Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Strange is your language (and I have no decoder)

Working at a winery is an awesome gig - I get paid to learn a ton about my favorite alcoholic beverage - all while beefing up my social skills. The folks that pop into my winery are mostly inexperienced wine tasters (and partially buzzed to boot) from Pennsylvannia and Canada - so it’s super easy to feed them BS if I’m ever at a loss for an answer. However, I feel the need to inform you all that mentioning or quoting from the movie Sideways in a winery is not original. Not original, at all.

But you already knew that because you're all super original folks!

Additionally, [and I'm speaking to my past tasters here]

Merlot is pronounced "Mur-low"… while I can understand how Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon, and even Rosé (row-say) can be mispronounced - Merlot is a VERY common wine! Say it with me now, "muuuur looooooow!"

Do not smirk or make some sort of comment after I mention spitting (into the bucket). Spitting is allowed and encouraged at a wine tasting - I do it all the time (I know, hard to believe).

RS stands for Residual Sugar - the percentage of sugar left in the wine, post fermentation. The higher the number, the sweeter the wine.

No, you may not touch our grapes.

Most of the wines made in New York state (and everywhere else, except snooty wine making European countries) are named after the dominant grape… Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, etc. For example, a Riesling is called Riesling because it is made from a grape of that very same name (and it's German, FYI). Blends tend to have a generic, made up name with no vintage. While a wine may be called, or considered to be a Chardonnay, it's not necessarily 100% Chardonnay (each state/country have different regulations on the actual percentage).

Vintage refers to the year that most of the grapes were harvested.

Picking up glass of wine and simply guzzling it is a clear indication that you’re out for a buzz… so don’t bother trying to "stump me" with wine questions just to impress your friends. I’m more sober/smarter than you and I will always know the answer. And besides, shooting wine is a huge disservice to yourself. Chill out… stop, smell, taste, and enjoy!

If you don't like it - that's fine! Pour it out, and move on.

Tastings always move: Dry whites > Sweet whites, then Dry reds > Sweet reds. Unless you're an experienced, award winning wine taster - don’t try to tell me otherwise.

Yes, it is totally cool to give me a tip, especially if you learned from the experience.

The wine tasting notes are merely suggestions of the nose, palette, etc. About 90% of the time I disagree, and it’s cool if you do too!

Dislike like red wine because of the sulfites? Sulfites are naturally occurring in all wines and supplemented to mostly sweet whites (not dry reds) as a preservative. I believe that the word you're looking for is tannins.

And lastly, never refrain from a tasting because you think you don't like wine (Boone's Farm is not wine)… fermented grape juice is as old as time and there's one out there for everyone - stop the prejudice!

Any questions?

Friday, July 20, 2007


I finally received my wine industry discount card, entitling me to a good percentage off wine produced at most of the wineries in New York state. And my tasting fee is gratis.

I stopped by one of the more popular wineries on Seneca Lake yesterday. After presenting my card, I asked the pourer how many tastings I’m entitled to.

“Oh YOU get to try however many you want...” She said with a smile. I glanced over at some of the other tasters and beamed with superiority.

Great, I’ll try your standard Chardonnay, semi-dry Riesling, and the sweet Riesling… oh and throw in a sample of that $25 Pinot Noir, the $30 Reserve Riesling, the $45 Meritage... and maybe some of that sold out Lemberger for kicks and giggles (I don’t even like dry, tannic reds!)

I left with what ended up being a $10 bottle of pretty darn good Riesling. I love Riesling.

I think this card is going to lead me toward more evil, than good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


i've gone into dietary detox (for health reasons) which includes the elimination of alcohol for 2 weeks! it's for the best, but rest assured that i will be back shortly with some great wine and music pairings. back soon, but please give a 'ello if reading... you are my inspiration, after all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wisteria Blush

Winery: Miles Winery
Location: Seneca Lake, New York
Vintage: none
Cost: under $10
My Rating: Great!

Blushes (otherwise known as a Rosé) make me nervous. Nervous because they have a tendency to taste like a wine cooler to me. Not the case here.

Why, what beautiful shade of pink!

Flowery nose.

Honey. Very sweet and floral. Like drinking watered down honey with a lingering bite. Great chilled. Perfect on a hot summer night. One of the tasters at the Winery suggested making a slushie out of this one. I just might try that.

Red House Painters - "Retrospective"

Red House Painters - Retrospective

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Twin Fin 2004 Pinot Grigio

Winery: Twin Fin
Location: unknown, California (but, the taste notes indicate that the Pinot is 75% Northern San Joaquin Valley and 25% Monterey County)
Vintage: 2004
Cost: under $10
My Rating: Good

Clear yellow. Like a Pinot. Pretty standard.

Very floral nose. Dandelions.

Crisp, biting but light-bodied. Citrus-y. Interestingly the taste notes mention spicy citrus and rose petals. This is a varietal wine, combined with 10% Gewürztraminer. While this wine does not blow me away, I think it makes a great summer sipping wine. Do not drink it with Indian food (well, you could... but I wouldn't).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Smoking Loon 2005 Chardonnay

Winery: Smoking Loon (Don Sebastiani & Sons)
Location: Sonoma, California
Vintage: 2005
Cost: $7.49 (plus rebate, a steal!)
My Rating: Great!

Clear yellow. Yep. Looks like a chardonnay to me.

Smell this wine and think "Spring!" I dare ya!
My first impression was that the nose reminded me of 3rd grade relay days. Like freshly cut lawn and blossoming flowery blossoms. I love wine that can jog up old time memories.

I've had this wine before, but needed a reminder as to whether I liked it or not. Initially, it felt sharp to me... Now, BUTTERY. This is a very buttery wine to me. Buttery taste, and a buttery vanilla finish. I'm thinking that this would go great with a 1/4 head of butter lettuce, some sliced almonds, a few chunks of feta cheese and an kick-ass balsamic vinaigrette.

You have to keep the cork...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dog House Charlie's 2004 Chardonnay

Winery: Dog House
Location: Santa Rose, California
Vintage: 2004
Cost: $8.99
My Rating: Good

Bubbles, I see bubbles. Chardonnay is a clear yellow with bubbles?

Nose is minimal, and I fear it to be chemical. Like a chemical clean. Perhaps it is the carbonation? Why is there carbonation?

Dry. Dry with some burn. Finishes with a sharp bite. Let's call this biting

Mmmm... moments later, clean. A nice clean finish.

Addendum: Better chilled. Way better chilled. Stick this sucker in the fridge and KEEP IT THERE!