Sunday, October 7, 2007

Flight of Whites (Wine School Assignment #1) Taster A

Vintage: 2004
Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $16.99

Color: yellow to green
Intensity: medium
Aromas: lemon, grapefruit, apple, pear, melon, allspice
Flavors: lemon, grapefruit, mineral
Body: light
Acidity: crisp
Sweetness: dry
Finish: moderate

Summary: This was my first taste of Riesling since the ‘80s. I left the region because I found the wines to be on the sweet side and like so many others, found the Chardonnays of California.

The aromas exploded out of the glass, the citrus was fresh and vibrant. The aromas came off in layers as the wine opened up…apple…melon…pear…it has a nice crisp taste, dry and light bodied. Images of summer picnics, chomping on cheese and crackers on a Sunday afternoon come to mind.

Sauvignon Blanc
Lockwood Vineyard
Monterey AVA
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $11.99

Color: Straw
Intensity: Pale
Aromas: Lemon, grapefruit peach melon orange blossom, hay, nutmeg
Flavors: Lemon, grapefruit, mint, clove, allspice
Body: Medium
Acidity: Crisp
Sweetness: Dry
Finish: Moderate

Summary: This wine looked very elegant in the glass. The wine exploded with citrus aromas and as the wine opened up, layers of citrus, peach, melon aromas evolved. Sipping the wine gave flavors of citrus and spice with a very mild mint flavor developing. This wine was chosen because it was not barrel aged…meaning it would be a expression of the grape. This adds variety in the market place, one that I welcome. I would pair this with light fish such as flounder, a good cheese-and-cracker wine.

Santa Barbara AVA
Vintage: 2005
Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $12.99

Color: Yellow
Intensity: Medium
Aromas: Lemon, fig, vanilla, oak, smoky, bacon
Flavors: Lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, hay, stone, clove, allspice, coffee
Body: Medium
Acidity: Moderate to crisp
Sweetness: Off-dry
Finish: Moderate

Summary: This wine was selected for its oak aged qualities and that is very apparent in the wine. The color is rich and stately in the glass. The oak influence in the wine defines character of this wine. The oak permeates the glass as you draw the aromas in. There is no doubt that this wine is all about the marriage between forest and vineyard.

Growing up in the woods of New England and having been a wood worker, I know a bit about oak. Green oak has a distinctive pungent smell to it. Upon sniffing the wine, I was taken back to my days of splitting wood for the family fireplace.

The flavors of citrus started to come alive as the wine opened up and the oak aromas toned down. The pineapple and spicy notes came through as the wine aged in the glass. Those who want to experience a oak crafted chardonnay will truly enjoy this with poultry, heavier fish such as haddock or salmon, or with heavier cheeses.

Those who are looking for a true expression of the grape may frown upon this choice, but give it a try. I’m not a huge fan of heavily oaked wines, but I truly enjoyed being taken back to an earlier time in my life when the air was filled with the smell of oak yielding to steel.

Final thoughts about the flight
Drinking three bottles of wine in one night is not a reality for us, consequently, we had some leftovers. Throughout the week, Taster A took care of the Riesling, I adopted the Sauvignon Blanc for my own. The Kendall-Jackson we shared.

I would highly recommend doing a tasting course at home. When we are out tasting in public areas, we tend to be less candid and not take as much time as I’d like to try a wine.

There are guidelines for tasting rooms that the staff must follow. Most rooms will give a one ounce pour. I find that sometimes makes it hard to let the layers come out. Professional tasters may be able to do the job quickly and get twice as much out of the wine, I have to work at it. It takes me time to identify what’s going on. At home, I can pour that extra ounce out. In a tasting room, that is generally frowned upon. Take your time and develop your skills.

See Kendall-Jackson's Barrel Page!