Archive | 10:32 pm

A Dry White Summer

26 Jun

Last week I hosted a tasting for some wine-loving friends and neighbors. I served only white wines from around the globe.

One of the great joys people find in wine is being able to introduce people to wines and vice versa. I had guests who loved some wines immediately, others didn’t care for a wine until I suggested a specific food pairing- sweet, salty, savory- and with a quick bite, often their assessment changed.

Here are four of the riskier, ‘dark horse’ wines I served that were really fun, and I wanted to share them with you. Each is a dry white wine with lovely expression, and each pairs beautifully with food. They are delicious, artistic expressions of geography and oenology and are not only fun to try, but easy on the wallet.

Better yet, they took a group of people by surprise. Most people adored one of these four- people were surprised how good they were, or had never tried an unusual geography or grape like this before. Every one of these wines is worth your time to explore!

In no particular order:

Cantina Terlano’s Alto Adige Pinot Bianco, 2012, Terlano Italy. 13%ABV, street price around $14.

Martin Codax Albariño 2011, Rias Baixas, Spain. 12.5% ABV, Street price around $12.

L&T Durnberg Grüner Veltliner 2012, Falkenstein, Austria. 11.5% ABV. Street price around $10.

Leitz Rheingau Troken Reisling 2012, Germany. 12% ABV, Street price around $17.

dry white wines


Each of these, perfect for food with subtle aromas and delicate minerality, under $20 and pretty easy to find.

When your friends ask you for a “dry white wine” won’t they be amazed when you bring a perfect expression from an area they won’t expect?

Tell me which ones you have tried and what you thought, please? I look forward to hearing from you!


à votre santé!


The New Wine School

26 Jun

The NY Times Wine Critic Eric Asimov has begun a new revolution.

His monthly column called “Wine School” suggest three bottles from various vintners (with alternates) to introduce his students/followers to a specific grape.

Guess what… it’s working! Look for yourself: his first post from the series the past March covered Bordeaux and asked readers to sample one of the three bottles and consider three specific questions:

1) what does the wine smell & taste like?

2) what is the wine’s texture?

3) how does the taste change over time?

Keeping it simple and straightforward is working. That digital post has 633 comments, and wines are flying off the shelves. No doubt wine stores would like a chance to stock up on orders prior to his posts, fortunately the suggested wines aren’t impossible to find, nor are they limited production or highest profile (and price).

Asimov’s second article in the series ‘decanted’ the process and covered his reaction to the responses while providing a few lessons in what one could have expected, sharing reader’s experiences, and providing commentary that furthers the education of the process. I love the way he describes both the objective and subjective response to drinking a wine, including practical and temporary emotional responses. “Curiosity and an open mind are vital. Listen carefully to your responses and note them, but don’t accept them as the final word.” To me, Asimov is mentoring flawlessly here. I have always told people asking for wine advice “all you need to know is what you like” as a starting point, but few novices are ready to follow that up beyond figuring out what to order in a restaurant, pair with a meal, or pick up from the store to enjoy at home.

The comparitively small number of responses to the ‘decanted’ (22 comments) isn’t proof that people didn’t pay attention. But it does show that people were thirsty for the next taste: Beaujolais,  which pulled in 175 comments. The signal to noise ratio on the commentary demonstrates that those who wrote back often provided lengthy and detailed responses, which is both rare and appreciative in the world of digital media.

The next assignment, Sancerre, received 130 responses, again many with powerful detail and personal insight. I applaud The Times for inclusion of those who didn’t enjoy the wines as well as those who did.

The current assignment (Riesling) has been out for three weeks and already has over 90 comments, again most providing intelligent and quality worth reading, with a good percentage of responses describing the wine sourced, the food pairing, and the overall wine response, making a good dialogue.

So what’s enticing to your palate? Which wines are you tasting when you attend school?

Personally, I’m fascinated by the concept of open wine tasting & commentary, as opposed to formal tasting & wine school. Who knows how well it will work!

What do you think? Do you like this idea? Why or why not? Thanks for sharing!

à votre santé!


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