Posted in Tasting Adventures, Wine Picks, tagged Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Food and Wine magazine, Gramercy Cellars, napa, supertaster, Syrah, Tempranillo, Walla Walla, Washington state on December 27, 2010|
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A couple of weeks ago I brought a bottle of 2008 Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Tempranillo to a book club meeting. I’d been curious to try the wines of this Washington state–based outfit dubbed Best New Winery, 2010, by Food and Wine magazine, and while we all liked the Tempranillo quite a bit, our comments about it were less interesting than our various opinions on how best to smell it.
Elizabeth had just been to an informational wine and cheese tasting where she’d been advised to do big swirls with her hand sealing the top of the glass and then sniff. Heather, on the other hand, brought up a notion many wine experts agree with: that little sniffs (like a dog) are better than one big snort for really getting the full bouquet.
In the week that followed that meeting, I tried out these dueling techniques on both another Gramercy wine, the 2008 Walla Walla Syrah, and on a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from Napa’s Melka Wines. And I discovered that little sniffs just don’t work a bit for me—I think it’s a personal thing, everybody’s different—but I did get different aromas when I sniffed a swirled-while-covered glass of the Syrah (tar!) versus an uncovered one (lots of blackberry). This technique paid off most with the Melka, however. I loved this wine in large part because of a deeply floral bouquet that my hand-covered swirl seem to release—but that made little sense, since Cabs have a distinctive aroma that’s rarely if ever floral. I was validated when Peter, who is the olfactory equivalent of a supertaster, tried the wine and gushed about it—adding, ‘Can you believe how floral it is??’
The nose knows…
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Posted in Pairings, Tasting Adventures, tagged Bombay Sapphire, Campari, Doug Fletcher, Janet Fletcher, Marin Magazine, martini, napa, San Francisco Chronicle, Santa Barbara, sherry, Sonoma, Terlato Wine Group, the Front Porch on June 10, 2010|
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Last week I interviewed Doug and Janet Fletcher about the role that food and wine have played in their relationship. The short answer is “a big one”—no surprise given that Doug is a vice president at Terlato Wine Group, overseeing winemaking at Terlato’s wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara, and Janet is a prominent food writer who pens the cheese column for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written award-winning cookbooks.
I’ll save the juiciest bits from the interview for my upcoming Marin Magazine article featuring the Fletchers, but let me share this: the couple has invented a Friday night cocktail. It’s called a Rosebud, made with four ounces white wine to one ounce Campari—shaken and served up, with an orange peel twist. “It’s fresh and a little bitter, which Janet and I both like,” says Doug. Sounds delicious, and I can’t wait to sub it for my usual Friday night cocktail, a traditional gin martini (Bombay Sapphire, shaken, served up with three olives if I make it, two if my husband does).
I must have had aperitifs on the brain after this interview, because while eating at the Front Porch in Bernal Heights on Saturday, I scanned the “bevies” menu and was immediately drawn to something called Tha Dirty South: amontillado sherry shaken with ice and served up, with an olive. Oh wait, does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s basically a sherry martini, but drinking it I somehow felt a little more… genteel, I guess you could say. Goes great with crab fritters.
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