Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wine Tasting Class #3

Last Monday's was a short one but covered off some pretty important information. First, the serving temperatures of wine, then information on how to start your own cellar, and finally, a delicious wine tasting.

Serving Temperatures for Wine
Sparkling 4-8°C
Rosé 9-12°C
White 9-14°C
Sherry (Light) 9-14°C
Red 13-20°C
Fortified 13-20°C
Sherry (Dark) 13-20°C

I was a bit surprised by the fact a white should be less cool than what it is coming directly from the fridge. It's much harder to get the aromas if the wine is too cold. It also may seem more acidic.

Starting Your Cellar
Basically you want to have 1/3 reserved for wines you will drink between now and 5 years from now. These wines would be the lesser expensive ones as well. Under $30 a bottle. Another 1/3 should be reserved for wines that you will drink 5 to 10 years from now. The cost for these wines should range between $30 and $60. And finally, 1/3 should be reserved for wines you plan to store for 10 years or more. They are more expensive and usually contain heavy bodied reds, such as Barolos from Italy, California Cabs, Bordeaux reds and some dessert wines.

Make sure you have at least a couple of sparkling wines, 1 or 2 really good champagne's, 3-4 dessert wines and a couple of ports or sherry.

Start your cellar with around 50 to 100 bottles. You should be ready to invest $2,000 to $2,500 up front.

Storing Your Wine
  • Don't expose wine to sunlight or direct light.
  • Don't put wine near things with movement, such as a staircase.
  • Keep the wine at a constant temperature. The ideal cellar temp is 13-17°C.
  • An inexpensive way to store wine is to go to the LCBO, usually on a day their vintages arrive, and get some wooden crates. They only ask for a donation to a charity for them.
  • Stelvin enclosure (screw cap), is the best enclosure for long term cellaring. Rubber isn't great for long term and cork is more prone to bacteria.
When you grab a red from your cellar, it's a great idea to put it in the fridge for 2 hours, then remove for 20 minutes, open and set out before serving.

Wine Tasting
1. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc CSPC 35386 $18.95
Sight: Pale yellow (probably no oak because of the paleness)
Aromas: Grapefruit, strawberry, peach, apricot, lime, green apple, citrus, melon, herbaceous, dill weed
Weight: Light to medium bodied
Acid: Medium to high (acidity keeps it crisp, even with sweet fruits)
Taste: Grapefruit, lime, citrus, mineral, apricot, green apple, passion fruit, pineapple, kiwis
Finish: Medium to long
Suggested Food Pairing: Goat cheese, nachos with mild salsa, bocconcini

2. Toasted Head Chardonnay CSPC 594341 $17.95
Sight: Medium yellow (oak could have influenced the wine's colour)
Aromas: Smoky, charred, butter, caramel, popcorn, nutty, toffee, overripe banana, honey, ripe pineapple, mango, oak, light diesel
Weight: Medium to full bodied (buttery, oily, silky and milky meaning it's gone through malolactic fermentation. Normally found a lot in Chardonnays and Cabs)
Acid: Light to medium
Taste: Smoky, oak, honey, vanilla, melons, overripe banana, MacIntosh apple, apricot
Finish: Medium to long
Suggested Food Pairing: Nothing greasy or oily. Cedar plank salmon, warm goat cheese salad with toasted pine nuts, butternut squash soup (similar texture), chicken, pork, good with meats if you are primarily a white wine drinker.

3. Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer CSPC 373373 $16.50
Sight: Pale to medium yellow
Aromas: Orange blossoms, violets, lily of the valley, paraffin wax, honey, pear, pineapple, very perfumed, musky, spicy
Weight: Medium bodied
Acid: Light to medium
Taste: Honey, peaches, floral, melon, pineapple, dried candied orange, dried apricot, musky, lychee
Finish: Medium to long
Suggested Food Pairing: Very flavourful and exotic foods, Thai foods, curry, chicken Korma.

4. Rodney Strong Pinot Noir CSPC 954834 $24.95
Sight: Light red with a brick hue
Aromas: Cinnamon, smoke, underbrush, chocolate, cherry, pepper, raspberries, charred, sour cherry
Weight: Light
Tannins: Light to medium
Taste: Dark bitter chocolate, sour cherry, smoke, pepper, red fruit, cranberries, spices
Finish: Medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Mediator wine, crowd pleaser and goes with many dishes. Mushroom-based, earthy veggies (root vegetables), good with vegetarian dishes, hummus.

5. Ravenswood Merlot CSPC 505065 $17.95
Sight: Dark red with a brick hue
Aromas: Honey, caramel, ripe red fruits, cranberry, anise, herbaceous, plum
Weight: Medium
Tannins: Light to medium
Taste: Chocolate, sour cherry, blueberries, cassis, blackberry, plum
Finish: Medium, smooth
Suggested Food Pairing: Steak, lamb, grilled meats, Italian dishes, tomato-based sauces.
Note: Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley makes a Merlot that tastes like Cabernet Sauvignon.

6. Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon CSPC 36483 $18.95
Sight: Dark red with light purple and brick hues
Aromas: Wet cardboard, chlorine – this wine was corked. In the background some eucalyptus, mint, red fruit, strawberry, raspberry
Weight: Medium to full bodied
Tannins: Medium
Taste: Sour cherry, raspberry, cassis, herbaceous, pomegranate
Finish: Medium


Marysol said...

Kim Crawford!!!

I have 3 or 4 Gran Coronas at home from different vintages, I was told some time ago that it was a wine that aged well. Did Paul talk about that?

Rachelle said...

I'll be honest, he may have. That man has so much knowledge it's insane. It's tough sometimes to retain everything!

Music-chan said...

This reminds me. I live in the Niagara area so, of course, I am exposed to wineries all the time. I believe I was at Inniskilin one day and they had pulled some icewine out of the library that was over 20 years old. $15 just to taste; the price of a bottle was so high I didn't bother to remember it. I didn't taste it at the time, but part of me wishes I had.