Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Party 2005

First, I have a confession to make: I work at Oliver Winery (for those who don't know, Oliver is Indiana's first, and largest winery). With that aside, I will try to impress that I will attempt to be unbiased in my review. Last night was the Winery's annual holiday party, fill of super-fun people and unparalleled amounts of wine. I don't have time to review every wine I had, but I'll try. It'll be a fun overview of some of Oliver's wine.

When my friend and co-worker Amy and I got to the party, we heard that they had some unreleased 2004 Creekbend Chardonel, so we went directly to the ice bucket full of wine. Creekbend is the name of Oliver's vineyard, so this wine is one of the estate bottled wines at Oliver. Chardonel is our version of Chardonnay, which I don't have much experience with. This Chardonel tasted almost absent of any oaky or buttery quality of many California Chardonnays, but had some really nice, extremely food friendly qualities. It was great with the stuffed mushrooms, and the very hint of smokiness was very tasty. It was quite crisp and I got a slight combination of lemon and apple hint with a complimentary tinge of smoke.

2004 Creekbend Chardonel
Q: 7.5
V: ---- [not yet released]

The next wine I went for was a good pair for some swiss cheese on the lovely, lovely cheese platter. Oliver's 2004 Creekbend Chambourcin Rose is a delightful rose, with really nice bright fresh rasberries abounding, accompanied by a mouth watering little bit of watermelon on the crisp, fruity finish. A slight off-dry quality really makes this fruity, fun, summery wine great with light cheeses and a platter of strawberries, pineapple, and canteloupe.

2004 Creebend Chambourcin Rose
Q: 7.5
V: 6.75

The third wine was sent from heaven. I have began to become a huge fan of a nice Zinfandel, after always associating that name with a sugary "white" lie also known as white zinfandel. (This shouldn't be taken to mean that I don't believe in amazing Zinfandel's potential as a dry rose or slightly off dry rose wine.) Our 2003 Zinfandel is pretty good, but super peppery, which I love, but oh, oh what a wonder is Oliver's 2001 Zinfandel! A nice light amount of spice at the beginning, pepper, but not just pepper, I got almost a little clovey, chocolatey, coffee-y, hint at the beginning and then WHAM! a big suprise of long perfectly ripe fruit, almost plummy and very black cherry to me. Wow. What a pleasure was that. It went perfectly with even the light dinner I had, some salmon, salad, mashed potatoes, carrots, and veggie lasagna. It went beautifully with me.

Q: 9.75
V: ----- [I want to cry! This wine is not available to buy...but when it is someday...It's all mine!]

Finally, this wine deserves to be reviewed because I am very proud of Oliver for making it Indiana's first Ice Wine. This 2004 Creekbend Vidal Blanc Ice Wine is like the rich, concentrated, nectar of the Gods. It's thick and dark rich yellow bordering on amber. The flavor is like white grape concentrate, full of apples, candied orange and lemon peel, honey, and love. I had it with a scoop of (Amy's) rich vanilla ice cream. I could have gone to heaven right then...I might have. They set this $47.10 350 ml bottle of wine on our table, more than enough for all of us to share. I was sceptical that I couldnt' drink a lot of it, but I was wrong. It is a thing of wonder, I'm glad that we'll have even more of it next year. (Harvest was last Tuesday.)

Q: 9.65
V: 7.75 [A competative price price for an Ice Wine.]

Sadly, I can't comment on the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon I had from the methuselah, although it was great, I was preoccupied with several things. First, the methuselah, second the Zinfandel, and the conversation, and dinner, and then the fun and the ice wine. Ah. It'll probably be awhile until I comment on that many wines at once. Good times with good people, good wine only makes things better.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Adventures in Carmenere

So, I have sort of taken the Chilean varietal Carmenere under my wing since I first had an amazing bottle of it a few months ago. I decided to eat a piece of cold pizza with a glass of this wine. Hey, I turned in a big paper today, I wanted a glass or two. Upon first glance at this 2004 Castillero del Diablo Carmenere (from the Chilean giant Concha y Toro), I saw promise. A rich dark magenta in the glass, I expected something I would come to adore. Suprisingly I felt like the aroma lacked...well...aroma. I got a little tart cranberry-ish scent with a little sharp herbal note, which I could feel in the first sip. The first sip was just that--sharp. Maybe it's a little too young. But after the I swallowed, the wine bloomed. It softened out with a light almost vanilla softness, but without the nice hint of spice I was looking for. Then I had some pizza, and all was well with the world. I have to say, not my favorite carmenere by far, although after I let it calm down a bit, much softer. I don't think it was the best wine to start with. I think I was in the mood for something trashy and chilled. Cheers!

So I have yet to work out a rating system. But I think I'm going to use more than one number--two, in fact. A Quality ranking and maybe a Value ranking. Quality is basically taste, aroma, body, craftsmanship, etc. And value is sort of a balance between price and Quality. Like if a wine is cheap and bad, it still get's a low Value.

2004 Castillero del Diablo Carmenere
Q: 7.5
V: 8

Lovely Christening

So I intend to keep up this blog as a record of the wine I drink and the fun times I have, which are often inseperable. I am a young, new oenophile, and find that wine tasting and descriptions are fun, not snobbish at all. It's all about what you taste in your mouth and articulation, and I think it makes me smarter. I also love food, so there'll be a lot of mention of food in my bloggie as well.

I don't have a special occasion for wine tonight, but I promise I will let you know how my next bottle will be. My dorky self just made a spreadsheet describing the contents of my eight-bottle under-bed wine rack--pathetic, I know. I'm in college and can't to any better than that right now.

Until the next sip