An excellent post from Wine Folly about tannins. Just had this discussion the other night with my youngest son. We were talking about the wine we were drinking as “having nice tannins” and he asked what they were. The way I always describe them is that feeling you get on the middle sides of your tongue when you drink plain black tea. Most people can relate to that.
Tag Archives: Wine
I have to admit that I am such a geek that I regularly read the liquor board minutes. Having attended a few hearings in my other capacity I am always stunned by how antiquated the laws and procedures are. It offends the libertarian in me how controlled the process is (and that other owners can get up there and protest the issuance of a new license because there are already other stores in the area). However as an avid beer wine and liquor consumer you can find some interesting tidbits in the minutes. From the most recent hearing on February 11th, 2013 besides the usual transfer requests I did note the following items:
A store called Spin the Bottle was granted a conditional license for 220 East Patrick Street. Another store called Viniculture put their license application on hold because they could not come to terms with the landlord at their proposed 57 East Patrick Street location. If memory serves that was the location of the old Deli?
Lastly a conditional license was issued for a new store down in Urbana in the Fingerboard Plaza shopping center (same place where Mangie e Bevi is located). The name on the application is Orion Wine and Spirits.
The direct shipping laws can be confusing. Here is a great article that lists some of the clubs that will ship to Maryland. I’m surprised that there are 32 of them. Way more than I expected as I had researched this some time ago and not found any. Wish I had seen this in time for Christmas! Oh well there is always next year.
Wine Clubs That Ship to Maryland
Last week I was wondering how the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau turned out so last night I sought some answers along with the help of a 2012 Georges Duboef Beauljolais Village Nouveau 2012. I spent an extra $2 to get the villages (a second-tier classification and usually a step up from the broader Beaujolais AOC). Overall I was very happy with the wine. Anyone looking for a profound, moving wine in BN is barking up the wrong tree. But if you are looking for a fruity, dry wine with lots of acidity at a great price then this is your bottle. I felt that this vintage was one of the best that I tasted in the last decade or so. Gamay has a very distinctive nose to me- think banana laffy taffy and this bottle was no exception. Some people call Beaujolais the red that drinks like a white. This makes it ideal for Thanksgiving and I find a quick hour in the fridge, or out on the deck, to chill it really enhances the wine. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
Georges Duboef Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2012. $11.99 at Frederick Wine House. 87 points
A had a nice value sparkling wine, the other day that I wanted to pass on: it was the 2010 Georges et Roger Antech Blanquette de Limoux Réserve Brut. Blanquette de Limoux is a French appellation from the south of France that dates back to 1938. The wines are made using Mauzac grapes with up to 10% combined total of Chardonnay and/or Chenin Blanc thrown in. The wines are made in the methode champenoise and aged on the lees for a minimum of nine months. The results are a pale golden wine with plenty of bubbles and light, fresh taste. Lots of flavors of lemon and grapefruit and bracing acidity. Not particularly complex but a terrific wine for pre-meal drinks or as an accompaniment to a white-wine meal. At $14.99 a bottle from Frederick Wine House its affordable enough to serve for a multi-bottle holiday celebration.
I am not a big fan of the chocolate infused wines as you can see from my review of the industry leader Chocovine HERE. So it was with passing interest that I saw a recent report that sales of chocolate flavored wines are down 13% overall, and Chocovine in particular was down a whopping 35%. Looks like a clear case of the novelty wearing off. I’ll shed no tears for the passing of the fad. You can see all the data here.
If you have been paying attention to my Twitter feed on the right you may have noticed that I have been using a new app called Vivino. I discovered it in August and have been trying it out since then. The free app (Apple and Android) allows you to take pictures of the label on a bottle of wine with your iPhone or other smart phone. It is then uploaded and they match it against their online database and pull up all the details on the wine. If for some reason it doesn’t match they have a “wine recognition team” that will manually do it for you in a day or so. So far I have found it has matched every wine I have tried. It doesn’t always get the year correct, but it is a simple click to change to the correct vintage. I have found it saves a bunch of time and is a great way to keep track of your wines. I have used CellarTracker for years and I absolutely love the program. I love the detail, the community notes, the reports and the ability to add all sorts of personal data. I use it to keep track of what I taste and all the bottles in my cellar. However it can be a painfully slow process to use your smart phone to enter a wine on CT. It also can be rather anti-social. Normally I just scribble notes and then (theoretically) enter them on my computer later. More often than not they don’t really get entered.
