Archive for June, 2010


The mystery of wine – part 1

I always taste out wines with people and describe the characteristics of what they will most likely be tasting in any particular wine. I am always very cautious to emphasize that if  what experience in the flavors, aromas, or feel of the wine differs that it is ok, the answer your senses give you for wine is the right answer for you; my descriptions and conversations on any given wine are just guidelines to help you with your experience.

Among the first tings we need to differentiate will be the difference between a red wine and a white wine. The most essential element has nothing to do with the color of the wine itself overall, but the way in which the winemaker created the wine. White wine is essentially where they take the grape juice without the skins and other parts of the grape and ferment it by itself. Typically, you will find white wine has malic acid which lends a lush tartness that will enhance the sensation of fruit flavors. For example, a Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand have a light tartness to it that enriches the pick grapefruit flavors that seem to explode in your mouth.

Once the primary fermentation has taken place, many winemakers choose to use a second fermentation process on their white wines. This process converts the Malic Acid to Lactic Acid (Lactic – think milk) which will soften the tartness and fruit yielding to flavors of cream and butter.  This process Malolactic Fermentation.

When I think of Malolactic Fermentation, my mind always drifts initially to a big buttery chardonnay. In Chardonnay which only has Malic Acid, the chardonnay will be crisp and clean with tropical fruits such as tangerine and pineapple predominating the flavor profile. If the winemaker takes that very same chardonnay and uses the secondary fermentation of malolactic fermentation they will convert the malic acid and crisp citrus tartness into a buttery/creamy sensation that may give way to an explosion of green apples that will still turn into a pineapple flavor about the middle of your tongue and then as you swallow the sensation of light bananas will permeate down the side of your tongue!

Now this is a very simple explanation of the basics on white wine. Hopefully, it will help in your experience with wines and in your choices of wines. With any luck, this week I’ll write a similar post on Red wines and another on the effects of oak and what flavors oak imparts to to wines. My hope is to simplify some of the terms and descriptions you see on wine and help you, and myself understand the language of wines better.



A New Wine, A New Grape – Cuatro Pasos Rosado (the world’s perfect rose’)

Cuatro Pasos Rosado 2009

Cuatro Pasos Rosado 2009

As a wine shop owner, there are few things that get me as excited as finding a wine made from a grape which I am not familiar with. Often, I am left wondering who would buy that wine, but there are those isolated instances and products that you simply know ill be a hit. This is the case with Cuatro Pasos Rosado; this fantastic dry rose wine is made from a little known grape by the name of Mencia. Mencia is very close genetically to the Cabernet Franc grape, but very unique in its flavor profile and appearance, and comes from the north-western corner of Spain ina little known region called Bierzo.

The wine itself shows lovely with a crimson-pink hue and perfect clarity. The aromas are light and flirt with you as you swirl the glass leaving nice thin legs that are short lived. Raspberries and red currants predominate the in the nose and dance lively upon the tongue from start to finish. Speaking of a finish… the Mencia Rose finishes clean, crisp, and dry; just like a good, well-structured rose should! This is a wonderful wine that anyone starting out in their winej ourney really should try as the fruit flavors are easy to discern, and with enough balance and complexity to drive you into a curiosity about deeper, bigger reds.

This wine is really wonderfully priced under the magic $15 point, typically coming in around $13. Making it a great summertime deck wine before dinner, or a perfect pairing with grilled salmon or creamy pasta dishes… think about using seasonings of rosemary, garlic, dill, and other clean fresh herbs in those dishes.

Cheers & Bon Appetit!


Sunset Stroll- Wine, Art, & Christopher’s

June is here and Blowing Rock is set to celebrate Art in the Park this month. Christopher’s Wine & Cheese, along with all the other merchants along Sunset Drive are prepared to help you and yours celebrate the arts this weekend starting on Friday Evening with our Monthly rendition of “Sunset Stroll”!

We’ve worked out the details to feature the wines of Piqnique here at Christopher’s Wine & Cheese along with the renderings of Edy Gilreath and Gisele Weisman during out (June 11, 2010) 5:30-8:00 for Sunset Stroll…come join u s and celebrate the colors and wines of life!


