A Little Something Extra


I received this article from Food & Wine today and thought it was too good not to share. It breaks down all the different aspects of wine tasting and gives ways to practice! Have fun!

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/wine-tasting-workout-train-yourself-to-be-a-better-wine-taster?xid=WINELIST091912WineTastingWorkout

What a wonderful whirlwind life has been lately! This won’t be any surprise to any parents out there but it was sure a shock to me… my life has really changed! I’ve traded in my wine glasses for baby bottles as of late but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things will calm down a bit once we’re out of this newborn phase (all the parents out there are saying “Yeah right!”). Ok a girl can dream… Anyway, my husband and I had our first night out in December (umm we’re now coming up on April if that gives you any indication about how behind I am with this) and it was fabulous! Still, though, while I’m out I’m constantly thinking of the little one and wondering what she’s doing. That didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the delicious wine and food we had that night, though!

We went to dinner at Azuma as I was craving sushi non-stop the entire time I was pregnant! I’m sure our waiter thought I was crazy because I ordered enough sushi for about three people and just plowed through it! It had been a long time coming and I wasn’t feigning a dainty appetite. It was delightful! I enjoyed a clean, crisp glass of champagne (Chandon Classic Brut if memory serves… always a favorite) with my sushi but was saving my real wine delights for Cova next door. We walked over after dinner and it was packed as always. I always enjoy the atmosphere in there. I ordered the Sexy, Silky and Sensual wine flight which was completely enjoyable. The first glass was an old favorite of mine that I had sort of forgotten about, Laetitia Pinot Noir ’07. I was so happy to become reacquainted with this lovely wine and it was even better because we also ordered the Sarah’s favorite brownie with caramel topping for dessert and it was a sublime pairing. I was in Heaven and this was just the first glass. The dessert really brought out the creaminess in the wine and the warm, smooth caramel undertones. My mouth is literally watering as I’m reliving this in my mind. It had a little bit of lavender on the nose which always reminds me of the lavender fields at Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg. One of my favorite places. The second offering in the flight was new to me, Cru Pinot Noir ’07 from Vigna Monte Nero, CA. It was totally different from the first glass and I never was able to really get my head around it. It had a tangy, meaty smell which reminded me of jerky. It had a clean finish and very little aftertaste. I’m sure if I would have ordered this on it’s own it would have been fine, but it just did not flow with everything else I was tasting that night. Definitely the odd man out. The last glass was Ancien Pinot Noir ’07 from Carneros, CA. I’m a sucker for Carneros Pinots so this was definitely more my speed. It reminded me of the Laeticia a little bit because of the floral hints on the nose. It had a warm, buttery flavor and a smooth texture. There was a slight hint of raspberry on the nose and palate. This would be a great holiday party wine. It was very good and I would definitely order this and the Laeticia again.

All in all it was a great night out with the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I no longer take for granted nice meals and nice wine. It’s become such a treat but still nowhere near as sweet as the little treat I have at home! Cheers to all the parents out there! I get it now!

Just in case anyone has been wondering where I ran off to… I promise I’ll be back! Rumor has it wine’s not so good for you when PREGNANT! Yay! That’s right, I have a tiny little bun in the oven so my wine tasting had to go on hold for a while. My little one is due in October so my palate will be rested, refreshed and ready to go this winter! I have a few older reviews I’ve written and not posted that I’ll put up for the time being. So in the meantime, my friends, have one for me!

Mandee

It Won’t Be Too Much Longer!

I just wanted to write and let you know I haven’t disappeared into some big black hole somewhere. I’m still kicking but have been fighting with some sort of cold/flu situation for what seems like ages. Needless to say, I’ve been savoring sips of Alka-Seltzer Cold instead of delicious wines. As soon as I am back to normal, which I’m hoping is soon, I’ll be back with a vengeance! Until then, enjoy a glass for me!

“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” ~ Andre Simon

While InStyle magazine is typically thought of as being all about the season’s hottest fashions (for your body) every once in a while they throw out something more. After all, being stylish is about the whole package, not just who you’re wearing. In the September 2008 issue they ran an article about actor Kyle MacLachlan and his new wine label, Pursued by Bear. It was a collaboration with Dunham Cellars. Pursued by Bear is a cabernet sauvignon produced in Washington State. The name is a tribute to a man of definite literary style, Shakespeare. Apparently “Pursued by Bear” was a stage direction in A Winter’s Tale, which I actually had to “rewrite” in a college English class so it holds a special place in my heart. This article basically highlights the party MacLachlan threw for his friends to introduce his new wine and though it looks like a fabulous party, there are a lot of photos of guests drinking white wine. Even the opening shot of Kyle walking in his garden shows him with a champagne flute in hand… Maybe it was a very small harvest and there wasn’t much to go around.

At the end of the article there were some tips on wine as well as alfresco (outdoor) dining that I found interesting and decided to share with my fellow Uncorkers. Enjoy!

5 Essential Wine Tips
GUEST:  If you would like to bring a bottle for the host but are unsure of the dinner menu a pinot noir is always a versatile choice (it plays well with others).
HOST:  If you aren’t quite sure how much wine to buy for a dinner party this helps you out with the math. A bottle typically fills about five glasses and with dinner guests usually have two glasses each. Perhaps my guests are just a little less bashful but I can usually count on mine to have more than two so I suggest overestimating rather than underestimating. Always better to have too much than too little I always say.
GLASS:  This was something I found helpful. It gave a suggestion for a great looking glass that would work for white or red wine. I like the look of uniform glasses so I liked this idea. The glass they suggested was the Spiegelau Burgundy glass which they say is $10. Stock up! (PS if you click HERE you can find out more about Pursued by Bear. I stumbled upon that looking for the glass coincidentally…)
DECANT:  Their advice is to decant young red wines to “knock off some of the hard edges” for thirty minutes before drinking. Also decant if the wine is old and you are worried about sediment.
STORE:  The ideal temperature for wine storage is 55° (I have yet to invest in a wine fridge) but it says that if you don’t have a wine cooler you should keep it in a cool interior space such as a closet or basement. If you’re in Texas you know the basement is obviously not an option… If a bottle needs to be chilled quickly place it in the freezer for 20 minutes but NEVER serve it with ice.

Wine: wīn
Alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice

One of the biggest challenges for a blossoming wine lover is getting past the vast vocabulary. There are so many wine terms out there and even the savviest of connoisseurs can get tripped up sometimes. That being said, I have decided to take it upon myself to put together a sort of cheat sheet for those of us who might need a little help every once in a while. Here are some common wine terms you may run into whilst on your journey through the vines.

Appellation: Identifies where the grapes for a wine were grown
Aroma: The smell of a wine. Usually used to describe younger wines while Bouquet is used for more aged wines
Body: Describes the weight and fullness of a wine in the mouth: Light, Medium or Full-Bodied
Cult Wine: Wine for which a buyer will pay large sums of money because of its desirability and rarity
Cuvée: A wine blended from several vats or batches; also used in Champagne to denote the juice from the first pressing of a batch of grapes
Dry: Wines with little to no residual sugar; The opposite of sweet, except in sparkling wines, when dry means sweet.
Flabby: Used when tasting wine to describe its lack of structure which is often marked by low acidity
Hard: Tasting term for wine containing too much tannin and is therefore unpleasant; Hard wines usually take a long time to mature
Legs: Tracks of liquid that cling to the side of a wine glass after swirling the wine; Often said to be related to the alcohol or glycerol content of a wine; Also called Tears
New World Wine: Wines produced outside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa; Wines grown in those areas are referred to as Old World Wines
Nose: Tasting term for the Aroma or Bouquet of a wine
Oenophile: A wine aficionado or connoisseur
Quaff: Word used to describe an intoxicating beverage that is consumed copiously and heartily; Can be used as an adjective (the act of drinking) or a noun (the drink itself)
Reserve: Term used to indicate that a wine is of higher quality than usual
Residual Sugar: The level of sugar that remains unfermented in a wine; Corresponds with the sweetness of the wine
Sommelier: Trained wine expert that usually works in fine restaurants
Split: A single-serving wine bottle that holds approximately 6 ounces, or one fourth of a typical 750mL bottle
Still Wine: Wine that is not sparkling
Tannin: Polyphenolic compounds that give wine a bitter, dry, or puckery feeling in the mouth
Varietal: Wines made from a single grape variety, such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: The year in which a particular wine’s grapes were harvested; When the vintage year is indicated on the label it indicated that all the grapes used in that wine were harvested in that same year

If you want to learn even more wine terms I suggest looking on Wikipedia. Their glossary of wine terms is quite extensive. The list goes on and on! Good luck!

Better Value = More Wine!

Let’s be honest… being a burgeoning wine enthusiast isn’t cheap. In order to get your hands on some great bottles without totally breaking the bank it’s important to do your homework. Or you can just come to Houston Uncorked where I do the homework for you! The smarter you are with  your purchases, the more wines you can try without going over budget… assuming you have one. I do. Wine & Spirits Magazine has compiled their 2008 Top Value Brands list. The list is broken down by country like most wine shops. It definitely helps make this long list more manageable. To see the list just click HERE! Enjoy!

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