With Vivino a quick snapshot of the label is a far superior alternative. The cons to Vivino? I am not a big fan of the simple five-star rating. Not enough variance for me. I usually put my 100-point rating in the tasting notes. I also think the badges (You have earned the wine explorer badge!) are silly. Neither of these cons are enough to overcome its ease of use though. I especially like that I can link the wine I just scanned on Vivino to my Twitter account and have it appear automatically on my blog. Now in a perfect world CellarTracker would merge with Vivino and you could use your camera phone to pull up the wine on CellarTracker. That is what I really want But alas we do not live in a perfect world. Which could be one of the reasons I have a wine cellar in the first place. Cheers!
A really gorgeous photo essay from the Baltimore Sun about harvest time at Black Ankle Vineyards. I have a renewed appreciation for quality photography since I have been playing around with my new camera. Much harder than it looks.
Anyone have any suggestions for podcasts. I listen to them almost exclusively when I am in my car and am always looking for good ones about food and drink. I really haven’t had a good wine one since Gary Vaynerchuk stabbed me in the heart and discontinued Wine Library TV. Right now I listen to the Splendid Table and that’s about it. Help anyone?
I’ve been a fan of Gnarly Head’s Old Vine Zinfandel for quite some time. I find the Zin to be a tasty, dependable everyday wine that represents a great value. You can always find it in the Frederick Area for $10-12. I was aware that Gnarly Head had other wines in their family and yesterday I decided to plonk down $12.99 and try their Pinot Noir. The 2010 to be exact. I have not had much luck with finding a bargain Pinot and my hopes were high. Out of all the major varietals its seems the hardest for wine makers to produce as a value bottling, so I was looking forward to trying this and possibly adding another bottle to my go-to value list. However this wine can be summed up in a word: ”meh.” It wasn’t bad, just nothing special. It had some flavors of red fruit and raspberry, but seemed a little thin and with a sharpness on the finish. I’d give it and 80-81.
My search continues. Anyone out their have a value Pinot they’d care to recommend?
Is at it again. $300 fine issued to The Wine Kitchen after manager sips wine. The laws are truly ridiculous. Especially in this instance in a quality restaurant that takes its wine very seriously. Also having attended more than a few hearings they are comically Kafkaesque proceedings when the commissioners are awake. Based on this ruling here is evil Fred’s method for returning a wine you don’t like. Open it, drink some. Tell waiter its corked, cooked, brett or whatever. Then tell them you have to take your word for it and if they taste it you will report them to the Liquor Board.
Fred won’t be happy until the liquor board is disbanded and I can order wine on the internet!
This had me laughing. Promoting Paso Robles wine:
The Maryland Wine Festival is this weekend at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, MD. Thirty seven Maryland wineries will be pouring over 250 wines. This will be the 29th annual festival.
Recently the 2012 Governor’s Cup presented its annual awards for the best wines in Maryland. Hearty congratulations go out to the following local wineries who won best in class:
Best Off-Dry: Frederick Cellars • Trail’s End 2011
Best Sweet: Linganore Winecellars • Traminette 2011
Best Port: Black Ankle Vineyards • Terra Dulce II
Best Mead: Orchid Cellar • Archer
The following Frederick County wines won gold medals: Black Ankle Vineyards • Crumbling Rock 2009; Black Ankle Vineyards • Terra Dulce II; Frederick Cellars • Trail’s End 2011;Linganore Winecellars • Indulgence 2010;Linganore Winecellars • Traminette 2011;Orchid Cellar • Archer.
