Sunday, September 27, 2009

Walk Around Wine Tasting

This past week Rick's Wine & Gourmet hosted a walk around wine tasting with Tri-Cities Distribution. With 6 different tables and over 20 wines to try, I definitely had to pace myself. I started at Table 6, it was closest to the door and empty at the time. They had 2 French wines, a red and a white, and 2 sherries. The French white (2007 Sacha Lichine La Poule Blanche) was a crisp slightly earthy blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier. The blend of Chardonnay and Viognier really toned down the herbal, grassy quality of the Sauvignon Blanc so the wine had bright citrus notes with crisp acidity and a very floral aroma. The French red (2007 Sacha Lichine Le Coq Rouge) had a very complex red fruit flavor with a hint of earthiness from the French soils. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache also exhibited hints of spice and pepper on the finish. Sherries are typically after dinner drinks and would definitely ruin my palate for the rest of the wines, I came back to these at the end. What table will I visit next?

The least amount of people were at Table 2, so that's where I went! Out of the 4 wines at this table, there were 2 with grapes I've never tasted before. So excited that I will be able to check off a few more grapes on my application for the Wine Century Club. Both wines were from Quinta do Alqueve in Portugal, the first, a 2008 that used the Fernao Pires grape and was aged in stainless steel. Citrus and tropical fruit aromas on the nose were followed by a zesty mineral character and pineapples. One of the best wines I had never heard of. Next up was there Tradicional a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Periquita and Trincadeiro. The flavors on this were somewhere between a Burgundy and a Bordeaux. Very rich aromas of plum and blackberries appear on first swirl and blend with a subtle oak and earthiness on the palate. Very heavy mouthfeel like a a cab or merlot but the rich, ripe fruit flavors of a pinot. The best thing about them outside of the taste of course, they're both under $12!

Table 1 had an interesting red blend, 2006 Yard Dog Red. The blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot is I'm guessing Australia's answer to Bordeaux. Very dark, almost black in my glass, I didn't expect a lot at first glance. Intense aromas of black fruit and sweet spice. Ripe plum and blueberry flavors carry over to the palate and are balanced by a soft acidity and a good bit of alcohol. I would love to try this one with barbecue, and at $12 a bottle I will definitely try this again.

I'm now 10 wines into the tasting...luckily there were cheese and crackers or pate at every table. My tastebuds were definitely getting tired! But a true wine taster must forge ahead :-) My favorites from Table 3 were the 2007 Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz/Viognier. I love this blend. The Viognier always lends a floral, perfumey aroma to the spicy, smoky Shiraz. This Australian style shines with flavors of blackberry and raspberry. Barbecue with sauce or a smoked brisket would be a great pairing for this blend. Still in Australia, I tasted the 2008 Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz. On first sniff, this shows aromas of coffee and licorice. Not the greatest smells together, good thing the taste is different! The flavors of Coke, pepper, black cherry, and raspberry redeemed this wine from interesting aromas. I love the spicyness of this wine and it lingered on into the finish. You could actually store this wine and drink it in a few years.

The wine of note from Table 4 was the Zolo Torrontes, 2008. I may be a little biased though because I love Torrontes but the peach, honeysuckle and floral aromas get me every time. The tropical fruit flavors and slight acidity only make me want to buy the bottle. At under $10, this wine came home with me.

I'm officially pooped now and have also remembered that I still need to drive home after the tasting, on to the sweet wines! I know I will only have a sip or 2 of each of these.

NV Quinta de Honor Ruby Port - A great after dinner drink for sipping, this ruby colored port is medium bodied, smooth and smells and tastes of black cherries.
2008 Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato - Smelling this wine was like walking through a peach orchard. Fresh, ripe peach flavors with a bubbly, sugar finish. This was a sparkling moscato. Not too bad, would definitely need a fruit tart or a creamy dessert to eat with this.
NV Manzanilla Romate Sherry - Made from the Palomino grape, manzanilla sherries are pretty typically very high in alcohol. This one is no exception. I've been told that I need to be at a sidewalk cafe in Spain in order to appreciate this style.
NV Amontillado Romate Sherry - I always pick this one correctly in a blind tasting because it has a strong almond finish. Hints of honey were also present.

A fantastic display of several different styles of wine, from different grapes and different regions. Rick's always does a fantastic job of offering good affordable wines and allowing customers to taste before they buy. Recommendations from your favorite wine merchant or magazine are great but at the end of the day, only you know what you like. Get out there and taste more wine!

1 comment:

  1. Girl you really get around. I didn't realize how busy you were drinking every day :) I look forward to more adventures on your blog!