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Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2010 – WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2010, McLaren Vale, Australia – 15% abv

Price: $23.95

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, deep purple, with slow-moving legs and tears showing extraction.

Nose:

The clean wine has medium plus intensity developing aromas of black berry, cassis, licorice, black pepper, cedar, vanilla, earth, leather, raw red meat, toast, wood smoke, jaminess, treacle, and burnt butter.

Palate:

The wine is dry with medium plus acidity, medium ripe tannins, medium plus warming alcohol, and is full- bodied. It has medium plus flavour intensity with characteristics of cassis, black cherry, black pepper, licorice, vanilla, cloves, mace, cooked berries, leather, wood smoke, and toast. The length is long on the clean, warming finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a very good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, and tannins. Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from McLaren Vale, Australia create an elegant wine.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Can drink now, but has potential for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

Carmen Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Maipo Alto, Chile – 14% abv

Price $16.95

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, deep ruby, with slow-moving legs and tears.

Nose:

The clean wine has medium plus intensity developing aromas of violets, cassis, blackberry, peppermint, vanilla, juniper, green pepper, with a slight earthiness, and forest floor.

Palate:

The wine is dry with medium plus acidity, medium plus tannins, medium plus alcohol, and medium plus body. It has medium flavour intensity with characteristics of cassis, peppermint, vanilla, cloves, black pepper, green pepper, and forest floor. The length is medium on the clean, warming finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, and tannins. Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from Maipo, Chile create a good quality wine.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Can drink now, but has potential for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Georges Duboeuf Brouilly 2011 – WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

Georges Duboeuf Brouilly 2011, Beaujolais, France, – 12.7% abv

Price $16.95

Grape: Gamay

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, medium purple, with thin, fast moving legs and tears.

Nose:

The clean wine has medium minus intensity developing aromas of black cherry, blueberry, strawberry jam, cedar, violet, cinnamon, cloves, and a chalky minerality.

Palate:

The wine is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and medium body. It has medium flavour intensity with characteristics of black cherry, strawberry jam, cedar, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and raspberry. The length is medium plus on the clean, warming finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a very good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, and well-integrated tannins. Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from a Beaujolais Cru create an elegant wine.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Can drink now, but has potential for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

2010 Chardonnay, Burning Kiln Winery – WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

2010 Chardonnay, Burning Kiln Winery, VQA Ontario – 13.8% abv

Price $14.95

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, medium lemon with a watery rim.

Nose:

The wine is clean, with medium plus intensity youthful aromas of peach, honey dew melon, butter, ripe delicious apple, pineapple, vanilla, toast, and smoke, with slight herbs Provencal, and chamomile.

Palate:

The wine is dry with medium plus acidity, medium plus alcohol, and medium plus body. It has medium flavour intensity with characteristics of ripe red apple, peach, pineapple, toast, butter, chamomile, and white pepper. The length is medium plus on the warming finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, body, and oak characteristics (vanilla, toast & smoke). Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from a ripe vintage create a harmonious impression.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Can drink now, but has potential for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Domaine Chauveau La Charmette, Pouilly-Fumé 2011 -WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

Domaine Chauveau La Charmette, Pouilly-Fumé 2011, Loire Valley, France – 13% abv

Price: $19.95

Grape: Sauvignon Blanc

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, pale, lemon-green with a watery rim.

Nose:

The wine is clean, with medium plus youthful aromas of citrus (lemon and grapefruit), grass, tomato leaf, asparagus, cooked peas, gooseberry, flint, and a steely minerality.

Palate:

The wine is dry with high acidity, medium alcohol, and medium body. It has medium plus flavour intensity with characteristics of citrus (lemon, grapefruit zest), stony minerality, grass, white pepper, and flint. The Length is medium plus on the clean, lively finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a very good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, and body. Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from Pouilly-Fumé create and elegant wine.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Drink now, not suitable for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Si Soave – WSET Level 3 Tasting Note

Si Soave 2012, Soave DOC, Veneto, Italty – 12.5% abv

Price $13.00

Grape: Garganega

WSET Level 3 SAT

Appearance:

The wine is clear, medium gold, fading to a watery rim.

Nose:

The wine is clean, with medium intensity youthful aromas of citrus (lemon), green apple, rosemary, anise, mint, and ginger, with a stony minerality.

Palate:

The wine is dry with medium acidity, medium alcohol, and medium minus body with a slight oily texture. It has medium intensity flavour characteristics of lemon, lemon zest, apple, mint, thyme, white pepper, marzipan, and a stony minerality. The Length is medium plus on the refreshing finish.

