however, if you think about the place where the “single vineyard” concept reached its ultimate expression it would be Burgundy, where individual domains own vineyards or even specific parcels of the vineyards – of course you would only see a designation of Domaine on the label.

What is the importance of the “single vineyard” concept? This is usually where the best wines are coming from, the wines with the character, the wines which can be identified and related to. And these single vineyard wines are the subject of today’s Wine Blogging Wednesday event!

This is the 75th Wine Blogging Wednesday, which is hosted by Joe Roberts, a blogger behind 1WineDude blog – and here you can find his post about the event and wine he have chosen for it.

What is my choice of the wine for today? I had a long back and force with myself, until I finally settled on one – the wine for tonight will be 2007 Mara Pinot Noir Laughlin Road Ranch, Russian River Valley, which was my personal Wine of the Year for 2010. It is a single vineyard Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley region, and it should be a perfect choice for tonight (I also have another reason to open a great bottle of wine – it is my daughter’s 10th birthday). It will be really interesting to see how this wine evolved and what my impression will be now – but this will be a subject of another post.

Happy Wine Blogging Wednesday! Find your special Single for tonight and have fun! And don’t forget to leave a comment about your experience! Cheers!

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