Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Midterm Exam

Midterms are coming and that can mean only one thing. Multiple trips by my wife to the LCBO to pick up
different kinds of wine so that I can do a "fake" mid term blind tasting. It's probably better that she goes alone because watching me pick wines out is a slow and painful process. Much like watching a senior
citizen back her Crown Victoria out a mall parking spot. Also, with her holding the list of 7 white wines and 8
red wines for the blind tasting, it will make it more difficult for me to figure out which wine is in the glass.

 "Studying" as I like to call it involves pouring 3 wines into unmarked taster glasses. I have 30 minutes to
observe, smell and taste the 3 wines. Evaluate them based on colour, aroma, taste, body/mouthfeel, tannins/
acidity and finish. At the end, I give my review of the wines and attempt to identify the varietal for each. Now, you have to realize that there's nothing more deflating to a future sommelier's ego than to ramble on for 5 minutes about colour, floral notes, green apples, minerality, acidity and about a dozen other descriptors finally wrapping up the entire review with a monumental Sherlock Holmes mastery of deductive powers display and announcing with total confidence that the first wine is obviously a Chardonnay from the Niagara region. I sit back in my chair visualizing a Tiger Woods fist pump and waiting for my wifes nod of approval and amazement at my finely tuned olfactory skills. My ego begins slip and tumble down the steep "valley of doubt" when a smile starts to form on her face as she pulls the bottle out of the LCBO bag and announces that it's actually a Gruner Veltliner from Austria.

What ??? It can't be! How could I be so wrong?

The Tiger fist pump quickly turns into a hook drive directly into the middle of a water hazard. I repeat the same mistake on the next 2 wines for a total ego crushing 0 for 3. Ouch ! At this point, most people would be down and slightly depressed but when you're studying to be a sommelier you tend to see the glass as half full or more importantly.. there are 3 bottles of opened wine in the kitchen! Back to cramming for midterms.

 Here's todays wine review.

Fetzer Chardonnay - 2008 - Hopeland California

This light yellow medium to full body chardonnay has a nice aroma of peaches and apples. The fruit is also on the palate with some vanilla and a creamy texture finish with a moderate amount of acidity.
Price - under $14 (LCBO)
I like this wine because of it's rich creamy texture balanced with the fruit. This wine could be served with homemade turkey barley soup.
If you like this chardonnay, you may like a Pinot Blanc from the Alsace region - Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting Started

Well here it is. The bell has rung, the horn sounded and the clock is ticking. The blog is officially off the ground and this is the first posting of markuncorked. My wife actually came up with the idea of the "uncorked" name partly due to the notion that when I start yammering endlessly about wine she would like to put a cork in my mouth to give her ears a break. Now don't get the wrong impression about my fascination (obsession) with wine. I won't turn down a cold beer while sitting by the river on a hot summer day or a shot of Irish whiskey on a cold winter night relaxing by the fireplace but if someone pops a cork on a bottle of wine, I'll be the first one in line with my glass extended, a smile on my face, ready to talk about wine and when I say talk about wine, I mean everything about wine. Growing grapes, harvesting, vinification (making wine), storing, blending, bottling, tasting  and all points in between.
 The reasoning behind this blog is to give you, the reader, an inside look at the trials and tribulations of becoming a Sommelier. Along the way, I'll review wines, talk about vineyards I have visited, wine and food pairings, provide some tips for selecting wines, suggest some fun wine tastings for your friends and family plus a whole lot more. So lets get started.

Wine Reviews
The rules are simple. I won't use phrases like "a smack of sweaty leather", "hints of freshly buried truffles in a Slovakian countryside", or "reminds me of Christmas morning opening presents in my favorite wool sweater" (really?). It's an everyday, Joe's/Joanne's approach to wine. We'll talk about colour, aroma, taste, finish, price point, suggest wines you may like that are similar to the reviewed wine and I'll end every wine review with the comment "I like this wine because.."

Ogio Primitivo -2008 - Puglia Italy

This wine has a medium dark ruby red colour with an aroma of black cherries, spice and some pepper.
The flavour is predominantly cherries with a slight tea flavour and moderate tannins. It has a light to medium
body with a pleasant cherry finish.
Price - Under $10
I like this wine because it's a lighter drinking wine that's a great deal at under $10. Good for spaghetti and meatball dinner or sitting on your back porch with friends listening to music and swatting mosquitoes
If you like a Primitivo you may like it's cousin Zinfandel - try a Clos du Bois Zinfandel

Block 50 Chardonnay - 2007 - Central Ranges, Australia

A nice pale yellow chardonnay with an aroma of honey, apples citrus and vanilla. The flavour's of honey and apples are also on the palate and it has a nice balance of acidity and sweetness contained in a medium bodied wine.
Price - under $15
I like this wine because it's typical of the good chardonnays that come from Australia and could be served with roasted chicken.
If you like a Chardonnay, you may want to try a Viognier - Cono Sur Viognier from Chile

Cheers !!