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Archive for the ‘tasting group’ Category

Live blogging from our DGS sparkling wine tasting [hehe, the couple in the background is our first Singapore DGS couple. Woot woot!]. First up: Dog Leg from South Australia. Small bubbles, nice fizz on tongue, but a little too sweet for my liking. Yujuan is giving us the lowdown of the four different methods to make sparklig wines.

We move to Spain next, and our bottle of the night is the popular Freixenet Brut Cava. Cava, by the way, is Spanish for caves. The wine is made the French method, though the bubbles are bigger than the Aussie. Very different nose. More rounded and nutty? I prefer this I think.

Third bottle: Adriano Adami dei Casel Prosecco. Fav so far!!! Nice and citrusy, bright green apples. Mmmm.

The fourth bottle is also from the same Adriano Adami vineyard, another prosecco but this is a 2007 vintage. Notes of sour apples, but it’s more restrained.

We move on to champagne: Le Drappier. People ate commenting that it is a much more complex wine. Not as fruit forward; very yeasty!!!! Interesting weight.

Last white wine of the evening: Pol Roger Champagne. Some of that yeasty nose, but much lighter and more floral on the finish. I think I would prefer the Drappier as it seems more exciting.

Last unique wine of the evening (we had a few repeat bottles) was a sparkling shiraz.

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Hey Winos,

For those that missed last night’s “Wines from Asia” event, the final opinions on Asia’s wines were very mixed, to say the least! The one thing we had consensus on is that we wouldn’t mind waiting a while for the next time we feature Asian wines.

Looking forward, let’s keep the theme of new themes. I threw out a couple new ideas below. Please share yours!

1. Classic Cocktails – Steve will take us on this interesting tangent sometime in March or April. More details to come from Steve…

2. Viognier – I don’t think we’ve explored this unique white varietal in depth and I think it’s among the most interesting yet least-hyped whites. I recently had a French Condrieu and a Napa Viongier and, as expected, they were vastly different. Let’s check out how they differ around the globe and hopefully convert some into Viongnier freaks like me.

3. Wino-lympics – Let’s have wines from around the world represent their home countries and compete in brackets based on our collective ratings on areas like taste, nose, structure and complexity. We’ll do a few things to keep the playing field level: keep it under $15/bottle, seperate out red from white and keep the judging blind (good idea, Zhen).

As a side idea to (3), Peishan’s back in the States in March/April and wants to enjoy a DGS while in town. She’s missed the variety of great American wines we take for granted here. In major league baseball form, we could have a “World Series” of American wines in the same format as the Wino-lympics.

Cheers,
Aaron

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So Janice and I might not have been the smartest when it came to picking a theme for the DGS – we could have made our lives a lot easier had we stuck with say, Shiraz, instead of Zinfandel. But on the whole, I have to say I was pretty pleased with our selection. :) And everyone definitely had enough to drink, for we had hot buttered rum to kick the evening off and capped it with some spiced wine. Ah, the hot buttered rum was nice and buttery in its sinful goodness, and made me all nostalgic for the Duke of Perth. It was only this time last year that I was sitting in there with Peiyun, downing such a mug and trying to keep warm. Good times… Aye.

But I think the Zinfandel Christmas theme went really well, no thanks to Janice and her delicious roast potatoes and carrots, and the turkey, stuffing, ham, and crispy pork that we ordered from Cold Storage. We also made some tiramisu to round off the evening with; mmm. If I say so myself. :)

Wine-wise, the Beringer turned out to be a hit! I quite liked it myself, for the subtle sweetness and delightfully light and playful bouquet it gave off. The Marr, a $74 bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel from Mendocino County, was a bit of a disappointment though. But the favorites of the night was the Irvine from Barossa Valley, The Curse which really softened out after a while but remained nice and spicy, and The Outpost from Howell Mountain. :)

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Having grown used to the bountiful selection of Zinfandels in the US, Janice and I were disappointed to find the striking scarcity of Zinfandel here in Singapore. A search of SEVEN, and I repeat, SEVEN wine stores turned up just six bottles of Zin. Most of the stores had just one label in stock, while a couple had two, and on average, the bottles cost around $70. Not cheap. :(

Perplexed at the paucity, I asked a sales clerk in one of the stores, who explained that Zinfandel hasn’t quite caught on with the local palate. To top it off, most stores stock very few labels from the US anyway, and the if they do, these are invariably the Cabernet Sauvignons. Which is a pity, because I’ve grown to become quite fond of Zinfandel over the years. When I started out drinking, I hated the metallic tinge that seemed to be associated with it, but then that was because I was mainly swilling down the likes of Yellow Tail, Beringer, and Sutter Homes. I think Mike first opened my eyes to good Zinfandel, when he brought a bottle of Burford and Brown Zinfandel 2003 to Wendy and my new year’s party three years ago (wow).

In the end, we did manage to scrounge up the number of bottles we needed, though we quite extended our budget in the process. Oh well. These wines better be exciting! We did include a bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel, which Janice thought might be fun to try, and hey, it was the cheapest bottle we got!

The wines:
1. Beringer White Zinfandel 2007
2. Collage (a Kendall-Jackson brand) Zinfandel-Shiraz 2004
3. Marr Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino County 2005 (I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one; it was one of the few old vines we could find. We found the other, a St. Francis Zin selling for $70 after a 30% discount, only after we’d already bought the Mendocino one)
4. Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2004 (I’ve read good things about Outpost, and Wine Spectator has pretty rave reviews of this wine, so I’m quite excited about this)
5. The Curse, Tscharke, Zinfandel, Barossa 2006 (Which seems to have garnered strong reviews from RP as well… neat)
6. Irvine Zinfandel, Barossa 2005

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Here is the skinny on what we ate and drank. Please leave comments in terms of food and wine. My take on the whole event was a little skewed since I was knee deep in cheese and tomatoes for most of it. Comments on the wine would be much appreciated! Thanks to everyone who came. I hope you enjoyed it.

