Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nothing in Particular

Usually when I write in this space I have a wine in mind, or a wine-related topic that has saturated my mind to the point of inspired writing. At the moment the things I'm amped on are: Portuguese bargains, Burgundy, current releases of wines I had a hand in making, and as previously stated, Syrah. I'm not going to write about these though.

Currently I have a glass of 2007 J Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon perched on the end-table beside me (it was a sample from a salesperson today at work; typically I don't shell out $40 for just any wine, but I can assure you that if you do enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon from California or know someone who does, this wine is worthy of a special occasion, especially if you have an aerator or nice decanter on hand). 89 points from my un-sophisticated palate.

I'm not typically a Cab drinker, not because I don't enjoy me a good one (the last NICE Cab I opened was a Caymus 2007, also a sample, that I had saved for a grass-fed steak dinner and a special Port reduction sauce I concocted), but because being the wine-geek I am, I'd much rather spend some extra cash on a bottle of Sancerre or single vineyard Rioja (whenever I open a bottle I first look it up on Winespectator.com, then tend to hit up the winery website for some info, then consult THE WORLD ATLAS OF WINE to research the region if I'm not familiar, and then possibly more online digging if I'm not satisfied). Needless to say, it doesn't sound like much enjoyment goes into drinking wine for me, but I can assure you, I savor every last drop, and for me, knowing the most I can about where, how, and by who a wine was produced, makes the experience all the more worth while.

Back to the non-theme of tonight. I was outside smoking an unhealthy, yet appreciated, cigarette enjoying the tranquility of the night and the 14 plus inches of snow that has recently befallen our city. Amidst the city streetlights, the sirens, snow-stuck cars, and dogs barking, I noticed that a neighbor in the building across the street had their window open (it is no warmer than 20 degrees Fahrenheit this evening) with a speaker pointing outside. How refreshing to be a part of a summer scene on a winter's eve? Even more-so, it was some of the folk music that has become so mainstream, enjoyable to my elitist musician's ear, but not acoustic as most that I've been digging on lately. 'Twas electric. I thank the neighbor for making that moment just a little bit sweeter for me. I nearly walked across the street and shouted into their apartment to ask who was the artist, but stopped and merely savored the moment. I thought and thought about a wine that would suit the moment well, stylistically what would match a heavy snowfall or in my experiences what goes best with folk music. I'm excited for future posts where I might pair wine with songs, but tonight my friends, it's all about seizing the day.

Crack open whatever bottle is near, or finish the one you started whether it was $5 or $50. Wine is such a critical part of my daily existence and I hope that in the coming year I can show you how the same can work for you. Thanks to all who have offered suggestions on future posts. I'm excited for what's to come, including videos if plans fall into place. Until then,

*And on a more serious note, please take a moment to think about, pray for, meditate on, or simply acknowledge our fellow human beings across the world, especially in the Middle East (where wine originated), and be thankful for all of our blessings.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


After reading my last post, just a few minutes ago, I realize I am pandering MAINLY to the readers who have quite a bit of knowledge of wine, and a rather sophisticated palate. I really hate that in a way. My goal is to reach out to friends and family, and share my knowledge in a way they can access, to break it on down in a way. Simply put, the Triton 2005 is a beast of a wine.

It will make your tongue scratchy and wish you had a toothbrush, but before you actually want to spit it out, it will soften in your mouth. The wine will teach you what 'new oak' means when aging a wine. With some food, a steak perhaps or some roasted pork, this wine will dance the night away. Decant or aerate it and it's ready to drink in a second. If you are into Spanish wines and want to spend a few more dollars and have the patience to age a wine, this is one to consider.
Sorry to confuse or down-talk, I'm at a crux in my wine-blogging-learning life.
I hope you enjoy.


OLD ass Vines

I just uncorked a bottle of Vinas del Cenit Triton 2005, a 100% old vine Tempranillo bottling from the Spanish D.O. Tierra del Vino de Zamora. Now I have heard or knew next to none of this wine or D.O. before this purchase, but I must admit that ever since I stepped foot in the wine store where I work, the bottle drew my attention.

From 100 year old vines of the local Tempranillo clone, Tinto del Toro (I'd assume) this wine Leaps out of the 'Old World', the Zamora region just to the Southeast and slaps me in the face. It's HUGE. Nearly opaque in color, a deep deep crimson, the 2005 vintage tastes young to me. It was aged for 17 months in NEW French Oak barrels, which becomes readily apparent on the nose, but the fruit characteristics, the raisiny character of marmalade and blackberry, port reduction, just barely crawl out of the overwhelming vanilla/cedar/coffee spice brought on by the oak. This wine will age incredibly well, and I got a hot price on it which entices me to grab a few more bottles to throw down for a few more years.

Toro, I've been told, is the historic region in Spain where all of the best bull-fighting animals were/are raised. Quite high in altitude (1970-2460ft, says The World Atlas of Wine) and arid, almost desert-like, the days are HOT, nights COOL, letting the grapes ripen to their ultimate potential during the day while preserving the flavors, sugars, and acidity while they 'sleep'. I'm one for using human terms to describe grapes because I find it much more easy to relate; when describing to me why a ferment smelled funny during the first harvest I worked in a cellar, the winemaker explained to me that the yeasts were 'unhappy', not getting the right nutrients, like as if I was to have bad gas after eating a McDonald's value meal.

Overall, I think for the price, this wine matches all the press it's gotten. 90 Points from WineSpectator, I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5 on my scale. Normal retail for about $30, I got it for $18.99. It's almost too big though. Typical new world beefiness, though this wine would suit some beef jerkey immaculately, a steak, or some chili after a day of breathing. A winter wine for sure. I'm excited to let it air out in the bottle for a day or two and re-visit it. Try it, I'd say. It's definitely one worth the buck, even though it doesn't fit my New Year's resolution of spending strictly on wines that will educate me on the quintessential aspects of traditional regions and terroir.