Tuesday, September 21, 2010
In class tonight, we talked about yeast, the different kinds and how they affect the fermentation of the grape juice and make wine. We tasted the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, both well-watered and drought-stressed wines. The clear winner was the Drought-Stressed Cabernet Franc but there were a number of people that picked other wines as their favorite. The Drought-Stressed Cabernet Franc had dark color, nice balance with fine tannins that lingered on the finish. It had some black berry fruit aromas and flavor. The least favorite wine although not a bad wine was the Drought-Stressed Merlot. It had good ruby color, but was lacking in flavor and was a little tart. This wine was the only wine not oaked. Clearly there was a preference for oak in the wine!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Last night in class we viewed and identified different pieces of equipment used for making wine from the commercial winery scale (at wineries around the world) to the homebrewer scale that could be used in the home. We then tasted six white wines from the UNR vintage. Most wines had lost a lot of their varietal character compared to when the wines were lasted tasted in February (a year and a half after bottling), when they had lots of fruit character. We tasted Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Semillon. There was a difference of opinion but the Riesling had more votes for the best wine overall. The loss of fruit in the wine could be due to under sulfuring the wine. SO2 helps to prevent the wine from oxidation. The wines are stored in a cool room so the loss of fruit character was not due to storage problems. Or the other conclusion is that these wines just don't keep for very long and must be drunk young. We will study this in the future by boosting our SO2 levels in our wines in the coming years.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tonight was one of the best tastings ever. We had a packed house. The class focused on how to determine when your grapes are ripe, how to sample and what measurements to make. We talked about Brix and TA and the Brix/TA ratio. We had a lively discussion. The wines we tasted tonight were the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, two Bordeaux style blends of the those wines. The wine with the most votes for best wine was the Drought-Stressed Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a very fruity aroma with a nice blend of oak. It was very dark in color. It was full-flavored and had a long-finish. The close runner up was the Well-Watered Cabernet Franc. It too had a dark red color and good fruit aroma. Cherry flavor exploded in your mouth. The other wines were quite good as well. No one thought there was a bad wine in the bunch. My personal favorite was a Bordeaux blend of 50% Cabernet Franc with 50% Merlot. It had chocolate notes and aromas with a good finish that melted in your mouth. Very smooth, very well blended with the French oak. All of the wines were remarkable since they are not quite a year old! See you next week for our next Best of the Whites 2008!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Last night, we tasted four different white varieties, from the 2009 harvest. They were Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. We tasted these wines blind (wrapped in aluminum foil) and we compared drought-stressed (DS) and well-watered (WW) wines. All tasters were in agreement that there were no bad wines. They were all pretty good. Two wines were tied with top honors, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris had lovely fruity aromas and good balance and body. The Chardonnay was well-watered and oaked, had fruity aromas with a nice acid balance. A close second was the drought-stressed Gewurztraminer with distinctive sweet honeysuckle and floral aromas. It was very well-balanced and had good body. All wines were made dry with no residual sugars. Next week we taste the Best of the Reds! Hope to see you there!