Buttery. Vanilla. Charred. When I read these words on a bottle of Chardonnay, I put it right back down. The label might as well read “Oaky, with a hint of oak, and a mouthful of wood.”
Big oaky Chardonnays (California is especially guilty) need to join the other 1980’s trends like shoulder pads and slap bracelets and die a quick death.
When used correctly, oak is critical to the wine making process and nearly as important as the grape itself. When used incorrectly, it overpowers what could have been a beautiful wine. I also suspect it is used to cover the flavor of not-so-great wine (lazy winemaking).
Before you @ me and send angry emails, let me say that there is nothing wrong with liking oaky Chards. They are just not for me and the reason is that unoaked or unwooded Chard can be magical. They can burst with tropical fruit, melons, and similar lush happy mouth stuff.
Go forth and ask your wine retailer for lightly wooded, unoaked, or unwooded Chardonnays and let me know what you think.
Pro Tip: A lot of French white table wine is actually Chardonnay and rarely involves oak.
Likely the most frequently asked question: ” What makes a wine ‘good’ “. Like most great questions, the answer can be slightly subjective, but overall everyone will agree that there are 5 cornerstones in which newcomers and critics alike look for, even if they don’t realize it.
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than pitching and heaving bags and boxes of unused stuff from my home. But when it comes to shrinking my wine cellar – logic gets a swift kick in the pants.
I consistently get asked the same questions about my wine collection. What do you do with all those bottles, and do they ever go bad? I will admit that I do take too much pleasure from looking at row after row of bottles waiting to be uncorked. All arranged neatly, labels up, necks out, foils shining in the light. My own private army of soldiers ready and willing to take on any occasion or menu I may throw at them.
Every “collector” (hoarder) has a different philosophy on purchasing wine. Mine is to drink it. But that doesn’t always go according to plan. The three bottles in the accompanying picture were, at one time, some of my best finds and favorite wines. They have each passed their peak and were unceremoniously poured down the drain. Tragic indeed.
That doesn’t hold true for all wines, some age longer than others. Some can’t age at all. These particular bottles could take a little aging but were really constructed for immediate to near future enjoyment. But I do so hate depleting my army.
So remember, store your wine at around 55 Fahrenheit (12 Celsius, eh), in a low light and low vibration environment. Be kind to your wine and drink it.
We’re frequently asked: “What’s the best way to save half a bottle of wine?”
Using a special gas that wine bars use is obviously out of the question, so next we suggest pouring the unused amount into a smaller bottle. What this does is attempt to reduce the amount of oxygen that can surround the wine. As this method isn’t perfect and requires a few differently sized bottles, the people at Wine Shield have developed a disc that slides into your original wine bottle and sits on top of the liquid forming a barrier between the exposed wine and the bottle’s oxygen, thus delaying the Oxidation process which eats away at your wine’s freshness.
We found that the product does indeed help. Swirl the bottle a few times after dropping the shield in to get it to lay perfectly flat. Continue to use a cork or screw cap and refrigerate the bottle as you normally would.
I’m in sunny California this week and of course had to check out Trader Jo’s to see what the wine situation is out here. California Merlot for $1.99 – nope that isn’t a typo – one dollar and ninety-nine cents. Of course I purchased a bottle and Continue reading “$1.99 – are you frigging kidding me!?!”
nosnob.com attended the Toronto Gourmet Food and Wine Expo in November 2008.
We had a great time trying new wines and talking to wine makers. This event attracts thousands of visitors over 4 days and is held in downtown Toronto.
The atmosphere is warm and friendly and the drinks flow freely. The food component of the show is somewhat limited considering it’s the “Food and Wine Expo”. But who cares, if your like us you didn’t go for the food.
As usual the show was packed. Seems that any wine show in Toronto is usually overflowing with visitors…what does that say about Torontonians? (We’ll ponder that for a while and get back to you).
In the mean time have a look at some pictures from the expo…do you see yourself in any of them?
nosnob.com had full access passes to the Toronto Wine & Cheese Show held at the International Centre in Toronto April 4 – 6, 2008. This article takes you inside the show and offers some tips to make your visit more fun. In the coming weeks additional articles will be published stemming from the people we met and things we learned. Be sure to check out the photo blog at the end of the story. Lets begin by saying that on Saturday the show was a complete success, maybe too much of a success actually. When we arrived the line-up was out the door and around the building.
The big guys are very protective of their brands and the big dollars they command for a bottle that come along with it. That’s in its self isn’t really news, just ask anyone at BMW, Prada or Armani. But here is a little gem about the wine industry big boys. It’s not unusual for them to press too much juice, or press a second lot of juice.
There could be any number of reasons why they decide not to use the juice. But some have speculated they don’t want to flood the market with too much premium product so not to devalue their brand. We don’t know about this for sure, but here is what we do know. The excess juice is sometimes sold to another winery in secret or wine is made by the winery and marketed under a different label. Here’s where it gets interesting.
These wines are often nearly identical to their much more premium relatives, but can cost up to half the price. It’s hard to know when this will happen, or where grapes come from. But sometimes the rumors are just so strong that word gets out, and sometimes the writing is on the wall.
And we found one (kinda)!
In the case of Tangley Oaks and Rutherford Hill it’s not a big secret that they are owned by the same company. The Tangley Oaks Merlot from 2003 is exceptionally good stuff. It shares a lot of characteristics from it’s big brother Rutherford Hill 2003 Merlot which is $10 more a bottle. This is likely a second pressing from the same vineyard, or a blend. But who cares! At $17.95 a bottle this is simply too good to pass bye. See the Tangley Oaks Review.
So you have a couple of special bottles you’ve been hiding for that perfect dinner. Dinner is served and you break out this gem you’ve been so patiently waiting for. The wine was great, but went really fast. People are enjoying the food, conversation and the wine. Next your guests shout “Grab another bottle, that first one was great!”. This is a critical moment for your little collection you’ve been selectively building for the last couple of months. Go ahead and grab something good, but not your best. After having a meal and the first bottle of wine most people can’t differentiate between good and great wine. Every collection, no matter the size should have Back of the Door bottles. These are the bottles that are the 3rd and 4th soldiers in line after the first great bottle of wine. You don’t want to wake up the next morning and realize your 4 bottles down and $80 went with it. In the end, no one really remembered the great subsequent bottles. Just make sure the first one really counts.