Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bougrier Chenin Blanc

I think one word sums up my whole being at the moment, exhausted. As if dividing my time between our new dog, Rooster and spending time with our cat Daisy who is still holed up in the bathroom wasn’t enough. As of today add five 2 day old chicks in the basement. It’s a wonder I have time to drink water let alone wine. But don’t you worry; you know I’ll find a way to get my wine time in. After a brief cool spell, warmer temps are back and that means so are the white wines. Last night we opened a bottle of Bougrier Chenin Blanc 2010.

Peach and citrus aromas lead to a slightly sweet crisp and refreshing white wine. Citrus and honey with a hint of minerality in the finish. Well balance between the acidity and the sugars. I picked this bottle up at Total Wine for $8.99 and will be getting more the next time I’m in Alpharetta.

So just what is minerality and does it truly exist in wines? For me it’s that hint of stone, dirt, chalk or slate. It’s that one characteristic that I can’t quite put my finger on, some may say umami. Most of the time it’s an underlying flavor on the palate or a hint in the nose. I also find it to be more pronounced when there is an absence of fruit. Some wine drinkers and experts dispute its existence claiming grape vines can not pick up minerals from the terroir.

The term minerality is absent from The Oxford Companion to Wine (a wine lover’s bible) but does list the minerals that may be found in wine; iron, calcium, copper, sulfur, to name just a few. The term is also missing from the Wine Aroma Wheel, developed by UC-Davis’ Dr. Ann Noble.

I find this absence interesting considering how many wineries and appellations rely on the importance of geology and soil composition making up the wine’s terroir. After doing some research on the minerality phenomenon, I still have no conclusive evidence as to if it truly exists or not. Since wine descriptors are subjective, I say if you pick up the flavor of stone, chalk or even dirt, it exists for you.  

I think I’m a little brain dead from reading about minerality (it’s not as exciting as one would hope) and taking care of all of the farm animals. There will be much to share in the next few weeks and months.

Follow me on:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Shiraz 2005, South Eastern Australia

This past weekend my husband and I took the plunge, we adopted a dog. When we set out to the shelter we intended to adopt a male cat as a companion to our cat, Daisy. When we saw Rooster, an Australian Cattle Dog, it was love at first sniff. We quickly rushed out and bought the requisite dog bowls, food, treats, toys, etc. I worried he and our cat would not hit it off and I was right. As soon as Daisy saw Rooster enter her domain she headed for our bedroom and has not been seen in the main part of the house since.

Being a herding dog, I think Rooster feels he needs to round her up and she understandably wants nothing to with being herded. In honor of Rooster’s arrival (we think he got his name from the way he kicks back after um, using the facilities) I decided an Australian wine was appropriate. This Australian wine may surprise you though. Why you ask? Because it’s an Aussie import of Ravenswood Vintners Blend Shiraz 2005, best known for their Sonoma Zinfandels.

Aromas of spice, wood and leather lead to bold blackberry, chocolate with a lingering earthy finish. True to their motto, No Wimpy Wines, this wine can stand with the best of them. I find all Ravenswood wines to be consistent and well balanced wines. When I saw the label with the kangaroos in lieu of the iconic ravens, I couldn’t resist. The price tag of $8.99 didn’t hurt either.

Appellation – South Eastern Australia
Variety – 100% Shiraz
Vintage – 2005
Alcohol – 13.5%
SRP - $8.99

I’ve posted many times on Ravenswood, I won’t bore you with going over the same history. Instead I’d like to share with you my story about Ravenswood winery. In 2010 I had the fortune of being one of ten people in the US to spend three days touring the Ravenswood Single Designate Vineyards. This included dining with Joel Peterson at his home as well as meals prepared on site at the Ravenswood tasting room in Sonoma and at the home of the Teldeschi family, one of the Single Designate growers for Ravenswood.

That was one of the most memorable meals I’ve had in my life. Not just because the food was phenomenal (and it was), but because of the warm fuzzy feelings I had sitting around a large family table with twenty people or more. As we sat at the table enjoying each others company and stories, I truly felt I was part of something really special among this extended Ravenswood family. The ride there wasn’t too bad either, courtesy of a helicopter lifting off at the Pickberry Vineyards and setting down at the Teldeschi homestead.

On that 2010 trip I was inducted into the Order of the Ravens by none other than the Godfather of Zinfandel, Joel Peterson. I don’t know if it’s this “connection” or because of all the wonderful people and experiences I had but I have a special place in my wine cellar for all Ravenswood wines.

Follow me on:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Moulin-à-Vent, Château des Jacques 2010

Spring sprang early here NE Georgia. The Bradford Pears and Yoshino Cherry trees were the first to bloom in early March. The Dogwoods have already lost most of their flowers now falling to the ground like snowflakes. The azaleas also bloomed early and their spent flowers now lay wilted or dried on the bush waiting to show their colors once again next spring. One of the biggest indicators that spring has arrived is a not so thin yellow film coating everything I own, including this laptop screen. We’re experiencing a brief cold snap but I know warmer weather is just around the corner and will cling to us until sometime in September. One recent wine sample, Moulin-à-Vent, Château des Jacques 2010 fit this spring time bill.

Aromas of strawberry, rose and a hint of leather. Flavors of ripe red berries are delicate with an acidic finish. Perfect wine for sitting on the porch on those warm spring evenings. SRP $21.99

Varietal – 100% Gamay
Alcohol 10.5-13.5%
Can be cellared – 6 to 10 years

Moulin-à-Vent the most famous of the ten crus located in the northern half of the Beaujolais district comprising of a total of 15,750 acres surrounding the Beaujolais-Villages appellation. Differences in the soil allow for the individuality of each cru to shine through. Moulin-à-Vent is located south of Chénas and north of Fleurie. Originally known as Romanèche-Thorins, the appellation name was changed in 1936 to Moulin-à-Vent for the last remaining windmill in the Beaujolais, built in the mid-17th century.

The estate, Château des Jacques, located in Moulin-à-Vent was acquired by Maison Louis Jadot in 1996. The estate boasts 67 acres of vineyards, 48 of which are devoted to the Gamay varietal. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented separately until prior to bottling. The estate uses a traditional Pinot Noir vinification process destemming 60-80% of the clusters then chilling the must for 2-5 days. Fermentation takes place over approximately 20 days with indigenous yeasts and then aged in oak for 12 months.

Since it is spring time we did place our order for our first batch of Easter Egg chickens and delivery of the day old chicks is scheduled for late April. The chicken coop has been built to resemble a house and will soon be complete with a tiny front porch. The feeder, waterer and heat lamp are ready and waiting for the peeps. Now if I can just get these cats to stop hanging out a little too close for my comfort to the coop. There will be a three foot fence in place but I don’t think that’s going to keep a curious or hungry cat out. We may just have to put an electric fence in place in hopes of keeping our chickens safe. Stay tuned for peep updates!

Follow me on:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fish Eye Shiraz

Many wine drinkers have cut their teeth on Boone’s Farm. I’m almost reluctant to use the word wine with this brand but that is what’s listed on the label. My preference was Wild Island. Eventually as we mature our tastes do as well and we work our way up the wine ladder. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to start your wine experience on a higher ladder rung and I do envy you but I’m willing to bet the majority of you reading this wine blog started off in the well under $10 range. What I’m trying to say is we all have to start somewhere. I like to call these “wines with training wheels”. They’re not bad wines, just not as complex and usually a little on the sweet side. Fortunately there are many more entry level wines than there were when I was young and my latest sample, Fish Eye Shiraz is a fine example.

Notes of black berry and dark fruits on the nose. Flavors of black berry jam and a hint of spice are nice but the wine is very one dimensional. Perfect if you’re not looking for a wine you have to think about or dissect.

Varietal – Shiraz
Appellation – South Eastern Australia
Acid – 0.75g/100mL
pH – 3.40
Alcohol – 13%
SRP - $8-$10

All Fisheye wines are produced in the small Aussie town of Griffith located in the state of New South Wales. Wondering where they got the name Fish Eye? The Aussie’s say when a fisherman has a good catch, he’s got the “Fish Eye”, knowing where the fish are located and how to gain their attention.

I know this is another short post, next week I should be back to my normal posts. In-laws are here and keeping us busy. For more info on Fisheye Shiraz, click here.

2011© Kellie Stargaard.  All Rights Reserved.

Follow me on: