Some tasting notes on Robert Craig's 05 that has yet to be released... A focused nose of deep blackberry and cassis, laced with white chocolate, a touch of anise, smoky cedar and tobacco. Flavors: Mouthfilling mountain fruit and cassis predominate, underlain with mocha, bay leaf and licorice. Finish: The full palette of Mt Veeder flavors carries through on a long finish, bringing forth more dark fruit, supple tannins and notes of tobacco and vanilla. General: A powerful, balanced and complex wine with well-integrated, ripe tannins. Decanting recommended. It will hopefully be released early next year. (yes the pic has the wrong vintage)... Wines.com Tasting Team
David Groom is the former wine maker from Pensfold Grange, Australia's darling vintage that is highly sought after. David Groom has been involved in some very high end wine consulting, wine making gigs, including one that is currently underway in San Francisco. From what I understand he's taking the old Presidio property and converting it into the Foggy Bridge winery, which will no doubt be a success. Today we received a sample of the 2006 Groom Barossa Valley Shiraz from his property in Barossa Valley, Australia. This wine is hands down the best Australian Shiraz I have sampled in 8 years. Its got great texture with silky tannins that will no doubt dissipate with some cellaring. It has nice fruit (the right amount of fruit forward) and hints of anise, peppers, blackberries and most important a dash of vanilla. I believe that David Groom has the ability to transform grapes into art. Recommended for anyone looking to make an impression at a rack of lamb or osso bucco dinner. Recommended buy on this one as it will improve substantially with about 5 years in the cellar.
Yesterday we sampled the 2004 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto. The Guidalberto is the sister wine to Sassacaia, the mother of all Super Tuscan wines. Guidalberto is a blend of 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Sangiovese. Like its big sister, Guidalberto is produced from hand selected grapes, meticulously sorted and blended together to produce this immediately drinkable masterpiece. Most Super Tuscans are just like my good Italian friends, a little sparky upon immediate introduction, but passionate and a pleasure to be around. This wine is unusual because unlike others, this wine opens up with soft tannins, an outstanding bouquet, and a very clean and lasting finish. Basically most Super Tuscans that are young, need some aging, but this one is a cut above the rest. This is a great wine that will cellar well over the next 3-7 years and should be part of any collector's portfolio. The best news is that this is not out of reach like most Bordeaux classified growths, its available for about $65 per bottle at most locations. Enjoy with Friends!
Someone asked me yesterday in a brief phone call about Rosé Champagne. Before we go into the production level discussion, its first important to state that all grapes are white on the inside, its the red skin that gives red wine it color. The skins in white wines or champagnes are removed so a Blancs de Noir is basically the white of the Pinot Noir grapes. Producers looking to make Rosé, include the skins of the grapes in the tanks or barrells for around 3-5 days, and then bleed the systems to flush out larger particles of skin or tannins, leaving a small amount of skin causing the wine to appear pinkish. Rosé Wines are produced with Rhone grapes like Syrah, Grenache and Carignan and develop well in hotter regions such as Provence, the Languedoc and Australia. In France, Rosé has now exceeded white wines in sales. In the United States many farmers who did well with the 2005 crop decided to increase the production of Rosé wines and champagnes instead of dumping crop. While historically its not my favorite, I recently attended a wine tasting by the Moet Hennessy. These guys produce the best champagnes in my opinion (my b-day is coming up...hint) and their portfolio includes the top three sellers: Veuve Clicquot ($50), Dom Perignon ($110) and Moet ($45). FYI, the best value in Rosé Champagne is produced by Moet. Its supple, perfectly dry with a hint of residual fruit sugars. Another fantastic champagne is the Moet Nectar Imperial.
