27 Dec 2011
After seeing the popularity of my last blog, I took notice that people enjoy a good, honest rant. Upon returning from a wine tasting trip with a sour taste in my mouth compliments of piss poor customer service, the words came out rather easily. I find myself today with a similar height of frustration, but from the other side of the counter. As an employee in multiple tasting rooms, I’ve seen my fair share of pretentious people walk through my doors and clearly state their hard-wired preferences right off that bat. Why go into any new situation with an already-made list of things you wont try or test out. Last time I checked, life was for living. If not, someone please forward me the memo stating otherwise. Specifically, I’d like to address the people who claim to only drink “big reds” and refuse a glass of anything white or pink. Oh I get it, your manhood is bigger than mine because of this preference? Am I right? Well, lets dive deeper into why this is NOT the case.
In my ever-lasting goal to bring everyone together, I’ve come up with four kinds of people in regards to wine:
- Men and women who don’t drink wine at all. They either tried it a few times and never got into the damn thing or choose not to drink at all for various reasons.
- Men and women who have eagerly taken the first steps to liking wine and still stick to whites, often times leaning towards the sweeter side of life. They aren’t opposed to red wines necessarily, but simply haven’t traveled that far in their journey to full wine appreciation. Drink on!
- The unfortunate souls…err….men and women who have taken the step into bigger red wines, yet leave white and/or sweeter wines in the dust viewing them as a person they regret ever dating. These people view drinkers of “anything but red” as uneducated, unsophisticated, and as ignorant as they come.
- Finally! These highly-intelligent, ridiculously-cultured, and scaringly-sexy people that have come full circle and completely understand that all (yes ALL) wine has its place in our hearts, and finding those places are half the fun!
Three of these four categories are completely fine. Group number 3 and their views, however, have created such a heavy presence that many adults are effin’ scared to admit they like enjoy a sweet wine every once in awhile. Why should they be ashamed? As I stated earlier, red, white, and pink can all find a fitting way into our lives. For a couple of examples, sweet wines are a great offset to spicy foods such as Thai and Spanish cuisine. Whites with great acidity (eg Sauvignon Blanc and many dry Rieslings) can compliment a wide range a meals and have the backbone to cut through a lot of heavy, cream based sauces. Dry rose’s are great palate cleansers that seem to pair with any food you can put on a holiday menu. Lastly, on a dripping hot summer day, there’s nothing better than a light, refreshing Pinot Gris on the porch. When were whites seeing as wines for pansies and neanderthals? Personally, I feel whites hold more characteristics to the original grape flavors and have just as much depth as any red you could put in front of me. Disagree? I dare you to send me a red so great, so amazing that it will force me to forget all about whites. If you can, strive to become a number 4 because its truly the right way to live. I try and act cool, but when I’m in the privacy of my own home, I’ll be the first to admit that I turn on Jersey Shore on occasion. Although I should be embarrassed about this, no one should feel insecure when walking up to the bar and ordering a dry white, sweet white or rose. I can speak for most tasting room employees and proclaim our annoyance with the 3rd group. Get over yourselves. Stop buying big trucks. Drink what you REALLY want to drink. For most of you, it’s all an act act anyway. Just be yourselves! What’s your favorite white wine and why?
Ben Hilzinger is a wine slinger at Nectar Tasting Room and at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars. During the day he masquerades as an aspiring drum teacher seeking to instill a sense of rhythm in wanna be rockers. In the evening Ben dons his rock star cape and travels the country with @weshotthemoon. Ben hopes to share the love of wine with his generation and has aspirations to be a wine maker. Follow Ben on Twitter @benhilzinger
15 Sep 2010
Audio issues at about the 5 minute mark…darn gremlins
With summer winding down, it was time to head to the cellar for something magical, something that could beckon the yellow orb to make an extended presence well into October. Rumor has it that there are magical powers in Rias Baixas. Each September the mythical creature Albariños stumbles from its cave, shaking off the prior evening’s rager to make a proclamation on the extended season. One wine glass, and the warm nights are cut short for crisp cool evenings. Two wine glasses (probably from seeing double), and the warm rays of the sun are enjoyed for six more weeks. With this in mind, I made careful preparations for the ritual.
Rias Baixas is in the Northwest portion of Spain and boasts a coastal lush growing area. The region, known as the wines of the sea, is moist and cool. Grapes are grown on a trellis to maximize the sun and air exposure. The grape Albariño, is the most widely planted in the region and is known for its Riesling and Viognier complexities. Albariño can be crisp, tropical, and full of citrus and apple, while providing a massive acidity that pairs well with the regional seafood.
I slowly peeled back the foil, in hopes to arouse the great Albariños from his slumber. As the cork popped, a fragrant citrus, apple, peach and pear aroma filled the room. The Albariños, enticed by the fragrance, restlessly stirred in his cave. The wine poured into the glass, and the creature awoke from his nap, rubbed his drunken eyes, and peered across the room. What did he see? Would there be six more weeks of summer? Would fall and frost come early?
- The Stuff: 100% Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain; Whole berry crushed and fermented in stainless steel; 40% malolactic fermentation; 12.8%ABV
- The Swirl: A nice crisp and clean straw color in the glass.
- The Sniff: During a blind tasting I could potentially mistake this for a Riesling with the petrol, citrus and apple aromas. The fragrant aromas help drive the point home on the palate
- The Sip: Slightly tart, slightly crisp and slightly tropical describes the flavor profile on this wine. A very enjoyable flavor that has a slight steely minerality on the finish. A nice full mouth feel is present from the malolactic fermentation.
- The Score: At $12-15, this is a nice wine that leaves a feel good flavor in the mouth. Not a sipper for me, but definitely a fun wine to pair with light summer food and seafood. 3+/5 Recommend
- The Stuff: 100% Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain; stainless steel fermented; 12.5% ABV
- The Swirl: Lightly golden in the glass, slight effervescence and mildly cloudy
- The Sniff: Soft and gentle on the nose with aromas of pear and peach
- The Sip: This wine is very even and smooth from front to back. It lacks the tart pucker of the first wine as well as lacks the acidity. Slight fruit components of pear, and tropical fruit. While this wine may be more enjoyable to many as a sipping wine, there was a lack of depth and character to really make me go “wow.” 3/5
Overall, very enjoyable wines for the price. Albariño is certainly a grape you should keep your eye out for, especially if you’re looking for a fun alternative to your daily Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier. Keep poppin’ the corks on summer sippers in the hopes to lure the yellow orb to the sky!
*Wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review