Monday
May022011

One Step Closer to Total Idiocracy?

This past weekend was a big one for North Texas wine tasting fans.  What, with two tastings offering 20-28 wines each, what could go wrong?  

My partner in crime and I arrived at the first tasting with the usual excitement - What discoveries lay just around the corner on our journey today?  Early birds, as usual, our arrival time would give us ample time to really take in each wine's characteristics while enjoying a warm spring afternoon. 

We were met at the door by a couple of ladies and asked about our RSVP.  I let them know that we emailed the owner and that we should be on the list.  What I heard next seemed quite strange – “Oh, so, you did not go through Groupon?  You will need to go and pay full price at the bar.”  Groupon?  Today?  My excitement quickly turned to fear and agony.  After a couple of seconds of pulling myself together, we walked over to the bar and checked in.  We received a green band which differed from the Groupon yellow.  Here we go.

The tasting was set up in 4 tables rather than the personal service that we were used to.  The place was packed with yellow bands everywhere in site.  Where are my green banned bretheren?  I gulped my elitist angst, checked my tasting sheet, and headed for the first table which featured an array of wines that ranged from sparkling white to bigger reds. 

Wanting to stay in succession, we asked for the Sparkling, and then the Riesling.  The Riesling, a Spatlese level German wine from the Mosel region was the standout here.  Nice smell of Petrol on the nose and a full bodied Off-Dry wine within the mouth – Not bad.  Rather than being able to chat about the wine, this was more of a real-estate battle with the throngs of people working their ground to get the next drop.  So we moved on to the next table to fight the good fight.

The second table fared better in that its proprietor was a very nice and approachable young lady who had volunteered her time for the day.  We tried a very interesting Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa that had the usual Green Pepper and Jalapeño aromas on the nose, nice medium plus acid levels, and crisp citrus notes on the palette. 

The final two tables were more challenging than the first.  The Groupon massive had made its way to these specific areas of the building and were in heavy grazing mode at this point.  We wiggled our way up and tasted as many of the wines as we could.  After a bit of a long wait, in which our patience was even complimented by a bystander, we made our way through the final list.  These were all Dry Reds that ranged from Sangiovese of Italy to Grenache & Syrah from the Rhone Valley in France to California Petite Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignons.  The standout was the 2008 Oak Cliff Cellars Lake County Petite Syrah from northern Napa.  This big silky wine displayed dark berry and plum fruit flavors, medium soft tannins, and a nice long finish.  The grapes and wine are produced in Calistoga, CA, but yes, the wine makers do live in Oak Cliff – Great stuff.

So, with an empty glass, no wine purchased, and a folded tasting sheet in hand we made our way through the crowd.  This tasting, that has historically lasted 4 hours and usually ends with me lugging a case out of the door, ended within an hour and we purchased no wine.  I totally understand someone’s choice to participate in a marketing event to get to potential new customers, but are these the people you want to bring in?  Potential clients that are new to wine and that will only pay half price just for a tasting?  I didn’t see a lot of purchases, but to be honest, it was hard enough to enjoy the wine I was tasting with all of the shoving going on.  My suggestion?  In the future, please be courteous and let your regular clients know that you will be participating in a Groupon event.  That way, we can decide beforehand whether we want to be pushed and prodded by the yellow banded masses of the world.

Friday
Apr292011

Find of the Week - 2009 Serras Del Priorat by Clos Figueras

This past week I found myself doing my usual drop-in and wander-about at Pogo's off of Inwood and Lovers in Dallas.  While window shopping in the Spanish wine section, I stumbled across a new find from the small Priorat Region of Spain. Priced at a mere $27.99 (which is a relatively low priced bottle from this region), the 2009 Serras Del Priorat by Clos Figueras is a 65% Garnacha, 20% de Mazuela, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon blend - Sounded like a winner to me so I grabbed a bottle to-go.   Last night I cracked it open to check it out.

 

On the nose were moderately intense aromas of plum, dark berry and oak.  It expressed similar notes on the palate, along with medium soft tannins, medium acidity and a long finish.  As the night went on it continued to evolve showing blackberry and hints of earth and pencil shavings.  This wine was excellent and very well balanced and will drink even better with a bit of age.  It paired very well with the bone in beef rib eye I had been slow roasting. 

