Posts Tagged ‘Question of The Week’

‘Question of the Week’ begins again; Win Tickets to the Hospice du Rhone Tastings!

Last week Simple Hedonisms kicked off its coverage of the upcoming wine event Hospice du Rhone, one of the wine industries most lauded events. Simple Hedonisms is one of the official wine blogs, and as a passionate Rhone wine lover, can’t wait!

The generous HdR2010 team is sponsoring ‘Question of the Week, with  tickets to the Friday and Saturday  tastings ($100 value!).  We will combine this with our usual “Question of the Week” with a Rhone theme. (updated) Please post the question on the Simple Hedonisms Facebook Fan site , and a question will be selected for a free ticket, and answered in a blog article.

Additionally, there will be TWO drawings for all registered email subscribers of Simple Hedonisms, and a drawing at the April Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup April 22nd at Artiste Winery in Healdsburg.

The schedule will be:

Question of the Day

  • Monday: April 5, 12th, 19th – Question of the Day Post Opens Up
  • Wed: April  7, 14, 21st – Winner Selected, followed by follow-up blog answer

Email Subscriber Drawing

  • Tickets will be given to a randomly drawn subscriber Fri April 16th and 23rd.
  • Tickets will also be a door prize at this month’s Sonoma Facebook Wine Meetup.

Stay tuned for LOTS more great info on Rhone varietals.

Cheers!

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Question of the Week: “Why Are There Roses at Each Row of Grapevines?”

This week the  Heart of Sonoma Valley Association, sponsored  “Question of the Week”, the winner receiving  a pair of tickets to the  Savor Sonoma event. (I can’t wait!)

To be eligible to win you had to post a question on their Facebook Fan site. (Which I recommend for following event updates, etc.)

Our winner is Jason Klafter. Jason is an avid lover of Sonoma County and their wines.  Sonoma County is where I first started experimenting with wine about 5-6 years ago. I couldn’t acquire a taste for it at first and now I love it! I am a red wine fan and would say my favorite type of wine is an old vine Zin and his wife is a huge white wine fan. For fun we like to go check out different wineries in Sonoma County and find ourselves changing wine clubs ever year or so so we can get a good taste of each winery.

Jason’s selected “Question of the Day” asked:

Why are there flowers/roses at the beginning/end of each row of grapevines?

Excellent question Jason.

First, it stems from tradition, started in the  wine regions of France. The philosophy was that roses were more susceptible to disease and insects than grapevines, and more visibly affected, thus making them like a miner’s canary, or an early warning system.

More specfically, Roses and grapevines are both susceptible to a fungus called powdery mildew. If a grapegrower noticed that the roses had powdery mildew, they knew it was immediately time to spray sulfur on the grapes to prevent them from getting the same disease. It was believed roses also warn of other diseases and growing problems before they affect the grapevines, and they serve as a habitat for some beneficial insects that eat other undesirable insects.

They certainly aren’t bad to look at either, and one could even match the color of the rose to the grape, red or white.

I have read several rebuttals to this theory, that believe that if this theory was true, then the roses would be like advertising “come here for a treat” to bugs, drawing in bugs that might normally have trundled along towards a flower garden. Sharpshooters,  a known threat to vineyards,  and who purportedly like roses.

Either way, substantial improvements in viticulture, soil and pest management, and other practices have far exceeded this, but then wine is about beauty and enjoyment, so roses sometimes remain.

I hope to see many of you at the event this weekend, or at my Sonoma Wine Meetup in Downtown Sonoma – 80-100 people wine industry, consumers.

For more details on the event, check out the article from earlier this week. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a special article on featured sales promotions by wineries – cheers!

Question of the Week: Recommendations for an Every Day Wine (chardonnay in this case)

Welcome to the Inaugural post of “Question of the Week.”

This week’s chosen question is week from a Facebook follower/friend Janey Patton Russell who enjoys wine, and learning. (One of the things I love about wine, is you are never done learning.)

I have a chardonnay question for you. You will laugh or may think my every day choice of chardonnay wine is gross.  I really enjoy Clos Du Bois for my “everyday” wine sometimes I step it up to Rombauer or Sonoma Cutrer. That said do you have a suggestion for me for a nice, dry chardonnay? I like Sonoma, Russian River Valley.  Tried Toasted Head here and there but over that.  Prefer  dry, a little buttery,  but certainly not a lot. Come to think of it I like it dry and oaky!

