Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

WHAT WINE REVIEWERS MEAN WHEN THEY SAY…

October 4, 2017

Okay, I have written about this before, but a couple of recent media articles made me think I should do it again.

The topic? Wine recommendations in general…and specifically some of the verbiage that is used. It may sound great, but what do wine dweebs like me really mean when we use the following terms?

  1. A food wine

This is the description I hate the most…and, personally, one that will cause me not to buy a wine! By saying a wine is a “food wine”, reviewers are essentially saying it will taste better with food. Hogwash! If I wine doesn’t taste good on its own, that means it is either too young, or just not good enough. It shouldn’t need food to make it better. So avoid like the plague!

  1. Old world style red wine

Another one to be careful of! This usually means not a lot fruit in the wine…more wood and herbs instead. If you like that style, then great. But if not…watch out!

  1. Chocolate, coffee and mocha flavours

This is another moniker for little or no fruit. You usually see this with reviews of Merlot-based wines. Again, if you like this style, that is great. But if you are expecting plummy, ripe fruit, you probably won’t get it.

  1. The Fruit will Develop over time

Hogwash again…straight and simple! Red Burgundy is the most regular example of this kind of review. But the fact is, if you can’t taste the fruit in the wine when it is young, there is little chance it will be there when it is older. So, if you like fruit, be careful!

  1. Drinks beautifully now, but will evolve for 10+ years

Last is the most complicated one. I buy wines for my cellar based on them developing over an 8 – 10+ year period. That usually means they are tannic when young, and need time to soften. But when I see this kind of review, I wonder…will the wine really drink “beautifully” in 10 years? In this case, I recommend buying a bottle and trying it…if it is tannic but fruity, okay. If only fruity…be careful.

There you go…five wine reviews to think about before you buy!

SB

www.sbwinesite.com

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STYLE 101 Part 2: That Damned Merlot!

April 23, 2015

Ah, Merlot…what a wine! Its popularity took a hit because of the movie Sideways a decade or so ago, as Myles continually expressed his hate for it. I’m not sure what the impact actually was on sales, as it still remains a popular pick for many people.

It is also another red wine that shows how important a particular wine-making style can be. Because while the name may be the same on the bottle, many Merlots could not be more different!

To start, the differences are similar to those of Cabernet Sauvignons. Fruity or more woody/herbal – that is a fair generalization. Similarly, California tends to produce more of the former style, while Bordeaux focuses on the latter, often at great expense (Chateau Petrus from Pomerol is one of the most famous – and expensive – wines in the world).

Now, I may be wrong about Petrus, because I have never tasted it, and probably never will. But that actually isn’t the style difference that if find most interesting and, in fact, frustrating, about Merlot.

My beef is with coffee, mocha…and chocolate!

Now, not the hot beverage (which I like) or the sweet (which I also like, but doesn’t like me very much, at least in terms of putting on weight). I mean the flavours.

Look at the wine reviews or descriptions of many Merlots and you will often see reference to coffee, mocha and/or chocolate aromas and flavours. For some, that may be a good thing. But for me, it is a big warning sign!

Because, at least to my palate, coffee + mocha + chocolate mean even less fruit flavour than your straight woody/herbal Merlot. Something just seems to happen when they all come together, and as a result I often cannot find any fruit at all!

Case in point, a BC winery (whose name I will keep to myself) that used to make maybe the best Merlot in the province (at a good price too). It was full of ripe – but not sweet or jammy – black plums, a touch of vanilla, and some licorice/mint. Never very tannic, it was just brilliant to drink.

And then the owners sold the winery, and the new proprietors started to make the Merlot (and all the red wines) in a more Bordeaux style. And that’s not my style. So my cellar – and recommendations – went from full to, now, almost non-existent.

Interestingly, most of the California Merlots I can afford to try (many are now out of my spice bracket) have kept to the fruity style. And there are a couple of others up here – La Frenz and Perseus – that still go in for the fruit-first style.

Since that is my style, that’s what I go for –at least in wine. Coffee, mocha and chocolate? That I will keep those for breakfast and dessert.

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com