A Proper Wine Blog

I would like to thank Little Man, not only for taking two[1] great naps yesterday, but for having an excellent independent play session this morning which allowed me to drink some wine and write this blog.

It seems like its been awhile since I actually blogged about wine. I’m not gonna lie, wine consumption is WAY down since Little Man joined us. It’s difficult to stay awake past 9 pm, let alone have a glass of wine at night after he goes to sleep. And my palate really is different. Flavors aren’t jumping out at me like they did before, and I’m much more comfortable drinking low-key, smooth wines rather than big, complex and tannic ones[2].

And surprisingly, I’ve been much more into beer. During my pregnancy I didn’t crave much in terms of food, but I DID crave beer. All I wanted was a big frothy Guinness. Not a glass of wine, not a bottle of Champagne, but Guinness. So random, I know. I’ve indulged in that a few times, but you can really only drink so many pints of Guinness before it’s a bit overwhelming[3].

So slowly[4] but surely, I’m getting back in the swing of things. And I decided to do a proper wine blog about a lovely bottle of Riesling I’ve been saving.

2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling
2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling

To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:              Wine Esquire
Date:               February 10-11, 2018
Wine:              2012 Gustave Lorentz Lieu-Dit Burg Riesling[5]

Beautiful nose, it smells thick and juicy, full of flavor. Great mouthfeel too, medium bodied, it refreshingly coats your mouth. I’m getting pineapple like crazy, but not too sweet, a hint of green apple too. A dash of minerality rounds this out for a perfect finish. The color is gorgeous; like thick, golden honey. Not much in the way of legs, it almost coats the glass then disappears like condensation without any tears left behind.

I could seriously do with some cheese on apple slices to pair with this, but Little Man is napping and I only have so much time 😉

This Riesling from Alsace, France by producer Gustave Lorentz, specifically their 2012 Lieu-Dit[6] Burg Riesling. The Maison Gustave Lorentz has been making wine since 1836, beginning with a 33 hectare[7] vineyard in Bergheim, in the heart of Alsace, just half an hour from the German border. Now, six generations later, the same family continues their winemaking tradition. The wines of Gustave Lorentz are certified organic by Ecocert[8] and have been since 2012. The estate grown Riesling, Pinot-Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Noir are all harvested and vinified separately, allowing each grape to express the unique terroir from which it hails.

This bottle came to me as a sample[9] from Quintessential Wines, a Napa-based importer with a  focus on multi-generational, family owned-and-operated wineries, and their portfolio is pretty impressive.

Feels like spring!

This particular vintage seems particularly difficult to get your hands on at the moment, but other offerings from this winemaker are widely available online and throughout the US.

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnote

[1] Yes, TWO both for over an hour and a half! This is from the boy who went the previous 48 hours with only sporadic 30-minute naps. (Except at night when he sleeps 10 hours at a clip. I know, I know, I’m so lucky)

[2] I’ve also not had much time to sit down and explore flavors. Can’t imagine why.

[3] And filling! I can see why they call it a “meal in a glass!”

[4] Very slowly.

[5] This particular vintage earned a 91 score from Wine Enthusiast.

[6] Lieu Dit translates to “said location” and is a wine term used for identifying very small and particular geographical locations. Not to be confused with the California winery Lieu Dit. (Confession: I was confused. As a trademark attorney, I may have pushed the California guys toward another name. #lawyerlife)

[7] 1 hectare is equal to approximately 2.47105 acres; so 33 hectares is approximately 81.5448 acres.

[8] When you see this little green label flag on European wines, you’ll know its certified organic by Ecocert.

ecocert organic wine
Ecocert Organic

[9] Opinions contained herein are my own. If I didn’t like it, I would have poured it down the drain and saved you the trouble of reading this.

wine blog
Welcome to my office

How Do You Say Gewürztraminer?

I don’t know about you, but this is one of those wines I gloss over on the wine list, walk past at the wine shop, and avoid saying out loud at all costs. At #WBC16[1], I was lucky enough to cure the problem, and let me tell you, it’s about damn time!File Aug 20, 9 25 43 AM

Pronounced, Geh-VIRTZ-trah-MEE-ner[2], the grape originally hails from Italy’s Alto Adige region[3], an ancient wine growing community in the Dolomites[4] bordering Austria and Switzerland. Italy’s smallest wine growing region makes around 40 million bottles of wine on a yearly basis[5] and is the oldest German speaking[6] winemaking area in the world; they’ve been honing their craft for the last 3,000 years[7].

