Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A real time report of my tasting group's Riesling tasting

[A few days ago, my tasting group met up to taste some German Riesling. Each of the wines were covered with a brown bag. The line-up was, as you will see, quite focused. Thank you to my fellow tasters for putting up with my laptop and keyboard strokes during the proceedings. And a special thank you to Nadia for putting together a very solid line-up]

So here we go, flight one of our group's Riesling tasting. Group is discussing the vagaries of auto correct on smart phones. Wines A, B, C and D are now in the glass. Lots of swirling, sniffing, slurping, spitting. Time to catch up myself.

A - Cool toned, slight medicinal edged aromas, combined with SO2. Initially, not a lot of depth aromatically. Improves with air. Yellow fruits. Lemon-lime Elegant and understated, slightly herbal/bitter edge. Ruwer kabinett?

B - spicy, slightly sweet smelling apples. Red slate, here? Most expressive nose. Very good intensity and presence, and juicy acidity.

C - Talcum powder and appley nose. Creamy, slightly leesy wine here. Mellow acids. Young Kabinett?

D - Whoa. Clearly a more mature wine here. A sweeter pradikat, hitting some petrol notes now on the nose. More lemon-lime soda. An easy drinker for those who like RS, but it's simple.

We are deciding whether or not to rank the wines. Always a subject of debate with this group. Someone jokingly references the oft stated "it [blind tasting] is a parlor game." Arjun wants everyone to know that 'B' is his least favorite. We are unanimously united against 'D.' Lots of 'C' fans. 'A' and 'B' bring the sulphur.

OK, 'new shit is coming to light' as the Dude once said. 'A' and 'B,' and 'C' and 'D' are from the same vineyard.

Next flight:

'E' - Noticeably darker color than other two. A light gold color. Deep, orchard fresh fruit smells. Honeyed, a bit of botrytis? A bold, rich style. Nice length. Rheingau Spatlese (?)

'F' - Sulphur. Medicinal cherry aromas. Peach pit. Purity is increasing on nose, a bit. Same producer as 'A.' Back to the Ruwer.

'G' - Sulphurous, but less. Ripe pink grapefruits aromas - nice. Juicy citrus, especially pink grapefruit, and good acidity. Wehlener Sonnenuhr? Restrained kabinett.

Someone offers, "I think 'F' is the stinkiest of the two, by far." I agree. More minerality in this flight, Mark offers.

'H' - Too bad this is corked. There is good material here. Great balance, power and acidity. And length.

'I' - Deepest color yet, almost 18K gold. Creamy. Smells mature. Rich, mature spat (auslese?)

Back to that German butter. It came from the Pasta Shop's dairy section at Market Hall in Rockridge.

The wines are revealed:

A - 2009 Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett

B - 2008 Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett

C - 2008 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett

D - 2003 Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese

E - 2009 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett

F - 2009 Prum Wehelener Sonnenuhr Kabinett

G - 2008 Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett

H - 2002 Hauth Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett

I - 2001 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two bottles of white and a surprise showing

A week or so ago I had a bottle each of two wines that had been opened a couple of days earlier. One was a 2009 Domaine de la Louvetrie Fief du Breil Muscadet and the other a 2002 Chateau Coustaut Graves Blanc. The muscadet is Jo Landron's top bottling, and the Graves is a humble wine, just tank aged, I believe, which probably would retail these days for $12-$15. Guess which one showed better? Sauvignon blanc and/or Bordeaux hater or not, sometimes you just have to acknowledge the reality in the bottle and tip your hat to a tasty wine, regardless of its production methods, pedigree, snob/geek appeal and so on.

On a more complimentary note for the typically terrific wines that Jo Landron produces, the 2010 Domaine de la Louvetrie Amphibolite is delicious. You should drink some.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Twitter's influence here

Heading to a German Riesling tasting. Wish me luck.

On a personal note

If you have not heard by now, I am recently engaged to an intelligent, talented and beautiful girl from California. Indeed, I am a lucky man.

Now if anyone out there has ideas for a tasteful outdoor venue for a wedding ceremony and reception in the Bay Area, I'm all ears. In exchange for a good, inexpensive venue, we will bring one of the best party DJ's I know, food, and lots of good wine.

There will be many Jews at the wedding, and as you may or may not know Jews don't drink that much (of course there are exceptions; I am one). So there will be plenty of wine. Think about it....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Bartolo Mascarello Barolo and wanting to like stuff

Until quite recently, I had never tried a wine from Bartolo Mascarello. An egregious omission in anyone's drinking experience, it was recently corrected when I happened across a bottle of 2005 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo for a very decent price at work. Looking forward to finally having the opportunity to taste this Barolo, I also began to question my ability to objectively drink it. In other words, this has the potential of being one of those "I really should like this wine" type of wines.

These days I feel sufficiently independent and experienced to determine a wine's quality most of the time, and more to to the point to determine whether or not I like a wine. In this case, though, I think that I wanted to like the wine because of the elaboration itself: long skin maceration, ageing in very well used botti, nothing more than natural temperature control, a slow and patient, old-fashioned elevage. These are things that I have learned I often like in wines.

Away from method, and the reassuring feeling of validating one's taste, the most important lesson I took home here is that 2005 Bartolo Mascarello is a delicious wine. Generous, soft for a young Barolo, and really expressive with tiny berry fruits and minerals which shift place in prominence on day 2 (i.e., minerals followed by tiny berry fruits). I imagine the 05 Mascarello will be very tasty for another decade, during which time I want to drink a lot more of this and find out for myself.