Community….

Where would we be without it and holy hell can it get annoying!

Tomorrow starts a wine tasting series with the French Wine Society– where I am currently studying for my French Wine Scholar- and I am looking at buying six bottles of wine to drink all alone.  Now, I LOVE the concept of doing a tasting through the Wine Society, but I am having this deep sadness due to the absence of a community.  Today I went to a tasting at Sofitel near Bellecour in Lyon and met an American girl working in the marketing department as well as getting her WSET training.  She and I talked for almost an hour about wine, French wine, American wine, all wines!  It was an hour that I loved because I was simply in community- sharing, exchanging, learning from each other.  I am sorta bummed to sit tomorrow behind my computer all alone for this tasting :(.  I hope tomorrow, being the first one, will be something of a surprise and hopefully create opportunities to come into community with fellow students.

Now, there is this concept of TOO much community, I mean too much of people’s opinions and statements.  I do not think wine should be shared with people in order to get them to understand what is good and bad.  Wine is an art.  And everchanging art at that!  It takes education and community to help people find their personal palates and preferences.  We don’t taste wines to say they are wrong or bad, we taste wines for the pleasure of it.  Equally today I was tasting with my friend’s father who had an amazing nose- I mean really spectacular!!  It was in that moment I wanted him to tell me everything and I mean everything he was smelling.  I wanted to attach words the way he did to the smells I was smelling.  He and I didn’t share the same palate or preference for wine, but could equally learn from each other.  He didn’t force his opinion on me or mine on him, we just shared.

I want, I hope to, build a community with From Vine to Wine… Talk about a dream come true!Burgundy Vines

Never going back…

sunset front of boatFour weeks…  4 weeks…  once you go for 4 weeks you never go back!  What am I talking about?  French vacation of course!!!  Minimum 4 weeks, well 5 actually.  Once you take a month off somewhere it is hard to come back.  I never really took a 2 week vacation when working in the states so 4 weeks is super-lux!  Also, it is the reason I have been absent from blogging… not absent from drinking mind you… just from blogging!

I’m back though.  Four weeks of wines tasted all ready for the writing.  My husband and I have a deal that when we travel outside of France we never drink French wines- now I did move to France on a whim because the wine is amazing, but what I realized is that there are no imports (well, a little, but not enough).  So we made the agreement that we drink whatever country we are in and if we are in a non wine growing country we get to mix it up a bit.  I have a lot of fun going to wine stores trying to pick wines that represent the California or Washington or Oregon… sorry east coasters haven’t drank much from you all recently, but I’ll get there.  I try to find monocepages that represent something of the terroir.   My husband, being French, hasn’t drunk a whole lot outside France and it is really fun to get to open his palate to be more international.

So, 4 weeks= over 15,000km flying (10,000miles), over 1,500km driving (900miles), over 2,800km in a boat (1,740miles) to cover 3 different states over 65km hiked (40miles) with 2,300m in elevation change (7,500ft) and enough beer and wine to make us come home the happiest of people!  We spent 5 days in San Francisco, 5 days in Seattle and the rest in Alaska splitting time between land and a cruise through the inner passage- it was our honeymoon!  We splurged (and have the added kilos to prove it)!!sunset back of boatSo be prepared for the next couples weeks of wine, wine, wine and none of it French 😉

Welcome to la rentrée in France!

6 Days of Bliss- Day 3

SuisseOh, and what a blissful day it was! Waking up early after my codeine induced sleep, we got the morning started with a hike over to the Swiss / France border. My husband likes to laugh at me because while I have gone to Swiss many a time, it is never more than 5km inside. Today’s hike took us to a waterfall, two different lakes, up a chairlift, down to a valley floor, then a thunderstorm caused us to have to walk up from the valley floor (we were hoping to chairlift back up, especially after taking a beer to wait out the storm… raté there)!Lac VertBut still incredibly beautiful views the entire hike. We were laughing because the clouds were ominous and looming, but we tried to walk a little in the sunlight. We even stopped to have lunch by Lac Vert- the other side of this lake is a deep valley and gorgeous! We have hiked in the Alpes many times, but this Swiss / French Alpes hike took my breath away. Unfortunately, by the time we finished eating the clouds had caught up with us.G, me, and a waterfallOur hike ended up lasting us a little longer than expected due to the storm that rolled in towards the end. It was cool to be able to take the chairlift to different parts of the mountain for hiking, but with thunder and lighting the chairlifts stop- that means a LONG walk home…

