Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tasting- Sean Minor Four Bears Vin Gris

Week 10

Sean Minor Four Bears
Variety: Vin Gris
Region: Carneros
Country: California
Year: 2013
Price: $20, on sale for $8.95
Food? No

Description from the Vintage Cellar: "The Vin Gris is a bright and vibrant salmon color with cherry, strawberry, cranberry and ripe watermelon aromas on the nose.  On entry, the wine displays bright strawberry flavors. Throughout the mid-palate and finish, raspberry and cherry fruit characters are balanced with spicy and crisp acidity that linger creating a refreshing and lengthy finish."

My Review: I really liked this wine! The color caught my eye immediately, and was supported well by the fruit and berry notes in the nose and taste. I detected lots of melon, especially cantaloupe. This wine was very well balanced and easy to drink. I would've bought a bottle or two, had I not owed the IRS lots of money for my tax return. Darn you, shoestring budget!

Tasting- Peter Mertes Riesling Platinum

Week 10

Name: Peter Mertes Riesling Platinum
Variety: Riesling
Region: Reinhessen
Country: Germany
Year: 2013
Price: $8.95
Food? No

Description from the Vintage Cellar: "This quality Riesling is crisp, clean and easy drinking. Floral and fruit aromas suggest sweet melon and honey with enough acidity to ensure a beautifully balanced and versatile wine."

My Review: The "easy drinking" part of the description is very true. This wine was sweet and very easy to knock back. It wasn't very memorable though. It's not something I'm crazy about, nor would I get it again. Also it looks cheap, with it's silver label and blue glass bottle. 

Tasting- Charles Thomas Cotes du Rhone

Week 10

Name: Charles Tomas Cotes du Rhone
Variety: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre
Region: Rhone
Country: France
Year: 2013
Price: $8.95
Food? No

Description from the Vintage Cellar: "50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre. 56 Ha grown organically since March 2009 (in conversion). Part of the vineyard is plowed with horses. Average age of the vines : 30 years old. Clear ruby wine with overtones of red berry fruits. Round and supple with smooth aftertaste. A good all round red wine for meat courses, poultry and light cheeses. Best drunk now while fresh with good keeping up to 4 years."

My Review: This Cotes du Rhone didn't have much presence in the nose, but had a lot of physical presence on my tongue. It left a bubblegum-y texture behind, like I had just chewed a new chalky piece of Dubble Bubble. It wasn't outstanding, but not bad.  I'd like to have it with a meal.

Tasting- Grande Reserve des Bastides

Week 10

Name: Grande Reserve des Bastides
Variety: Mauzac, Sauvignon Blanc, Loin de l'Oeil
Region: Gaillac
Country: France
Year: 2013
Price: $9.95
Food? No

Description from the Vintage Cellar: "A crisp and fruity blend featuring 20% of the herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, 50% creamy Loin de l’Oeil and notes of fresh apple and crisp pear, plus a touch of herb from the 30% Mauzac. It has a bright feel, with a hint of mineral on the finish."

My Review: The nose of this wine is very bright and sprightly, with many floral and fruit notes. I picked up peach, honey, and a hint of breadiness. This wine doesn't taste like it smells though. It isn't sweet at all- it's tart, dry, and very green. It made me salivate a LOT. I'd have to find the perfect food to pair it with if I were to try it again, because on it's own it's very off putting.

Tasting- Terre di Poggio Laude

Week 10

Name: Terre di Poggio Laude
Variety: Montepulciano
Region: Abruzzo
Country: Italy
Year: 2012
Price: $8.95
Food? No

Description from the Vintage Cellar: "This opens with dark aromas of leather, tobacco, cured meat, plum and prune. It shows soft tannins and loads of dark fruit on the finish."

My Review: This wine is definitely just as the description says. The nose is very pungent, with strong fruit and leather notes. The taste is tannic, bitter, and earthy. It didn't seem too fantastic though. It tasted like your run-of-the-mill Italian red. It didn't blow me away.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wine Dinner at the Palisades

I had an awful day today. You know those days where something goes horribly wrong and it triggers a waterfall of everything else that's bad in your life, and you just sit with your head in your hands and cry in front of strangers? Yeah. That was my day.

