Wine Festivals

Went to Urban Wine Experience(UWX) 5 today. Urban wineries are wineries that don’t own any vineyards, instead they purchase grapes from growers and make wines. It was the best yet.

What I enjoy about wine festivals is that you get to try a bunch of wineries without driving all over the place. UWX was 18 wineries. There were 53 wines available to try. We tried 28.

We’ve been to a lot of wine festivals, but today was the first time we were rigorous about trying whites before reds. Lots of good food and food/ wine pairings, which is always nice. I was also pretty good about using dump buckets which kept me from reaching the tipping point. Found a few gems.

Here are my wine festival do’s and don’ts;

1. Do pace yourself
2. Do sip and spit, or use the dump buckets – especially wines you don’t care for.
3. Do try wineries and/or wines you haven’t tried before
4. Do take a break to enjoy the food and/ or music. It’s not a race.
5. Do stay hydrated.
6. If possible – start with white wines, then move on to reds – or if you just want reds, start with Pinot Noir or other lighter red before moving on to heavier reds.
7. Don’t feel like you need to try every wine because you paid for it.

My First $100+ Cab

Thanks to a friend of mine whose husband sells wine, we had the opportunity to taste a couple of well regarded highly rated iconic Napa Valley Cabs, including the 2006 Beaulieu Vineyards (“BV”) Georges de Latour Private Reserve (“GLT”) which sells for $115/bottle on the BV website. That’s too rich for my blood, so I was feeling excited and lucky to get such a bottle of wine gratis!

What did I expect? Deep down, I was expecting to be blown away I suppose. Everything about the wine says it is an iconic Cali Cab. For crying out loud, the winery was started in 1900, and BV has been making this same wine since 1936! Even the bottle is iconic and part of the “experience” of this wine for me! Have a look at the picture below. The bottle on the far left is the BV GLT. It’s reminds me of an older more successful sibling lording over a wannbe sibling. At first I didn’t even think it was the standard 750 ml bottle. Then I looked at the “punt” on the bottom and it’s about 2 inches deep! That explains why the bottle was taller but holds the same volume of wine. Compare that to the much more prevalent 1/2 to 1 inch punt on a 750 ml bottle. By the way the “punt” a.k.a “kick-up” is the dimple in the bottom of the wine bottle. In addition, the bottle seemed thicker and heavier too.

I rated the wine 92 pts. Follow the link for my full review on CellarTracker (http://www.cellartracker.com//wine.asp?iWine=627824).

One of the interesting things about wine for me is that it can transport you back to a time and place. For example, to this day I can remember the first bottle of red wine I fell hard for. It was a Lolonis Zinfandel, and I had it at tiny restaurant in Fremont when I was working at a high-tech company 10 years ago! I had a glass with dinner and the next day I went out a bought a bottle. Tasting the BV GLT wasn’t quite the transcendent experience that first Zinfandel was, but ironically it brought to mind another Cab, that I rated 91 points and had with dinner on V-Day this past February. My first thought was the BV GLT blew that wine away in terms of smoothness, and the finish. My next thought was given the context the BV GLT provided, I over-rated the V-Day wine. Of course, hindsight is 20-20. But it’s a good illustration of my why I enjoying my wine journey so much. For me there’s always something new, and interesting to experience and/or learn. And even though I’ve learned a fair amount in a short time, for me there’s so much more to learn and to look forward to!

BTW…I rated the other Cab – a 2006 Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap District 88 pts. It retails for $62. The primary difference between the two was that the BV GLT had a bit longer finish, the mouthfeel was “silky” compared to a “velvety” mouthfeel for the Chimney Rock. For the $ – I’d take the Chimney Rock, and for a special occassion with a nice steak dinner either would be a sublime choice.

Riesling Week 2010 is upon us!

Looking to try something new? Well it’s the 6th Annual Riesling Week July 26th-August 1. Sure it’s just another marketing gimmick to pry hard earned dollars from our hands, but so is a Gatorade commercial! Think of it as an opportunity to try a new white wine (Please…step away from the Chard/Sauvignon Blanc, and no one will be hurt;-!). As part of Riesling week there are specials at restaurants in NY, Chicago, SF, Miami, and Vegas.

I say skip the restaurant, and go to your local wine shop and take the dive. Don’t know much about Riesling? Here’s a bit of 411.