Conclusions

Quality: This is a very good wine due to the balance of fruit, acidity, and mouth-feel. Length on the palate, intensity of flavours, and the typicity for this grape variety from Soave create a harmonious impression.

Level of Readiness for drinking/ Potential for ageing:

Drink now, not suitable for ageing.

September 10, 2013.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

THE ROLE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE VINEYARD

Click here to view “The Role of Science & Technology in the Vineyard”.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in My wine lessons

 

Pairing Asian-inspired Food with Wine

     When pairing food with any drink, whether it’s wine, beer, sake, cocktails, or mocktails, there a few simple considerations to make. Starting with the food, consider the basic style of the food. Does it include red meat such as beef, or lamb? Is it spicy hot? Is it acidic with a vinegar, lemon or tomato sauce? Or, is it creamy and rich? Identifying these characteristics will help you to determine the best wine to pair with your meal.

     In much the same way, consider the main palate characteristics of a wine. Wines’ acidity levels can range from low to high acidity, zero to high tannin, dry to sweet, light in body to full-bodied, with a range of flavours from simple and fruity to complex with rich spices and layers or fruit.

     Here are some simple principles to follow to discover your perfect match:

     Pair simply prepared dishes such as salad or poached white meats and fish with an unoaked white or lightly oaked red acidic wine with pure fruit characteristics. Examples include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Grüner Veltliner, and Chablis (Chardonnay), or Pinot Noir. The gentle use of oak, or complete absence of oak, lets the fruit flavours shine through to complement the freshness of the food. With a vinaigrette this works because the acidity in the wine balances the acidity in the food without making it seem more zesty or sour than it already is.

     With a deep fried or oily food such as spring rolls or pork dumplings try a sparkling wine such as Prosecco, Cava, a New World sparkling wine, or of course: Champagne. The acidity in the wine along with the effervescence of the bubbles essentially cleanses the palate between bites making deep fried or oily foods seem less heavy. Potato/kettle chips are a classic paring with sparkling wines for this reason!  Tannic red wine and oily foods DO NOT pair well together. The combination can create a metallic clash, often likened to chewing tin foil.

     For a sautéd dish with a richer sauce and red meat such as a beef stir-fry try a light to medium-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir from New Zealand or Willamette Valley, Oregon. A Beaujolais or an Ontario Gamay also pair nicely. The medium to low tannins provide enough grip to match with the weight of the beef yet the medium body provides balance to the sauce and texture of the rice.

     Seafood and chicken stir-fry dishes can be matched well with a more full-bodied wine such as an oaked Chardonnay from France, California, Chile, or Australia, or with a Chenin Blanc from South Africa or the Loire Valley of France. Gewürztraminer, and Viognier will also make a good match. The richness in the wine, and ripe fruit characteristics enhance the medley of flavours and textures found in the stir-fry.

     With spicy dishes, sweetness in a wine can off-set the heat. An off-dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Moscato d’Asti will cut the spice. Higher alcohol (above 13% abv.) and pungent spice flavours in wines, such as cloves or black pepper, increase the intensity of spices in food.

     Explore these principles in your own kitchen or get out to your favourite local restaurant and customize your own pairings to discover what you like best.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Pairings, Uncategorized

 

Tasting Wine to Assess Quality

ISO Tasting Glass 50 ml of Chateau Montelena

ISO Tasting glass tilted at 30 degrees, filled to 50 ml with 2007 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red or white? Do you like it or not? What’s the price? For many wine drinkers, these are the only things that matter. If value and quality are also important to you, both can be measured by simply tasting a wine.

A wine’s quality can be assessed through tasting if the senses are engaged and the tasting is approached systematically. A combination of the balance, length of finish, intensity and concentration of flavours as well as the wine’s complexity can be measured and used to determine a wine’s quality.

Quality assessments can be made, in part, by the appearance of the wine. The best way to observe a wine is in an ISO glass, as illustrated, and tipping this glass at a 30 degree angle, and look down on the wine. In a still wine, look to see if the wine is clear or hazy. Most wines will be clear. A dull wine with suspended particles may be faulty. Then, consider the colour, or hue. Most red wines will be ruby in colour but may tend toward bluish hues to be called purple or toward orange hues to be considered garnet. The colours vary depending on the grape variety, production method, and age of the wine. Then the intensity of the colour is measured. This scale ranges from pale – a red wine that you can read through or a white that is nearly water-white, on to medium, and then to deep. In a deeply coloured red wine, you will not be able to see much at through the wine; it is nearly opaque. White wines gain colour as they age frome a yellow-green through to deep gold or amber. Red wines lose colour as they age ranging from deep purple or ruby (garnet for some varieties such as Nebbiolo) through to pale garnet. Other observations can be made with regard to the viscosity of the legs and tears running down the inside of the glass which are indicators of levels of alcohol and/or sweetness in the wine. The slower and thicker the legs – the higher the wine is in alcohol and/or sugar.

