Monthly Archives: May 2011

Wolfepack-manners are everything at a wine-tasting!

Five Things NOT to do While Wine Tasting

May 18, 2011 by drinknectar  
Filed under Featured News, Other, Wine 101

 
Going wine tasting is one of my favorite past times. I love experiencing new wines. There is something very intriguing about how each wine offers its very own unique expression of place, people, and process. As a tasting room owner, it has been fun seeing all sorts of people come through. We’ve enlightened the palates of new wine drinkers and destroyed the preconceptions of many staunch snobs. In a previous post, wine slinger Ben shared some Wine Tasting Tips for Newbies. In today’s installment, I would like to share five things NOT to do while wine tasting.

The following tips come from recent experiences and believe it or not, they are ALL true. Wine is an alcoholic beverage and can be known to turn an otherwise normal person into something very different, as evidenced by the following list. I’m sure every winery owner or wine tasting room owner could add at least five more to this list too…

“Wine – How Classy People Get Trashed”

  • Don’t pour your own wine.

I realize that during large tastings this could be tempting. After all, the wine is sitting on the counter just begging to be caressed and emptied.  The guy behind the bar is busy pouring another wine. You just can’t wait and the magnetic pull of the bottle to your glass is overwhelmingly strong. DON’T DO IT. In addition to being against the law, it’s just a little rude. Yes, I realize we are friends and the space is cozy and you’re feeling pretty relaxed and at home. Be patient, we’ll get to you. I promise, we won’t run out.

  • Don’t destroy my property.

Now this sounds simple enough and hopefully this isn’t a regular occurrence. When cleaning up after a large wine weekend recently, I noticed some weird dots on our nice paper flower centerpieces at one table. “Hmmm, this feels weird,” I thought. “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me…GUM!” Who, in their right mind decides it is okay to decorate a paper flower with a little gum stigma? That is all I have to say about that.

  • Keep your drama to yourself.

A day of drinking with the girlfriends can be fun. Unfortunately after about 18 little one ounce pours at 4 locations with little food and zero water, some old she said, she said drama can start to emerge. Come on girls, you’re too pretty to be grumpy. We’re not a bar, in our little space, all the customers are in on your frequent trips to the bathroom and not so hushed jabs. There is no crying in wine tasting. Be friends and save your drama for another time, please.

  • Don’t harass the other customers.

You think I’m kidding with this one, but NO – this actually happened. A group of happy people were enjoying their wine tasting recently when all of a sudden I hear, “What are you looking at b^!ch? I knock your f&*king head off!” Whoa! What the heck. A quick analysis of the situation reveals a stunned group of young girls being accosted by someone from another group that just came in. Smartly the two young ladies didn’t react to the unsolicited abuse and sheepishly left. WAIT, those are my customers you just ran off. This is a winery not a biker bar. If I hadn’t been alone, I would have run off to apologize to the girls. As it was, I politely smiled to the remaining group and tried to give them the best experience I could. Not sure what happened and as the tasting progressed, the group seemed quite pleasant and we hit it off pretty well…hmmm…go figure.

  • Don’t grope or kiss the owner.

I realize after a few glasses of wine and in dim lighting I can look pretty attractive, but kissing the help is generally frowned upon and usually won’t get you a discount on wine. This experience happened within the first three weeks of us being opened and I was thinking, “Oh my, what did I get myself into?” This customer and I can laugh about this now but needless to say I was pretty shocked at the time. Feel free to flirt, get sassy and bat your eyes all you want. It’s great for the ego. But it might be best for everyone if you found someone else to kiss (or spank or grope).

There you have it. I’m sure as time progresses I’ll have many stories to tell in this space. If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, don’t worry – your identity is safe with me and I only share because I can laugh about it now, hopefully you can too.

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Move over Tang Wolfe’s got the JURA!

Couch potatoes, control freeks, non deviating schedule keepers stop reading-now. However, sky divers, envelope pushers, proverbial I’ll try anything oncer’s you are confirmed for a wild ride and may read on.

