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Archive for September, 2008


Let me be the first to warn you that my knowledge of wine is basic and is primarily influenced by an article on Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. As an Actor by trade I made sure to just stand back and observe the customs involved in wine tasting at a trade event.

The event itself was pretty stunning. Wines were displayed like museum pieces while in the center there was a table consisting of various breads, cheeses, and meats. I was free to taste and ponder to my hearts content. 

I was shocked, and at first repulsed to learn of the customs involved in a professional tasting. I envisioned myself quite the expert at twirling the wine in the glass, sniffing it, then sipping it, I was surprised to see everyone “spit” the nectar out! The images evoked while watching someone spit the wine into a silver “spittoon”, were reminiscent of those marble fountains of Puti and Eros. Or at least that is what I had to train my mind to accept it as. The shock quickly subsided as I proved myself to be quite a natural. While I knew nothing of tannins, sulfates, and fruit forward wine, I certainly was a professional when it came time to expunge the wine from my mouth. 

The tasting crowd ranged from restaurant entrepreneurs, wine educators and wine buyers. It was rather enjoyable to observe that everyone had their own personal nuances and traditions when it came to wine tasting. Time seamed to fly by as 10:30 became 3:00 in a matter of minutes. By the end of the event, I found I had made several new friends and business leads. The white table-cloths were no longer crisp and white, a sure sign that it was time to leave. Sluggishly I pulled myself together a crawled the three blocks home.


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The 2005 Vintage Cab was tasted on May 3, 2008 by a panel of 8 tasters in a blind tasting format and paired with Short Ribs with Tagliatelle.  To summarize our tasting notes:

What a stunning Cab. This wine lives up to the famous Heitz name. The outstanding fruit comes through the nose with dark berries, some cherry aromas and a bit of earth/dusty cedar. The palate has lots of layers with focused fruit and a luxurious, mid-palate feel. Great tannin and acid balance really shined with the food. Enjoyable now, but will mature nicely for up to 10 years.

You may read the full description at Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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The 2005 Vintage Cab was tasted on May 3, 2008 by a panel of 8 tasters in a blind tasting format and paired with Short Ribs with Tagliatelle.

Excellent Cab. Delicious fruit, blackberry, currants, nice balance, smooth, low on the tannins and acid but very enjoyable for the next several years.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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This 2006 zinfandel from Dry Creek offers ripe raspberry and sweet vanilla aromas. Mouth-filling flavors of plum and spice are complemented by smooth tannins. The structure and well balanced nature of this wine gives great pleasure today and in years to come.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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This 2005 Paso Robles Ensemble from Écluse was tasted on March 22, 2008 by a panel of 5 tasters in a blind tasting format and paired with Skirt Steak with Chimichurri.

A blend of four of the five Bordeaux grapes, this luxuriant and seductive red is stuffed with fruit, but has the depth and structure to age superbly. All tasters noted how the wine came together nicely in the finish.

We noted a slight dark fruit aroma on the nose. The flavor profile leaned to the fruity side with cherries and plumb noted. The texture is smooth and very approachable now – the fruit is focused and substancial without being overpowering.

The winery suggested we pair Skirt Steak with Chimichurri sauce with this Bordeaux blend. The wine was smooth and well rounded enough to balance the Chimichurri sauce of the skirt steak. This food pairing works especially well in a pot luck BBQ party setting.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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This 2003, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Ackerman Family Vineyards was tasted on March 22, 2008 by a panel of 5 tasters in a blind tasting format and paired with Barbequed Lamb Chops.

The results from this tasting were consistent with the intent of the winery. The wine was balanced and refined, more Bordeaux-like in structure, body and complexity. The fruit flavor comes through much like a Heitz or Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon does.

We noted a very slight earthy aroma on the nose. The flavor profile leaned to the earthy, dusty side with blackberries and dried lavender noted. The texture was so smooth we found ourselves using the word “creamy” a lot – the fruit is more focused and substantial without being overpowering.

The winery suggested we pair BBQ Lamb Chops with this Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was smooth and well rounded enough to enhance the rich taste of lamb chops. This food pairing works well in a formal dinner party setting.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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This 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Bourassa Vineyards was tasted on March 22, 2008 by a panel of 5 tasters in a blind tasting format and paired with Harmoniously Braised Short Ribs.

This wine was built for the cellar but can be enjoyed now. We noticed a bit of alcohol on the initial sniff out of the bottle. But, that rounded out to aromas of dark berries after a few minutes in the glass. There was a lot of sweet fruit in the mouth. Strawberry, raspberry and cherry jam was noted. On the mid-pallet, the wine felt rich, lush and smooth. We were all amazed at the amount of fresh fruit flavor that came from this wine. This wine spent almost 3 years in the barrels giving the fruit lots of time to blend and mellow.

The winery sent us their braised short-ribs recipe to pair with this Cab and their Harmony Bordeaux blend. This Cabernet Sauvignon was built for food. It’s a well-balanced wine with smooth tannins and enough acid to really enhance the short-ribs. You can’t go wrong with this pairing for a dinner party.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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