Friday, November 30, 2007
Here was last night's LINEUP OF WINES:
2003 Three Trees Pinot Noir ($16US) - The first wine served was the 2005 Three Trees Pinot Noir, Victoria Australia. The "three trees" depicted on the label of the bottle are the Eucalyptus and Bunya Pine trees (indigenous to Australia) flanking the Oak tree which is the quintessential wine tree. The wine is an intriguing mix of subtle fruits and then strawberries with very little of typical pinot noir "terroir" on the nose. This wine was very nice; subtle with a nose of violets and spiderwebs. The taste was mild and enjoyable. A light drinking, enjoyable wine.
2005 El Toqui Chardonnay ($12US) - 2005 El Toqui Chardonnay Riserva, Chile ($12) The Casas del Toqui brand is from the Chacapoal Valley region of Chile, and is produced by the winemaker of Cru Bourgeois from Medoc along with local winemakers and extremely unique terroir at the foot of the Andes Mountains. The house also makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah, Carmenere, Merlot, Semillion and some late harvest wines. The Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels and blend tropical fruits with very mild oak flavorings. Not too buttery; this is a more clear and refined version of the Chardonnay grape and has little acidity but not overwhelming fruit.
2004 Pitch Cabernet Washington State ($17US) - This is the prototypical QPR (Quality-Price-Ratio) wine! At a ridiculously low price for its quality, the wine's flavors and well-constructed profiles are more often associated with wines in the $35-$40 price range than the $17 range that you can buy the Pitch for. Pitch is also a great example that Cabernet Sauvignon can be produced in regions other than Napa and be among the better wines at a gathering. Smooth and vibrant, this wine extracts the finer elements of fruit and tannins and resonates on the palate. A great wine for its price+.
2003 Cheyanna Zinfandel Napa, Calif. ($16) - There is a distinctive taste of the Cheyanna Zinfandel that is unusual to Napa Zins. Perhaps the grapes, grown in the Chiles Valley, east of Napa along Catacula Lake are more exposed to more heat during the days and more cool air off the lake in the evenings. Whatever the reason, the fruit is bright...think strawberries with a bit of mild spice, but jammy enough to remind you that it’s Zinfandel that you’re drinking. Taste plums and slight white pepper on the finish. In this price range, this is another QPR winner!
As the party wore on, I was approached and asked if I did in-home private tastings. OF COURSE was the answer, and I have 3 parties coming in the near future, including one that is a surprise X-mas gift to a spouse. Lucky guy.......
If you are interested in in-home tastings or would like to give a gift of a tasting to a friend, loved one or someone who is celebrating a milestone, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (732)-804-3690. This is an affordable and really fun way to spend an evening with wine lovers of all categories, from novice to connoisseur.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The winebar is one-half of the Oenophobia business model. The second half is In-Home Wine Tasting And Education. You may be wondering, "What exactly is this and how does it work?"
It's quite simple, and can be a lot of fun and informational for all participants especially for the hosts. How is works is: I (or one of the Oenophobia associates) would come to your home on a night you have planned a dinner party or cocktail party. We would bring wines to the party, the selection of which is the result of a consultation with you regarding price, varietal, theme, etc. We would talk about the wines, allow you to do tastings on each, explaining to you and your guests about what you are tasting and why. We would show you different ways to appreciate wines and how to discern the difference between well-crafted and poorly-crafted wines. We can do blind tastings for more educated wine drinkers and beginners alike. Oenophobia can help someone build a wine inventory for a cellar and can assist in travel planning for trips to Napa and Sonoma. At each tasting, we will provide tasting notes that you can save in a binder or journal to make it easy to remember the wines you are tasting.
In-home wine tastings have been growing steadily in popularity with the Gen X & Y sets as an alternative to entertaining or just going out with friends. As this generation begins having children, time is limited for entertaining or socializing. Oenophobia allows a group of friends to have a social night learning about different wines and how to taste and appreciate wine. In today's wine and liquor marketplace, the 27-40 year old demographic is buying more wine than any other group. People find something in wine that grounds them and we think it is because wine is a natural product, bringing good cheer when so much of the world has become artificial, and impersonal. Wine appreciation is not about getting drunk. At most tastings, we recommend a spit bowl so that tasters can enjoy the flavor of the wines without fear of over-consumption. Realistically, who wants to spit such a flavorful nectar....but someone has to drive home!
