All my working life the wine world has described certain wine styles as crisp, so widespread is it that I have even heard these wines incorrectly referred to as ‘crispy’ by those who are unaware of the linguistic differences.
Most of us know what crisp means; fresh, firm and steely with a hard-edged green apple or lemon acidity. Basically it means a wine where the fruit is less dominant than the fresh dryness and the sharp (crisp) acidity, so these wines leave the palate clean, refreshed and a little sour rather than leaving the faintly sweet deposit of fruity wines. At least that is how I explain it to myself. Continue reading →
Wine tasters and wine trade people often talk about minerality in wine – possibly too much, but I have always assumed that it means something, even though spell checkers hate the word. However I often come across people who find it hard to understand the term in reference to wine and yesterday I met someone who positively hates it.
Minerality to me describes many of those characteristics in a wine that are not fruity – yes there are some – especially in youth before the aged leathery or honeyed characters take over. Some wines are blindingly mineral, like the terpene/petrol notes of Riesling and a few other grapes. Some are chalky, in others you would swear that you can taste granite, iron, flint or slate, while others are more vaguely mineral. It is slightly confused, because scientific research seems to say that the vine does not deliver actual mineral flavours from the soil in which it grows – so where does it come from? It is possible that it is sometimes the acidity and sometimes the sensation of the tannins, but is it also possible that it is an utter flight of fantasy? A case of grasping at straws? Continue reading →
As many of you will know, I enjoy trying unusual wines, so take every chance I get to taste the odd, different and rare.
To that end I have a sort of mental list of things to keep my eye open for and for a long time I have wanted to try something from Lorraine, other than quiche. As a keen amateur historian I wanted to compare them to Alsace wines – after all the two regions get lumped together rather a lot.
I also wanted to compare them to the wines that I have tasted from Luxembourg recently – added to which I do tend to like wines made from this part of the world – in theory anyway. Continue reading →
This was one of my favourite winery visits of my recent trip to New York. The Hermann J Wiemer winery made wines that really thrilled and spoke to me, as their literature states ‘wines in the finest European tradition from the heart of the Finger Lakes’.
I am not convinced that their wines are made entirely in the European tradition, but they do have a delicacy and a finesse that is very attractive. In my opinion though these are Finger Lake wines rather than European and I think that is how it should be. Continue reading →
Riesling growing on the banks of the Moselle in Luxembourg
Riesling is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. Most of us in the wine business love Riesling, indeed many of us would class it as one of our favourite grapes, right up there with Pinot Noir.
Ask most consumers to list their favourite grapes, however and it is pretty unusual for Riesling to feature at all.
Personally I love Riesling, I find it a grape that I can get passionate about. What is more I seem to like all styles of Riesling, whether steely dry, off-dry, medium-dry or richly sweet – all can be wonderful in their place and make refreshing Summer wines. Continue reading →
I have recently had some experiences of Austrian wines and they were so good I thought that I would share them with you.
I was invited to a lunch and tasting at Merry Widows Wine. This is the brainchild of Canadian born musician Linn Rothstein. Basically her idea was to offer really good wines in smaller sizes for when drinking alone, so they offer a range of wines in 25cl and 50cl as well as full bottles.
Interestingly her career in music took Linn to Austria, where she was invited to a wedding and found herself sitting next to a winemaker. They were drinking his wines and Linn enjoyed them, took a case home to London where everyone she tasted them with thought they were something special. Continue reading →