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Wine tasting #6 Lustau Manzanilla Papirusa Sherry

First sherry tasting on my blog. Very interesting and easy going Lustau Manzanilla straight from the southern Spain

  1. Wine info

Classic and not complicated manzanilla shery from San lucar de Barameda in spain. Made in a same way that fino sherry is made but specific coastal conditions of its home city provide fresher and more saline aromas as well as lighter body. Made with palomino grapes.
Drink well chilled.

2.Appearance

Pale lemon

3.Smell

Saline like the sea water and medicinal.

4.Taste

The flavours complement the aomas. Saline and medicinal bone dry with medium + acidity. Well balanced.

5.Verdict                                                             7,5/10

Typical and not complicated manzanilla. Easy going and drinkable.

Extremally food friendly. Pairs great with tapas. Creates extraordinary pairing with olives, especially of the Gordal variety. Great as a palate cleanser when eating multiple dishes. Goes well with salty food, fish, seafood, and green vegetables. Also great as a cooking wine.

Similar tastings

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Wine tasting #4 Loupiac Prelude Gourmard Chateau du Cros

First French wine tasting on my blog. Loupiac, younger brother of Sauternes will introduce you to the world of botrytized wines.

Wine info

A classic dessert wine from Bordeaux in France. Sweetness is obtained by late harvest and involvement of Botrytis Cirenea that concentrate sugars, acidity and flavours in the grape. Botrytized wines are well known for their both high price and unique aromas.
Loupiac wine region is located on the opposite river bank than Sauternes – one of the best sweet wine making appellations. Benefiting from similar conditions but poorly recognizable worldwide offers a great value for a very good quality compared to often overpriced Sauternes wines. Dominant grape in this style is Semillon, supported with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Serve well chilled. Vintage 2014.

Appearance

Pale gold. Quite dense.

Smell

Aromas of dried aprict , honey and lemon are very apparent t first. Then dried pineapple, apricot, passion fruit and a hint of vanilla appears in the glass. Very pleasant and Sauternes-like aromas that are very desirable here

Taste

Honey and apricot at first sip, followed by some lemon associated with a high acidity balancing big amount of sugars. After some development in glass and warming orange and dried apricot flavours appears.

Verdict                                 8/10

Good quality Loupiac for a reasonable price. Cheaper than Sauternes and little less concentrated. For me the flavours and aromas were little diluted leading to less intense wine. Other than this, there were no flaws. I recommend this wine as a good budget friendly replacement for Sauternes. For me could be more on the sweeter side because it would be risky to pair this bottle with a cheesecake.

Pairing suggestions:


Pairs extremely well with mould both with blue mould and white mould cheeses.
Serve with Brie to achieve great creaminess and with Gorgonzola to discover completely new flavours.  Pairs well with Foie Gras.

Other sweet wine tastings

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Wine tasting #5 Milberit Parcelas Seleccionadas

This is a very unique wine from Milberit range that shocked me with its many layers of aromas and flavours during tasting

  1. Wine info

Blend of 27% Merlot, 26 % Syrah, 25% Tempranillo,  22% Cabernet Sauvignon. 12 months maturation in French and American oak barrels. 2016 vintage from Spain

2. Appearance


Medium Ruby. Surprisingly bright judging from varieties used in this blend. The brighter colour could be a result of oak aging and Merlot addition as well as wine age.

3. Smell

Very complex and evolving. At first very fruity with dominant black cherry, black berry, chocolate and toffee with a hint of jaminess. Later as the wine opens in glass more spice, wood, tobacco, licorice and smoke aromas appear.

4.Taste

At first it was a fruity, wel structured wine with medium+ tannins, clearly dry and acid enough to balance its body but not to bring out this to the taste. Red cherry and  black cherry dominated the palate until the vanilla, sour cherry and chocolate notes. Chocolate was especially intense and bold in this bottle.

5.Verdict                                                                                   9/10

I’m stunned by richness and complexity of aromas and flavours in this wine.
Although assembled in roughly equal parts from the grape varieties that I don’t like and the ones that I admire, it magically took every good characteristics from them and make an amazing wine. I rarely give dry wines a 9 mark but this one is special. Absolutely recommended ! Second bottle is cellaring to develop more complex aromas and flavours.

Pairs well with hard sheep and cow milk cheeses (Spanish Manchego), hams (Spanish Jamon), steaks, ribs, mushrooms and heavy dark sauces.

