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Wine Rants

Wine Palates Know These Flavors

Wine Rants

Interested in training your “wine-descriptor” palate?

It can be truly difficult to communicate what you like about a wine (assuming you want to communicate). Sometimes, I actually smell the bacon that grandma’s been cooking down the hall in the kitchen when I sip a Cote-Rotie. Sometimes I taste “Just Add Shiraz Syrup” in Australian Shiraz (fake, over-the-top, high-octane nastiness). I believe that much of the time when someone refers to a Sauv Blc as ‘grapefruit’, it is actually a reference to citrus, not grapefruit. If a wine reminds you of Captain Crunch’s “Crunchberries”, then that is what it tastes like to you. The more you open your head to associations, the better…

Make up your own experiments! Take my starter list (below) and go shopping (even if you are confident you know what these taste/smell like!). Sit down. Focus. Get tasting! Clarify your take on the universal wine association descriptions.

Here’s a starter list:

Apples (all) / Apricot / Ashtray (fresh & stale) / Asparagus / Bacon (raw and cooked) / Bananas / Blackberries / Blueberries / Broccoli / Cherry (Black & Red) / Chocolate (Milk & Dark) / Cigars (not lit & lit, humidor) / Cinnamon Sticks / Cocoa / Coffee / Cranberries / Currant (Red & Black) / Dr. Pepper (Dublin & regular) / Earth (dirt) /Fig / Grapefruit (explore) / Honey / Jalapeno / Jams (explore) / Kiwi / Lamb (smoked) / Licorice / Lemon (ripe, tired, peel) / Lime / Mango / Milk (whole & 1%) / Mushrooms (explore) / Nuts / Olives (explore) / Orange (ripe, tired, peel) / Papaya / Pears (all) / Pepper (White & Black) / Peppers (bell, red & green) / Pineapple / Popcorn / Raisins / Raspberries (Black & Red) / Rosemary / Sage / Soy Sauce / Strawberries / Sweaty Sock / Tea Leaves (explore)


Vines With No Soul

Wine Rants

One of my favorite parts of playing with wine is the continuous learning-curve epiphany. It’s that whole “the more I learn, the less I know” thing. This rings as true in wine as it does in life.Anybody can walk into a retailer and pay an exuberant price for a cheap-tasting wine. Many of the ‘high-rated’ and ‘cult-status’ wines are great and goofy examples of these ‘auto-pilot’ and ‘resting-on-their-laurels’ blindfolded non-performers. I consider many wines to be extremely overpriced, one-dimensional, and tasteless… especially many of the new world, high alcohol, 18-wheeler-stylin’ fruitblobs.

I’m on a personal campaign to find what I refer to as “Stamp on the Head Wines”, high quality wines that are best-of-breeds in their genre and pricepoint. Occassionally, it is refreshing to have a Cab that actually tastes like Cab. I don’t mind paying serious money for a serious wine, but don’t charge me pretentious prices for seriously plastic-passioned wannabes. Scrape off the makeup and give me an honest wine that actually has character…
Now, don’t take me wrong. I love soul-less, thoughtless, and loveless wine as much as the next guy, but please don’t charge me over $6 a bottle for it…

In order preference.
1. ‘03 Haut Bages-Liberal Pauillac $31 A +5 *** 042406
—It’s a Boy! A few wanted bruises/solid middleweight/currAntly flexed
2. ’03 Moulin de la Gardette Gigondas Ventabren $29 A -3 **
—white peppered-black olive & wild mushroom pizza
3. ’02 Ch Potensac $26 A +6 **
—Las Cases’ Delon Family/black currants, earth, berry plays bass, perfect acidity
4. ’02 Rsv de Comtesse Lalande Pauillac $28 A +4 *
—Pichon Lalande’s 2nd/typical blackberry and herbal cherry-dropped middleweight
5. ’03 Ch La Fleur St Emilion $29 A -2 *
—raisin, plumtime, dark chocolate, with a berry-zip on the side
’01 Les Ormes de Pez St Estephe $30 A = **
—a consistently well-structured straight shooter/Spice with a tad


C’est Las Cases!

Wine Rants

‘95 Leoville Las Cases $200 A+ -25 *****
Cab Sauv/Merlot/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot

I often tell friends that if they don’t recognize wines on a restaurant list to get a “St.-Julien”. The odds are stacked in favor. They rarely go wrong. Leoville Las Cases is my St.-Julien, for it is reminiscent of a Pauillac Bad-Boy. It has meat, concentration, and finesse. This is the 10th time I’ve had the ’95, with each addition tasting better than the previous. Since my first encounter, it has continuously been my favorite Bordeaux from that vintage. This particular bottle was a bit too cold, but it was brilliant. The brooding fruit finish was tattooed in my mouth ...

Read more: C’est Las Cases!


Wine is of the Earth…

Wine Rants

The land similarities to coffee, tobacco, and the people…

In the old-world wine realm, wine and food grow up together.
Within the new-world wines, lies an elephant tapping onstage for the first time in the middle of a recital at Royal Albert Hall. Wine is of the Earth. It is of the Gods.


You Wouldn't Believe Goofiness in the Industry

Wine Rants

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