So, this Thursday November 29th, we have our first gig......at a Southern Living At Home party. For those of you who have never attended a Southern Living At Home party, it is a hostess party, where Person A invites lots of her friends for wine and cheese and to peruse a catalogue of high-quality housewares and foods and they can purchase these items at the party for delivery a short while later. The hostess also receives a credit for use in the catalogue, based on how much her friends buy. This is very similar to many other Hostess Parties, including Tupperware (which I don't even think is being done anymore....what am I, stuck in the 70's!!!??) or Sensaria Natural Bodycare or jewelry parties.
Our Hostess on this night is also a Southern Living distributor, and a friend of ours. When we received her invitation, I thought this would be a great way to launch Oenophobia: The Wine Tasting on a trial basis. On this night, I will be acting as a sales consultant to Tinton Falls Buy Rite and will be pouring 4 wines for tasting. After each tasting, we will discuss the wine and then I will tell the party attendees that they can purchase these wines through me on that night (it they liked them) and we deliver the wine to their home at no additional charge. I will also explain the Oenophobia concept and can take reservations for us to present wines at dinner or wine tasting parties for the attendees.
For me, personally, I want to get the word out that Oenophobia: A Fear Of Wine is alive and well. I want to get more blog subscribers and spread the word of my interest in Wine Education and hopefully create a customer base for the opening of the winebar, Oenophobia.
If you are interested in attending the Southern Living party on November 29th and you are in the Jersey Shore area, it is being held in Oceanport and you can email me at email@example.com and I will forward the details to you .
Monday, November 26, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
2005 El Toqui Chardonnay Riserva, Chile ($12) The Casas del Toqui brand is from the Chacapoal Valley region of Chile, and is produced by the winemaker of Cru Bourgeois from Medoc along with local winemakers and extremely unique terroir at the foot of the Andes Mountains. The house also makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah, Carmenere, Merlot, Semillion and some late harvest wines. The Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels and blend tropical fruits with oak flavorings. Not too buttery, more clear and refined flavors come through. A very good white wine.
2004 Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, WA ($15) The Pitch was the familiar wine in the bunch at Saturday's party, as it has been enjoyed by my friends and I on more than a few occasions. This is the prototypical QPR wine in my opinion. The wine's flavors and well-constructed profiles are more often associated with wines in the $35-$40 price range than in the $15 range that you can buy the Pitch for. Pitch is also a great example that Cabernet Sauvignon can be produced in regions other than Napa and be among the better wines at a gathering. Smooth and vibrant, this wine extracts the finer elements of fruit and tannins and resonates on the palate. A great wine for its price+.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
So Friends, click on the GUEST BOOK at the bottom of the page, introduce yourself and tell me about a wine you love and want to have us taste and share. Last week I challenged you to go outside the box and pick a wine you did not have before, and one you normally wouldn't buy. I got two responses: Don G. of St. Simons Island, Ga. wrote: "You put down the gauntlet, and here is my response to your challenge: I opened a bottle of "The Novelist", a Meritage of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion. A refreshing wine with fruity nose and smooth finish. A good buy for about $20" and Rita A. of St. Simons Island, Ga.(do these people know each other?!?!?) wrote: "Last night after dinner at Bennie's Red Barn, our favorite local steakhouse on St. Simons Island, we cracked a bottle of 2005 Estate Bottled Brucatao Zinfandel Port. Black Cherry,currant, chocolate and spice make this a fantastic dessert wine. Try it!"
Before I get to my review of The Show Cabernet, please remember to forward this blog to all of your friends and family who love wine or just want to know more about wine. The more people who read this blog and send in suggestions, the more wine I drink.....no wait, I mean the more knowledge and information YOU receive. Thanks!
