Archive for January, 2010


Coturri Pinot Noir – Wine Virgin Review

The final wine of the blind Pinot Noir tasting was Coturri Pinot Noir from California. This wine was a little similar to the Spruce Goose in that it had an earthy and exotic smell. It had a specific smell similar to a fig, and was a tad browner in color – again, a similarity to the Spruce Goose wine.

I really liked the interesting smell of this wine; however, the taste was not as enjoyable. I felt like the taste was a little too extreme. In most red wines I have noticed that the smell and taste sometimes compliment each other. For instance, a sour smell will be met with a little sweet taste. This was not the case. The sour, earthy smell was met with a dry taste and sour aftertaste.

I had a discussion about balance. Balanced wines roll down your tongue without having separate or too distinct flavors, while non-balanced wines have a different taste at different parts of the tongue. In my opinion, non-balanced wines can be interesting and fun because of the complexity of flavors. However, this wine was way too aggressive in its tastes. The reason for this extremity was because it was missing a middle section. It was a little sweet at first, then skipped a taste and became way too sour and dry. On the other hand, when trying this wine with chocolate, the abruptness of flavor seemed to disappear. This made perfect sense because of the sweet and sour aspect.


Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir – from the Wine Virgin

Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir was my favorite wine of the night. I mentioned that the Just Pinot Noir was my second favorite because it was smooth and flavorful. Raptor Ridge was almost identical, but more enhanced.

The smell was a lot more evident, having a dark blackberry smell with a hint of pepper. This was mimicked in the taste. As I tasted, the wine at first tasted very sweet (a little acidic), then a little peppery, and left a balance of sweet and sour in my mouth as the aftertaste. This shows how different parts of the tongue and different taste buds can respond in completely distinct ways. I felt like this wine was the most balanced of the evening without sacrificing a complex flavor. It wasn’t necessarily the smoothest wine, but it didn’t taste watered down like some of the smoother wines.

It was also interesting to learn about the location of this particular Pinot Noir. It is from Dundee, Oregon. Last friday’s event taught me that Oregon is very popular for expensive Pinot Noir wines. I was also surprised to learn that my favorite was the most expensive of the night (of course).


World’s biggest bottle of wine created

This is incredible – over 115 cases of wine in one bottle. I’d hate to see the corkscrew for this thing!

World’s biggest bottle of wine created, world’s biggest hangover to follow |

World’s biggest bottle of wine created, world’s biggest hangover to follow
Anybody want to share a bottle of red? A group of Chinese winemakers have claimed the new world record for the world’s biggest ever bottle of wine.

Record wine bottle A lot of bottle: the record wine bottle contains 1,850 litres of booze

The 15ft high bottle contains an astonishing 1,850 litres of wine, produced by Wang Chen Wines in Liaoning, northern China.

That’s over three times the amount held by the previous record-holders, Austrian winemakers Kracher, whose bottle held 490 litres of Grande Cuvee TBA NV No.7 2005.

‘We are very proud, and the wine is very good. We have all had a glass from the bottle to celebrate,’ said a company spokesman.


Spruce Goose Pinot Noir – from the Wine Virgin

Spruce Goose Pinot Noir was definitely one of the most interesting wines of the night. Overall, I would say Pinot Noir is a good introduction to red wines, mainly because it is a sweeter, less dry, wine that people can test their palettes out with. However, Spruce Goose did not have quite the subtleness that the previous ones have had.

This wine had the best smell – it smelled a bit of grass with a hint of fruit. It was a very earthy smell. Holly, who I mentioned before, said it smelled and had the vague taste of a mushroom. I could possibly understand this from the earthy/grassy smell. However, much like fruit, I don’t eat mushrooms so this connection was missed by me. On the other hand, I did a little research on Pinot Noirs a bit online, and a mushroom flavor is not quite uncommon.

I had never really tasted a wine quite like this one. The earthy taste and smell was really intriguing to me and was a nice difference compared to the previous three. Also, the color was a lot browner that the others. This obviously agreed with the flavor. Interesting and different wines are always exciting to try, so I’m glad that this was a pick of the night.


Just Pinot Noir – from the Wine Virgin

Just Pinot Noir was probably my second favorite wine of the night. I feel like this wine had the perfect balance of taste and drinkability. The flavor was a bit muted compared to some of the others that will be discussed, but it was still a great balance nevertheless.

It may sound dumb to say, but the smell of this wine was a grape – but a really dark grape or fruit, possibly a blackberry? As I mentioned before, I do not eat a lot of fruits, so sometimes the taste can be hard to identify specifically. However, I have realized that from talking to other people and discussing the wine I can learn a lot. This discussion with new friends played a role in a few of the other wines I tasted.  The taste of this wine was very smooth, not very complex, but the aftertaste was incredibly sweet. It was borderline acidic, but went very nicely with cheese.

As the previous wine, I think this could be a great wine to serve at a party because it seemed liked, not necessarily loved, by everyone. It was drinkable like the Sherwood Estates Pinot, but had a bit more flavor and spice.


Sherwood Estates Pinot Noir

The second wine of the blind Pinot Noir tasting was a Sherwood Estates from New Zealand. I wasn’t really a fan of this wine, but I didn’t hate it at the same time. This wine was extremely smooth, but it tasted a little watered down in my opinion. It’s almost as if flavor was sacrificed for the sake of drinkability. This goes back to a previous blog I wrote about the tasty bites demo. I feel like drinkability versus flavor is a common theme in wines.

A young woman attending the event named Holly said this particular wine she could serve at a party and “nobody would not like it.” I felt the same. There wasn’t really a distinctive flavor in this wine, but it wasn’t horrible to drink. I think if I haven’t been tasting more and new red wines with my internship, I would have found this one a lot more favorable. But since my palette is expanding, I think I am starting to like wines that are a bit more complex in flavor. As far as complexity, I learned a lot about the tongue as well and how a wine can taste different as it passes through all the taste buds. This one tasted a little bland as it passed through my taste buds, but still not completely tasteless. Obviously, the Sherwood Estates wine was not my favorite. More to come this week!


Gruet Rose Sparkling

The first wine of the Blind Pinot Noir tasting event was a sparkling rose by Gruet. Last week, I found the Vida Organically Sparkling Wine to be full of carbonation and no taste. Thankfully this wine did not mimic this blandness. At first taste, it was obviously bubbly, but then it was delicate and soft. It had a small hint of raspberries in the aftertaste. While I found the wine to be quite enjoyable on its own, I definitely feel like it went better with cheese and crackers. The wine was said to be a before dinner drink, but the cheese and crackers seemed to balance the carbonation and acidity very well.

At the end of the night, I learned that this particular wine was from New Mexico – very surprising. In fact, as the night went on I realized that a lot of places in America are famous for wine besides the obvious locations. The Gruet was good for a sparkling wine, but it was not my favorite of the evening. I found it hard to compare still wines to sparkling. Nevertheless, it is extremely interesting how so many different forms of wines can come from the same type of grape.

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