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Ever wonder why wine clubs don’t ship in the summer? With the exception of a few places like our hometown San Francisco, it get's hot hot hot! Now that the solstice has thrown summer into full swing, it’s time we start to understand what heat damage can do to a wine.
What is cooked wine? No, we aren't talking about mulled wine here; "cooked" wine or heat damaged wine has been exposed to heat levels (even at temperatures of 75 degrees fahrenheit) that cause the wine to spoil. If you have ever spent your hard earned money on a case of wine while on a trip to wine country, thrown it in your trunk on a hot summer day and are surprised to find it tastes completely different than when you bought it, this wine fault could have affected you. This is why wine transportation and storage are very important. Here are a few telltale signs that you’re drinking a “cooked” wine.
Stubborn Cork. This actually happens the most frequently for me and a key indication of heat damage if the bottle has cooled and not evidently hot. A good sign that your wine might be flawed is the cork is usually very difficult to remove. Essentially when the wine is exposed to high temperatures, the cork expands. The cork might be extremely hard to pull out or may even be visibly forcing itself out of the bottle.
Warm Bottle. If the wine bottle is not cool to touch, then you’re probably not storing it properly. A common misnomer is that room temperature (sometimes upwards of 74 degrees fahrenheit) is adequate for wine storage. It’s actually advised that wine is stored at cellar temperature, which can be upwards of 20 degrees cooler than standard room temperature! To keep it cool during the summer months, either get a small wine fridge or keep it in a cool dry place like your basement. 55 degrees is a good cellar temperature.
Baked Wine. In this case “half-baked” is not a good thing. Wine Spectator’s Dr. Vinny says "a ‘cooked' wine's flavors will actually taste ... cooked. The fruit flavors might seem stewed, not fresh. There might be baked, burnt or caramel notes. The color may also have changed from deep red to more of a brown or brick tone.”
Flat Wine. Now that you’ve removed that pesky cork, taste the wine. If the wine is stripped of it’s characteristics - fruit, minerality, oak, terroir, then you might have a cooked wine.
Please keep in mind that "cooked" wine is different than “corked” wine. Corked wines typically remind us of a wet newspaper. I’ve never actually eaten one, but if you’ve had a corked wine, you'll most likely know it.
So the key here is to know how to store your wine and know where your wine is from. Like your favorite winery’s wine club, avoid shipping to warm states during the summer months. Your best bet is to use a local or on-demand service or stock up in the winter months. If you purchased the wine from the store, sometimes you can seek the graces of the shop to get another bottle, but otherwise you might be able to salvage the wine for a summer salad dressing!
On day 3 I continued my journey through the Mosel region of Germany and found myself in the beautiful town of Pünderich and greeted by Clemens Busch in his home on the river bank.
Clemens Busch knows Riesling. An organic wine producer and member of the VDP – his Grosse lage estate, essentially the Grand Cru classification of wine in Germany, can be found worldwide including my two favorite US cities, New York and San Francisco.
In 1971, many small vineyard parcels were combined into larger ones, but Busch decided to retain the original parcel names contained within the greater “Marienburg”, which is designated on each label.
There are three distinct types of slate that contribute to the palate of the Pündericher Marienburg vineyards. Red Gray and Blue.
Rothenpfad: Red Slate
Fahrlay: Blue Slate
Each one influences the pointed nuances of the wine’s flavor profile. For instance, the red slate creates a certain spice in wines, blue slate wines have a distinct minerality and are extremely concentrated, and the gray slate wines present fruity tones, are creamy, rich, and have a mineral tone. I had the opportunity to try each of these wines at the estate after Clemens pointed out each of the parcels in the Marienburg site (pictured above). The cool river breeze and reflection of the sun, make this great climate for the steeply plotted vines that run up the hills of the river bank. You can even make out the variances in the colors. As marked best by Clemens “Each parcel has its own personality. It´s as if each wine has it own soul.”
I had the chance to ask Clemens about the Rieslings on Finger Lakes in New York state. To which he replied they aren’t Mosel riesling but appreciates them for what they are, and gave his nod of approval. The one thing that stands out between a German riesling is the striking balance of the sweetness and acidity which creates a robust flavor that is more approachable than the traditional sweet white wine.
These are top quality amazing wines at a great value. Period.
If you’re located in NYC – Appellation Wine & Spirits carries Clemens Busch. They will be tasting Rieslings and other world wines on November 6th.
With all the talk about wine wankers in the news after Nick Bhasin’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, I’m going against the grain a bit and thought I’d give a proper introduction on how TO look like snob whilst sipping wine. Because lets face it – we all want to look like we know what we’re doing. While many savvy sippers try to avoid looking like a wine snob, I personally own it, embrace it and apologize later…actually I don’t. Wine is meant to be enjoyed – not hidden – and here are a few slightly tricky steps to sipping wine like a true professional. There are no rules in drinking wine, but if you want to play the part, you’ve got to know the basics! So the next time you’re at Hotel Biron, do the following, and be prepared to dodge flying objects.
1. Swirl the wine around in your glass and don’t spill it all over the place like a twat.
2. Jam your entire nose in the glass. Sniff. Ladies, please mind the rookie mistake of repeating after your lipstick has rubbed off on the rim, leaving a red moustache on your face.
3. Press your index finger over each nostril. Sniff.
4. Thrust your stemware into thin air, dramatically in search of the perfect lighting with which to inspect the wine. This will ensure that everyone sees that you clearly know what you’re doing.
4.a If you are in the mission replace “stemware” with “mason jar”…scratch that…drink PBR instead.
5. Inspect the 3 Cs. We’re talking color, consistency, clarity here.
6. Raise your glass to your lips, tip the glass and let the wine slide into your mouth. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT swallow. I know this might be hard from some of you.
7. Give the inside of your mouth a little wash with the wine and make sure it touches each part of your tongue to experience it’s full flavor profile.
8. Oxygenate the wine in your mouth. Try not to choke on it. Taste again.
9. Turn to your friend and nod in approval with an awkward grin…because, you know, there’s still wine in your mouth.
10. Swallow. Now that you’ve properly teased your tastebuds, you may swallow.
I selected the wine for the first meetup of a Palo Alto based start-up. This was a pretty big milestone for me as most of my consulting has been free, or I’ve hosted the party myself. This was an awesome meetup and I suspect everyone loved the wines. Here’s what I got:
Pepiere Moutons 2010
Sunier Morgon 2009
Sky Zinfandel 2007
Chateau Tricot Medoc Bordeaux 2007
Terrebrune Rose 2010
Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
If you get a chance to try any of these, please share your thoughts! My favorites on the list are the 2009 Julien Sunier Morgon and the 2007 Château Moulin de Tricot Haut-Médoc. These are at a great price point and are good for sipping. The Morgon (center) is one of my best kept secrets!
While time will be spent explaining why certain wines warrant "What were they thinking putting this <insert offensive pronoun here> wine on the list!” I’d say my main goal is to whine about wine with purpose. My goal is educate and enlighten, as it’s not always the wine’s fault!
A friend once told me she didn't like white wine. After a tasting, she brought home 3 bottles. It's not that she didn't like it, its that she didn't have the right fit. There are a ton of factors involved that can manipulate your wine experience. For example, what is your flavor profile? What did you have to eat with the wine?
A new year, new wine. I help my readers make decisions on what to drink next. From California to Italy, it’s finally sinking in that i’m at a point where I can intelligently order off of wine list.
A critical component to the wine tasting experience is the social aspect of it all, so O will be sharing photos of my “wine-capades” to help put things into context (I promise, the corny wineisms will be sparse). This will be a truly interactive experience!
Share your thoughts, what was your best wine experience?