Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tasting Notes

Over time I will promise to try and get these more organized

'09 Bouchard Pere at Fils Grande Vin de Bourgogne
-Bouchard Pere et Fils was created in 1731 in Volnay,one of the appelations of the Cote de Beaune of Burgundy, in the Chateau Beaune. The Domaine now owns 130 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Cote D'Or that includes 12 hectares of Grand Crus vineyards and 74 1ere Cru vineyards.
My notes: Coulour was a pink ruby red, and it had ripe cherry, wet earth and iron on the nose. The palate had sour cherry, and pomegranate with some wet earth, white pepper, and a clove spice finish.

'08 Syrah Jean Luc Columbo, Les Ruchets, Cornas
- Les Ruchets is french for beehive, and is also the name of a vineyard with upwards of 90 year old Syrah vines. Les Ruchets is in Cornas which is one of the AOP's of the Northern Rhone. Jean Luc Columbo and his wife Anne founded the winery 25 years ago, their daughter Laure is the most recent addition to the team.
My notes: The wine had a purple red coulour and was pink at the edges. The nose was barnyard scents mixed with blackberry, black currants and tobacco. On the palate the blackberry repeated itself as did the barnyard flavours, there was a bit of floral violet and a soft black pepper finish.

'06 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet C.C. Ranch
- Nickel and Nickel founded by the Far Niente Company in '97 focuses on growing single varietal and single vineyard specialty wines. C.C. ranch is located in Rutherford next to the Silverado Trail. Nickel and Nickle uses only 15 acres to produce this Cabernet. Dolce and En Route are two other sister companies. A very green company, uses solar power and produces more power than it consumes, vehicles use biodiesel or are hybrids, and of course farming is organic.
My notes: I found 2 sets of tasting notes for this wine. On both I said the coulour was a purple red that the nose had blackberry, although on one it was jammy, and on the other I had some wet tobacco notes, while on the other I said it was more leather and sweat. On the palate for both it was mostly ripe jammy fruits like blackberries and blueberries, with a little leather on the finish.

Vosne Romanee, Burgundy Avg Prices range from $50 to $12,000
-15 Premiere Cru and 8 Grand Cru split between the two communes of Vosne Romanee and Flagey- Echezeaux  both of which are located in Burgundy, in the Cote de Nuits. The pinot noir produced there is said to be the perfect balance between elegance and power. The wines are often described as having silky characteristics.
My notes: Colour was a light ruby and pink at the edges. The nose was sour cherry, licorice, wet earth and mushrooms. On the palate it was light body and had mild tannins. The wet earth and sour cherry repeated itself on the mouth and it left me with a herbal spice.

'08 Brandborg Pinot Noir,
-Grapes for this wine are chosen from multiple vineyards all located near the Umpqua River which is part of the Southern Oregon AVA. Soil ranges from alluvial river stones to sedimentary clay.
My notes: Pinky red colour, strawberry and raspberry nose. On the palate more ripe red berries with a hint of mushrooms, and a mild spice finish.
Brandborg says this wine is a lovely brilliant garnet color. The aromas and bouquet show a complex mix of strawberry fruit, mushrooms, earth and sweet oak. The mouthfeel is round and full, tannin is well integrated into the whole impression.
'89 Pomerol
- The Pomerol AOC is a part of the right bank of Bordeaux. Although home to the great Chateaux Petrus it is more of a co-op where the vineyards are shared. Makes sense as it is the smallest Bordeaux AOC at less than 2,000 acres.
My notes: Colour was a murky brown on the nose had a muddy earth smell with some floral aspects and raspberry. The same notes repeated themselves on the palate plus there was a little fresh grass too and no mud. It was light bodied and had light tannins.

- Montes Alpha '08 Chardonnay Avg price $22 US$
My notes say buttery lemon cream pie. It says the wine receives monthly battonage which explains the buttery flavour.  It was also supposed to enhance the complexity of the wine but for me it really only had the 3 notes and the tropical fruit elements that I was supposed to find were lacking.
-From the Casablanca Valley located in the Valparaisa Region. This is one of Chile's colder regions and is often compared to Carneros region in California.

-Montes Alpha '08 Pinot Noir Avg price $22 US$
My notes say strawberry and violets, with a chalk finish. It was a easy drinking wine great for those who like simplicity but boring for others.
-From the Leyda Valley. This location is only 14km from the Pacific Ocean so the vineyard gets lots of cool breezes that moderates the temperature and cleanses the vineyard.

-Kaikun '10 Malbec  Avg. Price $15 US$
My notes say ripe black fruits with notes of leather and tobacco. I enjoyed this Malbec it was easy drinking, juicy and had soft tannins.
-This Malbec is from Mendoza the largest wine producing region of Argentina. It lies at the foothills of the Andes.

Outer limits '10 Grenache, Carmenere, and Mourvedre
On this wine I immediately noticed the bouquet it was very rich and pungent black fruits. On the palate there was plum, strawberry and black pepper on the finish. A delicious combination.

