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Nov 29

Private Preserve Wine Preserver (Wine Gas)

By Louise | Uncategorized , Wine Accessories

Even though wine is delicious, I’m generally not able to drink a whole bottle in one night! And I know I’m not the only one who wishes that I could still enjoy a bottle a few days after opening it. It occurred to me that restaurants must have this problem all the time, and that led me to this solution:


Click Here to Buy from Amazon!

To keep my wine fresh and tasty, I put a bit of this wine preserver gas into it. Imagine no longer having to throw out expensive or great tasting wines just because you couldn’t finish them all in one night! This can contains over 120 separate uses and costs only $9.59 on Amazon.com (with free shipping). I’ve been using my can for several months now, and it’s still not empty. Here’s how it works:

The canister contains several inert gases (nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and argon), which are all safe, non-flammable, and tasteless. It comes with a little plastic tube that you stick into the nozzle (as shown in the photo at the bottom of this post). The instructions then say to “spray one long (1 sec.) and 4 short bursts into 750ml bottle. Larger bottles require additional sprays—add one long spray for each larger size.” You then put the cork back on, and, voila, you’re good to go! The gas keeps oxygen from reaching and spoiling your yummy wine so that you can keep drinking it the next day and the next day and the next day (if you drink really really slowly!). Don’t be fooled by products claiming to create a vacuum in your wine bottle (they don’t work). Products like this one are the way that professionals and restaurants keep their wine fresh.

Amazon is the cheapest place I’ve found this product, and you can buy it by clicking here or on the picture below.

Nov 28

Domaine Parent Pinot Noir 2005 from Burgundy, France

By Louise | 2005 , Burgundy , France , Pinot Noir , Red Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

Initially, a dark and intense cherry smell greeted my nose. This was followed by the mouthwatering smell of blackberries mixed with a tinge of oak. It was definitely a burst of fruitiness. Upon tasting the wine, the oak taste became very prominent, and I could detect a slightly smoky quality to the oak. At the end, just before I swallowed, I felt a spicy kick emerge to finish the wine off. The aftertaste was slightly bitter and slight sour. Not a bad wine, although perhaps not my wine of choice.

This wine has quite a bit of history to it. The wine producer, Domaine Parent, dates back to the mid 17th century and boasts Thomas Jefferson as one of its earliest customers. It’s a wine from Burgundy (known as Bourgogne in French, which is what you see written on the bottle label), which is where Pinot Noir grapes are traditional grown. Indeed, Burgundy is thoroughly famous for its Pinot Noirs. The Pinot Noir grapes that are used to make this wine comes from 30-year old vines, which are grown in clay/limestone soils. The grapes are harvested by hand, and after fermentation, they are matured for 12 months in oak barrels. I’ve read suggestions that this bottle can be aged for 3-5 years. Some Pinot Noirs only reach their peak after aging for 15-20 years.

You can purchase this wine at PJ Wine in New York for $14.99 a bottle for the 2007 vintage. I saw the 2005 vintage sold online for $27.95 a bottle. I’m not sure what difference there is between these 2 vintages so I can’t tell you why the prices vary.

Nov 28

Drylands Sauvignon Blanc 2007 from Marlborough, New Zealand

By Louise | 2007 , New Zealand , Sauvignon Blanc , White Wine , Wines I Dislike

The smell of this wine took me back to New Zealand – grassy and minerally. I could almost picture myself standing on the side of a green grassy hill in the midst of ten thousand grazing sheep breathing in that fresh NZ air! It was probably the perfect smell for a NZ wine. Unfortunately, the taste did not compliment the smell. My first thought upon tasting the wine was SOUR! I guess it was akin to biting into an unripe apple. Luckily the sour taste wasn’t strong and didn’t linger in the mouth. I’m sure some people might enjoy the taste of this wine, but not me. In fact, the 2007 vintage score 91 points on Wine Enthusiast (a wine magazine that rates wines out of 100 points) so some people must like it! Cost and where to buy: $12.99 for the 2009 vintage at PJ Wines. I think I had bought the 2007 vintage a while back, and so they only have the 2009 vintage in stock now.

Here’s a brief bit of background on Sauvignon Blancs. Sauvignon Blanc is a grape variety traditionally grown in Bordeaux, France. In the 1990s, Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand (especially from the Marlborough region) started to dominate the international wine market, and for a while, they were hailed as the world’s best Sauvignon Blancs. Many critics loved the intense new flavors that were created by planting Old World (i.e. European) vines in the New World (anywhere outside of Europe). Unfortunately, I’m not such a fan!

Nov 26

Weingut Dürnberg “Falkensteiner Rieden” Grüner Veltliner from Austria

By Louise | Austria , Grüner Veltliner , No vintage , White Wine , Wines I'm Neutral About

This is a cheap wine I picked up in Astor when it was on sale for $8.96 (although its original price was only $10.99 actually). For a cheap white, it wasn’t too bad. It had a slightly citrusy smell to it. I’d maybe describe it as a faint aroma of grapefruit tinged with apple. The first thought that came to mind when I tasted the wine was that it was acidic (and if you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I really dislike sour tasting wines). But this was a good acidic. It was very refreshing in a sparkling juice kinda way. But, don’t worry, it’s not a sweet wine! In fact, I’d call it decidedly dry! After a sip, the taste dies off very quickly – definitely no lingering sour taste in your mouth, which I also liked.

