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The Evolving Palate

You know how when you are reading or watching a good mystery, the plot thickens to keep you in suspense.  I think that is what wine does.  It is a mystery and your palate evolves constantly, sometimes keeping even you in suspense.  How lucky are we that we will never tire of wine as there is so much variety out there and at some point in our (wine) lives we will have a desire and an opportunity to try new and exotic wines?  I love it!!!

We’ve been over this before, I am called “Red Wine Diva” for a reason.  When I created this as my Twitter handle (I didn’t have a blog at that point and hadn’t even thought about branding), I didn’t drink white wine unless someone just forced me – not even Chardonnay.  Today I will try any white wine you put in front of me.  Actually, if I am having a bad day, I can count on a white wine to sooth my soul, to help me relax and make things better.  What a strange twist in this wine plot!

Stock photo from Kunde Estate

Stock photo from Kunde Estate

Kunde Estate has been my wine of choice this week.  I actually belong to their wine club so I always have some of their wines on hand and typically, the white wines they have sent in my wine club shipment tend to accumulate; but this week I have drunk three Kunde whites in a row.  I started out earlier in the week with their Sauvignon Blanc Magnolia Lane.  When I opened it, I anticipated finding that bitter taste that has always kept me from drinking Sauvignon Blanc, but this wine was delicate, almost sweet, but not too sweet.  A perfect sipping wine, I had chosen it because hubby had prepared a chicken and pasta dish for dinner and I wanted something light to pair with it.  I was absolutely taken aback by how good this wine was.  Not only was it a white wine, it was a Sauvignon Blanc (which by the way, I have never written about)!  I typically find notes of strong yellow grapefruit in any Sauvignon Blanc but in this one I found the sweet pink grapefruit (which I love) as well as lemon and orange zest.  The wine was heavenly.  Trust me, I dug through my wine closet but couldn’t find another bottle!

Well this Sauvignon Blanc had been so good, that I decided to opt for another white, still staying with wines from Kunde Estate.  The next wine up was their 2011 Chardonnay from CS Ridge Vineyards.  This was my style of Chardonnay – buttery, oaky, but with enough fruit on the palate to make it a true delicacy.

Kunde Estate Chardonnay

Kunde Estate Chardonnay

So today, I decided to continue down this path.  I opened another Sauvignon Blanc.  This one is from Vineyard Block 4SB20 and is just as pleasant as the Magnolia Lane.  Once again, I was a little leary about the first sip still expecting that bitter yellow grapefruit taste, but no!!!  It was slightly dryer than the Magnolia Lane, but still the perfect sipping wine.  You can drink this one alone. You don’t need a pairing, just a “wine kind of day” to enjoy this Sauvignon Blanc.

Kunde Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Kunde Estate Sauvignon Blanc

So I am wrapping up a week of white wines and my appreciation of them has deepened.  But the mystery continues – where will my palate take me next?

I encourage each of you to try new and different wines with an open mind.  Evolve and enjoy!

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When to Decant???

Do you decant wine?  When do you decant?  What wines do you decant?  I don’t ever decant!  Should I feel embarrassed that I don’t know when to decant or that I don’t instinctively think to decant?  Well, I am and I’m not.  I never claimed to be a wine pro; but I do feel like I have been at this long enough to know how to read a wine label and pick up on things that indicate I should decant.  OK!  I’m getting there!!!  It has finally hit me that I need to look at the age of a wine and the type of wine before I open the bottle.  I need to make a decision – do I decant?

I have been reading another blog from Winegetter.  He frequently decants.  He usually decants on younger wines.  Well, the problem is, the age of a wine depends on the style of the wine and where the wine is made.  I can’t just look at a label and automatically know that the wine is too young and therefore needs to be decanted.  However, you can always decant to be on the safe side and decant.

Several wines I have received lately are either 2011 or 2012 vintages.  Starting now, tonight, I am decanting all of them.  Decanting will never hurt the flavors of the wine.  It can only prove to enhance the flavor.

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I opened this wine last night.  It is Back Door Zinfandel from Naked Wines.  I have had a few wines from Naked and typically think they are great.  But when I opened this wine last night, it was way too jammy, almost sweet.  I only drank one glass and since I was through with dinner, I wasn’t pairing it with anything but rather drinking it as a sipping wine.  I didn’t care for it at all.  I sealed it up and stored it overnight in my wine cooler.  Then on my way home tonight from work, I decided to try a glass and if I didn’t like it, I was going to dump the rest of the bottle.  But it was so much better!  Had I decanted last night, I might have had this same experience with this wine then, but I never even thought to decant.

Why am I so adverse to decanting? Who knows, but not any more!  I will still taste the wine and if I love it, will serve it straight from the bottle; but if I don’t absolutely LOVE it, I am decanting especially if the wine is really young!

For more info on “How to Decant Wine” by Why Wine Blog.

Chillin’ on a Sunday Night

Champagne for your next celebration.

What a weekend!  I left work on Thursday (I only work 4 days a week at my “real” job) and headed to Bluffton, South Carolina.  That’s where my daughter and her family live.  A long five hours later I arrived – exhausted.  We chatted for a bit but I was just too tired to stay up, besides, I had a busy day lined up for Friday.

