Monday, July 12, 2010

Wine Tasting Class #8 and #9

I missed class number 8. From what I found out, it was a pretty interesting class. They went through the aromas associated with a Chardonnay (I was able to borrow the aroma kit to practice with at home this week), and then did a tasting comparing Macon, France, Chablis, France and Southern Australia Chardonnays.

They also did a cool and warm climate comparison.

Cab Merlot
Dan Aykroyd from Ontario VS Greg Norman from Australia

Shiraz
Peninsula Ridge from Ontario VS Clarence Hill from Australia

Class #9 was equally exciting, focusing again on new aromas and tasting different grape varieties.

Our first assignment, in groups of 7, was to identify various alcohols based only on smell. We were given a list of options to choose from and we had to identify each glass with the proper one.
1. Canadian Club Whiskey
2. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
3. Gin
4. Riesling
5. Amaretto
6. Ripassa
7. Scotch (portwood)
8. Bourbon
9. Cassis Liqueur

For the most part they were pretty easy to get. Except numbers 1, 2, 7 and 8. I'm not big on the ambers. And I don't know much, if anything, about whiskeys and scotches. But it was fun to get passed the “alcohol” scent, and focus on the smooth, delicate, vanilla ice-creamish scent of Canadian Club, the blend of toffee and medicinal aromas of the scotch, and yummy vanilla and toffee aromas that bourbon offers.

Before I go into the tasting portion, here are some notes I copied from the board:
Aldehydes: Class of chemical compounds. They are formed at any time when an alcoholic beverage is exposed to oxygen. They help with the aromas and flavours of perfume, flowers and vanilla.
Esters: Natural aromatics from plants accentuated by ageing.
In Wine: Compound formed by reactions of acids with alcohols.
Two Forms
1) Fermentation esters found in aroma of young wine (fresh fruit).
2) And chemical esters formed during ageing.
Explaining the change of “aromas” and formation of “bouquet” when ageing wine.

Wine Tasting
1. Zagara Moscato D'Asti CSPC 168195 $15.95
Sight: Pale yellow
Aromas: Citrus, golden delicious apples, peach, perfume, blossoms, pear, honey, apricot, lilac
Weight: Light bodied and slightly effervescent
Acid: Light to medium with residual sugar
Taste: Honey, peaches, pear, ripe pineapple, apricot, citrus, orange, honeydew melon
Finish: Short to medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Versatile and would go with many different foods. Goes nice with apps made with goat cheese, salads with balsamic and fruitiness.
Thoughts: Great summer drink. Because it's sweet, server colder than usual.

Because this wine was slightly effervescent, we talked a bit about sparkling wines and champagnes. The smaller the bubbles and the more it fizzes, the higher the quality of the champagne. Large bubbles means it's not as good. A trick that some use when serving wine to make the bubbles last longer in a wine that may not meet expectation is to etch the bottom of the glass with a knife or something.

What makes real champagne so special?
- The “Champagne” method in which they produce it is longer and more expensive.
- Age of the vines.
- Reputation of the house it's produced in.
- Soil in Champagne is very different.
- Secret guilty pleasure pairing that brings out the flavours of Veuve Clicquot – Ruffles rippled plain potato chips.

2. McManis Viognier CSPC 658112 2008 $19.95
Sight: Pale to medium yellow
Aromas: Buttery, citrus, smoke, green apple, pears
Weight: Light to medium (more medium)
Acid: Light to medium (more medium)
Taste: Citrus, floral, pears, apricot, chalky, lime, apple, mineral
Finish: Short to medium
Suggested Food Pairing:
Roast chicken, pasta with cream sauce.
Thoughts: Ok, not that great. Wouldn't buy this one necessarily. Partially oaked – nice as a substitute to Chardonnay.

3. Ardal Crianza Tempranillo and Cab CSPC 167601 2005 $17.95
Sight: Dark red with brick hue
Aromas: Old world smell, leather, tobacco, spicy, cigar, red fruit, underbrush, dark cherry, oak, vanilla, plum, earthy
Weight: Medium bodied
Tannin: Light to medium tannin (slightly bitter), complex, multi-layered
Taste: Oak, smoke, sour cherry, pepper, cranberries, earthiness, dark bitter chocolate
Finish: Short to medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Pair with dark chocolate, heavy cheese, game meats, pastas with rich meat sauce
Thoughts: Really nice wine. Store 3-5 years. Will smooth out with age. There's a lot of really good, affordable wine in Spain.

4. Château de Nage Joseph Torres Syrah CSPC 736876 2006 $21.95
Sight: Dark red with purple hue
Aromas: Pepper, smoky, bacon, leather, cigar box, mint
Weight: Medium
Tannin: Medium to high
Taste: Tobacco, plum, pepper, tar, leather, black liquorice, alcohol, dark cherry, mint, smoke
Finish: Medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Needs steak
Thoughts: Wouldn't be my first choice to buy but I would definitely drink it if served with some food.

5. Casa Catelli Primitivo Puglia CSPC 174151 2004 $13.95
Sight: Medium to dark red with brick hue
Aromas: Red fruit, oats, spice, plum, coffee, honey, orange pekoe tea
Weight: Light to medium
Tannin: Light
Taste: Spice, ripe red fruits, sweet tobacco, jammy, gamey, cloves
Finish: Short to medium
Thoughts: Really nice. I liked it a lot. Good subsitute for Amarone.
In the winter time at the LCBO you can get sweet primitivos that are really high in alcohol content and really nice.

6. Rainwater Madeira CSPC 943258 $17.95
Sight: Medium amber with tint of orange
Aromas: Frangelico, honey, burnt sugar, toffee, cashew, hazelnut, butterscotch, crème caramel, nutty, orange
Weight: Light to medium
Tannin: Light, medium alcohol
Taste: Nutty, candied nuts, honey coated pecan, peanut brittle
Finish: Short
Suggested Food Pairing: Serve with coffee (on the side), pecan pie with butterscotch ice cream.
Thoughts: I want to run to the store right now and buy this. My husband likes Frangelico, I like port. I think this would be a good middle-ground. You can keep for 2 weeks in the fridge. Then use for cooking – fantastic in sauces. Combine Cognac, butter and Madeira on stovetop then drizzle over steak.

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