These were awarded silver medals: Black Ankle Vineyards Bedlam 2011 and Leaf Stone Syrah 2008; Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Dolce Vita and Honey Moon; Elk Run Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Merlot 2010 and Pinot Noir 2010; Linganore Winecellars Chambourcin 2007, Skipjack 2011 and Sweet Chessie 2011; Orchid Cellar Merlot 2010.
The following Frederick County wines were awarded bronze medals: Black Ankle Vineyards V.G.V. 2011; Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Amber NV; Distillery Lane Ciderworks Jefferson 2011; Elk Run Vineyards Syrah 2010; Linganore Winecellars Abisso 2007, Effervescence 2010 and Plum 2010.
An awesome showing by our county! If you aren’t trying local wines and visiting the wineries you are missing out on a great experience and, well, you are just a fool!
The world of wines is absolutely vast and with such variety out there I find it difficult to buy a wine I’ve already had. Occasionally when I find a wine that is delicious and cheap I’ll stock up, but when it comes to higher end wines I want to experience it all and try something new. After all that is a large part of the fun of wine. However, what I am going to suggest is that it is also worth getting to know a winery over time. While we certainly have local options in Frederick County the enactment of direct shipping in Maryland last year made it possible to expand your horizons. The added bonus is that you also get to try wines that are not otherwise available in our state. When the new law passed I consulted with some mailing list aficionados and narrowed it down to two, both of which I signed up for on the day the law went into effect. Ultimately one of my choices (Rivers-Marie) was not willing to jump through Maryland’s hoops and ship to Maryland. Luckily for me the other, Bedrock Wine Company, is. Bedrock offers a fall and spring allocation so I now have two successive allocations sitting in my wine cellar, and the fall 2012 pending delivery. I am beginning to build up successive vintages of the some of their wines. Some of the first reds are entering into the window of drinkability and I plan to crack some over this year’s holiday season. But I want my gratification both delayed and now. Luckily they have whites which are ready to drink immediately.
So far I have tried their 2010 Ode to Lulu Rose, a mourvedre rose from Sonoma County and their 2010 Kick Ranch Savignon Blanc also from Sonoma. The rose was delicious (I did see that Steven Tanzer rated it 91 points) but the Sauvignon Blanc was stunning. Very old world with crisp mineral lime, stone fruit and fig flavors and a long powerful finish. One of the best whites I had all year. If the reds are the equals of their whites I am in for a treat.
You may have noticed the lack of posts recently. I’ve been on vacation. This was actually my first full week off since July 2011 and I had a fantastic time. I’m back and I am rested, ready, very tan and motivated to get back to regular blogging. Of course any Fred extended family vacation is going to involve food and drink. Here is a list of the wines I drank while away. The list maybe somewhat incomplete because things got fuzzy at times but I knew there were going to be some phenomenal wines, so I resolved to keep track. There was only a handful of clunkers in the bunch. The highlights included River-Marie, Carlisle, Bedrock, the Schoech Riesling, Meadowlark and Red Hook. The Moet was a magnum and we blasted that open off the third floor rooftop deck just as the local police turned the corner. They just waved as they drove by. Being middle-aged has its occasional advantages.