Grüner Veltliner is a grape varietal grown mostly in Austria and the Czech Republic. It’s known to be a very light refreshing wine, fairly close in taste to an off-dry riesling (although I definitely still prefer the more fruity riesling), and it’s supposed to pair well with food. I had this wine at a byob restaurant and thought that it went reasonably well with some of the lighter sushi rolls, as long as you don’t put any soy sauce on it! Overall, it was a very easy to drink wine that could go well perhaps with fish or just by itself.

Nov 25

Gerstacker Nurnberger Markt Glühwein from Bavaria, Germany

By Louise | Germany , Red Wine , Sweet , Wines I Like

I’ve been secretly enjoying my sumptuous bottle of Glühwein for the past few days without telling you! Glühwein is the German version of what the English call “mulled wine.” It’s basically a spiced red wine served warm (usually spiced with ingredients such as cinnamon, sugar, cloves, vanilla, and lemon peel). This type of wine seems to be popular throughout Europe and is known by a different name in every country! For example, it’s called “vin fiert” in Romania (yes, I got that off Wikipedia so please don’t quote me!). This is really just the perfect drink for this season as it helps to keep you nice and toasty on the inside and rosy on the outside. Imagine yourself in southern Germany walking through a beautiful Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkts), holding a steaming cup of this wine in your hands as you peruse the market’s wares. If you have trouble picturing this, try squinting at the label on this wine bottle (see the bottom of this post) – it shows one of these traditional markets.

Let me tell you about this particular wine. It comes in a large, 1-liter, brown bottle, and it’s best served warm (although they say that it can also be drunk cold). Honestly, a warm glass of this on a blustery winter day will melt all your troubles away! And for me, it really does just take one glass! Don’t let that 10% alcohol label fool you, because I’m pretty sure the hot vapors or something in this wine gets you drunk real fast! As for how to heat it, I think the traditional way is to do it in a saucepan, but I’m lazy and will just put it in the microwave. I usually put around 3 or 4 shots worth into a small microwavable juice glass and heat it for 15 seconds. Just make sure you don’t boil it!

What does it taste like? A bit like warm sangria actually. You can definitely taste the citrus in this as well as that generous splash of cinnamon. It’s also nice and sweet, although I don’t think it’s sickeningly sweet. However, it is definitely a drink to sip slowly and enjoy. Maybe drink the bottle with friends after a night out in the cold or just save it for yourself to drink over several days. I’ll write a review about how I keep my wine fresh in a few days so you can do the same.

Price: dirt cheap at $7.99 for a 1-liter bottle! Where to buy? You guessed it – Astor Wine and Spirits. I honestly do not work for them!

Nov 19

Gunderloch Riesling 2009 Kabinett from Rheinhessen, Germany

By Louise | 2009 , Germany , Riesling , White Wine , Wines I Like

What could be more German than a meal of sausages and sauerkraut with a glass of riesling. It almost fills me with compulsion to spew out some random German phrases I picked up during my time in Stuttgart, but I’m going to save it for another day, especially since more German wines are going to be consumed in the near future. In fact, I’m planning a very seasonal review of Glühwein! If you haven’t come across Glühwein, or what the English call “mulled wine,” it’s a spiced red wine served warm and often drank during the winter months. Check back soon for that review.

Back to rieslings… Rieslings are generally known to be a sweet white wine, but there are actually several levels of sweetness, and you can tell how sweet the wine is by the label on the bottle. This wine has the label “Kabinett” attached to it, which indicates that it is considered “off-dry” i.e. there’s a little bit of sugar in it, but not much. If the wine is sweeter (i.e. the grape was left on the vine for longer before it was harvested), then the term “Spätlese” is used to describe it. For super sweet (almost dessert-wine style) reislings, “Auslese” is used. There are even sweeter German wines, so if you’re in the market for a dessert wine, look out for labels such as “Beerenauslese,” “Trockenbeerenauslese,” and “Eiswein.” However, if you just see the word “trocken” by itself on the label of a German wine, then it means that the wine is super dry (i.e. no residual sugar). Another way of estimating how sweet a wine is is to look at its alcohol content. A low alcohol content usually equates to a sweet wine. This is why some sweet rieslings have very low alcohol percentages e.g. 9%.

