I was at Terroir Wine Bar last week with friends and asked the bartender for an off-dry Riesling like the Gunderloch I love so much. He recommended this Feinherb (which actually means “off-dry” i.e., a tiny bit sweet), which was delicious. It was a reasonably crisp wine with a delicious understated sweetness. The fruit wasn’t overpowering. Overall, very enjoyable easy drinking.
I’m pretty sure I’ve had sherry before at Cambridge. In fact, I distinctly remember some friends driving over to Calais, France, and picking up a large bottle of sherry for 1 Euro. Needless to say, it had no label and was packaged in a clear plastic bottle. For some reason, it seemed just fine to drink during college!
Sherry is a fortified wine from Spain. It is made with certain white grapes that are usually grown near Jerez in Spain, which is why sherry is called vino de Jerez in Spanish. After the grapes have finished fermenting, the wine is fortified with brandy.
I had always envisioned sherry to be sweet, but it is actually commonly dry, although some sweet dessert wine versions are made (e.g., Pedro Ximenez).
I picked up this bottle (375ml) for just under $20 at Crush Wine & Spirits. It was actually recommended by Anthony, who works at the shop and who was very knowledgeable about sherry despite the fact that it’s rarely enjoyed in the States!
It smells rather nutty with hints of green apples and has faint smoky aroma. It tastes a bit like a white port (without the sugar). It’s mildly acidic, but very easy to drink. The flavor isn’t too strong (in fact, it tastes a bit watery even), but it lingers in your mouth very pleasantly. Let me reiterate that it is a dry wine, so there’s no sweet taste to it at all!
Overall – a thumbs up!
This is a half bottle (375ml) late harvest Riesling that I picked up when I was wine tasting in Napa (for around $20). We had stopped by Prager Winery & PortWorks because I had started to enjoy ports, and I had hoped that I would be able to find some ports to my liking. However, none of the ports were of the type that I liked. The only wine that caught my taste-buds turned out to be this late harvest Riesling instead.
Late harvest Rieslings are dessert wines. The term “late harvest” arises because the grapes are harvested later and therefore have more time to build up sweetness.
They are often sickly sweet, which is why I tend to stay away from them. However, this one was more subtle. Don’t get me wrong, it is sweet, but the wine holds something more than just sweetness. For a start, you can smell both honey and apricot exuding from this wine. The deep amber/gold color pairs well with these smells. Then there are hints of herbs in the nose as well. The taste is not overly sweet – the sweetness sort of melts away in your mouth so that it tastes almost semi-sweet, and you get a lingering fruity sensation. However, you can definitely taste that it is a dessert wine!
Overall, a pretty good wine. I enjoyed it with some dark chocolate. Since this wine isn’t a super sweet wine, you have to remember to pair it with desserts that aren’t too sweet – otherwise the dessert will overpower the wine and make your wine taste crappy! Since dark chocolate isn’t as sweet, it works well with this wine.
I had a lovely relaxing weekend in Woodstock, NY this past weekend. While I was there, I had dinner at a vegan restaurant called Garden Café (I’m not even vegetarian, but the restaurant got great reviews and the food, especially the cabbage soup was fantastic). As you might be able to see from the rather shoddy photo I took of their wine list, all their wines are made from 100% organic grapes. (Some of the wines are also vegan, which I will explain in my next post!)
Onto the wines I tried there….
1) Snoqualmie Naked Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington, USA, which was $7 a glass and $26 a bottle at the restaurant, but which retails for $9-13 in wine stores and online. This was also a vegan wine.
I loved the way this wine smelled – of sweet honey (not flowery or sickly sweet, but of almost a fruity honey). The taste was bitter-sweet. There was the bitterness of grapefruit mixed with the sweetness of apples and pears. The sweetness level was probably that of an off-dry wine i.e., sweet-tasting but not much actual sugar in the wine. It’s not my favorite Riesling, but I am definitely partial to off-dry Rieslings, and so this was definitely a “Like” for me. I have to say, I was quite surprised that I liked the wine because I rarely like any non-German Rieslings and was a bit scared of trying a cheap organic one. It was a very pleasant surprise!
2) Gerard Bertrand Grenache from Languedoc, France, which was $9 a glass and $34 a bottle at the restaurant, but which retails for around $12-15 in stores (although it seems to be only carried in a few NY and CA stores and some online stores).
I don’t know if you can tell from the photo on the left, but this was a rose. There was a fruity smell, which was faintly reminiscent of strawberries. Despite this alluring smell, the taste was awfully bland. It was definitely a light wine. In fact, the wine tasted so watery, I wondered if it contained any alcohol in it at all! It was very disappointing, especially since I had tried the Riesling first.
Last year I reviewed some Gluhwein, which is a traditional spiced red wine drunk all over Europe and known by that name in Germany. In other countries, it is called various other names. In England, where I grew up, it’s known as mulled wine, and this Holiday season, I’m putting up a recipe for making your own delicious mulled wine (the British name for Gluhwein). This is best enjoyed warm…imagine yourself next to a log fire with snow falling outside. It’s the perfect winter drink!
Luckily, the recipe for this delicious alcoholic drink is simple to make and will spread the scent of Christmas spices throughout your home!
For a more authentic English Christmas feel, serve the drink with some traditional English Christmas Pudding, which is a dense fruitcake-like dessert (served with brandy on top and then lit on fire) enjoyed at Christmas dinner!
I needed to buy a bottle of wine to meet the minimum for a credit card transaction at my local wine store, and so I fell back on some German riesling. I felt like the chances were that it’d taste ok.
I knew that it was going to be a sweet wine (the low alcohol percentage of 8% gave it away pretty quickly), but I didn’t realize it was going to be literally sugar water with some alcoholic buzz.
It’s definitely not a great riesling – it’s not fruity and has no real “taste” except for sweetness, but that’s actually appealing to some drinkers (I used to be one of those drinkers!). Personally, although I like my sweet rieslings, I’ve grown to enjoy a greater variety of flavors, especially delicate fruity flavors. But, for $12.99 from the wine store on 9th Ave between 36th and 37th in New York, it’s not bad (I couldn’t have expected too much more to be fair!).
Apologies for the shoddy picture, but it was taken in a BYOB restaurant with poor lighting (I was sat in front of a picture that was lit with alternating blue and red lights). The BYOB restaurant was a great French place called La Sirene in Soho, New York. The food was excellent, and good French cooking always pairs well with a great bottle of French wine! The French sure did a great job of making sure their wines went with food! This bottle was fairly fruity with some bright cherry notes. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is probably one of the most famous wine producing regions in the world, and I’ve often heard people talking about a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Paper in tv dramas and movies! The wine is produced from a blend of 3 different grapes, around 75% grenache, 5% syrah, and 10% mourvedre (often referred to as a “GSM” blend). You can buy this bottle online or at Astor Wines for around $50 (it’s $47.99 at Astor).
I picked up this wine a year ago from Girard in Napa. It’s a nice red with plenty of fruit and very well balanced. Everything melts together very smoothly in your mouth. Girard is currently selling their 2009 Old Vine Zinfandels for $24 a bottle.