2007 Perrin & Fils Côtes du Rhône Villages (France, Rhône,Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages)
2010 Domaine De L’Aurière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie (France,LoireValley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine)
2010 Finca Os Cobatos Monterrei (Spain, Galicia, Monterrei)
2010 Sterling Vineyards Chardonnay Vintner’s Collection (USA,California,CentralCoast)
2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley (USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley)
2009 Domaine Ganevat Côtes du Jura Cuvée Julien (France, Jura, Côtes du Jura)
2008 Antigal Malbec 1 (Argentina, Mendoza)
2010 Marcel Lapierre Morgon (France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Morgon)
2010 The Red Hook WineryChardonnayIlImpetuoso Macari Vineyard (USA,New York, Long Island,North Fork)
2009 Spann Vineyards Mo Zin (USA,California,SonomaCounty)
N.V. Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial (France,Champagne)
2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch (USA,California,SonomaCounty)
2009 The Red Hook Winery Cabernet Franc (USA,New York, Long Island,North Fork)
2010 Maurice Schoech Riesling Kaefferkopf (France,Alsace,Ammerschwihr,AlsaceGrand Cru AOC)
2002 Mas de Daumas Gassac Vin de Pays de l’Hérault (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault)
1999 Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay (USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder)
2003 Château Cap de Faugères (France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Côtes de Castillon)
2005 Meadowlark Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah (USA, California, Napa Valley)
2006 Château Saint-Roch Côtes du Roussillon Villages Chimères (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages)
2005 MollydookerShirazThe Boxer (Australia,South Australia, McLaren Vale / Padthaway)
2007 Elk Run Cabernet Sauvignon Cold Friday Vineyard (USA,Maryland)
2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé (USA,California,SonomaCounty,SonomaValley)
Why is it that I find bad wine undrinkable, yet I can tolerate bad beer? I was pondering this the other steamy day by the pool. Now I have to be clear: for a bad beer to be palatable it has to be (a) drunk ice-cold outside on a hot day or (b) free. Bonus points if it is both. Yet I find lousy wine to be undrinkable under any circumstances. Why is this? My working theory is that there is a greater spread between bad and excellent in wine than in beer. What I mean by this is that the top end of beer is really good but the top end of wine is stunning to sublime. I’ve never had that ‘a-ha’ epiphany moment with beer that I’ve had many times with wine. So maybe when you are drinking bad wine consciously or unconsciously you realize all the wasted potential. I guess beer doesn’t have as much potential to waste? It’s like your stupid friend: you just don’t expect as much out of him so he rarely disappoints you.
As promised I did get a few more roses to check out. I am sad to report that the 2011 Domaine Du Pere Caboche rose table wine was disappointing. Hailing from the Vaucluse region in Southeastern France it was a blend of grenache and syrah. The wine had a very pale salmon color with very little nose. It was too thin and acidic on the palate to generate any enthusiasm on my part. It speaks badly for a wine when the most exciting part is that it cost only $8.99 .
Since some of you have asked here are my top five places to buy wine in and around Frederick. Since I work downtown, I primarily shop around the city area so there may be some worthy stores in farther flung locales that I am not aware of. In order of preference:
1. The Frederick Wine House. I like this place because of its love of wine is apparent from the moment you walk in. They have a friendly, knowledgable staff that often has tasted the wine you are interested and can steer you towards what you want. I trust them so much that when pressed for time I just walk in, tell them what I am eating for dinner that night and how much I want to spend. They hand me a bottle, I pay for it and walk out the door confident that I am going to have a great wine. I also like that they make a terrific effort with their frequent tastings, and their live video tastings with winemakers. Guy the beer guy is an encyclopaedia of beer as well. All this helps to make it my go-to place and favorite store in Frederick.
2. Spirit Shoppe. They have, arguably, the best wine and beer selection in Frederick so that’s why I list it here. They have depth from all around the world and their selection of bargain priced wines is worth exploring and changes frequently. If you read about something in a magazine and want it this store is your best chance for finding it around here. What I don’t like is that their service is sub par. I have been going very regularly for 21 years and can count on one hand the number of times I have been asked if I need help. The people that work there spend 95% of their time behind the counter and I have no confidence that they have any knowledge about wine.
3. Viniferous. Since my first review of this store I have been back many times. I have found the owner to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They may not have the breadth of selection of numbers one or two but they have a nice quirky collection of wines that you do not see anywhere else. I also like that they have everything from super expensive wines right down to the lower end. I never walk out of there empty handed. They have an active Facebook page that gives notice of their tastings and specials. As a postscript ranking this was a tough one. I hemmed and hawed whether they should be second or third on this list. I’m still not sure. Maybe just call it a tie for second?
4. Westridge Liquors. (No web site that I am aware of) Good selection but with indifferent, liquor store service attitude. Pricing in line with 1,2 and 3. Never seen sale here. On the plus side they have great depth in French wines.
