Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday Night Wine Blogging

Once again people it is time to sacrifice the health of my liver for your entertainment and education! Quite the public servant, wouldn't you say?

So, tonight we have a South African selection that I think I may have blogged about before. If so, sorry, but the wine cabinet is getting low and I didn't want to drink white tonight. I was going to stop by the wine store on the way home, but things ran late, I had to take PD1 to high school orientation tonight, and I didn't even get my workout in.

So, if I've blogged this one before, apologies, but on the other hand it might be interesting to compare my notes.

Enough blather you say? I couldn't agree more. Lets pop the cork on this baby and see what we've got. Oh, yes, as I was saying it is South African. To be specific it is a Ken Forrester 2001 Grenache/Syrah. More on this wine in a minute but lets give it swirl, shall we?

The nose is nice. The Syrah is a little more pronounced than I remember so there is a good scent of fruit. Kind of a berry, perhaps a cross between raspberries and blue berries. There is some cherry too. The Grenache comes through as tobacco and earth. A very nice balance between the two. In any case, a very full nose that extends to my mouth after a couple sniffs.

On the mouth the raspberry is more pronounced, with cherry in the background. Very nice fruit. The tobaco really comes through.....some chocolate to, and something else. I'm tempted to say "earth", but that isn't quite it. Maybe a little cedar?

I have to say I really enjoy this wine. I met Ken at a tasting last fall and ended up buying a case of this wine. It was 18 a bottle, and for my money an excellent value. I'm always warry when I'm at a store and meet the man or woman behind the wine, that I might be enjoying the experience and translating that appreciation to my opinion of the wine.

In the case of Ken, this would be easy to do. A big South African he was a forceful personality full of life and good nature. Quick story. I ask Ken about where he sells most of his wine in the U.S. and he give me the run down. Boston, Chicago, and of all places Detroit. I asked him, "Detroit, why Detroit?" "Because I'm willing to go there and so many aren't my friend!" Which cracked me up, but the best was yet to come. "Oh I also sell a decent amount in L.A." he tells me with a gleem in his eye. I mention that this is right in the back yard of his competition, and like some old rugby player he firms a fist thrusts it upwards and says, "we're stickin' it to 'em!"

I died laughing.

Anyway, as I was saying, I worry that I'm over valuing the wine when I meet these guys, but in Ken's case this wasn't true. Bottle after bottle I've found the wine to be consistent, well structured and just a real delight to drink. An excellent value.

Lets try another drink. The fruit has settled down a little bit now, and the tobacco and chocolate are a tad stronger. Still a great taste, and if anything the mouth seems to be lasting a bit more. There still is that other taste...its kind of cedar, perhaps with a little mint and pear.

Ok, now I'm going crazy....but that is the fun of it isn't it!? Definately mint and cedar though.

Lets talk a little about the grape combination because it is interesting. As I've mentioned before, a traditional Rhone region (France) blend would be Syrah and Grenache. However typically it would be somewhere around 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache. This wine is 50%-50%. I think I know why this is. First it does give the wine a bigger earthy taste than a Rhone, but I don't think this is the real reason.

My guess is that in South Africa, with warmer temperatures, the Syrah is stronger and fruitier than would be the case in Rhone. So, to even it out, and give the wine more depth, Forrester increases the percentage of Grenache. I don't know if this is true, but after two glasses and starting my third, it really is making a lot of sense to me!

So, another Thursday another good wine.

Quick note. Amazingly to me, this feature seems to be enjoyed by some of you out there, and of course it does seem to have some benefits for me. Up until now I've done a half assed job of it, and I'm thinking it might make sense to put together a bit more formal approach. Instead of just pulling something out of my wine cabinet, it might make sense to focus on one country, go through the regions and see if we can't learn something in the process.

So, this will be the plan. It may go out the window tomorrow, but I suspect not. I'm headed to Spain in March, so this might be a good place to start. I'll begin some research, and lets see where it goes.

Over and out.

No comments:

Post a Comment