The Bads, the Ugly and the Good
(with a bit of wine education)
Some recent experiences led to the following which contains a bit of wine facts (underlined) for those who desire them.
I recently had several by several fine meals with my parents including the Kebabs above which were accompanied by a Saffron Risotto, Asparagus and Salad - Mmmm. However, I have to say that some of the wines left something - OK, most everything - to be desired.
On the first evening my father brought out a Sauvignon Blanc that upon first sip immediately shouted "Over the Hill, Oxidized, Don't Drink Me!".
Well, that's how my nose and tongue interpreted the sensation of being assaulted by a form of grape juice it wanted nothing to do with.
Now don't blame my father as he virtually never drinks white wine at home and saves it for the occasional visitor who would like some. Evidently that is truly a rare occasion as the bottle was a 2010 wine.
I mention this as a quick form of wine education given that most any wine can become oxidized over time.
Such white wines will taste flat, perhaps like spoiled nuts, bitter or rancid among other things. This wine had it all and more. Red wines display oxidation in a different manner often accompanied by a brownish color but their tannins naturally slow oxidation which is a plus.
Oh well, never mind the white wine - beer was called for. Thankfully that had been bought just for my visit and was delightful.
If you encounter a white wine that truly tastes odd ask if my dad bought it three years ago. Sorry Pop!
Hmm, you ask, if the first wine was horrible why was it only the Bad? Because it went Bad but didn't start out that way.
Another white the next evening fit the same category but this time it was because it was corked. Many of you have had corked wine and perhaps not known it because at very light levels it may just dull the wine without truly ruining it. Then again often corked wines will smell and taste like wet cardboard or even a bit like chlorine. That's due to the chemical compound TCA - Trichloroanilsoe imparted by a bad cork. PersonaLLY i Don't like the smell of wet cardboard anywhere - never fun, and there went another bottle down the drain.
Carboard is meant to package wine bottles into, not to be consumed.
Now you may ask, if the first two wines were horible why weren't they merely the Bad and not the Ugly. It is because they went bad but didn't start out that way. Which leads us to the Ugly. In this case it is a subjective term and unfortunately I was one of the subjected.
That wine started out ugly and didn't just become ruined through no fault of its own. This time it was a red wine which won't be named (oops, its in the picture) from the supermarket in which one can't even detect that there is fruit beneath that oaky, roasty, dyed and chemical influenced surface. It is the type of wine we avoid here in the shop and luckily it was immediately replaced on the dinner table by a very good 2006 Santa Cruz Mountains red (shipped to him from The Wine MIne) when my father realized what it was and brought out the good stuff.
Buy your wines here ;-)
We make sure that wood is not the first flavor component that you'll notice.
Speaking of the good stuff, during last week's tasting an example of such jumped out and was very well received by those who tried it. It was a Burgundy (Pinot Noir) by Vincent Giradin. Generally Burgundies don't fair all that well in our tastings, except to aficionados, especially when they are poured along with bigger or more fruit rich wines. This time one did: A fine example from Savigny les Beaune one of villages of the Cote de Beaune (a sub area of the Cote d'Or - quiz next week). This village and its better growers often produce high quality wines that deliver that distinctive Burgundian expression of Pinot at a reasonable price. In this case $22 which for Burgundy is reasonable indeed.
It showed good fruit to go along with lightly earthy/mineral qualities and was quite delightful - which is why we brought it in.
We were pleased, and somewhat surprised, that it was so well received and therefore we thought we would use it as and example fo the Good.
For that matter the Patient Cotat Pinot Noir with grapes from both Burgundy and the Loire for $12 still clearly said "French Pinot" while being completely affordable and versatile.
Good can be found in many places and can even be a Burgundy for not too much.