We decided on the walk back up from the valley floor that we had earned a good dinner and some good wine to go with it. So we set out to find everything and create our most wonderful meal! My husband had brought with him our friends homemade foie gras, so we had toasted(ish- all we had was a microwave) foie gras with a Vouvray 2003 Moelleux or sweet wine. I have talked about this wine before from our trip to the Loire Valley, but it was in a tasting. Here we paired it with the toasted foie gras… Vouvray Moelleux 2003Tasting notes: In general, I am not a fan of sweet wine. The residual sugar that is left on my palate just doesn’t seem to be my thing. But, when you take the saltiness and the fat of the foie gras in conjunction with the sweetness, the sugar is cut through and creates a refreshing blend. The Vouvray showed notes of honeysuckle, elderflower and mild citrus with a long finish and harmony with the foie gras. Excellent!

Next came the duck! A little background: I have had the great pleasure of finding a mentor in France who has opened a cooking kitchen in Lyon called PLUM Lyon and is constantly helping me as I get From Vine to Wine up and running. She has been amazing and is where I was introduced this amazing duck recipe (she has a TON on her blog if you need some good French recipes). Anyway, this recipe came from a class I attended at Plum and thought my husband would adore- and oh, how I was right!

So, here is the making process. Step one- de-quill the skin of the duck, cut into the fat in a checkerboard manner, then rub it with a salt, paprika, and herb rub. Step two- slowly render the fat out, leaving the duck to cook slowly fat side down for a good 20-30mins. Step three- while the duck is cooking take some of the fat that has been rendered to cook your potatoes (yes, sooo healthy) and I even added some of the salt rub that was left over to the potatoes making them nice and crispy. Step four- when the duck is finished rendering, broil it for 3-5 minutes while simultaneously making the sauce (pic 3). The sauce is a sweet sauce made with white wine, maple syrup and that all important butter! Yes, this is not, I repeat not a healthy, diet friendly meal. This is home cooking, we deserved it after our LONG day of hiking, meal! Step five- cut the duck up, serve, and enjoy!

So what wine to go with it? Hmm… duck that is tender and slow cooked, with a spicy rub, yet a sweeter sauce and potatoes cooked in duck fat (ps. every time I say that, the fat girl inside me starts drooling). Hmm… we went with an older wine, not yet completely aged, but a nice balance of fruit and spice with a finish that would hold up to the sweet sauce. What do you think of our choice….Guigal Chateauneuf-de-Pape 2005Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005

Tasting notes: It was a contrasting bottle of wine and I thought at a basic level the two were so good alone, nothing could go wrong. And while that was true- there was also an aspect of competition in the pairing. The Chateauneuf-du-Pape was complex, fruit forward and spicy on the finish, lingering on my tongue, but never really blending with the duck. Ironically, amazing with the potatoes! So, a little disappointing, but at the same time the two were SO good alone it was okay. We even took the bottle outside after the meal to digest a little and watch the sun go down…Day 3.12Bliss. Simply bliss.

Loire Valley Week continued… Chinon

So, inevitably… Sunday’s post became Monday’s post, and Monday’s post became Tuesday’s post, then Tuesday’s post didn’t save and my computer crashed so… here we go… again! Let’s talk about Chinon.Chinon

Chinon is a small specific AOC of the larger AOC Touraine and even larger of the Loire Valley. In general, Chinon is not known world wide, but within France it is being recognized for producing different types of wine all from the single grape Cabernet Franc (we will talk about it in a minute). Chinon makes three broad types of Cabernet Franc- light and fruit forward, firm bodied, and fine. Each of these styles is a product of the terroir, more specifically the different soil types. Chinon is composed of sandy soil, clay and gravel soils, and limestone soil on the hillsides. It is really fun to taste all the different types of wines and the expressions of terroir- for a palate training searching for the intricate details came be overwhelming and I must admit I felt very out of practice, but still really enjoyed myself.. Chinon itself is between the Loire River and the Vienne River with a continental climate- meaning, at a very basic level, it has an extreme range in temperatures throughout the year.

