Tag Archive for sweet

Finger Lakes 20013 Riesling Launch–Live! On Twitter and Facebook

I hope it’s been a pleasant Saturday for you so far, readers. This is just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be participating in the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance’s launch of their 2013 Reislings in a short 3 hours from now, from 7 to 9 PM EST, which is 4 to 6 PM PST for those of you West Coasters who can’t do the math.

I’ll be tasting along with the 50 other media members participating in this live social media event. You can find us in two places: at the hashtag for the event on Twitter, #FLXRiesling, or over at the Finger Lakes Fans’ Facebook Page. I’m going to try to keep an eye on the happenings both places, but Twitter’s my social media forte, so you can definitely follow my thoughts there or in my own Twitter stream @theGourmez.

What will I be tasting? Four different 2013 rieslings with an emphasis on dry offerings–and yes, these are wine samples provided free of charge (disclaimer!).

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In case you can’t make out the labels, from left to right we have Glenora Wine Cellars’s 2013 Dry Riesling, Swedish Hill Winery’s 2013 Riesling, Chateau LaFayette Reneau’s 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling, and Hosmer Winery’s 2013 Dry Riesling. They are currently chilling in my fridge, though I’m taking Talk-A-Vino’s advice to pour my glasses about an hour before the event begins to retain a slight chill and allow them to develop with some air.

This event is doubly, no, triple-ly exciting for me because I’ll be attending next year’s Wine Bloggers Conference located in the Finger Lakes (I won Quini’s Grand Prize!) and I have very little experience with Finger Lakes wines in general. I admit to some reticence. Sweet wines have never been my favorites, and rieslings have a reputation for sweetness. The rieslings I’ve ranked above average (Schloss Biebrech Sekt, Buitenverwachting Rhine) have been largely sparkling. And the last riesling I rated that well was four years ago (Lindeman’s Bin 75)!

But I’m always ready to be surprised, and that half the wines we’re tasting are specifically cast as dry gives me hope. See you on the interwebs soon, fellow riesling explorers! I’ll be sipping from my beautiful balcony facing the Bay. Okay, I can only see an inch of the Bay, but it’s all part of setting the mood, right?

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TOPO Piedmont Gin

TOPO Piedmont Gin
Chapel Hill, NC
ABV 46%

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I have mentioned this gin before on this blog, when I took a tour of the distillery. But this is the first TOPO spirit I’ve had my hands on a bottle of and thanks go to Esteban, TOPO’s spirit guide, for the parting gift at my farewell from North Carolina. At that tour, I was impressed by how soft the Piedmont Gin’s notes were in comparison with other gins that I often find overwhelming. So you can bet I’m excited to give it a thorough tasting.

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Nose: A sap-covered pine cone comes to mind, hinting of sugar with the juniper. Spices are present in modest levels; I can’t distinguish between them but I can appreciate their evening properties. Allspice pokes its head out eventually. No major alcohol heat. Citrus rounds out the smell.

I chilled the shot before sampling because I can only barely handle gin on its own – I am not a gin martini drinker. So you should recognize that its flavor profile may be dulled in this review, but hey, at least I drank it at all. Mild alcohol tingles, then spices hit my lips: clove, allspice, coriander. Those quickly take a backseat to the soft, pillowy upswell of juniper. Mild lemon mixes with that juniper until they both dissolve and the spice comes again. But it’s different now, brighter, more like celery seed. The longer I sip, the more the gin reminds me of an oatmeal cookie.

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Trader Joe’s Grande Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2011

Trader Joe’s Grande Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir 2011
Napa, California

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I tasted this wine before purchasing it at Trader Joe’s, and I’m glad the sample convinced me to get a bottle. Its rich, medium-bodied boysenberry digs into me and won’t let go. The nose has a fleeting burst of fig newton, but is otherwise lackluster. That’s fine because the wine’s taste more than makes up for it. It’s sweet and tart in complementary proportions. Cocoa gives it depth, though that may be the chocolate-dipped apple I just ate. The texture is velvety smooth. Its tartness reminds me of aloe vera, and it’s just enough to give the wine some verve.

I will call this a gateway wine, one with no dryness so the uninitiated will think only of those bright boysenberries and how delicious it is. Could it be more complex? Of course, but I’m smiling as I drink it.

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