Montes Alpha '08 Cabernet Sauvignon Avg. price $19 US$
-A salty cheese nose with red fruit and leather on the palate. I found it lacked roundness and any real kind of definition. They said there was 10% Merlot. The tannins were soft and it had a blackcurrant finish.
-From the Colchagua Valley located in the Rapel district of Valle Central

'06 Liable Scheurebe
-Scheurebe is a cross of Rielsing and Silvaner grown in the region of Pfalz (Germany). It has flavours of  grapefruit and vanilla tang. They say you either hate it or love it. Best producers include Muller-Catoir, Lingerfelder, Pfeffingen.
My notes registered the vanilla and grapefruit but also caught some honey and passionfruit.

'96 Comtes de Niepperg
Chateau Canon-la-Gaffeliere a grand cru classe of St. Emillion history dating back to the 17th century when the Comte de Malets-Roqueforts bought extensive real-estate, including the site of a leper colony, and rented out large parts. This vineyard came to prominence when Boitard de la Poterie family bought and cultivated what became known as Canon-Boitard, Both the estates apply the word gaffet, which translates to leper In 1971 the estate was bought by Joseph-Hubert, Graf von Neipperg, and in 1985 passed control to his son Comte Stephan von Neipperg, the current proprietor. Accredited with much of the success of the estate,his other properties include Clos de L'Oratoired and the "super-cuvée" La Mondotte. Since the early 2000s he has reverted Canon-la-Gaffelière to a style of moderation aiming at a truer expression of wine, and is quoted saying "I don't make plum pudding". The vineyard area extends 19.5 hectares with the grape varieties of 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
My notes say it had a chestnut garnet colour with chalk, chocolate, and dark cherries on the nose. On the palate it was very earthy with a hint of mint.

-Condrieu is made from 100% Viognier. It is located in the Northern Rhone.
My notes say there was apricots, pear and apple, some lillies and a hazelnut characteristic to it.  With a hint of vanilla
Legende Rivesaltes Ambre Millesime 2006
- Rivesaltes is a vin doux naturel wine AOC in Rousillion (Southern France) Largest sweet wine appellation in France.
My notes say it had a gold orange colour with nuts and apricots on the nose. That on the palate it was very nutty with some ripe peach and apricot too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Month 1

Well it has been one crazy month. It is true what they say though, sometimes it really is better to be just thrown into it. You either sink or you swim. Now I may have gone under once or twice but I think it is safe to say the hardest part of starting a new job is over.  I am swimming.
It's pretty intimidating for your first week as a Sommelier to be working alongside a James Beard award winning expert on cheese, but thankfully she was genuine and kind and really put me at ease and made my job easy. Of course the cheese week didn't go off without a couple of hiccups, I may have slightly over poured, got the blend incorrect in a Cabernet, and said a wine was from Oregon when actually it was from Washington. But better the guests find they have too much wine instead of not enough. Does it really matter if it 2% Cabernet Franc or 2%Merlot? and Columbia Valley AVA is in both Oregon and Washington, so really come on!
Then after that it was straight into the opening of my restaurant. Which brought it's own batch of problems and pleasures. Pleasure at getting to organize my own cellar, pain at not having enough fridge space. A problem I am sure many Sommeliers have encountered. Some of my bin #'s are ridiculously long for example BF2A4F. For anyone not in the industry reading this a bin # is a way to allocate a particular wines location, should a server need a wine and you are not there. The example I provided represents a wine that is in bar fridge 2 (I have 3 fridges so giving them numbers was the only way), It is on shelf A, which is the top shelf furthest to the left 4th bottle in and the final letter will either be a F or a B which means it is either at the back of the fridge or the front. I warned you it was ridiculously long and convoluted.
I am truly enjoying training the staff on the new wines. I think they really benefited from my tea training session which taught them about tannins. Brew tea for 3 minutes 6 minutes and 10 minutes and you will get a clearer picture of a light tannin wine, a medium tannin wine, and a strong tannin wine.  I also brought some fruit in so they could associate the fruit with the tasting descriptors, but that kinda fell flat. Hard to teach someone about cherry flavour when all you can get at the grocery store is dried cherries. It's just not quite the same. I still think it is a good idea in theory though.
The best part and the scariest part of my job though is actually going up to tables and talking about wine. I am gaining more confidence by the day but for the first few weeks I was content on just bringing people what they asked me for. Now I am truly trying to find the best wine for each person based on what they tell me they like. The job I found has many highs with the occasional low, just when you think your menu is perfect some new wine needs to be added or one needs to be taken off. Your wine glasses no matter how long you polish them for, always seem to have a spot. And at the end of the day no matter how happy you made a guest you need to have high sales to please the overlords. But I am really starting to get the hang of it all. The best part of my day is at the end when I get to go to my mentor's cellar and do blind tastings. I will be sharing my tasting notes with you on here so stay tuned for more wines, whines, and winnings.