Similar tastings



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Know your grape #3 Sauvignon Blanc

Quick and easy guide to one of the most common crowd pleasing wines – Sauvignon Blanc , that has an unexpected more serious side.

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape that orginated from France. Now this grape variety is one of the most widely planted in the world. Wines made from it are mostly light, refreshing and their aromas remind freshly cut grass, lime, citrus fruits and herbs.

They are meant to be drunk fresh and very cold. They tend to have big amount of acidity and light texture. There are high differences in wie aromas between different parts of the world. For example Californian SB tend to have peach notes, while New Zeland SB is rich in passion fruit aromas. Classic SB from France is commonly associated with lime flavours.

Perfect companion to a salad, seafood or as a refreshing drink during hot summer.

Main growing countries are France, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.

What most people don’t know is that there is also a growing group of much more serious types of this wines.

Oak aged Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux in France that are much more bold and complex. Many places in the world now replicate this style, making more deep in flavour wines. These wines introduce heavier structure and spice armas from oak contact.

Sauvignon blanc from Sancerre and Saint-Bris AOC region in Franceare are also very interesting because they tend to be more complex and full bodied because of special soil and climate conditions. They also are somtimes aged in oak.

Fun fact: Sauvignon Blanc is a parent grape (with Cabernet Franc) of Cabernet sauvignon, the red grape that is number 1 planted grape variety in the world.

Do you like Sauvignon Blanc and will like to try an alternative ? Try:

  • Verdejo
  • Albarino
  • Vermentino
  • Garganega (Soave)
  • Gruner Veltiner

Suggested food pairings :

  • For light Sauvignon Blanc: salads, seafood
  • For oak aged or Sancerre/Saint Bris : zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, turkey, chicken

More grape variety desctiptions

More wine knowledge

Check out my Sauvignon Blanc wine tastings

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Wine tasting #3 Guarda Rios Signature Red

Tasting of interesting and budget friendly blend from Portugal. Blend including Syrah. Nice looking bottle, but will the wine live up to expectation ?

Wine Info:

Guarda Rios Signature is an interesting wine I brought back from my trip to Portugal. It’s a premium bottle from the series of Guarda Rios labels from Monte de Ravasqueira winery in Alentejo region of Portugal. Blend consisting of mostly Syrah with Touriga Nacional, Alicante, Aragonez. Aged in french oak barrels for up to 9 months and fermented in low temperatures to preserve the fresh fruit aromas. Alcohol content of 13,5%. Wine was 4 years old upon tasting. Open and decant about 30 min before serving . Vintage 2015.

Appeariance:

Clear, deep ruby red wine.

Smell:

Light aromas of various red fruits reminescent of red cherry, red berry. Earthy notes with a little hint of vanilla.

Taste:

Full body red dry wine with low acidity. Jamminess, red cherry and red berry fruits dominate the palate. They are complemented with tobacco and leather flavours clearly obtained from barrel aging. Powerfull tannins that are the result of chosen grape varieties.

Verdict: 6,7/10

I would name it very high end market wine that goes well with food. Powerfull and not complicated. Surprisingly quite weak aroma intensity, which is weird after I checked the vinification process..

Pairing suggestions:

beef, pork, lamb, dark sauces, grill

Syrah grape variety description

My wine tasting method

Other tastings

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Know your grape #2 Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a white wine grape variety that originated from Burgundy in France but now is one of the most planted varieties in the world.

It has a significantly heavier body than many other white wine grapes and is often oak aged.

The topic of Chardonnay is very vast and deep. There are many styles of this wine and simple division between oaked and unoaked is not enough.

Depending from a climate and location, the aromas can vary from a lemon, unripe pineapple, white fruits in a cooler climate (like France) to peach, ripe pineapple and honeycomb  in a warmer climate (Spain).

This grape is commonly used to produce sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava, Franciacorta.

Chardonnay is often oak aged, because wine itself tends to be quite mild, without intense flavours, so it quickly absorbs them from a wood barrel. The aromas that are present in oak aged Chardonnay are mostly vanilla and coconut. This wine often undergoes malolactic fermentation (MLF), which gives it a rich oily texture and buttery aromas. Lees aging is also very common.

This grape has one of the best food pairing capability from all the white wine grapes and personally is my favourite.