So I'm at this party the other night, and my friend's dad Steve and I are having an animated chat about the world and all of our places within it. We finally stopped talking nonsense and started talking WINE. Steve is the Yellowtail drinker from my last post. He told me he went to a friend's house and had a glass of an amazing wine called The Show. He said its a California Cabernet Sauvignon and he went right out to buy a few bottles of it to have for himself, because he was told it was priced around $13 and it was immensely better than the $8 Yellow appendage that he was accustomed to buying. He bought the last three bottles in the store and there hasn't been any more there since. My first reaction is that the store owner is doing a poor job of inventory control, and the second was: Let's go taste that wine!
So Wendy and I are at dinner the other night, and see The Show behind the bar as the "wine by the glass" wine. Not bad wine by the glass, but then again, this was a classy place! I asked the bartender to bring me the bottle so I can read about the wine before I drink it. He hands it over and right away I notice that the bottle has names above the title of the wine, and one of them is GOTT.
Instinctively, I think of Joel Gott who is a Jack-Of-All-Trades, Master-Of-All-Trades in the Napa area. Joel has a few labels of wine that he produces. He also is the owner-chef of Taylors Automatic Refresher www.taylorsrefresher.com restaurant in Napa on Hwy. 29 in St. Helena and San Fransisco. Taylors Refresher is a legendary landmark and has received the 2006 James Beard Award in the America's Classics Restaurant category. Additionally, the restaurant has received tons of publicity including a spot on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives program on The Food Network. When visiting Napa, don't miss the place, they specialize in Burgers and Shakes, but this ain't your backyard bbq grill burger. Check the menu section on their website above and be amazed at the artistry one can concoct between two pieces of bread!
Back to the SHOW: The Show 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted by three winemakers who don't take themselves too seriously, which is a benefit to most average wine drinkers. Their wine company is Rebel Wine Co., which is a 50/50 partnership with Trinchero Family Winery. The goal of Rebel Wine is to peel back the notion that all good wine is expensive, and that wine for the masses can be flavorful, complex and be crafted to appeal to drinkers of all budgets. They call themselves The Three Thieves, and have an interesting little website: www.threethieves.com. Three Thieves is also a label of wine that they produce that is bringing JUG WINE back....hey, if Justin is bringin' Sexy back, then these guys are entitled to whatever they want to do....just don't produce wine that comes in its own burlap sack....that's hopefully died and gone to heaven.
The Three Thieves have produced some other wines individually, and you can check them out on your own. Here's the product details on The Show:
The Show 2005 Cab is 80% Cabernet from Monterrey, Paso Robles and Napa, plus 8% Merlot from Monterrey, 6% Cab Franc from Napa, 3% Petite Sirah from Dry Creek and 3% Petite Verdot from Napa. The 10,000 cases produced saw French and American oak prior to bottling.
Alcohol content: 13.9%.
Here's my impression: In the glass, the wine is deep garnet coloring, almost blackish, but not quite that dark. It had a really interesting nose. I sat there sniffing it for about 5 minutes trying to wrap my nose around the interesting smells that were coming from the wine. There was terrior which I love on the nose of a wine, plus some black cherry and plum and some menthol. It was intoxicating. Then, came disappointment. That nose set me up for a big flavorful wine with layers and layers of fruit which never came. I found the wine to be little fake in the flavor, almost more like a candy than a beverage. And then I got OAKED. Smacked in the head with a big oaky mouth after swallowing the wine. I tried it a few more times, with more swirling and sniffing and still the same let down. I think if I didn't spend so much time smelling the nose of the wine, I might have liked it a bit better, but the wine did not live up to its SEXY nose. Sadly, I finished the glass and asked for a glass of 2004 Napa Cellars Cabernet which I have had and LOVED. This is a $19 bottle of wine which is significantly better than The Show, but only a few dollars more. Wendy LOVED The Show Cabernet when we were tasting it, and was calling me a wine-snob (is there actually a worse insult!?!?) until she tasted the Napa Cellars and went, "WOW, that is really excellent!"
So for me, The Show wasn't "lights out." It didn't live up to the expectations. I want you to know that I think this wine was good, and on the 100-point scale, I'd give it an 88. I think maybe more time in the bottle will settle the oak down and let the fruit develop and improve. I don't think this wine is a long-term cellar project. Just a year or more might help it. One thing's for sure...... It is A LONG WAY BETTER than Yellow Tail, and Steve: Thanks for the Suggestion!