I'm in training right now for my CWE Certified Wine Educator exam with the Society of Wine Educators and am putting myself through the paces, pushing myself to the limit, and sampling as many wines as possible. I know, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it!
|Sexy Red Flight and Food Friendly White Flight|
Accompanied by a delicious crab cake!
This was a "Cab-lovers" Merlot (IMHO); it felt a bit bigger, drier, and a bit dusty. I researched the wine afterward and discovered the fruit was sourced from a mountain vineyard, and as I discovered in my Cabernet Sauvignon class last week, mountain fruit produces wines with more structure (read that as firm tannins - dry on the back-end). Dark fruit, with a hint of oak.
Collazzi - i Bastioni - Chianti Classico 2005 DOCG, Tuscany:
Typical Old World style Chianti Classico with its earthy, sour cherries, good acidity and dry, dusty finish. I went back to the red flight, after the whites, and they had all opened up a bit more. I was able to detect some floral notes that I missed on the first go-round.
Duckhorn - Decoy Blend 2008 - Napa Valley:
My favorite of the reds, this was a Bordeaux-style blend of: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Ripe, lush fruit, a judicious amount of new American oak, with a long, juicy finish. The mountain-sourced Cab fruit is toned down by the addition of a heavy dose of Merlot - producing some soft tannins.
Colterenzio Pinot Grigio 2009 - Alto Adige:
Fresh, crisp and clean; lots of pear aroma and flavor; good acidity as you would expect from Italian Pinot Grigio.
Peitan Albarino 2008 - Rias Biaxas:
I must say that I am loving Albarinos! As typical, this was very aromatic, with lots of peach and citrus flavors. You could taste the minerality, but it wasn't overwhelming, just like a breath of sea air.
Adelsheim Pinot Gris 2009 - Willamette Valley:
When you see Pinot Gris on the label, there are certain expectations for the wine to differentiate it from a Pinot Grigio: Bigger, fuller, softer, rounder, etc. This wine was not quite as "er" as all that. It had ripe fruit aromas, heavy on the pear and was a bit fuller-bodied than an Italian Pinot Grigio, but not as full as most Willamette Valley Pinot Gris'.
|California Sparkling Flight|
Accompanied by Frito Misto (fried calamari, shrimp, and red peppers)
Piper Sonoma Brut NV - Sonoma County:
This bubbly is a 60% Chardonnay,15% Pinot Noir, and 25% Pinot Meunier - which is why I liked it better than the Schramsberg (all Chardonnay), yet not as much as the Taittinger. Citrus aromas, good acidity and bubbles, and a tiny hint of ginger-ale.
Domaine Carneros - Taittinger 2006 - Carneros:
This was my favorite bubbly of the night. I was unable to find the breakdown of the grapes, but I felt it was heavier on the red grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) than the Chardonnay. There was a bit more berry to this wine and less citrus and apple or pear. I loved its acidity and slight mineral quality. Dee-lish!
Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc 2007 - Calistoga:
My least favorite of the three sparkling wines - funny, because it's the most expensive at $36 a bottle. This wine is 100% Chardonnay and heavy on the malolactic fermentation. It felt heavy and flabby to me, with not as much zesty acidity as I like to have in my bubbly. You could taste the vanilla from the oak aging. After tasting the Domaine Carneros, this was sadly lacking.