Taking it up a notch

The more I learn about wine, the more that I want to know.  Thus, I have decided to take mStudy Materialsy wine education up a notch, and I have enrolled in the Intensive Sommelier Training Program at the International Culinary Center in NYC.  This is a 17 week program that prepares students to take the Certified Sommelier Examination, administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers.  This is the second of four examinations that are required to become a Master Sommelier.  There are only 236 Master Sommeliers in the world, and all are highly regarded as wine and service experts.  There is an excellent documentary called Somm that presents the extreme dedication and rigorous study that is required of four men aspiring to achieve the level of Master.  At this point, I will be more than thrilled to pass the Certified Examination in the fall, but I have lots of studying to do between now and then.  I hope to continue blogging as time permits and to share some of my newfound wine knowledge, so stay tuned!

Rosé, a summer fling

IMG_20160807_204014

Rosé wine, with is fruity flavors and romantic color, is the perfect summer fling.  Not that you can’t drink rosé all year round, but it seems to surge in  popularity every summer.  Rosé wines are made from the same grapes as red wine, but the skins are removed before fermentation.  The shade of pink depends on the length of time that the skins are in contact with the juice.  This is called maceration, and this part of the wine making process allows the grape skins to impart both color and tannins to the grape juice.

Since rosé can be made from many different types of grapes, the flavors and styles vary greatly.  Wine folly has put together a nice guide to the different styles of rosé.  Rosé wine is made in many different wine regions, but Provence, France is one of the few regions that focuses mainly on the production of rosé.  The most common grapes used for rosé from Provence are Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre.  These rosés are using made in a dry style, with a fair amount of acidity and some minerality.  Some common flavors are strawberry, melon, roses, and herbs.  Cheers to summer!

 

 

Tasting Notes – Zweigelt Barrique

Zweigelt ValentineName: Zweigelt Barrique
Producer: Enjingi Estate Vintner
Region: Vetovo, Croatia
Grape Varieties: Zweigelt
Vintage2009
Overall Rating:  4.5 
Pairing: Valentine M+M cookies!  This wine is light-bodied and (dried) fruity, with a hint of sweetness.  I would be happy to drink it on its own, but the cookies were a nice addition.

Sight
Color: 
Red: Red/Brick

Brightness: Dull/Hazy

Aroma
Intensity: Low/Moderate
Age: Aged
Scent: Earth and berries

Palate
Dry/Sweet: Dry/Off-dry
Body: Light
Acidity: Smooth
Tannin: Low
Flavors: Definitely fruity, but it tasted more like dried fruit to me – cherries and prunes.
Finish: Short(<3 sec)

Tasting Notes – Frontera Merlot

Frontera Merlot Beef Stew

Name: Frontera Merlot
Producer: Concha y Toro
Region: Central Valley, Chile
Grape Varieties: Grape
Overall Rating:  ☆☆
Pairing: This was on sale, and merlot is the wine of the month, and I needed some wine for my beef stew.  Thus, it was a wine of convenience, but it didn’t deliver much else.  Overall, it was pretty bland, but it worked well in the stew and was fine to sip on while cooking.

Sight
Color: Purplish and inky

Aroma
Intensity: Low
Age: Youthful
Scent: undetectable

Palate
Dry/Sweet: Dry
Body: Light
Acidity: Smooth
Tannin: Low
Flavors:  Cherry (a little syrupy) and not much else.

Wine Resolutions 2016

It’s the start of new year, and I’m making the obligatory resolutions…

Luckily, my resolutions are wine focused, so hopefully they won’t be too unrealistic. 😉

2016 will be the the year of grape! Each month, I will try to do a deep-dive study of a different grape.  I hope to learn as much as I can about the grape and the regions that produce it, and then hopefully compare a couple of wines of that varietal.   Here’s a rough plan  for the first half of the year…

January – Merlot
February- Zweigelt
March- Gamay
April- Carmenere
May- Pinot
June – Semillon

Cheers to 2016!

Tasting Notes – Lobo

Name: LOBO Tinto Multicastas
Producer: LOBO
Region: Peninsula of Setubal, Portungal
Grape Varieties: Castelao, Touriga National and Trincadeira Grapes (These are all Portuguese Grapes and were a delicious, new find for me.)
Vintage2012
Overall Rating:  

Pairing:  De-stressing after a long day at work.

Sight
Color: Purple

Brightness: Dull/Opaque

Aroma
Intensity: Low
Age: Some age
Scent: Cherry and berries

Palate
Dry/Sweet: Dry
Body: Light
Acidity: Fresh
Tannin: Low

Flavors: Juicy berries, but slightly earthy/smokey on the finish

Winery Visit – TugHill Vineyard


I had the pleasure to visit the Tug Hill Vineyard on a beautiful fall day. We enjoyed their packed Sunday brunch, with beautiful views of fall foliage and farmland. Then, we headed down to the tasting room to sample their wines.  The Tug Hill Vineyard is located outside of Lowville, NY on the Tug Hill Plateau, which is an area known for its heavy snowfall, not as a wine region.  They do give a nod to this winter notoriety with some of their wine names such as White Out, Lake Effect, and Black Ice.

To combat their extreme winters, this vineyard has planted 10 varieties of French-American hybrid vines that were developed at the University of Minnesota, which has done extensive research to develop cold-hardy grapes. I was particularly taken with the Marquette, which made a very easy-drinking, medium bodied red. We picked up a bottle to take home, and it paired wonderfully with a pizza.

Here are my notes…

Name: Marquette
Producer: Tug Hill Vineyard
Region: New York State
Grape Varieties: Marquette
Vintage2013
Overall Rating:  
Pairing: New York Style Pizza from Nick’s Pizza.

Sight
Color: Purplish/Ruby

Brightness: Dull

Aroma
Intensity: Low
Age: Youthful
Scent: Cherry and Spice

Palate
Dry/Sweet: Dry/Off-dry
Body: Light/Medium
Acidity: Smooth
Tannin: Low
Flavors: Cherry and Spice, plus some black pepper and berry
Finish: Medium (4-5 sec)