Chinon vines

Now, there are other grape varietals allowed within Chinon, but for today I will be focusing on the Cabernet Franc and to be honest that is really the only grape of consequence. Cabernet Franc is most famous for being one of the five grapes of the Bordeaux region. I like to say it gives a backbone to the Bordeaux varietals- meaning structure and identity to the wines. It is like the grape varietal Mourvedre in the Southern Rhone. Anyway, it is a grape that prefers cooler climates because of early ripening and susceptibility to bad weather. It is also a varietal that can be served slightly chilled. Don’t be shocked if you order a bottle at a restaurant in the summer and it comes cold- its normal.

Chinon vines

So, that is a little bit of background on Chinon in general. Where we went to was the largest producer in Chinon- Domaine Baudry Dutour. This is actually two producers coming together create a large domaine. Christopher Baudry is a sixth generation winemaker in Chinon and Jean-Martin Dutour came to Chinon in 1993 passionate about wine. In 2003 the two came together to create Domaine Baudry Dutour; with four different parcels of vines they are the largest wine growing domaine in all of Chinon. The chateau itself is beautiful and there is a elephant hedge in the front…

Domaine Baudry Dutour

Anyway, here are my notes on the reds we tried…

Domaine de la Perriere 2011

Domaine de la Perriere 2011

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, 20 year old vines, sand and gravel soil on ancient river bottoms. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. Not big on the nose, bright red fruit on the front of the palate, long finish.

Domaine de la Perriere Vielles Vignes 2011

Domaine de la Perriere Vielle Vignes 2011

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, 45 year old vines, on sand and gravel valley with clay and limestone slopes. Nose of cassis, spices, wax and what I can only describe as varnish (sorry not a great reference, but it works). Unfortunately, the finish was not very long lasting. Thinking another three years.

Domaine du Roncee 2010

Domaine du Roncée 2010

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, sand soil with a little clay, herbal on nose, slightly musty, darker in color… with the nose and palate corresponding.

 

Domaine du Roncee Clos des Marronniers 2010

Domaine du Roncée Clos des Marronniers 2011

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, a specific parcel of 7 hectares, slight nose of dark, black fruit, dry on mouth with smokey notes.

 

That was the first round of tastings… Sorry for the ‘not as well rounded as I would like them to be’ tastings notes. The tastings are all in French and my notes are then a combination of French and English blurbs. A little frustrating and not the most effective, but I’m working on it. Anyway, next we moved on to a vertical tasting. Vertical tastings mean the same wine just different years. In this specific case, this is the wine Domaine Baudry Dutour bought from the previous owner/winemaker of Chateau de la Grille and now sell at their chateau.

Tasting Notes

Just like we talked about earlier in Anjou, the vintage years are important to take into consideration because they give us information about how the vines were at the time of harvest, therefore how the fermentation process might go, and ultimately the wine itself. In comparison with the Anjou wines however, these vines come from clay and limestone soils verses the schist of Anjou. Basically meaning that the vines do not have to work as hard in a bad year to find nutrients. So, let’s take a look at the vertical…

Chateau de la Grille 2005 – 100% cabernet franc, deep deep plum color, fresh blackberry, spicy on front of the palate (holy snap), needs cheese!

Chateau de la Grille

Chateau de la Grille 2007– 100% cabernet franc, cinnamon orange, christmas on the nose, light with tannins, 16 months on the barrel. Note: In the Anjou La Musee 2007 there were also hints of herbal notes, but the tannins and the acidity similar to Chinon, in general a lighter wine.

Chateau de la Grille 2009– 100% cabernet franc, barnyard nose, first harvest done by Domaine Baudry Dutour. Aged in one third stainless steel and two thirds neutral oak barrels, then left to rest in the bottle for two years before being sold.

Et viola… there you have a taste of Chinon. Next stop, Vouvray!