Next, the sense of smell is engaged. Aromas in a wine can be the greatest indicator of varietal, use of oak, age, and the condition of the wine. Aromas in wine are generated from chemical compounds that also exist in other foods and vegetation. For example, when we are smelling black currant in a wine, we are actually smelling some of the exact flavour compounds in our wine that make up the smell of the berries. A youthful wine will have aromas of fruit ranging from apple and citrus fruits, to apricot or peach (stone fruits), tropical fruits too, and for red wines: berries, cherries and plums. Spices and vegetal aromas can be found, like black pepper in a Shiraz, or asparagus in a Sauvignon Blanc! Buttery smells are common in wines that have been mellowed (or maloed). Toasty and vanillin smells are common in wines that have spent time in oak barrels. Off-aromas such as those of rotten eggs, blocked drains, mouse droppings, and mouldy cardboard are indicators that the wine is faulty and should be returned or sent back. The aromas that can be found in wines are infinite. A wine taster’s ability to use them to communicate what they find in the glass for themselves and to others is the skill-testing objective.

On the palate, the same olfactory senses are used when wine is tasted as when it is smelled. Plus, the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks play an important role in tasting wines. The tip of our tongue identifies sweetness, the sides, acidity, and bitterness at the very back. Gums and cheeks sense the level of tannin (extracted from red grape skins and seeds) based on the level of drying experienced. The aromas smelled are now called flavours. The mouth warms the wine causing some compounds to become more pronounced on the palate, and others that were identified “on the nose”, less so. Also, alcohol levels (identified through the level of warmth felt in the throat) balance, length, and finish can be measured.

Based on the appearance, nose, and palate picture, the wine can now, in combination with theoretical knowledge, be assessed for quality. Is it a well-made, harmonious, and a typical wine? Are its constituents in balance  (i.e. fruit-flavours and acidity), or is it “angular”? How long did the delicious and pleasing flavours stay in the mouth; less than 15 seconds (short), longer than 45 seconds (long), or somewhere in between? Were the flavours intense and pronounced, or weak and barely there? How many flavours were identified: 5 or fewer making it a simple wine, or ten or more in a complex one? Assessed together, a quality statement can be generated.

And then, how should the wine best be enjoyed? The temperature of the wine when it is served, the glass in which it’s poured and the food that we taste in combination are all factors in our enjoyment. Some factors to consider when pairing wine with food are the body of the wine and the density of the food = lighter wines (white and red) with lighter fare, and more full-bodied, chewier wine with chewier food. The way the food is prepared can affect your choice in wine. If it is fresh or poached, a lighter wine won’t over-power it. If it is baked in a heavy sauce, then a more full flavoured and full-bodied wine will pair nicely. Alcohol makes hot foods hotter. Tannin and oil don’t mix! Salt and fat love bubbles – yes, popcorn and Champagne are a fun and festive way to start a gathering. The best way to know for sure which foods and wine you like together is to experiment.

For greater detail and more insight into the world of wines, and knowing what to expect when looking at a label on a bottle of wine, contact me to arrange for a tutored tasting, as part of a formal class, with a corporate group, for a fundraiser, or for a fun evening with friends and family!

Martha Blythe

Wine & Spirit Education Trust Certified Educator

 

Cave Spring Dry Riesling 2009

Appearance: The wine is clear and bright, medium minus lemon fading to a watery rim with fast moving legs and tears.

Nose: The clean wine has medium intensuity youthful aromas of lime, apple, pear, apricot and minerality.

Palate: The dry wine had medium plus acidity, (no tannin), medium body, medium minus alcohol, medium flavour intensity of apricot, grapefruit, lime zest, minerality, peach pit, apple, slight ginger and white pepper notes. The wine has a medium plus length, clean warming finish.

Conclusion: This is a good cool climate Riesling with a balance of fruit and acid and a supple mouthfeel.

LCBO 233635 $14.95 Alcohol: 11.5%

Date Tasted: March 2012

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Tasting Notes