Newsletter #268 - Is Taste Supposed To Be King?

21 Apr 2016

MichaelPinkusWineReview Newsletter #268

           April 21, 2016

  • WineReview: Is Taste Supposed To Be King?

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video Series:  A Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

  • Grape Guy Events:  Make The Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

WineReview:  Is Taste Supposed to be King?

I have to say I’m a rather angry middle-aged man these days and maybe you’ll think it’s a bit of a trivial matter, but I have a bone to pick with wine tasting organizers:  I’m really getting tired of going to wine events and tastings and being served wine in the crappiest glasses known to mankind – and worse, these are events that (in theory) should know better.

Recently I told you about my experience with glassware at Taste Ontario, since then I have noticed an alarming trend of crummy glassware. Last week’s Austrian event would be a prime example – expensive wines in dollar-store glassware; County in the City, same thing, and the list goes on and on – how do people actually expect someone to 1) evaluate wine or 2) want to buy wine – when what you’re serving it in equates to no better than a Dixie cup … (and in some cases a Dixie cup would be better).  I’m not just talking about the “trade” portion, but the consumer portion as well.  These events are meant to showcase the wines and yet the vessel chosen to do so does the liquid absolutely no favours at all.

Now, at times I have been called a glassware snob, and have in fact written about this ... but I would gladly take an ISO glass over the top-heavy, thick as a coke bottle bottom, shallow-as-a-bird-bath stems that are passing for tasting glasses at events these days.  I know organizers want to jazz up these occasions with glasses that are “better” than the usual ISO tasting glass – but what you are substituting is a far cry from “better”, in some cases they are much worse, I could do better with hotel-room glasses, and we all know how crappy they are.

In my travels, I have heard that some wineries are taking a stand against sub-par stems by not taking part in trade and consumer shows because they show their wines in a negative light, and it’s mainly because of the poor glassware choices being made by the organizer; some question whether it’s a money factor (ie: to keep cost down), but there must be a way to build a couple of extra bucks into the ticket price to compensate; there really is no excuse for bad / shoddy glassware these days.  Others attribute this alarming trend of bad glassware to an overwhelming sameness of many of the popular wines being produced these days.  But let me put it to you another way, when you're shopping for a new TV, do you want to test the TV out watching AMC Classic Movies (in black and white) or a movie in full Technicolor?

It’s time for consumers and wineries alike to take a stand against these crimes against wine – how can one have confidence in what one is drinking / tasting when even winemakers have to make excuses about the glass they are pouring their wines into; I have heard the following phrase more often then I care to mention: “It’ll show better in the proper glass, but you get the idea … I hope” – it’s a sad, pathetic and groveling-type moment that makers and principals should not have to endure, and it is something that is happening far too often.  The old saying “the wine will speak for itself” does not apply when the microphone is so sub-standard that it is practically non-existent.

Trade show organizers, you want consumers and trade to buy the wines, which is the ultimate goal; show the wines off in the best light possible, it’s time to up the ante on glassware at ALL wine shows … and if that is not a financially feasible endeavor, then just bring back the ISO glass.


Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Coffin Ridge 2014 Riesling, Bone Dry - $17.00 (W)
Yippee, the bone-dry is back to being just that: the nose delivers real talcy / chalky aspect to the wine – this also follows onto the palate adding green apple puree and a really tart kick; it’s a wine that repeats that same experience over and over … dry Riesling fans this is your nirvana.  Price: $17.00 - Rating: ****+

Hillebrand 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Trius - $14.95 (W)
A friend of mine warned me that this Savvy B had a great nose but was too sweet on the palate … I disagree with that second part. Aromas were very Savvy B with all the grapefruit zest, pith, lemon / lime and tropically you’d expect; the palate does show an element of sweetness: pineapple and peach pit, but the acidity helps to dial that back and so might the 5% barrel aged wine that goes into the mix. The long pleasant finish and easy drinking quaffability made this our go-to wine all summer long.  Price: $14.95 – Rating: ****

Henry of Pelham 2015 Rosé - $14.95 (W, L)
Henry of Pelham does it again with this delightful 2015 Rosé: red apple, pear and strawberry aromas lead to an even more interesting palate of raspberry, strawberry and lime … it’s a summery blend of fruit-driven (apparent) sweetness and dry acidity … have a few on hand this summer and you’ll see this one goes with some of those warm summer afternoons that lie ahead.  Price: $14.95 - Rating: ****

Inniskillin 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Barrel Fermented – Discovery Series - $22.95 (W)
Known in some circles as Fumé Blanc this is what happens when Sauvignon Blanc meets the inside of a barrel. There’s a big grassy-grapefruit aroma, but the palate has been given some real depth starting with grapefruit peel and pith, a creamy mid-palate and a finish that pleases with lime meringue and a hint of vanilla-cream … the linger on the finish is long and loving to your palate (yes I did say it was loving).  Price: $22.95 - Rating: ****

Peller 2013 Chardonnay ‘Sur Lie’, Andrew Peller Signature Series - $31.95 (W)
2012 was a massive year with much weight given to many Chardonnays – but here we have the more (for lack of a better term) delicate 2013 Sur Lie Chard – here the wine sees 30% new oak and 12 months on its “lies” (pronounced “lees” – aka: dead yeast cells) … the result is aromas of vanilla, butter, candied apple, grilled peach and green apple skins … palate is fresh, lively and fruit driven with the subtlety of apple, butterscotch and a nice spice on the finish.  Price: $31.95 – Rating: ****

Tawse 2012 Cabernet-Merlot - $21.95 (W)
This majority Cabernet Franc (77%) with its usual friends Merlot (15%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) aged 16 months in 15% new French oak is a lot lighter than one would expect from a hot vintage like 2012. Aromas are herbal and tobacco laced with some black currant backing. Palate shows sour cherry, cassis, tobacco and white pepper … it’s a delicate version of Cabernet Merlot from a powerhouse vintage, and that’s a welcome change.  Price: $21.95 – Rating: ****

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

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The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #171 - Rockway 2012 Wild Ferment Red (Niagara)
Video #170 - Ravine Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Niagara)
Video #169 - Malivoire 2013 Small Lot Gamay (Niagara)
Video #168 - Keint-he 2013 Voyageur Gamay (Prince Edward County)

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Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

Taste it Again / Lost & Found (blog):  the two blogs have merged
(Find out what happened to some favourites and to those that never were tasted) 
Taste it Again: Palatine 2004 Juliette Blanc de Blanc

Uncorked Tonight (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added

***NEW*** PODCAST:  Two Guys Talking Wine
Join me and my co-host Andre Proulx as we discuss all things wine, and sometimes we're not afraid to go off topic
Episode 9 - Personal Biases
Episode 8 - Vintages vs General List

Vintages Release (blog)
April 30, 2016 - Available Tomorrow
April 2, 2016 - Available Now

 GRAPE GUY EVENTS Spotlight:  Make the Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

Grape Guy Events, highlights from the APP - points to be had:

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OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

What can the Grape Guy do for you … Michael Pinkus (Grape Guy) provides a variety of wine related services that you might be interested in taking advantage of:  he gives lectures, leads seminars, conducts tastings, sets up tours; consults, selects and judges.  He also gives interviews, broadcasts, podcasts and writes.  Contact the Grape Guy if you require any of these services or have any questions.

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