Wine Tasting AlsaceThe bottle of Gewürztraminer I sampled was an absolute gem. Breakout sessions were scattered throughout the conference, and I had the foresight to attend May Matta-Aliah’s session on the Wines of Alsace. We sampled three typical Alsatian varieties, a Riesling, a Pinot Gris, and finally, the Gewürztraminer. The Riesling and Pinot Gris were both lovely; soft, light and elegant. The Gewürztraminer was a slam dunk. My tasting notes started off with “Wow” and “Incredible”[8]. It was one of those tastes where spitting would be a crime…so I didn’t.

Alsace Wine

As we were sipping, my new wine friend Laura explained how the word is broken down: Gewürz translates roughly to aromatic or seasoning, Tramin refers to Tramin an der Weinstraße, often abbreviated to Tramin or Termeno, the specific location where the grape comes from, and er means “of”. So, Gewürztraminer pretty much means “aromatic seasoning of Tramin”[9].

Tasting Notes on the Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Hengst 2013

A high residual sugar content (45 grams per liter[10]) made this one a bit on the sweeter side. Not something you’d want to drink with dinner, but after dinner, before dinner, with dessert, without dessert, would all work just fine. I got a bright, full mouthful of pineapple and a slight minerality on the extra-long finish. The wine kept going and going; I didn’t want to let it go. It was almost moist, a great, lush mouthfeel; very reminiscent of my Sauternes tasting experience in Bordeaux[11]. This Gewürztraminer has characteristics similar to the Sauternes I tasted, being a sweet wine with great depth and body. I’ll have to try some more of these Alsatian Gewürztraminer beauties and let you know if they’re all as amazing. In the meantime, grab one of these if you can find it.

File Aug 20, 9 23 26 AM

Maybe not a wine to throw back with your beer-guzzling neighbor, as it will set you back at least $70 if you can find it, but it is certainly something to be shared with loved ones[12]. A highly acclaimed vintage, Wine Enthusiast rated the Zind-Humbrecht 2013 a 94 and Decanter bestowed a 97. Not too shabby.

Grapes for this bottle were grown in the Zind-Humbrecht Hengst Grand Cru vineyards in Wintzenheim, Alsace. The Zind and Humbrecht families joined forces in 1959; their ancestors have been growing grapes in Alsace since 1620.

Is there a wine you’re scared to pronounce[13]? Get on the Google and don’t let it stop you! You could be missing out on an amazing wine!

Until the next glass, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] You can read my first recap of the conference here.
[2] Practice it in the privacy of your home and you’ll be good to go. #thatsnotweird
[3] The Wine Folly has a great overview of Alto Adagio and the grapes grown there. Check it out.
[4] The Dolomites have been on my travel bucket list forever, but I had no idea there was wine! Another addition to the Wine Bucket List!

© Consortium of Alto Adige Wine
Castles, towers and vineyards, oh my! © Consortium of Alto Adige Wine

[5] To put that number in perspective, in 2015, the State of California produced 229 million cases. I don’t understand how this could be possible because that is two billion seven hundred forty-eight million BOTTLES. But, I found it on the internets, so it must be true.
[6] Wait, but I thought this was Italy? Given that it’s been making wine for 3,000 years, you can imagine that a lot has happened in the area over the past few millennia. A power struggle between Italy and Austria has been going on, pretty much forever, and tensions still run high. Also this.
[7] America was born in 1776, or 240 years ago. To put that in perspective, this small area of Italy has been producing wine for 2,760 years longer than America has been around. WOW.
[8] I’m super good at tasting notes.
[9] #bilingual
[10] Residual sugar generally refers to the sugar content remaining in the wine after fermentation stops or is stopped.
[11] Ahhhh #FancyinFrancey. That was fun.
[12] Like your good friend Wine Esquire here.
[13] Viognier is Vee-own-YAY. Blaufränkisch is Blahw-FRAHN-keesh. And here’s a link to more pronunciations. You’re welcome.


White Wines for Summer Sipping

White wine is so much more than your mother’s oaky Chardonnay[1]. Not that there’s anything wrong with a nice oaky Chard, but sometimes it pays to try something new. The options are endless; you could literally go the entire summer without drinking an oaky Chard and still have more delicious whites to try. So let’s get this summer party started with some cool, refreshing bottles of wine, none of which I’ve ever had before, and all of which you should taste.

