Wine Group Lesson 1 – Terroir

Posted by on November 8, 2010
Geography and Aging

Our first wine group met on November 6th, 2010. We had invited a lot of people to join us. We figured if we got a big enough group we would always have enough people to cover the cost of the wine even if not everyone could make it.

We didn’t want folks to get too overwhelmed with information without getting to taste any wine so we skipped the first two lessons from the DVD (which don’t have any tasting) and went straight to lectures 3 & 4.

Lecture 3 compares two Chardonnays: one from the north (cooler climate) with one from the south (warmer climate). We tried a 2004 Louis Jadot Chablis AC (Appelation Controllee) and an unoaked  South Australian Chardonney – Tree free Yellow Tail (year not noted). It was amazing how different these two bottles of wine tasted.

The Chablis had a mineral aroma, was a bit sharp in the mouth and finished quickly. The Yellow Tail smelled of peaches and mango, was a bit sweeter and the flavor lasted longer in the mouth.  Most of us liked them both but if required to choose….the price is a strong seller for the Yellow Tail: $12.99 for 1.5L vs. $25.99 for a regular sized bottle of the Chablis. Still – I’m glad to have tried them both.

Lecture 4 compares the effects of oak aging in two different grapes: two Sauvignon Blancs from Napa Valley, CA and two Tempranillo blends from Rioja, Spain. We tried an unoaked 2009 St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc ($19.49), an oaked 2008 Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc ($10.69), a 2006 Campo Viejo Crianza (oaked for 1 year) ($9.99) and a 2001 Marques do Caceres Gran Reserva (oaked for 2 years) ($32.77). (We also bought one extra bottle for good measure and because it was a good deal – an unoaked 2008 Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc ($7.97).

The 3 whites couldn’t have been more different. The St. Supery smelled of pineapple and sweet grapefruit but was extremely dry; the Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc smelled a little funny to me at first – like wet oak – but after oxygenating it smelled like vanilla, it didn’t seem to be as acid as the St. Supery, and it finished quickly; the Mirassou smelled fruity like mangos, tasted sweet and light and finished sweet.

The 2 reds were harder for me to judge. Red wine just smells like wine to me. I thought I smelled a bit of vanilla in the Campo Viejo Crianza but I’m not certain. Both reds finished with total heartburn for me. Other people liked them though.

#1 for the evening for me was a tie between 3 wines: The Chablis, the Yellow Tail and the Fumé Blanc.

At any rate, wine night was a success! We all had a blast and are looking forward to our future lessons. Cheers!

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