Onto the actual wine itself. This is my favorite riesling because it has that quintessential fruity, floral riesling smell but none of that nauseating sweetness that can sometimes be associated with rieslings. It has a very delicate yet refreshing grapefruit taste that just leaves you aching for more. The Kabinett label on the wine tells you that it has very little residual sugar, but there’s a subtle fruity essence to the taste that tricks your mind into thinking it’s sweet! I can enjoy this bottle by itself anytime. However, it does go great with food as evidenced by the fact that the 2008 version of this wine is on the wine list at Gordon Ramsey’s 2 Michelin star restaurant in New York ($52 for a bottle or $12 for a glass). In fact, that’s where I first discovered this wine. But if you just want to buy a bottle to drink at home, then you can get the 2009 one, which is shown in the photos, for $20.99 at Astor Wines and Spirits.

Nov 17

Cavit Pinot Grigio 2008 from Trentino, Italy

By Louise | 2008 , Italy , Pinot Grigio , White Wine , Wines I Dislike

I apologize if I offend anyone with this post, but the review had to be done. As you can see from the photo, it’s a 1.5liter bottle, and it’s mostly full still. This monster is not getting finished tonight!

This wine smells a lot better than it tastes. When I first smell it, I’m reminded of crisp autumn apples. After a couple of whiffs, a slight floral undertone also emerges. But despite the wine’s alluring fruity smell, its taste is most definitely not fruity. This is what I would consider a very bad (to my palate) dry white wine. There’s absolutely no flavor to it except an acrid bitterness that taints your mouth even after the swallow. After five sips, I’m ready to be done. Thank god tomorrow is a reisling day! In fact, I will open my favorite reisling just for the occasion! I should have stuck with the original plan I had for this wine, which was to make it into sangria. If you still want to buy the wine after reading all that (maybe for sangria?) then you can find it at Astor Wine and Spirits for $13.99 (for a 1.5L bottle!).

Nov 15

Collemattoni Sangiovese 2003 from Brunello di Montalcino

By Louise | 2003 , Italy , Red Wine , Sangiovese , Tuscany , Wines I'm Neutral About

A sangiovese for my second review. I never thought I’d review so many wines before getting to a bottle of reisling! And watch out for my seasonal review of mulled wine (or gluh wine if I can’t find a bottle of mulled wine). First, let me point out that I did not pick this bottle of wine, although I did enjoy it with my Italian dishes. My friend chose the wine when we were dining at Scarpetta in NYC last night. I managed to grab a quick photo of the bottle with only smattering of bewildered looks from neighboring tables. Unfortunately, it was dark in the restaurant so you will have to excuse the photo’s poor quality.

On to the wine itself… What I enjoyed most about this wine was its smell. Its rich aroma of cherries and black currants could easily be detected, and its taste was likewise fruity (full of berries). I was also happily surprised to find that its tannin concentration wasn’t too high (well, the inside of my mouth wasn’t coated with that grittiness I usually associate with high-tannin wines).

I seem to recall various knowledgeable-sounding wine connoisseurs talk about where on their tongue they taste the wine, so here’s my take on that! I detected a slight bitter taste at the back of my tongue near my throat. According to the “tongue taste map,” most people detect bitter tastes at the back of the tongue. I’m not quite sure what this tells me about the wine, but it does seem that I have the right taste buds on the right part of my tongue. I will post further on this whole tongue issue after some investigation.

Sangiovese is a type of grape often grown in Tuscany, Italy, although it is becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world, including Australia and Chile. It’s a wine typically drunk with Italian food (3 pages of Scarpetta’s wine list were dedicated to Classic Sangioveses!), but I, unfortunately, did not notice anything special when I drunk it with my short ribs and spaghetti. If you want to get your hands on a bottle, they seem to range from $50-$60 online, and I think it was around $120 at the restaurant (I can’t seem to find it on their winelist online).

Nov 14

Clotilde Davenne Sauvignon 2008 from Saint-Bris, Burgundy

By Louise | 2008 , Burgundy , France , Sauvignon Blanc , White Wine , Wines I Like

What can I say…it’s acidic. Not my normal cup of tea (which is reislings), but quite interesting. The smell…well, to me it smells like dry white wine. Maybe if sniff hard enough I can detect a vague grapefruity smell, but then it could also be my imagination. I can’t really detect anything fruity in it. Other websites have described this wine as having a “mineral nose,” but having never fully understood the term minerality, I can’t really comment. Maybe minerality is just what I smell in the majority of dry white wines, in which case, this wine is most definitely full of mineral notes.

Onto the actual taste…again the acidity hits you immediately but filled with citrus flavor rather than just pure vinegar.Likewise, there’s a tangy aftertaste that you would associate with citrus fruits. I usually really dislike acidic wines, but the citrus aspect makes this wine far more enjoyable even beyond the first glass.

This wine comes from the French region of Saint-Bris (Saint-Bris-le-Vineux), a small town in Burgundy. Burgundy is traditionally known for Pinot noir so it’s unusual to find a Sauvignon from there. The wine maker is Clotilde Davenne, and she’s been making wine in that region of France for the past 17 years (according to her website).

Where can I buy it I hear you shout…well, I got this bottle at Astor Wines and Spirits in NYC for $15.99. There you go, you now know everything I know.

Oct 08

By Louise | Uncategorized

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