Whenever I start a new job, I like to celebrate. Who doesn't ? When you walk in on the first day, your emotions are a turbulent mix of fearlessness and trepidation. You honestly don't know what to fear, if anything. But oh, that night, the libations they do flow. My choice of celebratory libation, you ask ? Prosecco. Hailing from the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, Prosecco is a crisp sparkling wine that lends itself well to wild celebration. Soft, slightly off-dry and perfect for frothing-at the-mouth, I just think that Prosecco is perfect to liven up the party. Sure, big fat French Champagnes scream, " Congratulations ! " when you pop the cork. Prosecco is a little more on the down-low, softly, yet confidently whispering," Enjoy, but don't get a big head, hubris isn't very becoming.". My ultimate Prosecco is Carpene Malvolti, but the more widely available Bisol is a great second choice. The drier the better.
In lieu of the tips we gave a few days back on wine storage, I wanted to share with you this very interesting endeavor by a couple in Paso Robles. Part of the appeal of traveling through Northern California’s Wine Country is the ability to transport yourself into a world where you can try wine that is normally inaccessible by most people in “big city,” USA. Also, a trip to wine country means coming home with bottles that were special to you on your trip which makes sharing with friends extra special. The issue with buying vintage wine and wine that should be stored while on vacation… where are you going to store it?
Safe Haven offers wine country travelers a place to store wines for an extended period of time so that way they can choose to drink the wine whenever they so choose, or have it shipped to their house safely once they return from vacation. I love the concept of Safe Haven, and see this place being quite successful for a number of reasons. For one, I can see many wineries teaming up with Safe Haven to accommodate their customers in order to get their name out. Also, the base price of Safe Haven is rather affordable to begin with.Next time you are on a trip through the wine country, perhaps you should look up Safe Haven to safely store your favorite find.
For the wine freak, like myself, I have wines that I need to store for 6 months to over a year. If you consume the wine you buy within one month, you can store it in room temperature or up to the mid 70's. For long term storage, you'll need something more robust. There are a handful of factors that will kill wine including light, prolonged exposure to heat, humidity (or lack thereof), and of course the wine and cork themselves.
For long term storage, you will want to keep your wine stored between 55 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 60-70 percent to protect the corks. Dehydrated cork can let oxygen enter into the wine accelerating its maturity and rendering it bad after a very short time. This is most evident in bottles with low neck levels or even on the cork when you find that its been saturated thru the entire cork.
If you are building a storage closet, use insulation and be sure that you are using a proper AC unit, not a window unit. Vinotemp and Breezaire make relatively affordable units that you can put into your cellar. Be sure to lay the bottles sideways as thats the most optimal way to store wine and use racks if you have them available. Don't stain the wood as varnish carries toxins that can seep into the wines over time. If you're building racks, use spanish cedar, oak or pine.
Its a lot of work, and can take a whole weekend, but will be worth your time and investment! Have a great weekend! - Alex Andrawes, CEO Personal Wine and Wines.com.
It really is everywhere. Not just in Southern California, but now Northern California, Las Vegas, Arizona, and a number of other Western states. The effects are devastating not only to the people that live in these areas and the ecosystems, but the economies.
One particular industry that is starting to get extremely worried about their well-being because of the fires is, as you may have guessed, the wine industry. While many vineyards haven’t been directly hit by the fires, they are getting closer and closer. Each day more and more vintners wake up see a sheet of layer of smoke on their vines from the fires, a sign that danger is quickly approaching. The layer of smoke, on top of the fog from the smoke has affected the way that the grapes are ripening, and in turn will affect the taste and outcome of their wines. Glen McCourty of The University of California Cooperative Extension farm said that “the secondary buds were three weeks late in the photosynthesis process because of the smoke” in an article for Wines and Vines. Three weeks, while it might fly by in our world, makes a HUGE difference in wine making.
Another problem that the fires bring into wine making is that the smoke and the fire leave a pungent taste and smell that is extremely difficult to get rid of. It is often describe of as a bacony flavor, and to most, if not all wine drinkers, it is not something pleasant.
So for now, California winemakers are taking every pre-caution to not let their wine be exposed to the smoke and the fire. However, when it is all around, what can you do? If you live in the ocean, you can’t avoid water can you? I guess we will have to see what may come.
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and please comment with any more you may have! Thanks!