I am sure most of you know that I am opening a wine bar.  We made the decision a few weeks ago to locate the wine bar in Bluffton.  We want to be close to my daughter and the grandkids so what better way to do this than to have the wine bar close to them.  Move to Bluffton, live close enough to watch the grandkids grow up and still pursue my passion for wine.  This is my version of the American Dream.  You can read here about the spaces I looked at Friday and the decisions I am trying to make.

So I spent a couple of hours looking at spaces Friday, taking tons of pictures along the way and then sharing them with my daughter when I got back to the house.  I have been torn about which space to choose – they all have such great possibilities.  Then on Saturday, I spent a few hours creating a Kickstarter account to try to raise funds for the actual bar build-out.  The project hasn’t gone live so I don’t have a link to give you (yet!).  Sunday I made a few more changes to the Kickstarter project and then drove another five hours back home.

Time to relax and chill!

Jean-Luc Rose

So what wine should I try tonight.  Hmmmm – I think a Rosé might hit the spot and I just happen to have a bottle of Jean-Luc Colombo “Cape Bleue” Rosé, a true French Rosé from the Blue Cape above Marseille.  The hilly vineyards of the Blue Cape have light, stony limestone soils and benefit from a warm Mediterranean climate.  Jean-Luc Colombo is credited as being the “winemaking wizard of the Rhone.”

This wine was such a delicate, pale pink that I wondered if it would have the flavor of the rosés I have come to love over the last couple of years.  I had no reason to be concerned.  On the first sip, the flavors came bursting through.  I picked up hints of citrus on the nose and tart cherry on the back of the palate; a crisp wine with a nice, clean finish.  Excellent choice to unwind and get ready for the upcoming work week – including all the work to finalize plans to lease the space we have chosen for the wine bar…..  😉

Varietal:  67% Syrah, 33% Mourvedre          Alcohol:  12%          Price:  $11.99

This wine was a media sample from Palm Bay International

Franciscan Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

When you are shopping for wine, all you have to go by is the label or the reviews.  I much prefer reviews over the label because I like to see a variety of perspectives on a wine as compared to what the winemaker has to say.  The problem with this is that I don’t know what I am buying until I get to the store and then I don’t want to search and read reviews while I am standing there trying to decide on what to buy.  So I read the labels and any employee notes that might be attached to the display (another good source of information).

When I receive a wine as a media sample, however, I have the luxury of reading other reviews while I sip my wine or even as I prepare a blog post.

For this Franciscan Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon there were several other reviews available and I enjoyed reading what they each had written.  The general consensus is that this wine has good body and is full of flavor ranging from vanilla to cherry & plum with hints of tobacco and cocoa.  (By the way, these are some of the descriptors I look for when purchasing a wine.)  I found all of these elements in this wine as well as anise.  The silky texture and the lingering finish put this wine on my “buy list.”  With this Franciscan Estate Cab, you get the taste Napa Valley is famous for without the price tag.

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This wine was a media sample from Franciscan Estate.

Varietal:  85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Syrah, 1% Malbec          Alcohol:  13.5%          Price:  $28

For more reviews about Franciscan Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon:

The Good Wine Guru

The Reverse Wine Snob

Should I Dump This Wine?

Let’s be honest here, wine is not cheap. So what are you supposed to do if you really don’t like the wine you just opened? You paid good money for it. Granted we all have our own definition of what is expensive or what is cheap, but irregardless, when you buy anything, you expect to like it and to enjoy it. So again, what do you do when you really don’t like the wine you just opened?

Is the wine bad? Is it just me? I know when I don’t like a wine, but I am never sure why. Mostly I use hubby as a guinea pig.  We don’t have the same taste in wine so if he thinks it is bad, then I feel fairly confident that it isn’t just me.  So goes the wine I was going to write about today.  It is a bottle that I brought home from the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Portland, Oregon in 2012.

On the first sip, I got this really sour taste at the end.  I thought it was just me.  So I tried to aerate it to see if it got any better.  It didn’t.  I  tried pairing it with some great bread sticks I picked up at an Italian Market here in Winston – didn’t help. The wine actually tasted like it had been open for 4-5 days and not stored or sealed properly since.  So in comes hubby.  (He is just so agreeable!)  I told him I needed him to try this wine because I didn’t care for it but couldn’t decide if it was me or the wine.  He graciously agreed but only wanted a tasting, not a full glass.  I poured him a small glass.  One sip and he handed it back.  He thought it was vinegar, which actually made me feel better – it WAS the wine and not me.

Yes, we dumped this wine!

As you have gathered, this wine was a media sample I brought home from the conference.  It didn’t cost me anything,  but I still hate to throw wine out.  It goes against everything I believe in.  And it is even worse when I pay for it.  I had a friend tell me one time that she just powered through it when she tasted a wine she didn’t like.  Unfortunately, I can’t do that.

It is your choice whether you dump or drink, but if you don’t like it (it doesn’t matter if the wine is bad or if you simply don’t care for it), dump it.  There are so many great wines out there that we will never have the chance to enjoy, why waste your time on something that doesn’t measure up.  If you think it really is just you, take it to a friend.  Maybe they will enjoy it – but seal and store it properly and take it the very next day.

red wine

Update on Starting a New Wine Bar

Update on Starting a New Wine Bar.

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