Great questions. Long time friends of mine may find it ironic I am doing reviews of chardonnay and being asked questions. Until the last few years, I generally shunned chardonnays, my palette not enjoying most of the US made highly oaked, buttery styles. As I have dove headfirst into exploring whites, (especially Rhone varietals) I have learned more and more to be open minded, and explore more styles and countries.

Explore and Branch Out: The many names of chardonnay

I am hardly a Franco-phile, but I have been embracing French wines more (don’t worry Sonoma County, my heart is yours forever), especially white wine from Burgundy…..which is chardonnay. You may hear or see “white burgundy” or “chablis” or “pouilly-fuise” – don’t be confused. All of these are chardonnay, the latter two being appellations (regions) of Burgundy, France. Unfortunately many people hear ‘white burgundy’ or ‘chablis’  still have memories of low quality white jug wines from decades ago, in a travesty of marketing.

How to Pick a Wine, Where to Buy

One of the challenging things of recommending wine to the average consumer outside of this area, is there is little consistency, even in a national chain, of what you can buy. Even Costco varies what they offer by location. There are certainly a few brands you can find many places, but I have to say as a general rule, I shy away from a bottle of wine that had one million cases made. I am buying and tasting more larger production wines for review (my personal cellar still stays mostly small producers) to assist with this, but it will always be a challenge.

(It is worthwhile to note that even the million+ case wineries will bottle a release in much smaller scale. I was amazed at a visit to the La Crema winery (not the tasting room) to taste through 5 pinot noirs and 5 chardonnays. I knew of their massive scale releases, but was pleased to enjoy bottles of limited small lot production as well.)

So when asked, in addition to exact bottle/wine recommendations, I am will often give you some broader guidelines.

My answer to this enquiry:

” I generally drink a newer style of chard, which is unoaked and non ML (not buttery)…odds are you won’t find many of these in a every day retail store. Rombauer and Sonoma Cutrer are definately higher end better chards. If you ever see say, a Lynmar or Hartford Court (won’t be at Safeway) try them, although more pricey. They will have the oak and ML components, but be beautifully balanced.

One you could try, that should be easily found, is La Crema…they have several mass produced chardonnays that are widely distributed and decent, and they also have some great ones here that don’t make mass market. I haven’t tasted through Kendall Jackson’s chardonnay releases entirely, but enjoyed some of their whites at the Heirloom Tomato Festival this fall.

My best suggestion – try your local wine shop. Explain your tastes, and what you like, and what you want to spend. for the same money you will get something from a smaller winery. Let them recommend a few and buy 2-3 of those for comparison.

Be opened minded to other countries as well:  French, Australia, Chile. I shunned France for years, but have re-opened that, especially now that I drink more chardonnay. Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuissé region of Burgundy tend to be reasonable. I had one last night actually that I really enjoyed, I picked up at K and L Wines.

Don’t apologize for drinking chards, its one of the world’s most planted and consumed varietals, and the French still make really great, original style. The bad name came from the over oaked US garbage. Instead embrace it, and see what you can learn about styles, different areas. Australians’ make good chards as well.

My friend responded back with one more comment I thought worth sharing.

Thanks so much! I will try your suggestions. I had a feeling you being a real wine person would not drink chardonnay. I was told by a guy at the store to try this one French but I did not….I will go back and ask him again what it was. I’m going to embrace my love of chardonnay and learn as much as I can. Thanks for the boost of confidence! I’m told by my wine  friends that real wine drinkers don’t drink anything bit reds.

I’d tell her the wine friends are clueless, but frankly I was one of those for 12+ of my 20 years drinking wine.  It took some pushing and exploration at first, but once my mindset and palette cracked, and I discovered gems like Viognier, Torrontes, Rousanne, Marsanne, and now some chardonnay, pinot gris, chenin blanc and more – my experience and enjoyment of wine has increased many fold – so many more options, things to learn, and tastes, aromas to experience. Open your minds and palettes, try things, wine is a never ending journey, or should be.

And as I will constantly repeat, do not drink your white wine overchilled. (Unless its not very well made, then by all means drink it right from the fridge.) You can not experience the aroma, mouthfeel, and nuances of a wine if you drink it out of the fridge at 52 degrees.

Hope you found this useful, I’d love comments. You can also reach my on Facebook, Twitter, or the Contact Me, tab.

cheers!

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