Riesling in one of the three “noble” white grapes, along with Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. A noble grape is a term from way way back in the day to describe grapes considered to produce the highest quality wines. Rieslings are certainly that! They’re produced in a wide range of styles from dry to very sweet dessert wines. The best are made in Germany, and France, but you can find U.S. produced Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region of NY, and of course California. What I like about Reisling is that it’s an aromatic grape that typically produces wines with almost perfumed aromas of flowers, and stone fruits (apples, pears, peaches, and apricot), and it’s high in acidity. Because it’s high in acidity, that makes it a versatile wine for pairing with food. In fact, if I had to pick one white wine, and one red wine, and I had no clue about what would kind of food would be served, I’d go with a Riesling for the white, and a Pinot Noir for the red because they’re both high in acidity and go well with the widest range of foods. And if you like Thai, Vietnamese, or Chinese, Rieslings go especially well with most Asian cuisines.

Here’s food/wine pairing tip – Spicy foods likes sweet wines…

As for me, I’m going to pop and pour a 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling Eroica I’ve stay away from far too long! Check back for my review later this week – click on the http:// cellartracker.com links under “Wine Reviews on Cellar Tracker, etc.. to see my review…

Happy Riesling Week!

M

Wine Tasting Club – Zinfandel Night

This past Friday evening we had our every other monthly meeting of the Pacific Point Wine Tasting Club (“PPWTC”).  The club was started back in January when my wife and I had the idea to start a wine-tasting club in our community.

It’s been easier to get the wine tasting club up and running than I anticipated.  The most challenging decision so far has been whether to have the host buy the wines, then get reimbursed, or for everyone to bring a bottle.  We decided on the later

In a nutshell, the “mission” if you will, of the PPWTC is to learn a bit about the wine while having fun and fellowship with friends and/or neighbors.  Each individual/couple brings a bottle of the designated wine varietal costing between $15-$25).  The varietal for the meeting this past Friday was Zinfandel (prior meetings were e Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay).  The host is charged with serving some appetizers that pair with the varietal.  I usually bring some background information about the grape varietal to hand out.  I think that’s important because if you know what aromas and flavors are typical of a particular grape varietal it helps you identify aromas and flavors of the wine.  More details about that in another post.

There we 12 of us, who tasted 7 different zinfandels.  We do a blind tasting(i.e. the wine label is covered so as not to tip-off the taster) We taste the wines, the score them on a simple 5 point scale (5=best; 1 worse) for 5 attributes – Appearance, Aromas, Body, Taste, and Finish.  Sometimes we talk about the wine, sometimes we don’t.  We always have something to eat while trying the wines though.  While that would be considered a no-no at a more formal tasting, it’s a wine tasting club, and we’re there to have fun!  After we finish scoring the wines, we finish the bottles, and if available have a bonus bottle or two;-)  I must say,  it seems to be more fun after the scoring, when the wine, and conversation are flowing!

This months winners (we had a tie) were a 2006 Rosenblum Annette’s Reserve, and a 2007 Lake Sonoma Zinfandel (though from a value perspective I consider the Lake Sonoma to be the winner because the retail price is less).  The average score for both was 88pts ( I converted the aforementioned 25 point scale to a 100 point scale as follows – Took the average score from the 12 tasters of 18.33, multiplied it by 2 to get 37.66, the added 50 to get 87.66 or 88 rounded up – you might not want to try this at home kids, I’m a CPA;-)  Kidding aside, you just need to find a consistent scale to score the wines.

We had a  blast, and there’s been some talk of having the meetings monthly instead of every other month!  I don’t know if that will happen, but it tells me the PPWTC is moving in the right direction as we learn about wine, build friendships, and have fun doing it!

-M

Hello world!

Why “ENOFYLZ“?… it’s what’s on my personalized license plate! It’s the somewhat phonetic spelling of the word “Oenophile” (: \ˈē-nə-ˌfī(-ə)l\) – which is a lover or connoisseur of wine.

Well I don’t consider myself to be a connoisseur of wines, but I’m definitely a wine lover.

I became seriously interested in wine a couple of years ago when my wife and I realized it was something we both really enjoyed doing together (and neither one of us has to take any “lessons”) . We’ve found that we especially enjoy trying new wines, and exploring the wines of the world.

We also very much like the travel that seems to be part and parcel of wine exploration for us. Wine country is almost always just so beautiful.

Wine and food are an integral part of our lives now, and I decided to do this blog as a way to share my knowledge of wine with family, and friends who may likewise enjoy wine, and may be interested in sharing my experiences/knowledge as I pursue this passion. I’ve enjoyed learning a thing or three about wine so far. It’ll be a lifelong pursuit. Ride or die….er..make that Wine or die! Baby!!!

M