Our Menu

Nosh

Bruschettas

ricotta with sundried tomatoes

roasted garlic, basil, fresh tomatoes

roasted red pepper spread

Main

Assortment of Pizzas and Sausage

fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, ricotta, roasted garlic, basil

sausage, yellow and red peppers, feta cheese

mozzarella, feta cheese, ricotta, parmesan

sausage, sundried tomatoes, basil, fresh mozarella, roasted garlic

(one other combo I forgot…I made these up as I went)

Dessert

Pound cake two ways

with nutella and roasted bananas

with marsala wine soaked cherries and lemon curd

THE WINES!

Whites:
Abbazia di Novacella Kerner 2006 $24
- Damn Good
This Kerner is made in the northernmost part of Italy where the Italians speak mainly Austrian and the scenery is more reminiscent of Heidi than Under the Tuscan Sun. Light floral with a touch of minerality and a killer nose, this was definitely a good start to the evening for me.

De Falco Fiano di Avellino 2005- $22
- Pretty Good

This bottle had more minerality and was less fruity than the previous. Having a little bit of savoriness to it with citrus, it definitely paired well with the pizza. Light and refreshing I wouldn’t be opposed to cracking open another bottle for some seafood or sushi.

Santi Amarone dello Valpolicella 2003- $38
Damn Good
Mmmmmm….I liked this one. More old world in style, Amarone has a rich raisinyness (definitely not a word) and a velvety texture. The grapes are dried in the sun to intensify flavors in the processing. There were hints of spice and boldness to it that would please both old world and new world parties. (ie both peishan (new world) and I (old world) enjoyed it) I would love to eat this with lamb, or anything else meaty/gamey.

Prunotto Barbaresco 2004- $37 Not Bad
This Barbaresco did not wow me, but was good. It was the prototypical barbaresco with good fruit and depth, but for the price tag I feel I could get more bang for my buck elsewhere. Perhaps we opened it too early as it is just getting into its prime according the THE internet.

Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2005- $18
Pretty god

Light and fruity, this chianti actually started us off with reds. It had a delicate sweetness and was not too tanniny. With hints of berries, savory notes, this went well with the pizza. It definitely seemed to be one of the most versatile at pleasing people’s palates, but did not wow anyone.

Forteto della Luja Moscato d’ Asti 2007- $20 Orgasmic
Holy crap the nose was AWESOME on this one, like whiffing a bottle of sweet honeyed perfume. The taste was there to match. Good thing I bought two bottles of this which went as fast as lightening. I caught some peach flavors, apple, and a lot of floral. So very drinkable, bubbly, and sweet. I wish I had gotten more.

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DGS Spring Events

Hey,

A big thanks to Jeff for having painstakingly selected and shipped the wines back to Chicago from New York, and then organizing with Zhen and Rita a tasting for us. It was great fun as usual, and thanks to the new folks who came! Hope you guys had a good time as well and we look forward to having you back again.

Coming up, we have a tasting of wines from Argentina. It will be held on April 19th, Saturday, at WineStyles (830-11pm). Denise, Martin, and Jenel will help us put together a thoughtful selection of wine, and Jenel, who has a culinary degree, will pair the wines with tasty treats as well. And, as a bonus, we’ll be conducting a smell quiz with dozens of tiny little vials to test your sense of smell! Think a Chardonnay has popcorn notes? Well compare that against a vial with popcorn scent! Think a NZ Sauvignon Blanc has a cat pee scent? Well… Good times! We’ll send out another reminder closer to the date; in the meantime, if you don’t know already, WineStyles offers free tastings every Thursday. Stop by if you can; it’s a great opportunity to meet with the distributors and find out more about their wines!

Look out for our May tasting as well. Bruce and I will be hosting a “make your own wine” DGS, where everyone will get a chance to pit their wine blending skills against one another! More details on that to follow, but in the meantime, drink and be merry!

Cheers,

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Hello!

A big thanks to all of you who gave feedback on the Italian wine night WineStyles event that we just had for DGS last Saturday (for those interested, we have a brief summary of all the wines we tasted at: http://deadgrapes.wordpress.com). From the feedback, we gleaned that while most people liked the convenience that WineStyles offered, they also liked the opportunity to “retain control of the wine selection” and thought that the range of wines we would otherwise choose personally made the event a “more worthwhile one for the price.” In the end, it seemed that many also appreciated the thoughtful selection of Italian wines WineStyles had chosen and liked the idea that they had veritable wine experts on hand to answer their questions on all things wine. It seems that people were ultimately leaning towards retaining both formats of wine tasting – the traditional and personable DGS style, and the formal and organized WineStyles style.

So, in light of all that, we’re happy to announce that we’ve picked out the dates and venues for the next TWO DGSes.

MARCH 29th, Saturday: Jeff and Zhen will host a DGS at their place in the heart of Old Town. The exact time and theme will be determined. In the meantime, please mark it down in your calendars.

APRIL 19th, Saturday, 830-1030PM: We will host DGS Argentina Night at WineStyles. Denise & Co. will work towards putting together an exciting tasting of Argentina wines (and having tasted a couple of Argentine wines they had on hand tonight, I can personally attest that it will be quite an exciting selection). This time around, WineStyles will help put together a food pairing menu with the wines! In addition, we will also conduct a aroma/scent/smell test with specially prepared pippettes/test tubes to try sniff out the particular smells of the wines we’ll be tasting. Please mark that date in your calendars as well!

Happy drinking!

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