File Jun 01, 8 32 45 PMFirst up is the white Barolo I grabbed on Last Bottle[2]. It was hands down, one of the best white wine I’ve ever had. Seriously. Thick, beautiful mouthfeel, a touch of green grass, a note of honey, a sprinkling of citrus. No minerality to speak of. A big, bold beautiful white. The label is a bit on the confusing side, but after a bit of digging it all became clear. The label touted it as a 2014 Gavi by Marchesi di Barolo. Barolo is, after all, a region and not a grape variety, so this was made from the Cortese grape, a varietal I’ve not had, at least to my knowledge. Marchesi di Barolo is a producer in Piedmont, Italy which began making wines in the early 1800s. Gavi is a DOCG[3] region, DOCG being the highest classification for Italian wines, located in the southern part of Piedmont which is in northwest Italy. The area produces exclusively white wines, including some sparklers, in a growing area of about 3,600 acres. This bottle in varying vintages is available online between $14 and $20, but if you can’t find this particular one[4], then you should definitely seek out another from the region. I plan on getting more myself.

File Jun 01, 8 33 17 PMThe 2012 Jean-Marc Bernhard Pinot Blanc was also delightful. Cool, crisp and refreshing. A lighter mouthfeel than the Barolo, not a huge nose. A touch of peach and some crazy pineapple, but very approachable. Ever so slightly sweet without being a syrupy dessert wine. A perfect pairing with a salty parmesan. Or maybe some pan seared scallops. Mmmmmm. Pinot Blanc is apparently a genetic mutation of the Pinot Noir grape, and occasionally a vine will bear clusters of Pinot Noir with just one bunch of Pinot Blanc. This variety tends to be affordable, and though the origins of this bottle are an extreme mystery to me[5], it retails for about $13. It hails from Alsace, which looks to be a fairy tale hamlet over in France. Having never been there, I can’t say whether it’s really that cute or not, but I’m going to put it on my Wine Bucket List, stat. I also plan to drink more of this delicious Alsace Pinot Blanc.

This is apparently a real live place called Colmar. Photo Credit PlanetWare

File Jun 01, 8 33 37 PMNext up is the 2015 Miriam Alexandra Chenin Blanc[6]. This was my second bottle and I loved it even more the second time around. Crazy peach, lots of minerality with an awesome mouthfeel. A beautiful pale straw color, it went perfect with the meat and cheese nosh we had out for Memorial Day. This wine was made by Alexandra Farber, a wine maker funded by my friends over at Naked Wines. This was in my random sampler box from when I used my free $100 coupon code[7]. I was skeptical at first, but almost every bottle out of the box has been excellent, so I’ve become an Angel. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t already. Chenin Blancs have consistently been good values for me; a great white alternative and they’re relatively easy to find since the grape is grown in many areas of the world. Definitely worth a sip or twelve. I mean two.

File Jun 01, 8 32 59 PMFinally[8], the 2013 Le Petit Sauvignon Blanc by Coquerel Family Wine Estates, another Last Bottle win. While Sauvignon Blanc isn’t exactly rare, I’ve found that most of them are too metallic and tinny for me. When this came around for $10 a bottle I was skeptical, but I figured at that price, it couldn’t hurt. I’m glad I have three more because the beautiful citrus on this really pops. One sip and the result is an InstaSmile[9]. None of the harsh minerality that I’ve come to associate with Sauvignon Blanc, instead it’s a light, fresh, truly enjoyable glass of wine[10]. The Coquerel Family vineyards are located in Northern Napa Valley in the Calistoga AVA. I guess it turns out I love Napa whites as much as I love Napa reds[11].

So go forth, alleged blog readers, and find your new white wine for summer! Start with these or find something new and tell me about it in the comments!

Cheers to warm weather adventures! Until the next glass!

File Jun 01, 8 51 16 PM

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Well, maybe not your mother, but my mother certainly loves it.
[2] I’m literally kicking myself for only grabbing one.
[3] DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.
[4] Because you didn’t order when it came up on Last Bottle
[5] I have no idea where it came from. It’s been in my basement for a while, so I decided to drink it.
[6] Sadly it’s out of stock and I’m very sad.
[7] If you haven’t used your free $100 yet, you’re crazy, but I’m here to help you out. You get $100 off an order of at least $165, so you essentially pay $65 for a case of wine. And the wine is good. So far, really good. Click here to get started. You’re welcome.
[8] I mean “finally” in the sense that I’m not going to include any more bottles in this post, not “finally” in the sense that I’m not going to drink other delicious white wines this summer.
[9] A phrase I just coined, although I’m sure it’s been done before. Translates to “instant smile”.

File Jun 01, 8 30 58 PM
Spring flowers make me InstaSmile. In case you hadn’t noticed #GardenBlooms

[10] It paired well with my gourmet dinner of hot-sauce laden left-over pasta salad, topped with tortilla chips. Who am I? #adultingishard
[11] How was Napa not on my Wine Bucket List?! It is now.