Sugested food pairings:

  • Unoaked Chardonnay – Salads, Seafood, Herbal Dishes, Light Fish
  • Oak aged Chardonnay – Chicken, Butter, Fatty Fish, White Mushrooms, Cream, Turkish bread

Chardonnay wine tastings:

Other wine knowledge articles

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What are orange wines ?

No, orange wines aren’t made from oranges, they are white wines that are a result of very unusual production process.

White wines, compared to red ones, are fermented without contact wth skin. The grape juice is separated from skin during the squeezing of the juice and this two parts never see each other again.

In a new winemaking trend, the grape juice from the white grapes is allowed to ferment some or full time with the grape skins. Grape skins contain tannins as well as natural colour and flavour compounds, that are passed to the grape juce. When left to ferment with the skins, the wine becomes less transparent and become yellow in the colour, later turning to the orange hues.

Wines created that way are more full bodied, with more pronounced aromas and flavours. They are mostly made dry.

What differences them from classic white wines, apart from colour and aromas are the tannins. Standard white wine can have tannins that result from aging in an oak barrels, but don’t have them from the skins.

Orange wines are very complex and therefore not recommended for the begginers, but after some time spent in tastng wines, they are worth trying, becouse of expanding popularity among wine community.

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Why does my wine smell and taste like a butter ?

This unique, creamy sensation and butter flavour in your mouth has an unexpected source

During the winemaking proces of a white wine, there is a possibility to carry on a second type of fermentation. It is called Malolactic Fermentation or MLF for short. Special strain of bacteria, naturally occuring in a pressed grape juice converts malic acid into lactic acid in wine.

This process softens and reduces  acidity in wine and creates byproduct aromas and flavours of butter, cheese and cream. Common white grape varieties that are treated using this technique are Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.  For the red ones this process is more common, but does not introduce any new aromas.

White wines affected by it are typically more intense in colour, leaning to the gold hue.
One disadvantage of this process is loss of the most subtle and delicate flavours and aromas like floral and citrus ones.

My wine tastings of wines made with malolactic fermentation:

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Wine tasting #2 Antonin Chardonnay of Gozo, Malta, Marsovin

A unique expearience, tasting of the the barrel fermented Chardonnay from a small Gozo island of Malta. Rare and delicious.

Wine Info:

Mediterranean expression of the most famous white grape – Chardonnay. This one was produced by Marsovin winery that has many parcels in Malta country. This producer makes also big quantity of cheaper wines but we will focus on his special product. This particular one comes from a smaller island of Gozo. The parcel is next to a beautiful beach that I visited during my trip to this country. Fermentation in barrels allows wine to oxidise in controlled enviroment. That creates more deep flavours at the expense of lighter and more floral ones. It also encourages malolactic fermentation (MLF) that lowers acidity and introduces buttery aromas. Alcohol content of 12,5%. Serve chilled. Vintage 2016.

Appeariance:

Clear wine with no sediment. Medium golden colour indicating delicate oxidation.

Smell:

Medium intensity of clear aromas reminiscent of butter, vanilia, ripe pineapple.

Taste:

Dry wine with full body, heavy on the palate. Medium acidity balances the richness of flavours. It tastes like ripe pineapple, melted butter with clear hints of fruit sweetness, citrus flavours and a little bit of bitterness at the end.

Verdict: 8,5/10

Great, multi layered wine with great consistency between aromas and flavours. I would recommend it to everyone who likes heavy, buttery chardonnay.

Pairing suggestions:

Chicken, carbonara, fat cheeses, cream sauces.

Chardonnay grape variety description

My wine tasting method

Other tastings

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How sweet is my Champagne?

Decoding sweetness levels from the sparkling wine label can be a little tricky, that’s why I created a small cheat sheet for you to buy the right one for the special occasion

Sweetness of the Champagne is measured by how much grams of sugar are there in one liter of wine (g/l) .

  • Brut Nature (Zero dosage) –  0-3 g/l
  • Extra brut – 0-6 g/l
  • Brut –  0-12 g/l
  • Extra Dry-  12-17g/l
  • Sec –  17-32 g/l
  • Demi-sec – 32-50 g/l
  • Doux – over 50 grams of sugar

Sweetnes of champagne isn’t determined by a fermentation itself as in almost every other wine. The base wine is dry and the solution of sugar dissolved in wine is added in a “Dosage” part of the Champagne winemaking. The same sweetness levels are on the labels of most sparkling wines like Prosecco or Franciacorta .

Check out my other entries about sparkling wines: