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Rebel Rose

Wine Tag

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As friends and co-posters in the eGullet wine forum, it's fun to sit down and share a glass of wine and our widely divergent opinions on wine---a virtual dinner table, as it were.

In the past, we've tried some buttoned-up versions of wine tag, which were fun but short-lived. After several discussions, participants agreed that it's just too difficult to focus on a single wine release as we are scattered all over the globe, and have divergent budgets and tastes.

So here's what I propose. Each week, we tag someone to propose a wine tasting theme. It can be a particular varietal, region, label art, winemaking style, even a letter of the alphabet. Let your imagination run wild. The rest of us will scramble to find something that fits the theme or is even sorta-kinda close, and we'll all sit down and taste those wines and discuss them. And if someone isn't tasting on the theme, they are free to heckle, question, pontificate, and otherwise contribute.

Any volunteers for the first theme?

Any questions?


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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Howzabout we go from A to Z???

First week could be Alb(v)arino, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Auslese, Alsace, Abruzzi, Alto Adige, Alexander Valley, or whatever.

Whaddaya think?


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Look at that, everybody, we have a volunteer! :laugh:

Okay, Day One, Monday, it's official. There's got to be something on your wine that starts with 'A'. Wine notes, of course, and be prepared to share something informational about the 'A' part of your wine.

For instance, if you choose Alto Adige, please give us your best expo on the subject, and if you don't know squat about it, that's okay, a simple Wikipedia link will do!

Before Sunday, Katie will select another wine forum participant to tag for the following week. As in the original foodblog rules, if you post in Wine Tag, you are eligible to be tagged. And maybe even if you don't. Maybe we'll just pick you because we like you.


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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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D'oh!!! Look what I've gotten myself into. :rolleyes:

OK - I'll go wine shopping tomorrow after work and find something "A" and post about it.

Everyone else can follow me.

And here I was thinking I'd come up with a brilliant solution to a complex problem.

I'm looking forward to the "B's" - Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Barossa... :biggrin:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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OK folks, listen up! Tonight's wine exploration in the key of "A" will bring us to:

ARNEIS

A rather unusual and underappreciated grape from the Piemonte region of Italy, more often recognized for its reds than its white wines.

[Aside: I must comment on how the wine shopping experience changes when you are specifically shopping for something that has an "A" in it. There is a runner-up bottle of Abruzzese Montepulciano sitting down in my kitchen that I will enjoy in the near future. You can't really ask for help when you're shopping for an "A", bacause, well, the sales staff would think you were nuts! :wacko:]

The wine I chose is the Valdinera Roero Arneis 2004. I paid $13.49 for it in PA. The wine is unoaked and very fruity. A medium golden hue. 13.5% alcohol. Medium bodied. Hints of white peach, apple/pear, marzipan and fennel with a very "green" finish. Very refreshing and a delicious summer white. I enjoyed this with a dinner of tuna-noodle casserole (Go ahead and laugh, but even white trash cuisine has wine pairings that work! :biggrin:) Undoubtedly, it would compliment the white truffle based dishes of its region of origin. Would be heavenly with a potato, parmesan and white truffle pizza. :wub:

Arneis is a rather odd grape that fell out of favor for awhile, but seems to be making a comeback. It's grown mostly in the southern part of Piemonte just north of the city of Alba. It's making some inroads in California and Australia of late. "Arneis" in the regional dialect means "little rascal." It is often used as a blender to soften tannins in the Nebbiolo-based red wines of the area, much as the French use Viognier in the Northern Rhone.

So there you have it.

Who's next??


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Ooh, this sounds like it's going to be plenty of fun, I hope we run through the entire alphabet. For the letter 'A' I chose Anjou.

Anjou is one of the subregions of France's Loire Valley, located upstream of Nantes (home of muscadet), and downstream of Saumur, Touraine, Pouilly-Fumé, and Sancerre. Located north of Bordeaux, the climate is somewhat marginal, although there is some moderation from the Atlantic. Much of the wine produced is rosé from Grolleau and Cabernet Franc, as well as sparkling wine that makes good use of the acidic and occasionally underripe fruit. Anjou's primary claim to fame, however, is still wine produced from Chenin Blanc, running from dry to sweet to botrytis-affected. The most famous Chenin Blanc areas are Bonnezeaux, Quarts-de-Chaume, and Savennières.

The wine I chose is the 2002 Château de Fesles "La Chapelle" AOC Anjou, made from Chenin Blanc. The wine is light gold, and on the nose has rich aromas of honey, dried apricot, baked apple, and clove, as well as bright smells like passionfruit, quince, and a crisp minerality. The wine is dry with tangy acid, and the flavours are very crisp: pineapple, lemon zest, and lime. It is medium-to-full bodied and has a long finish that starts off acidic but moves into rich earthiness and toasty caramel flavours. It is a well balanced 14% and went for $39, well worth the money but unfortunately not in my "everyday drinker" category (Price note: I live in BC and our liquor tax is somewhat excessive).

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I'll play!

Last night several people from our wine tasting group got together at La Dolce Vita in Bridgeport for some fine italian food. The osso bucco was to die for. One of the wines I brought was

'02 Antica Corte Amarone Della Valpolicella classico

Decanted 4 hours before dinner this was the hit of the night. This wine is all about dark fruit without any oakiness and it just got bigger the longer it sat in the glass. Thanks to my Italian wine guru Dave Cuneo at Total Wine for this selection $20 in Del.

Best,

Mike

PS Do I get extra points for the double A?

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Look at that, everybody, we have a volunteer!  :laugh:

Okay, Day One, Monday, it's official.  There's got to be something on your wine that starts with 'A'.  Wine notes, of course, and be prepared to share something informational about the 'A' part of your wine. 

For instance, if you choose Alto Adige, please give us your best expo on the subject, and if you don't know squat about it, that's okay, a simple Wikipedia link will do!

Before Sunday, Katie will select another wine forum participant to tag for the following week.  As in the original foodblog rules, if you post in Wine Tag, you are eligible to be tagged. And maybe even if you don't.  Maybe we'll just pick you because we like you.

Katie/Mary:

Great idea! Actually, I think this would be a terrific idea for a fundraiser for eGullet Society or for some worthy eGullet-sponsored charity.

If we could get consent/legal/copyright issues lined up and find an editor, the various responses (tasting note plus educational background) could be edited and compiled into a gazetteer of wine. With good participation, we could get eight to ten or more entries per letter. Nicely edited into a book, this is a product that I would buy even if it weren't for a good cause.

If each letter were scheduled for two weeks, we'd have the alphabet done in a year. I would think we'd need two weeks to ensure good participation.

I can't promise they'll be up by Sunday, but I'll do notes and background writeups for:

2002 Tamellini Soave Classico "Anguane"

2002 Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Kabinett

2001 Giacosa Barbera D'Alba

2000 ZH Clos Ste. Urbain Riesling (Alsace)

1999 Kracher Blend I (Blaufrankisch/Zweigelt) (Austria)

1999 Coche-Dury Bourgogne Aligoté

1999 Leeuwin Estate Artists Series Chardonnay

1998 LeBrun-Servenay Brut "Special Club" (Avize)

1985 Ampeau Puligny Combettes

I've been through the notes that I have posted in the last week or that are in the queue to be transcribed and posted later this week/early next week and these are all of them for which I can find a reasonable connection to "A".

Okay, am I going overboard with enthusiasm? Or is there a worthwhile project here?

Jim


Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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What a nice suggestion! Two weeks is good, too, even if we only do it for fun. I find myself halfway through the week already and no time to look for a wine. Let's get some more feedback on the fundraiser idea . . .


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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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Arbois Rouge Jacques Puffeney "Vieilles Vignes" 2003 $52 (at a restaurant).

Light, balanced, Pinot Noir and Trousseau aged two years in French Oak.

Tart raspberry and tea. Worth $52 to me? Neh, but for $22 or so at the store, yes.


Drink maker, heart taker!

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2004 Dain American Beauty Pinot Noir Amber Ridge Vineyard.

Huge wine, deep, dark opaque purple and a huge wonderful nose of fruit and flowers. Lots of black cherry, vanilla and earth flavors, well structured, good acidity, and supple tannins. Medium finish to long finish. Everythig on could want in a Pinot Noir.

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Howzabout we go from A to Z???

Before we move on to "B" here's.....

Albarino

According to Wikipedia:

"Albariño ("ahl-bar-EEN-yoh" – Galician) or Alvarinho ("ahl-vah-REE-nyoh" – Portuguese) is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and northern Portugal, where it is used to make varietal white wines.

International wines made from this varietal are most notably from the Rías Baixas DO. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be growned in Monção. In other locations such as Ribeiro, Lima, Braga or Valdeorras it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be "crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavors and rich, ripe fruit" and led to wines completely different from those produced across the river in Portuga.

The grape is famed for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Viognier, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity. Its thick skins and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness. Its vines are also notoriously difficult to ripen, even in the hot summers of the peninsula, though this is often due to over-crowding of vines by the winemakers."