Loire Valley Week continued… Anjou

First stop was to the small area of Anjou-Samur.  Not known for its world wide exportation, this charming area in France makes everything for sweet wines, to bubbles, to dry whites, to fruity reds, and even robust full bodied reds.  It really covers a whole range of wine making styles and each winemaker comes with his or her own story.

Our first stop was at Domaine des Chesnaies.  I decided this domaine because I had used their wine before in a tasting, really enjoyed it, and I knew that the price/quality ratio was what I was looking for.  So, we made an appointment and thank goodness we did!  We had a great time tasting with Catherine.  She was incredibly knowledgable and answered my array of questions- and there were many.  We tasted 6 wines from their domaine and here is what we found….

Domaine des Chesnaies Petites BullesThe first was their Petites Bulles– or Crémant de Loire.  It stays 24-30 months on racks to create smaller, less aggressive bubbles.

Notes:  100% chardonnay, slightly acidic on first taste, but not too aggressive.  Smaller bubbles made for a more enjoyable drink.  Very elegant.

Fun Fact:  In the Loire valley you have to register your wine as crémant before July 1 in order to have the right to say ‘Crémant de Loire’… if you don’t turn in paperwork on that day (as a lot of people might forget to do) you do not have the right to use ‘Crémant de Loire’.  Therefore at Domaine des Chesnaies, when they forget to send the paper the wine that year is just ‘Petites Bulles’.

Next we tried 3 of their WHITE wines.  All coming for the grape Chenin Blanc.  The grape itself is most widely planted in South Africa and is one of the more versatile grapes.  It is a highly acidic grape that buds early and ripens late.  In the case of Domaine des Chesnaies- harvest often does not start till mid-October.

Domaine des Chesnaies Chenin BlancChenin Blanc 2012 was the first white we tried and as Catherine described it- it was an ‘easy drinking summer white’.

Notes:  100% chenin blanc, basic representation of the grape, slightly citrus and creamy, malolactic fermentation present, simple, easy to drink without complexities.  Refreshing.

Domaine des Chesnaies La Potardiere 2008Anjou La Potardière 2008 This particular parcel of land is sand, gravel and schist making the earth hyper porous for the vines.  It is fermented with natural yeasts and is aged on its lies in 600L neutral oak barrels.

Notes:  100% chenin blanc, green apple, floral nose, a little bit too aggressive on palate all alone- would like to try with a cream based sauce of some kind.

Domaine des Chesnaies Bonnes Blanches 2010Moving to the last white wine we tried- Anjou Bonnes Blanches 2010.  This had more of the conventional chenin blanc taste to me.  It comes form a parcel of schist that is ‘tres gras’ or super fatty.  It is also fermented with natural yeasts and is aged on its lies in 600L neutral oak barrels.

Notes: 100% chenin blanc, honey melon on the nose, round and creamy on the palate, little bit of a buttery taste.

Now the RED wines.  Here we tried only two.  Their Anjou La Musse 2007 and 2009.  This was really a cool thing to do, because in the Loire Valley the weather can be, more often than not, unpredictable.  Therefore the vintage years are really important to take note of.  If there is not enough rain one year the vines will actually stop producing- they are too lazy to work hard enough to find nutrients so they just stop.  In overly wet years the grapes will be engorged with water and have an uneven acid leave and little sugars.  It is important, as in all regions, to make note of the vintages.

Domaine des Chesnaies La Musse 2007Anjou La Musse 2007 is a specific parcel of land on schist.  In comparison this was the more balanced of the two years- and the wine certainly expresses it.

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, super green, asparagus (according to my husband), light and simple in structure, but round enough on palate.  Needs a good piece of meat to open it up, or even fish would be good.

Domaine des Chesnaies La Musse 2009

Anjou La Musse 2009 is from the exact same parcel of land on schist- the only difference being that 2009 was a warmer year.

Notes: 100% cabernet franc, deeper purple, cassis and hints of licorice, fruit forward explosion but then dries out the mouth all over.  Definitely a food wine!

Et voila… That was our first little tour in Anjour-Samur.  If you ever get the chance to go to the region, Domaine des Chesnaies is located in the small town of Denée and Catherine speaks very good english!  Tomorrow (maybe Monday) we will explore Chinon!

It’s the little things….

So, as most of you have read in my post Celebration I have been in the process of opening my own wine tasting business.  It is called From Vine To Wine and is focused on explaining French wines in english to tourists and people living in Lyon.  Anyway… the French administration system is not always the easiest to work with- more often then not they can be quite a downer to work with, in fact.  But, there are some things that make me happy, you know it really is all about the little things…

Todays little thing…

from vine to wine flyersWoot woot!!  1000 flyers printed and ready to be passed out!

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

So, it was my birthday last month and I decided, well more stumbled, upon my birthday present while in Siegnosse last week….

Happy Birthday to ME!!

Alter Ego

Alter Ego 2007

I have been looking for this wine for a LONG time now… I have been talking to my husband about it for over a year now, so when I found it I naturally SNAPPED it up!  Alter Ego comes from the same house as Chateau Palmer in Margaux, a small appellation on the left bank of the Bordeaux Region.  Chateau Palmer is a top wine house in the Margaux appellation (if not the best).  It makes exquisite wines at high prices that are best drunk 20 years after being bottled.

When I started working in the wine industry and really started to study wine, I worked with someone who had an enormous wine cave filled with old wine.  I mean top of the line bottles.  And I was blessed enough to share some of those bottles.  I can’t remember everything I drank, but certain bottles will always stand out in my mind.  Alter Ego was one of them.  Really, I woke up the next morning with the finish still on my palate.  I think it was at that point I really fell in love with wine and my palate fell in love with the finish.  Since then I have yet to taste a wine with as much finish… but I keep trying!

Alter Ego is a wine made by Chateau Palmer to be consumed quicker than Chateau Palmer itself- still 5-10 years, but that’s faster than Chateau Palmer.  The winery has only been bottling Alter Ego for about 15 years, in my opinion (although, I do not know for sure) this is their bottle to get people interested in their wines.  It is a great ‘middle ground’ wine between the robustness of French terroir and the fruit-forward bombs of California.  Alter Ego is a refined balance between the two.

Not to mention… it’s BOMB!  I am one happy girl (who has to wait another 5 years before drinking her present), but happy all the same!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Sometimes the who is more important than the what…

We have all tried really great wine and sometimes really bad wine and sometimes we don’t care about the wine because the company is so great.  So- can a bad or mediocre wine change with the company?  This past week a friend and I went on a relaxing vacation to Seignosse, France.  A small town right on the Atlantic coastline mainly for tourists and summer vacationers, we went for a week of relaxation and just resting on the beach.  Unfortunately, it was maybe the worst week weather wise to vacation at the beach!  But we made the best of the 5 hours of sun we had all week!

Seignosse Sunny

So, back to my question… can the company change the wine?  After this week I think there might be something to this thought.  I went with a friend who is a sweet wine fan and maybe not as enthusiastic as me ;), we made our wine selections from the grocery store in the area- not top quality, but we weren’t there for a wine week, and we chilled.

So here are the 4 bottles we consumed and some thoughts on each…

First wine

Chateau La Croix de Berny, Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion 2011

Puisseguin Saint Emilion

Yes, 2011, but like I said it was just the grocery store and limited options.  I actually chose it because I had just tried a Lussac-Saint-Emilion and thought why not continue with that theme… The big difference between the two was that in this particular bottle I think they forgot to add the alcohol.  It was super light and grapey, juice.  In general, it is one of the smaller villages just north of the great Saint-Emilion and creates similar blends, but at a lesser quality and price (however, there are always exceptions).  Anyway, this was a basic blend at the very best.  Not so impressed.  Even with my friend, we decided this was not the best way to start the week…

Wine one- MF. Massive fail.

Second wine

Chateau de Respide, Graves 2009

Now, just a heads up- when ordering wine at a restaurant to share with someone, make sure beforehand that the other person will actually drink!  My friend has a one to two glass limit… meaning I had to have a five to six glass limit (let’s be honest, no problem, but still).

Anyway, Chateau de Respide makes standard bottles of wine.  What I mean by that, is they make a good and correct quality to price ration with good representation of the terroir, maybe a little on the fruit side, but still correct. I was looking for a basic Bordeaux red and this bottle was fruit forward, finished well, and balanced.  Went extremely well with my magret du canard!  We really enjoyed it!