5. Old Farm Liquors. While this place may lack the depth of some of the places above they do have some off beat selections and by far the best pricing out of all of the stores listed here. They have good sales from time to time. They also have the largest selection of prosecco in the area. If I need half a dozen bottles of prosecco or cava for a party this is the place I go.
Now if I could pick one talent to have (and comic book superpowers were off the table) it would be a toss-up between being able to play the guitar like a rock god, speaking several languages fluently or being a supertaster a la Robert Parker. Who, as an aside, claims that he can remember every wine he has ever tasted! One thing I’ve learned is that don’t improve on anything by sitting around, so I was really happy that I had a chance to attend one of the regular wine classes that the Frederick Wine House co-hosts. It was titled ‘Wine Detectives- The Art of Identifying Wine Blind.’
Not surprisingly it turned out to be a great evening with good company and a wonderful wine exercise. The host, Shawn Clopper, from Monument Fine Wines led about 80 of us through a tasting of eight different bottles of wine. He helped us break down the tasting process starting with appearance (clarity, color, brightness and viscosity) and then the smells and then finally tasting the wine. He gave everyone a wonderful handout with the categories and subcategories of flavors. Breaking it down into a standardized methodology allows you to isolate the variables with the goal of helping you to identify the wine. In this case we were going for the varietal. After we went through all eight wines and made our notes the winemaker’s tasting notes were provided to us. It was fascinating to see how divergent our notes were from the winemakers’. After that came the great reveal and then everyone made a bee line for their favorites and finished off all of the leftover wine. I could not believe how fast two hours went by. I am embarrassed to say that I went 1 for 8 while Mrs. F went 2 for 8. Of course there is only one solution for this situation practice! Reportedly one of the participants got 6/8
Lastly I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the nice hors d’oeuvres that were served with the tasting and that the evening started off very nicely with a vintage prosecco. An excellent way to spend an evening. I will post here when they announce the next class.
I just finished reading a very good book: What’s a Wine Lover to Do?
Consisting of 334 paragraph sized entries on all aspects of wine it is not a book that you can easily read from start to finish. At least I could not. However it is an excellent book for picking up, reading a few entries here and there and learning. This book would give a novice a fantastic foundation but do not assume that it is just for newbies. I guarantee anyone from beginner to expert will learn a lot from reading this book. I consider myself a fairly advanced amateur when it comes to wine and I felt like I learned a lot from it. I really liked the section on wine retailers; not something you find in your average wine book. Verdict: a worthy addition to any wine lover’s bookshelf.
I’m secure enough in my manhood to proclaim my love of a good rose. Of course not the blush, white zin type of crap. And boy did I love the rose I just had. Alexander Valley Vineyards “Dry Rose of Sangiovese” 2011. This was a bright scarlet wine, with tons of flavors of strawberry, watermelon and a touch of tropical fruit. Medium acidity with the barest hint of sweetness at the end. The best rose I have had in a long, long time especially at this price. I’m violating my rule of making sure I buy more before I post here, but I got it at the Frederick Wine House for around $12 if I recall. I’m going to get a bunch for the summer. 100% Sangiovese, fermented in stainless steel. 13.2% ABV
This past legislative session saw some changes in the laws which will be of interest to readers:
Corkage: The practice of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant to drink is commonly known as corkage. Up until now this has been illegal in Maryland (in fact I believe that Volt got into a bit of trouble last year for allowing this). As of July 1st, 2012 patrons of Maryland restaurants will now be permitted to bring that special bottle when they dine with a couple of conditions: the restaurant must allow it and have a permit to do so from the local liquor board, the wine must be consumed with a meal, and the wine is not available for sale on the restaurant’s wine list. As an aside the last condition should be honored simply as a matter of proper etiquette law or no law.
Middletown Wine Festival: A bill passed the legislature that allows a wine festival to be held within the municipal boundaries of the town for no more than two, one-day festival per year.
Packing Heat: Lastly I’m sure you will all feel better and safer that the Legislature will now allow Frederick County’s alcoholic beverage inspector(s) to carry firearms in the course of their duties. I predict that a SWAT team will not be far behind.