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Beaujolais (Nouveau)?

23 Dec

I love beaujolais, which is a type of wine made from the gamay grape. I even get excited about beaujolais nouveau, the grapey, fruit juice-like concoction that comes out the third Thursday of every November.

A lot of people hate beaujolais nouveau, and as a result completely dismiss beaujolais.

First, if your only experience with beaujolais nouveau has been Georges Dubeof (zhohrzh(uh) dew-buhf) you should consider trying a better version! Critics say that Dubeof’s nouveau is worse than Kool-Aid–my experience generally seems to corroborate this. However, I have had very good nouveau:

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Louis Tête produces a delicious nouveau that is thirst-quenching, balanced, and easy on the budget ($11 – $12).

I have to admit that beaujolais nouveau is strange: it’s as close a red will get to a white wine. There is zero tannin versus a fair bit of acidity, a bit of sweetness and fruitiness. It’s meant to be served chilled, and meant to be gulped. Nouveau itself has a production time of two months or less, and unlike many reds it is NOT supposed to be aged.

And that’s just “new” beaujolais. Beaujolais itself is another matter that will be discussed in another post.

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Cimicky 2005 Grenache/Shiraz Trumps

23 Dec
Cimicky

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A few weeks ago I was at a Saturday wine tasting at Mission Wines in South Pasadena with my co-worker Erica and her boyfriend Jack. A representative from Epicurean Wines came to display his company’s wares. Among the five selections were:

  1. Glaetzer 2006 Amon-Ra Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
  2. Glaetzer 2005 Godolphin Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
  3. Charles Cimicky 2005 Grenache/Shiraz Trumps (Barossa Valley)

There were two other wines–one was a sparkling shiraz which was interesting, and another was a rosé of some variety.

If you couldn’t tell by now, Epicurean Wines specializes in wines from Australia.

(An aside: one of the first wines I remember was a shiraz… I was a sophomore at Griffiths Hall in Unit 2, and a sultry and much more mature junior transfer named Veronica invited me to her room for a glass of wine. I don’t remember the name of the wine, but I remember thinking how well wine went with women [and alliteration, apparently]).

The Amon-Ra and Godolphin from Glaetzer were billed as the headliners of the tasting, and at $70 and $60, respectively, were a bit too expensive for this college grad’s wallet. They were delicious, to be sure, very full, very round, very “classic” shirazes. Erica bought a bottle of the Godolphin as a Christmas present for her mom. But the standout for me was the grenache/shiraz blend from Charles Cimicky.

Grenache itself is a very peppery, high-alcohol grape–to my untrained palate it is a bit sharp and seems to lack heft. Shiraz, on the other hand, is pretty hefty and very round. The Trumps blend is 60% grenache and 40% shiraz.

When I first tried it I was blown away by how high up in my mouth the flavors seemed to hit. Rather than staying low on the tongue like the other shirazes I have had, this one was elevated, rising up to my hard palate and floating through my nose. However, it was still grounded (it does have 40% shiraz, after all!) and overall was nicely balanced.

The price was right too: it retails for anywhere between $16 to $19. It was a family favorite as well–both my sister and mom loved it, and it’s hard to get them to agree about anything!

FOOD SUGGESTIONS: Lamb or barbecue, even chocolate.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: This is a very friendly, approachable wine. Easy on the budget. I think it’s a safe bet for a romantic evening or a dinner with friends.

Welcome to Vinicultured!

23 Dec

Hello! If you are reading this you either stumbled across this blog randomly or know me.

If you know me, you probably know that I have recently started to get into wine. From my humble beginnings in freshman year of college with Popov Vodka in plastic bottles to my current obsession with Australian shiraz, I have always loved the social and cultural aspects of drinking. Wine, especially, attracts me because it is artisanal, it is romantic, and it is delicious.

I intend on using this blog to keep personal tasting notes, keep track of unusual wines I want to try, relate anecdotes, and share my drinking experiences with friends. If you are interested in joining me in this little project, let me know! As in drinking, the more the merrier.