Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cascada Peak Malbec - Tasting Notes

Producer: Cascada Peak
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Grape Varieties: Malbec
Pairing: Cheesey Tuesday at Cavatappo Grill.  I love this special!  Your choice of 5 cheeses and a bottle of wine for $35. This was a nice, standard Malbec whose earthiness and tannins worked well with the cheese, especially the smokey Scamoraza Affumicata.
Overall Rating:  

Color: Ruby
Brightness: Bright
Legs: slow moving

Intensity: Low-Moderate
Age: Youthful
Scent: Cherry and apricot

Dry/Sweet: Dry
Body: Light
Acidity: Fresh
Tannin: Low-Medium
Flavors: Earth and dark fruit

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tenuta Rapitala Grillo - tasting notes

Name: Tenuta Rapitala Grillo
Producer: Tenuta Rapitala
Region: Sicily, Italy
Grape Varieties: Grillo

Pairing:  Fritto Misto (fried calamari, eggplant, zucchini, and carrots) at Felice 
I'm not as familiar with the Italian grape varieties, so I went with the eeny-meeny-mino-moe wine selection methodology to choose this 2013 Grillo.  The flavor was very light, slightly sweet, and not overly remarkable.  However, it was hot night, so it was crisp and refreshing, and the slight sweetness complemented the saltiness of the calamari.
Overall Rating:  

      White: Pale Yellow-green

Brightness: Day Bright - it was almost clear

Intensity: Aromatic
Age: Youthful
Scent: Grass and Citrus

Dry/Sweet: Off-dry
Body: Very Light
Acidity: Crisp
Flavors: The aroma was much stronger than the flavor, but still some citrus and herbal qualities.  The label mentioned hints of almond, but I didn't notice that until after reading the label. ;)
Finish: Short(<3 sec)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

L'O de Joncier Grenache- Tasting Notes

Name: L'O de Joncier
Producer: Domaine du Joncier
Region: Côtes du Rhône
Grape Varieties: Grenache

Color: Red/Garnet
Brightness: Dull

Intensity: Aromatic
Age: Youthful
Scent: Lots of berry

Dry/Sweet: Dry
Body: Medium
Acidity: Smooth
Tannin: Low/Medium
Flavors: Dark fruit (blackberries and cherries), with a hint of pepper and wood
Finish: Medium (4-5)

Pairing: Cheese Plate at Lucy's Whey.  I really enjoyed this wine.  It was fruity and easy to drink, but with enough body and tannin to really complement the cheese.  Also, our waiter informed us that this is an organic/biodynamic wine, which basically means that the grapes are grown without chemical pesticides, and the vineyard uses herbal alternatives and composting techniques to ensure healthy soil .

Overall Rating:  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tasting break down - Visual Inspection

I've been posting these tasting notes, with all these weird descriptions (like legs, brightness, body, etc), but what am I really talking about???  

Basically, I'm trying to observe all the different aspects of a wine using sight, smell, and taste, and I'm trying to do this in a systematic manner, so that I can better compare one wine to another.  So, let's break down my "tasting system", and we'll start with the visual inspection...

You can learn fair amount about a wine just by looking at it.  The two most important visual characteristics are: Color and Brightness.  The third characteristic is the "legs", but I don't put much stock in them.

First we need to identify the color of the wine.  These are some common colors used to describe wine:
(... and then these colors can be further described as light,  medium, or dark).   The color of the wine can provide a hint toward the grape varietal, but even more importantly, the color is an indicator of the age of the wine, because the color is a result of the oxidation process.  Often the wine is a deeper color at the center of the glass and fades to a lighter hue towards the edge of the glass.  This is called rim variation.  The amount of rim variation tends to increase as a wine ages.  Also, as a white wine ages, it becomes darker and browner; while a red wine becomes lighter and browner as it ages.  This "darker/lighter" also refers to the brightness.    

Brightness is the amount of light reflected by the wine.   The brightness scale is as follows:
  • Dull/Opaque
  • Hazy
  • Bright
  • Day Bright
  • Star Bright
  • Brilliant
To determine the brightness, tilt your glass over a white background (perhaps a napkin or table cloth) to see how much light is reflected onto the white surface below.  Could you read through the wine?  If yes, the wine would likely be considered bright or above.  The last three levels are mostly reserved for white wines, and brilliant is basically clear.  Usually, darker wines have more body, while brighter wines are lighter in body.  Hazy wine may indicate that the wine is unfiltered or possibly flawed. 

Lastly, we check out the "legs" (also sometimes called "tears") of the wine.  These are the streaks that form along the sides of the glass after swirling.  Generally, thick and slowly moving legs are a sign of either high alcohol or high residual sugar.  The videos below give a much better explanation than I can, but basically there are a number of factors that can affect the legs, so (imho) they aren't as important as the color or the brightness.

Videos about Wine Legs:

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fancy Schmancy Tasting Dinner at Le Cirque

I'm always a sucker for a bargain, and there was an Amazon Local deal for a 6-course tasting menu at Le Cirque.  Now I've heard of Le Cirque - its one of the top French restaurants in NYC, so I was intrigued.  Long story short, I bought the deal, made my husband put on a suit, and had a wonderfully decadent meal.

We started out with the complimentary amuse-bouche, which was a tiny dollop of strangely delicious pea puree.

Then it was time to begin our delectable journey.  We figured the sommelier's wine pairings were the way to go.  He obviously knows a whole lot more than us; plus we're fancy like that. ;)

First Course:
Choice of Foie Gras or Sashimi Halibut with Roasted Red Peppers; served with  IVY Blanc de Blancs, a lovely, dry sparking wine.

Second Course:
Lobster Risotto served with Vievite Cuvee Extraordinaire.  This was the palest rose that I have ever seen, and it was dry and refreshing and a wonderful pairing for the richness of the lobster.

Third Course:
White Asparagus, Scallop, Sweatbreads, and Quail Egg with an Anchovy Sauce; served with Fogdog Chardonnay.  I am not a huge fan of Chardonnay, and this was a seriously oaky chard.  I'm not really into anchovies either, and the maitre d' had just poured the sauce all over everything.  BUT this ended up being my favorite course.  The sauce was light and tangy and not anchovy-y, AND it totally worked with the chardonnay.

Fourth Course:
Scottish Salmon and Sage-Infused Potatoes with Barolo Le Ginestre. This wine was extremely aromatic with floral and baking scents, but then it was very light bodied and more earthy on the taste.  Also, the potatoes were amazing!

Fifth Course:
Choice of Chicken or Lamb; served with Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. Both the chicken and the lamb were succulent and were complimented by the Cabernet.  To finish off this course, we were given little push-pop things ( I guess it was palate cleanser or something?).  We didn't understand what they said about them, and the flavor was not impressive or identifiable, but they looked neat, even if somewhat phallic.

Sixth Course:
For dessert, I kept it simple with ice cream: salted caramel and raspberry.  My husband ordered the chocolate stove cake, which much to our surprise came inside of a miniature chocolate stove!  These were served with Braida Brachetto D'Acqui, which was very nice, but a little bit too sweet for me.

It was definitely a splurge, but it was a delicious way to spend our money and evening.