Wine two- MS. Massive success.

Magret du Canard

Third wine

Tariquet, Les Premières Grives, Côtes de Gascogne, 2012

Tariquet

So, Tariquet is a bit of a ‘crack’ wine in France.  Along the same lines as we say about Rombauer, Frank Family, Wente Riva Ranch, and the list goes on.  For French woman their ‘crack’ of choice is Tariquet. This is definitely not my first or last experience with this wine, and each time I am not a fan.

Translated this bottle is called ‘the first frost’ making it between a late harvest and sweet wine.  Not my favorite, but I enjoyed it this time!  The company I shared the bottle with, changed my prejudices toward this wine.  We drank it colder than normal, slightly on purpose to cut a bit of the sweetness, and ate it with spicy sausage and veggies.  Have I mentioned we only had a very small BBQ for cooking and since it was raining like crazy we had to BBQ inside??  Anyway, with the company and the conversation- the wine was pleasant, dare I say, but I enjoyed it.  Super weird… but then it got weirder…

Third wine- MS. Massive success.

BBQ Seignosse

Fourth wine

Tariquet, Rosé de Pressée, Côtes de Gascogne, 2012

Tariquet Rose

Now, this is where is got interesting… Rosés and France.  We will have to take this into a deeper conversation a little later…

This was by far the best night with my friend.  We laughed, cooked a great meal, talked, and drank rosé.  I mean rosé is rosé, but this was great!  Critically- no, it was not the top ranking rosé I have had, but there is something about critiquing all the time that is tiring.  So, I gave up and just enjoyed my surroundings and really, the company changed my opinion of this wine and I really enjoyed sharing it with my friend. We again tried to barbecue, this time couscous with grilled veggies and grilled chicken.  The rosé and bbq is something I think might become a friend of mine (more to come…), in this case the smokey of the bbq and the light fruity of the rosé was nice and refreshing.

Fourth wine- MS. Massive success.

Chicken and Couscous

So… what do you think?

Am I completely full of it, or do you think the wine, when shared with specific company, can change?  I feel like there are many ways to drink wine… drinking to critique and judge, drinking to discover, drinking to forget (not recommended.), and drinking with company are among some of them.  My week in Seignosse was the latter, drinking with company.  The wine was not the focus- it was the company and conversation.

For myself, the critique of wine will always be there and I could always just focus on that aspect, but it is the overall experience that sometimes (and should) trumps the critique- did I drink the best wines, no, did I drink with great company, yes, therefore I drank great!

Overall week in Seignosse- MMS!  Massive massive success!

Seignosse

Challenge Part 1- Gewurztraminer and Thai Food

Grocery Store vs. Small Producers

Challenge 1- Gewurztraminer

Challenge Part 1- Gewurztraminer and Thai Food

So, I have decided to put my grocery store wines and my small producer wines to the test.  While simultaneously, increasing my blind tastings and food pairing abilities and breakdowns.  People have been talking a lot about the cost of wines, quality of wines and pairing of food and wine… So I have decided to put it all to the test in the best way I know how- blind tastings with different dishes.  Also, I live on a budget, so the concept of store bought cheaper wines against the more pricey small producers sounded like a great idea to me.

So, today I began with my dinner.  Spicy thai shrimp salad paired with two different Gewurztraminer from the Alsace region; one from the local Franprix and the other from the small producer Gerard Metz (if you remember I have already talked about his Pinot Gris an earlier post).

My husband opened and poured the wines for me blindly so I could assess and give my initial reaction without any interaction with the food.  Now, I have mentioned before that sweet wines are not my favorite, so in retrospect this might not have been the best wine to start with, but still I will take everything as a learning experience.  Here is what I found…

Wine Number One:

Tasting Profile:

Sight– Bright, transparent yellow

Nose– Sweet of apricots, wild flowers, and honey

Taste– Initially it had a drier mouth-feel with less sugar.  As it warmed up more, the residual sugar became heavier and less agreeable, sugar exploded in the front of my palate and stayed on my cheeks by the end of the meal.