Coturri Freiberg Vineyards Zinfandel

Zinfandel when handled right has always been one of those wines that can be described as deep, rich, and opulent. Coturri’s Zinfandel from the Freiberg Vineyards is no exception to that rule. However,  this zinfandel takes those terms to a whole new dimension as the flavors are more intense, or extracted than one would expect.

The color is a deep reddish garnet color with aromas of rich blackberry and velvety black currants. As you swirl this fine wine around your glass the wine appears to “cling” to the glass creating what is described as “legs” that are long and shapely down the sides of the glass. When you bring it to your mouth and inhale there is a small sensation that indicates alcohol in my mind. Once you get this wonderful Zinfandel on your tongue, there is a instant sensation of rich velvety jam that explodes into blackberry and dark fruit flavors that is elevated by a light nuttiness playing well together on the tongue, as you swallow there is an instant eruption of bright spice. That finish causes one to sigh in relief in the pure ecstasy of satisfaction.

The lushness and richness of this wine make it a special experience that would pair with a ful meal, or over a bittersweet chocolate dessert.  I need another glass of this wine just thinking about it in fact. Coturri wines are as much an experience as they are a beverage!


Another debate on corks vs screw caps – where do you stand?

I’ve always been more on the side that screw caps are probably better as far as consistently sealing up the wine – but that tableside service with a cork was always going to have a bit more flair over the screw cap.

One of the best marketing gimmicks I ever saw was a winery (I can’t remember the name now) that was switching over to screw caps – but tied a cork to the top of the bottle with a note “For those of you who have to have a cork with your wine” – you can imagine which bottle out of hundreds on the shelf stood out the most and it was humorous as well.

French winelovers fight to cork their bottles – Telegraph

Debate has been raging for years over whether the familiar sound of popping corks should be ditched in favour of alternatives that reduce the risk of a “corked” wine.

Cork stoppers have been used for centuries, but their dominance has gradually dropped from 95 per cent of the world wine bottle market to 70 per cent over the past 15 years.

But France’s cork federation has hit back at those who say the spongy bark has had its day with a poll suggesting that almost nine out of ten French people prefer the traditional stopper.

They are using the figure to spearhead a massive poster campaign featuring wine and champagne bottles with bizarre alternative stoppers – from a perfume spray top to a plastic duck – with the slogan: “Always imitated, never equalled”

So what’s your preference?  And why?


Coturri Rose’ – slightly dry and totally drinkable

Typically, I have our intern write reviews of wines we taste out.  I changed my mind for the Coturri wines and decided to write them up myself; I probably should be doing more reviews of this nature for you and this is a great set of wines to start that off with!

I’m sitting here today with the temperatures escalating to above normal for our area. They are forecasting temperatures to soar to 81-83° today. That may not seem like much to those of you off the mountain, but here in Blowing Rock, NC that is pretty toasty.  Anytime the weather grows warm and I long for something to cool me off, I reach for a crisp dry Rose, and the Coturri Rose’ is one the finest Roses you can ask for.

As he poured this wonderful nectar into our glasses, an aroma of raspberries and currants filled the room.  As we lifted the glasses, the light danced through the translucent brilliance of bright red wine. Once we had the wine in our mouth, the flavor exploded and danced just as the aroma doing a fiery tango across the tongue with dynamic flavors of raspberry, red currant, and just a light sense of fizzle as you finished the sip.

For anyone who has a fear of rose wine, this is a wonderfully dry, crisp rose that will pair with heavy spice laden fish dishes, of lighter red meat dishes. Of course, simply sipping it on the back deck well chilled on a  hot summer evening is paradise in the glass also.


Wine flights for Shriner’s Fundraiser all weekend

We’re very pleased to be doing another fundraiser for the Shriner’s organization this weekend while they’re having their summer conference here in town.  We’re pouring a flight of 3 reds and 3 whites for $9, the profit as well as 10% of the weekend’s sales will be donated to the Shriners, so stop in, sip a little while doing some good for others and talk to a few of these people about the different ways that they support this nation’s children’s health, regardless of their ability to pay.

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