Pazo Senorans Albarino 2004 Rias Baixas $16.99

Medium yellow...almost Chardonnay like in intensity of color.

Light citrus aromas that land on both lemon and lime notes. Nice sense of minerality and good acidity. The aromas start to open in the glass after about five minutes moving to a more floral, peach like character.

In the mouth nice viscosity framed by brisk acidity. The favors are centered around the same citrus theme as the aromas. Stony minerality adds an almost Bordeaux Blanc like character. Nice long, refreshing finish.

It will interesting to see how this wine develops over the next few years.

I discovered Albarino at a small tapas restaurant in Sacramento, CA about three years ago. I find these wines to be a great addition to Sauvignon Blanc and German Riesling as a white wine with food.

Served with a salad Carpese first course before a main course of London Broil and roasted new potatos.

David in Sonoma County


Edited by David94928 (log)

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If I can sneak in another "A" that I've been tardy in posting:

Alsace is a wine growing region in the northeast of France, bordering on Germany. Although it is in the northern reaches of France, Alsace is in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, and is one of the driest areas of France. The result is a long, dry growing season that helps ensure ripeness of the Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Muscat that the region is known for. The "Alsatian Style" wines made from these grapes tend to have more richness and weight than others grown in colder climates.

The wine I chose is the 2004 Pfaffenheim Riesling, CAD$17 and 12.5%. A simple, everyday wine it showed plenty of minerals, wet rock, citrus, and pineapple on the nose, and just a little bit of the characteristic Riesling petrol. It is dry with tangy acid, medium-to-full bodied with plenty of lemon-lime and citrus, and a nice clean finish. It was everything I wanted in a simple patio wine.

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Excellent work, everybody! Keep working on the 'A's whenever the spirit strikes you, and let's begin work on the 'B's this week.

This is a rolling idea! If I were learning about wine, this would be a fun and non-threatening way to taste my way through a virtual atlas of wine.

What am I saying? I'm still learning about wine!


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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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It's an old note (from a couple years back), but it covers an "A" not yet mentinoed, and not very well-known -- ALTESSE.

2001 F. Peillot Altesse Roussette dei Bugey, Montagnieu (Cuvee Buster). 100% Altesse, a grape grown locally in the Bugey region south of Lyon near Jura and Savoie. The wine had a mineraly, citusy aroma. In the mouth it packed a puckering wallop of lemons, chalk, and rocks. My kind of white wine and my favorite white of the night -- which is saying a lot, because we had some good whites on this night.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I haven't been on here in awhile so how coincidental to stumble across this thread. I bought an Argentine wine today for the first time that I was enjoying while watching MNF. Terrazas d los Andes Reserva Malbec 2003. My first Argentine wine and frankly quite a nice one as well. At $17 per bottle (BevMo) it is a very good wine for the price. Good mouth feel, rich, a bit of cocoa, good fruit and nicely balanced.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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International wines made from this varietal are most notably from the Rías Baixas DO. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be growned in Monção. In other locations such as Ribeiro, Lima, Braga or Valdeorras it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally.

I love Albariños myself and was glad to see David's contribution. I would ike to add that in Spain, Albariño is still almost synonymous with the region Rías Baixas. In fact, I'd say it is probably more famous than the region, since it's one of the few wines that Spaniards will order by the variety. Normally they order by the region, but seldom by the variety. And Albariño is still almost exclusive to Rías Baixas. Ribeiro has begun to incorporate more of it, but most ribeiros are blends of the other varieties that were mentioned. Valdeorras is a Galician region which has actually gained notoriety for making delicious white wine from another grape called Godello (I'll add that to the "g" section).

David has mentioned probably the biggest "A" word from Spain, but I'll contribute Alella, which is tiny region north of Barcelona and it makes some very nice white wine.

I know we are on to the "B"s but I jumped on this thread late!


Edited by Brian Murdock (log)

Brian Murdock

Madrid, Spain

Teacher/writer

www.murdockmedia.com

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I would also like to join in albeit a bit late. While it's not easy to find here, I was introduced to this varietal in Italy: Aleatico. It's a very fragrant red dessert wine. If you ever have the chance, please try it.

I also discovered Aglianico while I was there. Taurasi is a big strong red sometimes called the barolo of the South.

Here's my TN on the 1997 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici:

Nice garnet red color. Lots of cherry on the nose with some underlying mushroom and tobacco and a hint of pepper. Quite jammy but not sweet. Tannins still present but softened. Nice acidity.


Wine - Light held together by moisture. Galileo Galilei

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