Thursday, December 23, 2021

Beware the Wine Snob!

What is a wine snob?  What are the telltale signs that you've encountered an actual wine snob and not just a wine enthusiast? And why should you care?

Come back soon to read my take on the subject.  For now, I'm off to enjoy a splash of Cab Franc.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

World Wide Wine Visa

Wine is an expression of the particular land it grows on.  The French call this "terroir."   You can say wine is of a place.

That place is some vineyard in some country.  Wine grows all over the Earth in many places you wouldn't expect.  It even grows in Central Oregon!

If you understand this, then when you come across a nice Chianti in the store and take it home, you have just purchased a trip to Italy.  Or should we say that Italy has come to you inside that bottle.

Now if you've been to Tuscany then you can play a little mind game and as you taste the wine send yourself back to that Sunny day you had sat outside in the vineyard with a good friend to enjoy that same wine. 

Imagination is key to enjoying wine.  You can relive pleasant memories you've had with a favorite grape varietal in your own backyard!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Oh yea,. well take this Tax!

"Effective October 18, 2019, the US Trade Representative's Office imposed a new 25% value-added tax (i.e., import tariffs) on a wide range of European products (including French wine, Italian cheese and single malt Scotch whisky) to penalize EU subsidies for Airbus.  EU has made counter-claims against the US subsidies for Boeing.  A ruling by WTO on EU's counter-claims is expected in the spring of 2020."

When children run the White House, then you get schoolyard retaliation against the French in particular and their wine exports.  What punishing the American wine industry that is linked to its survival to the World Wine Market  and the French has to do with Airplanes I do not know.

If you'd like to do more than sit back and watch the likes of D. Trump rack havoc with the wine industry,  while no doubt helping some of his Boeing buddies with a good belly laugh, then write to hopefully somewhat more sane congress members and suggest that this tax fiasco will harm not only France but the many American wine distributors that will be put out of business while the White House is flexing its muscle.

Here is a list of the Congress:

Monday, January 13, 2020

Buyer Beware

Are you passionate about wine?  Do you have a "latest" favorite varietal that gets you excited when you discover that the new winery your visiting has it on their tasting list?

Several of the Rhône Valley grapes bring me shivers of anticipation when I find them in my glass, among which is the Syrah grape.

I found this wine online and it peaked my interest because of the "blend" that was used.
Do you catch the "error" in this description?

La Sirena “Le Barrettage” Calistoga 2013 ($97). Barrettage is a take off on the Northern Rhone appellation of Hermitage with this red wine crafted from predominantly syrah with a dash of grenache and petite sirah. Made in a distinctive Rhone style with ripe plums, pepper and mocha notes and a hint of minerals.

Time's up. An authentic Hermitage is made from Syrah alone without any other red grapes blended in.  Yes, it's a bit persnickety but I am passionate about my French wine.

Here in the USA, anything goes!  Blend whatever suits your fancy if it tastes good to the winemaker.  In France, there is no such luxury, wine is strictly regulated and the varietals allowed in regional wines, such as Hermitage (Northern Rhône Valley) is sacred.  

Point is, if you want to experience the Real McCoy of Syrah, then head to the town of Tain-l'Hermitage!  I'll be glad to take you there on my next visit!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bend Walking Wine Tours

Yes, there are wineries in the Bend Oregon area.  While Bend is better known as a Beer Town, the wine still flows here as well.
It's true that the list of local vineyards is small, but that doesn't diminish the enthusiasm for fine wine in Central Oregon.  While not yet an AVA (American Viticultural Area) it will only be a matter of time before this area gets added to the existing 18 AVA's of Oregon.

Wine is about passion and that is well demonstrated in the 6 local tasting rooms in and around Bend.  Half are simply tasting rooms for their labels, as for example, Bledsoe Family Winery, whose wine making takes place in Walla Walla, Washington.  There's a micro winery at Elixir, right here in Bend.

So fear not fellow wine enthusiasts, you can get s splash of Syrah while riding your bike along the city streets, or join a group of tasters on one of my Bend Walking Wine Tours, coming to town soon!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Time to Recoup

Winter is here!  For the grapes it's time to take a rest from all that hard work of making all those plump juicy berries.

We say they are "dormant."   This is why they can survive the severity of Winter and come back swinging in the Spring.

Not much is happening at this time, perhaps a little root growth if the soil is not too cold.  It is the time that the old growth is pruned back .

Winemakers are after the berries and not to grow massive vines.  Vines are pernicious and will grow to impressive mass if left to their own devices.  Winter becomes a vital time in the vineyard to control this growth.

This is an annual stage and part of the life of a grape vine.  I've been asked if grapes produce more than one crop a year.  The answer is no.  After each crop comes the annual rest period until the next Spring.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Balanced Wine

Let's talk Balance in a wine. It's what really makes for a pleasant tasting experience.

In the most basic terms we are looking for a balance between the sugars and the acids in the grape.  Too much sugar equals "hot" wines with high alcohol.  Too much acid and you get what we call a "green pepper" taste. Both are not good.

 Here is an excerpt from a website selling acids for winemakers.  It's pretty technical but the point is that pH and TA levels are vital to a fine wine.  It points out the importance of these elements in winemaking.

There are two ways to look at acidity in a winemaking: TA or pH:  
The TA is a measure of the actual physical grams of acid in one liter of your wine and is expressed as “_ g/L of acid”, or in tenths of a percent of acidity as in “0.1% total acidity”. Both terms are equivalent and can be used interchangeably by moving the decimal point; e.g: 6.5 g/L = 0.65% TA. 
The pH is a measure of how strong the acids are in relation to all of the other compounds in a wine/must. The lower the value, the more strongly acidic the sample will be; i.e: apH of 3.3 is more acidic than 3.9. In winemaking, most pH values will be between the 3.0 and 4.0 ranges, with most of the focus happening in the range of tenths between these two ends (“3._ pH”). While the TA will tell you how much physical acid there is in the wine/must, the pH tells you how this acidity will be perceived.