Thursday, September 22, 2005

Late Night Wine Blogging

I've been enjoying some new wines lately, having made a fairly big buy at the wine store last week. I should qualify that; big in terms of number of bottles, not in terms of cost. I purchased around 24 bottles of wine and my total cost was about $305 before tax. I'll let you do the per bottle calcs.

So Mrs. P is in Ireland tonight, PD1 is in Washington D.C. and PD 2 is in bed. PD2 and I have a breakfast date tomorrow before school that I am looking forward to.

Typically I'll finish the day with a glass of wine and since I needed to open a new bottle tonight, I thought I'd blog the tasting live. Bloody exciting don't you think?

Tonight's selection is Ermitage du Pir S' Loup, Cuvee Saint Agnes 2003. Having bought this bottle blind I really don't know much about it other than it cost me 19.99.

After uncorking the bottle I've poured a small sample into the the glass, given it a swirl will now inhale. My initial reaction is that it has a rather strong nose, some floral almost perfumy accents which is odd for a red and also a small offputting musky smell. It is definately not corked, and I've experienced this musky scent before with wines that have a reasonably high amount (over 15%) of Grenache in their blend I think that is what I'm smelling. I'll let it breath for a couple minutes before tasting.

While we're waiting lets guess at the blend. Based on the fruit, spice and musky scent I'm guessing we have some Syrah, Grenache and something else that I can't quite figure. Maybe Mourvedre. It annoys the hell out of me that the French don't provide this information.

UPDATE: Ok whoa, I love when I do this. I just found this site which rates the 2002. Click on "wine writing" to get the blend from that vintage. Good, huh?

It's been about 15 minutes and the nose is definately improved. The perfumy scent which I would expect not to like is actually quite attractive and the musky smell, while still slightly present is greatly reduced. This wine opens in the back of my throat just from the nose without actually tasting it. As for the taste, here goes.

I'm getting some chocolate that opens to cherry and tobacco which then drys slowly away. The mouth lasts though in a very pleasant way. This lingering mouth has a bit of apple and some earth. Not bad at all. This is not a wine that is built for aging and would serve best as a good table wine with moderately flavored food and of course cheese.

Wow, I'm still getting some wonderful apple intensity in my mouth 3 to 4 minutes after tasting.

So as I was saying this is nice lighter red, typical of the more delicate French approach to wine making although it does have enough fruit and boldness to satisfy fans of the California style. I'd happily pair this wine with roast chicken or turkey, and of course lamb. I find it very interesting that when it comes to tanins the wine is very light, yet it still packs a nice, lasting pop in the mouth that reveals itself in layers.

Second glass. The nose is now fully developed. The musky scent is gone, and the floral scents predominate, which I must admit I'm not thrilled with. They almost have a false tinge to them that is a bit chemical. Not so much awful as it is eyebrow raising. These same floral scents are definately driving the taste which is rich and a little more fruity on second taste. The wine is now fully open and delivering more flavor on the inital taste. The lasting mouth continues and those wonderful apples are still there with the floral structure as the one continuous underlying theme.

I really enjoy this wine.

Rating? I don't know how folks like Parker come up with a number. Perhaps some day I'll write up my thoughts regarding that practice more fully. Suffice it to say I think numerical ratings are bunk. Here is what you need to know. This is a good wine, better than average, but not a great wine. At 19 American, you'd do well to buy some but I wouldn't pay more.

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