I will be making another trip to Pogo's to give it another go in the very near future!  Go grab a bottle and enjoy it on one of our remaining beautiful spring evenings -

More info on Priorat Spain

Priorat (Priorato in Castilian) is a small, favored area within the greater Tarragona region that benefits from a hot, very dry, sheltered, and hilly microclimate; distinctive mineral-rich brown slate soil (llicorella); and a good stock of very old Cariñena and Garnacha vines, with the steepest and best sites concentrated around the town of Gratallops. A group of five Priorat wine makers led by René Barbier essentially reinvented this area, beginning with their releases from the 1989 vintage. Priorat wines have been on fire ever since, with a reputation for superconcentrated, high-octane Priorat wines from traditional varieties supplemented by mostly new plantings of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot - Source - (www.wineaccess.com)

 

Wednesday
Apr272011

This Saturday 4/30/11 - Two Exciting Events in Dallas

This Saturday (4/30/2011) is shaping up to be an excellent day for fine wine lovers in Dallas, TX.  Both events that are listed below are taking place during the day and feature some spectacular wines.  The weather is spectacular and both spots have great outdoor areas to enjoy some sun, a nice breeze and a great drop. 

Don't worry, there is definitely enough time to hit both =)

 

This Saturday from 2-6pm is a can't miss wine tasting at The Bodega Bar off of Travis in the Knox area of Dallas.  Where else can you sample 20+ world class wines, enjoy delicious cheese and tapas (Additional Fee) and have a blast tasting with your peers and save up to 30% on wines that you purchase? Only at Bodega Bar!  Cost: $25 / person (+tax & Gratuity)

Burgundy to Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and everything in between! It's a monthly can't miss wine event.

You can find more info and join the Bodega Bar Newsletter by visiting:  http://www.chateauwinemarket.com/

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This Saturday from 3-7pm at The Wine Therapist in Lakewood near the intersection of Skillman and Live Oak, James Jordan, of The Dallas Wine Company, will be hosting a Zinfandel and BBQ wine tasting.  The wines will run the gamut and will range from Best Value to Best of the Best Zin's.  Featured Producers include Biale (One of my favorite Zin's - The Black Chicken), Hartford, Marietta, Orin, Swift, Outpost, Ridge, Rosenblum, Seghesio and many more.  Discounts will also be available on half-case, mixed case, and case purchases.  Cost:  $15 / person & $25 per couple (Fee waived with the purchase of a case or more)

Also, there will be tasty BBQ to accompany the wines =)

You can RSVP and/or get more info on the Dallas Wine Company by emailing James Jordan (Be sure to tell him you heard it on www.dallaswinecult.com):  james@dallaswinecompany.com

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Have a Wonderful Weekend and please feel free to chime in with other happenings - Cheers to you and yours

Friday
Apr222011

Wine & War - The French, The Nazis & The Battle For France's Greatest Treasure

 

Last evening I finished a wonderful book that was written about the French and the French wine industry during WWII.  It told the struggle of the many French winegrowers, wine makers, negotiants, and wine lovers alike, during the German occupation from 1940-1945.  The French were determined to keep their spirits up and to save their country's greatest treasure - Their Wine - From the Nazis.  This book was a great adventure and gave an interesting perspective on the Nazi focus when invading France and how the French were determined to resist and forge ahead during one of the darkest and timulltuous times in their history.

 

One favorite quote:  'This evening will give us time to recall and glory in one of France's purest treasures, our wine, and to alleviate the misery with which we have had to live for so long.  A party to celebrate wine?  No, it is not just that.  It is also a celebration of us and how we have survived.  With this little glass of wine that we are going to drink together tonight, we will savor not only a rare fruit but also the joy of a satisfied heart' - Gaston Huet in the POW camp Oflag IV D (or Camp for officers)

 

I would highly recommend this book for wine lovers, history buffs or, frankly, anyone that loves a great read on world history.


Monday
Apr182011

Portugal Lends a Hand in Taming the Texas Heat

Today we experienced heat in the 90's for the first time I can remember this year.  With the innevitable summer heat looming over our Texan heads, this past weekend I turned my eyes to an old favorite - Vinho Verde from Portugal.  This traditionally slightly effervescent crisp white wine is a top choice when the heat rolls in. 

 

Famega, a producer from the Minho region of Purtugal,shows a slightly higher acidity coupled with intense aromas of citrus, green melon, and green apple on the nose.  Add that to the low alcohol content (10%), and you have the perfect go-to bottle when looking for refreshment during the the dog days of summer.  Plus, at $6-7 a bottle at the local Oak Lawn Goody Goody - This wine is truly a steal!

 

Happy Drinking and feel free to share your secrets to beating the heat =)