So, I left studio early and set up my hammock and sat outside. I was having a fine and dandy time, drifting in the breeze, when my roommate texted me, asking if I wanted to go to the Palisades for dinner.


So Ryan and I hopped in his jeep and drove down 460. The theme tonight was Australia, and their menu looked divine.

I was eyeballing that meat pie HARD.

It was nice to not arrange the menu, considering all of the planning my mom and I did for our wine dinner two weeks ago. I was excited about everything, especially the BBQ shrimp pizza. I don't drink many Sirahs or Shirazes either, so I was looking forward to that.


The Petite Sirah smelled and tasted very woody and hearty. I picked up on jammy, fruit leathery notes as well, but it was more tannic and herbaceous. I did pick up a hint of moroccan mint tea as well.

The Shiraz was fruitier than the Sirah, and the texture on my tongue reminded me of a citrus peel that's been left out to dry on the counter. The plum and berry notes were huge, and there was a nice spicy pepper-ness on the mid palate that lingered.

The Riesling caught me off guard- it was rather effervescent, and tasted slightly of whipped cream. It was very green leafy though, like the oak leaf canopy of my backyard. I imagined chomping down on those leaves when I tried this wine.

Left to right: Petite Sirah, Shiraz, Riesling

The food arrived at our table arranged in a different order than the wines each dish was paired with, so I switched everything around. First, I tried the BBQ Shrimp pizza with the Riesling. The effervescence died down a lot after drinking it with a hot slice of pizza. The sauce overpowered the wine, toning down the fruitiness and mellowing it out. The pizza was GOOD. I ate half of it first, and then saved the other half for the end of the meal.

A decimated plate

I went out of order, to save the meat pie for last, and had the dim sum dumplings. I felt that the dumpling had no flavor and a gummy texture that didn't suit the filling or the wine well. I know steamed dumplings are the way to go, but it could've been thinner. Or, perhaps, tradition could've been broken and the dumpling been fried. Whatever the case, the dumpling was too blah and threw off the wine and filling. But the filling and the wine complimented each other quite nicely! Their spicy profiles united to create a robust flavor that was very earthy.

Oh GOD, we started eating before photographing!
What terrible food Instagrammers we would be.

Finally, I cut into the meat pie. It was delightful! There was so much flavor and happiness in my mouth. The tannic structure of the wine supported the beef of the pie very well.

I will say, the pie got tiring towards the end. I almost left half of it on the plate (but then I thought, why would I waste such a great piece of food and took one for the team). I'm glad all of the portions were small, or else I wouldn't have been able to finish my plate.

The meal was awesome. Our waitress even brought us a ham and pineapple appetizer during our wait for the main courses. I would love to go back to the Palisades and do this again!

Refill, please!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Class Notes- March 31

Restaurant Etiquette

Your average Applebee's will not know what a decanter is, nor really what wine is.
"I'm a jaded bastard and I don't give a shit." -Boyer

Anything not in a bottle is just the house wine.

Ordering Wine:
Non-Chains will have more variety than Chain restaurants.
Restaurant mark up is typically 300%. UGH. In the last 5 years or so though, that number is going down. And now, in Virginia, you can sometimes bring your own alcohol.

"If your state has a law about something, Virginia has three." -Boyer

If you're going to bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant and paying the corkage fee, don't use it as a way to save money. Don't bring Yellowtail.
It's about bringing a special bottle for a special occasion.

When ordering by the bottle, always pick your meal first. When in doubt, order a sparkling white wine.
Ask, does the chef have a pairing for this? Ask for suggestions.

You always want the bottle to be SEALED when it comes to you. That way, you know which wine is in the bottle (the one you ordered).

During the sniff and swirl, you're looking for off flavors. Not for tastiness.
The more expensive the restaurant is, the more likely they are to hand you the cork. Whyyyy sniff the cork?

"Sniffffffff..... YES. That is cork." -Boyer

If you're buying a $50+ bottle of wine, you can go ahead and ask them to decant it.