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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Naples Sunset Chapter of The American Wine Society

The beginning of September was another wine tasting of The Sunset Chapter of the American Wine Society (SAWS). Of course, social hour preceded the event.

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A variety of munchies were brought to the event by the participants. Everything from Costco appetizers to asparagus pesto as a dip. (Asparagus Pesto).

The group started to gather to the task at hand

and our president gave us an update on future national AWS events and local SAWS events.

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The topic de jour was hail California, and as a savvy reader would guess, was a tasting of wines from that state. Here is what was served.
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I am not going to really address the wines per se, as I don't want to bore you. I will pass along snippets of very interesting information about the wines that were tasted that evening and the wine world in general. This was culled from as always, an excellent presentation from our member master sommilier (MS).
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If you look at the wines on this list, you will notice they are from different "areas" of California. Carneros (Carneros), Napa Valley (Napa Valley),  the Sonoma Coast (Sonoma Coast) and the Russian River Valley (Russian River Valley) are areas of California but in a way they are really not. What they really are known as are American Viticultural Areas or AVAs (AVA). Established by the Federal Government, by law 85% of the grapes used in the production of a wine must be from the AVA they are grown in. In large part, the micro climates (Micro Climate) in these areas determine the characteristics a grape will have. It's funny, although California produces 90% of the nation's wine, only 4% comes from Napa Valley.

The one story about a winery I thought was interesting was Rombauer (Rombauer Winery). It is the 6th most popular chardonnay. This grape is the first to ripen and the first that is picked. They sell over 1,000,000 bottles a year.  This is in large part because of a marketing team of 13, which for a winery is remarkable. The winery has in all likelyhood become what it is because of Irma Rombauer, who wrote The Joy of Cooking (The Joy of Cooking).

The Joel Gott (Joel Gott Winery) wine was a young wine. Characteristics of this include a "grapefruit" taste and a clear meniscus (Meniscus). If you tilt a glass of wine towards the horizontal and look at the edge of the liquid closest to the lip of the glass, you will find it's meniscus.

The Artesia (Artesia Winery) was a Pinot Noir that most did not like. It illustrated the concept of a wine being either in or out of condition, or pleasant to drink. This, was to most, out of condition. This is most likely the result of improper transporation and storage (Storage of Wine). Perhaps the wine became too warm and was stored standing up.

The Rodney Strong (Rodney Strong Winery) Pinot Noir was a young wine. Young, red wines have lots of tannins (Everything you Ever Wanted to Know About Tannins.). These are compounds that come from grapes and to some extent, wine barrels. They can precipitate out salivary proteins causing the astringent, or drying effect some wines can have on the tissues of the mouth. Why am I telling you all this? O.K., lets cut to the chase. It was mentioned that this would be a good wine to go with a steak. When asked why MS replied that charcoal is a good adsorbant of tannins. So make sure you barbecue that pound of flesh with a wine like this.

As the wines were poured
and rated

the real treat was in store.

The hosts of this event were so generous, and they cannot be thanked enough for their largess that evening. They broke open a bottle of a 1966 Pauillac bordeaux wine from Southwestern France. They have owned it for many years. I do not want to tell you how much this bottle of wine would cost, but it was substantial. Apart from the MS, I do not think anyone in the group had anything like this before.

What was really interesting about this wine was that it was re-corked. Apparently, corks can last for 25-50 years. After this they need to be replaced. When one has a fine wine such as this the wineries, free of charge, provide wine clinics. This is where the wine is topped off with wine from it's vintage, and a new cork put in. When this is done, it is customary to cut off about 2 cm or so of the foil on the bottom of the neck of the bottle. This is code for this bottle of wine has been re-corked. Very cool.

Check this out, even cooler.

Well that's that. Another fun and informative evening with the  Naples Sunset Chapter of the American Wine Society.

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