Finish– Again at the beginning when it was colder there was a freshness to it I found agreeable and thought would go really well with the food, but by the end the sugar settled and it was harder to drink, almost chewy.

Food Pairing– The thai salad I make has varying degrees of spicy.  Mine tends to be mild rather than hot and I think because of that this wine had too much sugar, too much contradiction with the thai, almost overtook the meal.

Result– Vin d’Alsace Michel Frantz Gewurztraminer, found at Franprix grocery store for 8€ and the only reason I chose it was because it was the only Gewurztraminer for under 10€ with an award on it… seriously.

Michel Frantz Gewurztraminer

Wine Number Two:

Tasting Profile:

Sight– Brighter yellow, gold and clear

Nose– At the beginning the nose was very closed compared to the first, also colder than the first; then more pear, honeydew melon and floral notes arose.

Taste– Initially not my favorite, the sugar was far more pronounced than anything else, but as the wine opened and warmed up a bit it became better rounded in my mouth and fresher, definitely lighter on my palate.  The opposite of what I expected.

Finish– I don’t know how to put the finish of this wine into words… it was a ‘cooler’ finish than the first.  I mean really, that is all I can say about it.  If anyone knows what that would be please let me know!  It lingered, but didn’t rest on my cheeks in a way I’m used too…

Food Pairing– By far the better choice, the lighter palate and less residual sugar contradicted the thai, but didn’t overpower and defeat the thai.

Result– Vin d’Alsace Domaine Gerard Metz Vielles Vignes Gewurztraminer, small producer, for 9€ a bottle (normally more, but we bought 6 bottles)… I really enjoy this producers wines.

Gerard Metz Gewurztraminer

So what did I learn?

Personally, I learned that I can blind taste and describe wines in French and English, but have trouble just doing one language… seriously, my tasting book is all a mix of the two languages.  I also missed when choosing which wine was which.  It hurts the pride a LOT, and moreso to share it on a blog… but how else will I learn…?  Hopefully tomorrow I will get it right.

Professionally, I learned that while I do not prefer sweet wines for my personal palate, they do have a place when paired with ethnic, slightly spicy foods.  The more spice you have to a dish I believe a sweeter wine is better suited and a mild sweetness for a mildly spicy dish.  Also, in tasting the temperature does play a factor in how the wines express themselves.

Pour quoi pas?  Tomorrow is Taco Tuesday at my house- I still have wine left from both these bottles.  I think challenge part 2 will be gewürztraminer and tacos…  Hey- I am still trying to breakdown this food and wine pairing every once in a while… Should be interesting!  at least I hope…

 

Imports…

world wine map

You know what I am dying for… anything non French.  I know this might be a contradiction considering they make some of the best wines in the world, but just hear me out…

This is the kicker with living in France.  They are so great at their wine that they don’t import- and this girl is CRAVING imports!!!  I mean on one hand, when you are know for making the world’s best wine, why bother importing?  But at the same time, why not import?

France is history and history has shown them to be the greatest wine region in the world- no one can really argue with that.  They have never needed to import, everything anyone could possibly want is right here.  Now- while I did move here for the wine and am very happy with that… there are some days I would like to explore the differences in a Australian Shiraz, a Californian Paso Robles Syrah, and a French Crozes-Hermitage.  I know what my palate will enjoy, but still.  It is a great exercise to understand world wines.

This might be a pointless rant, but I would love to teach about not only French but other wine regions, other grape varietals that maybe are new to the French.  For the moment I am limited to what I can get in my suitcase from the states or maybe a bottle here and there as a gift from someone who has travelled.  But I would love a steady stream of imports.  The ability to taste the world’s wines- I miss it.

I have been feeling rather pathetic in my blind tastings abilities because I am starting to have a singular French palate.  I know I have been out of practice, learning my new life in a foreign language can be blamed for that… but I want to start doing blind tastings and international blind tastings and not in a pretentious way.  Tasting groups.  Wine dinners. English, French it doesn’t matter.  Just tastings as much as possible, as blind as possible, as often as possible.

Anjou Gruner Veltliner Morgon Oregon Pinot Noir

What do you think France… can we work on a more world rounded wine experience?  Anyone want to drink?