I am a winer and occasionally a whiner. In this blog I will write about all my wining experiences (and occasionally whine about the wine horror stories, yes they do exist!). I will review and describe in detail all the good, the bad, and the ugly wines, and provide my own rating system, which is much simpler than the Wine Spectator, et al (and what does 92 points really mean anyway??).

As I am also a writer, be prepared for the long-winded sentences of wine description, and the use of many a metaphor in my wining adventures.

Swirl, sniff, sip, and enjoy!



Saturday, May 21, 2011

TRUE Rapture: Awesome Wines To Meet The End Of The World With

If you are waiting fr The End Of The World, and you truly believe that it's coming (although I'm still waiting, they said it was going to happen at 6), the least you can do to prepare yourself for it, is to stock up on some very expensive and delicious wines.  Who cares that Chateau Margaux is $1,799.00 ($1,599.00 on sale at Premier on Delaware)?  It's totally worth it, because you are going to die anyway.  So blow off your last savings and enjoy your last breaths and gulps of wine.

Now, unfortunately, I did not purchase the aforementioned Chateau Margaux, because I only realized that it's The End Of The World too late, but I do have some awesome expensive wines to drink and share with my readers on this last day of our existence.

1.  Montaudon Brut Champagne, $34.99.
What's the best way to go out, if not with a bubbly? This REAL champagne from the REGION OF CHAMPAGNE, which is IN FRANCE, not California, or the former Soviet Union, is sophisticated, with lots of butter, yeast, bread, and dry grass on the nose.  The first sip does not overwhelm you with bubbles, but provides a lot of fruitiness, crispiness, and medium body. Best if drunk alone, not with food, for all the multifaceted notes to come out.

2.  2009 Xavier Monnot Monthelie Les Duresses, $39.99.
Let's stay for a moment in France, and move on to the Chardonnay. Mentioned before on my blog as the Wine That Is Better Than Sex, it's also great for The End Of The World.  Hey, if you can't have sex before God claims your soul tonight, at least you can get as close to the sensual experience as you can with this wine. From the region of Burgundy, which makes the best Chardonnays in my humble opinion (Californian fruit forward assault just doesn't cut it), this wine tastes expensive.  Minerally on the nose, well-balanced, grassy, with the tones of pear and green apple. If you by any chance survive today, you can always drink it on May 26, which is the the second annual Chardonnay Day.

3. 2005 Domaine Bernard Moreau Et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Veilles Vignes, $37.99.
Unfortunately, I do not own this wine, but I had an honor to taste at the free wine tasting class at Premier.  This was a second expensive wine that I tasted and absolutely adored, which firmly instilled in me the belief that expensive French wines are worth it (although for France, it's actually a bargain). The helpful Premier staff describes it as having "Ripe cherry... herbs, and a touch of forest floor." In my notes, I have such descriptors as,  "cherry on the nose, warm finish, smooth, sophisticated, oh yeah...". If you are a lover of Burgundy reds, you will definitely enjoy your last moments of life with this Pinot Noir.

4.  2002 Chateau Musar, $47.99.
Let's move out of France now and on to Lebanon.  This highly respected winery offers Bordeaux style wines and also has a lot of old wines.  And age makes all the difference for these Bordeaux blends.  Again, I do not own this particular wine, but I do have a cheaper, less sophisticated, but still lively 2003 Chateau Musar Hochar And Fils, for only $24.99.  But the expensive one from this particular year is still my favorite, and when it comes to Chateau Musar, a year makes all the difference! This wine is crimson blood in color, with green funk on the nose.  Earthy and fruity, with the figs, dates, and plums on the palate. "That's what's up" in the world of wines. As it's recommended by the owners to be decanted from 30 minutes to 2 hours before drinking,  you should have opened it a long time ago, but, oh well, you'll have to enjoy it straight from the bottle now as the first tremors of the great earthquake start.

5. 2006 Capaia, $ 44.99. From South African Capaia winery, this another Bordeaux style red is full of funk. With horse farm and hay on the nose, and a finish of dark chocolate and mocha, it takes you straight to the country side.  As you drink it, you are magically transformed into the world of cowboy pastures and rodeo. And what can be a better way to die than on top of the thrashing young bull on this eve of the humankind.  I scored one for half price at Premiere, making it officially the most expensive wine that I have ever owned. 

So, put on some Marvin Gaye and experience funk with all your senses on this fine last day of life.

DISCLAIMER: The author of the blog is not responsible for the actual success or failure of the coming of The End Of The World.  If the current End Of The World has failed to appear, please wait until the next available date on December 21, 2012.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Midlife Crisis 101: Opening a Winery

I had this nightmarish vision of myself working as a part-time ESL teacher grading papers until the day I die, and it caused me to almost have a nervous breakdown.  I like my job, I like meeting with the students from other countries and knowing so many beautiful souls, but the prospect of staying at this job forever without any possibilities to grow financially or psychologically scares the living daylight out of me.

Hence my obsession with wines and wineries, and I believe other people's obsession with wine and wineries too. Yesterday some of my female friends and I had a wonderful girl trip to Schultze Winery, Black Willow Winery and Murphy Orchards, all of which are located practically in our backyard - Niagara County.  Whereas Shultze have earned its reputation in the NY State wine world and received some awards, Black Willow Winery is a new kid in town, having opened only several months ago. http://www.blackwillowwinery.com/

The story of its creation is heartwarming as well as heart-wrenching at the same time.  We had a heart-to-heart with one of its owners - Cynthia West-Chamberlain, a  gentle and quietly inspirational woman.  The winery owns its conception to her cat, who died from heart problems, and turned Cynthia's world upside down.  Having realized that life is too short, she quit her 9 to 5 job, got a wine-making degree and opened a winery.  Kudos to her and her spunk.

Her mead wines (wines produced from honey), priced in mid-twenties, are a pleasant surprise.  My own favorite was Freya's Passion, infused with strawberry and vanilla, but not too sweet or honey-ish.  According to the winery owners, it pairs well with mild goat and nutty cheeses; I would definitely pair it with turkey or chicken and, obviously, dessert.

Of the more traditional grape wines, my favorites were Black Willow Trilogy Red, a medium bodied medley of Cab Franc, Cab Sav, and Chancellor (a hybrid) and Risling-Gewurtz-Niagara (?)  blend Black Willow Trilogy White. The very pleasant friendly red would pair well with mild red meat dishes, or pasta, whereas the semi-dry white would go with any traditional white meat or fish dishes, as well as dessert, or by itself chilled on a hot summer afternoon on your patio or deck.

This inspirational story got me thinking, and thinking too much.  For years I've been struggling with trying to figure out what my purpose in life is.  The search led me to writing, belly dancing and excessive wine tasting, but all of these are not what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life.  I admire and envy Cynthia, who knew her dream, and turned her life around to achieve it, because even though she wasted some of it doing what most of us do - lie low and avoid taking risks, she had enough guts to pursue her passion.  I seem to have all the guts, and the guts are churning and yelling and rebelling, but I have yet to figure out what my passion is.

Maybe more winery trips and more wine tasting will clear it out.  For as some ancient Roman dude and I earlier in my blog already said, "In Vino Veritas" - "In wine, there is the truth."