Most of the Miami wine community is about as boring as the politics here in the closest state to the US.  Hum drum, mid numbing and rooted in over extracted, unbalanced, looking for big scores, kind of swill.  Saving me from the “suck the life out of my body & brain” is of all things twitter.  Yup, one of the only connections I have to witty wine world outside of the shepards that lead most palates to the same slaughter over and over again here in Dwade county.  Vicariously living or pretending to live in places like; NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and for that matter even Madison saves my cerebral cortex from implosion.

Budding “twitterships” have made me focus on some out of the box growers, regions and importers that have made their mark with wine that is true to one thing…itself!  Hey South Florida, don’t say I told you, but, I introduce you to the wines of the Jura.

Situated to the west of Switzerland, the Jura is a French AOC that is indeed influenced by the soils and weather of burgundy to her immediate west. Slope, southeast exposure, limestone and fossils are truly similar to those of the Cote d’Or.  In the 4 AOC’s; Cotes du Jura, Arbois, L’Etoile & Chateau-Chalon all give Jerez, Montilla and Tequilla a run for their noses from the highly oxidative qualities of this region where it is not uncommon to ferment and then leave Chardonnay, Savagnin & Melon-Queue-Rouge in old burgundian barrels for years while it develops a similar “flor” that contributes to the impressive nuttiness of her whites.  Poulssard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau are the dark skinned Jura grapes that produce super light to deeply colored wines that are super interesting with soft, smooth and a satisfying old world balance.

Friday night after two months of being educated as to where the hell is the Jura actually is, what  grapes are grown here and who are the growers that matter are, we had our first tasting of 3 growers from two AOC’s within the region.  Arbois & L’Etoile, Chardonnay, Melon-Queue-Rouge, Poulssard & Trousseau. 

The wines were opened at 10:30 in the morning, both the whites and the reds to allow for optimum development for the tasting at 7pm.  Not even the most amazing burgundies had a transformation as these did with ample air.   

  

 Michel Gahier Chardonnay “Les Crets”, Arbois 2007 – throw out  your pre-conceived Chardonnay notions out the window as soon as you take a quick whiff of its slightly oxidized aroma. You might even momentarily mistake it for a sherry–but that’s what makes this low-alcohol, food-friendly Chard as particular, and wonderful, as the place from which it hails. With its aromas of talc, nuts, fleshy, ripe pears, and apples and has a cream-cutting acidity and tanginess on the tongue that begs for a a spoonful of nutty cheese.  

Niocole Deriaux Domaine de Montbourgeau,  L’ Etoile 2008 – Chardonnay-based white a great alternative to white Burgundy. Super crisp flavors and precise aromas, ranging from toasted nuts, to fresh stone fruit, with a supple feel in the mouth and considerable body. 

Nicole Deriaux Domaine de Montbourgeau Cuvee Speciale, L’ Etoile 2005 Attractive golden-yellow with a pronounced sherried nose. It reminds me of late season apple orchard visits, sitting amongst the fallen apples and leaves. Pears, apple cidery tones, caramel, hazelnuts, slightly sweet bouquet. On the palate, bone-dry cider, nuts, earthiness. The oxidation is rescued by razor-sharp acidity and intense minerality that carries through the finish. This wine just oozes individuality and terroir.

Jacques Puffeney, Arbois 2005 Melon-Queue-Rouge loosely translated as “grape with a red tail. This variety of Chardonnay is distinguished by a small pink region at one end of each berry. The wine is fermented in stainless steel then moved to wood for 18-24 months of aging before being bottled. Non-oaky Chardonnay you will have no difficulty appreciating the taste of this wine. Puffeney does not fine or filter his wines; perhaps that shows in the juicy snap and volume of this delicious white wine.  

Michel Gahier Ploussard, Arbois 2009 – A relative value in its category. Quite a light example of this grape variety, the wine shows strawberry, floral raspberry and the faintest hint of red, citrusy blood orange. This was one of the wines that needed a roller coaster of 8 hours to wake up and become a quite lovely bottle of wine. 

Michel Gahier Trousseau, Arbois 2008 – Upon opening  this wine it was like drinking a just tilled garden.  Then 3 hours later this was my tasting note “seems like it went to the circus & played w/ the elephants while rolling in walnut oil.  Then at the tasting the red fruits, pepper and minerality just burst out of the glass. All naturally made with nervous acidity, intense flavors of tart cherry, cranberry skin, hibiscus, cinnamon spice, and a savory finish.