Archive for April, 2011

Aromatic Components with Jason Alexander – April 26

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Aromatics class was a really fun exercise for our noses! We put together a vast array of scents, including fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers, even tobacco and bacon – common scents found in wine. We also had a scents kit that contained many essences that we weren’t able to get naturally (like peaches, lychee, and currants). Students went around to the different scent stations and sniffed the bags and vials, priming their noses for the wine tasting to follow. Sommelier Jason Alexander then led everyone through the tasting, encouraging students to identify fruit characteristics, floral components, spices and other smells in the wine. When an aroma was identified, the class smelled the raw material again to see if they were correct. Students found that smelling the scents first helped them identify those aromas in the wine. The only complaint was that Brian’s spices were old – apparently he doesn’t cook or bake enough. But his truffle oil smelled divine!

The wines had very typical aromas for their variety and origin, and we tasted them blind:

1. Penfolds Eden Valley Riesling 2009 – South Australia

2. Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – Marlborough, New Zealand

3. Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2004 – Alsace, France

4. Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 – Oregon

5. Bernard Burgaud Cote Rotie 2007 – Rhone Valley, France

6. Château Brane-Cantenac 2008 – Margaux, Bordeaux

Thanks to Jason for such an interactive experience and to all the students for attending!

Follow your nose…

Melanie Friedman

Grand Wines of Bordeaux with Jason Alexander – April 19

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

This week’s class was a fantastic experience in all things Bordeaux – left bank, right bank, red, white, and luscious Sauternes. We tasted 4 decades of Bordeaux as sommelier Jason Alexander schooled us on the different areas of Bordeaux, their soils, the grape varieties, and the styles. We tasted the reds first from youngest to oldest, moving from Merlot-dominated right bank to Cabernet Sauvignon-focused left bank. We finished with a 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Chateau Margaux and an amazing Sauternes from 1976.

The wines:

  1. Chateau Plince 2005 – Pomerol
  2. Chateau Monbousquet 2003 – Saint-Emilion
  3. Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2004 – Saint-Estephe
  4. Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1996 – Saint-Julien
  5. Chateau Beychevelle 1981 – Saint-Julien
  6. Chateau Longueville Baron de Pichon 1978 – Pauillac
  7. Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc 2005 – Margaux
  8. Chateau Nairac 1976 – Sauternes

Unfortunately 2 wines originally in the line-up were oxidized:

  1. Chateau Leoville Poyferre 1964 – Saint-Julien
  2. Chateau Haut Brion 1970 – Pessac Leognan

Students enjoyed comparing the different regions, noticing how the right bank wines differed from the left bank wines in structure and body. And of course it was amazing to taste how Bordeaux ages – clearly the region’s wines can be very rewarding with a few decades of age – if you can wait that long!

Thanks to Jason for leading a very informative and exciting class and to all the students for attending. Let us know what you thought!

See you next time…

Melanie Friedman

Tasting & Describing Wine with Jordan Mackay – April 12

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Last night our weekly class focused on the senses we employ when we taste wine. We tasted 8 wines blind – 4 whites and 4 reds. First, we observed the color and clarity of the wine; then, we smelled the nose and identified fruit characteristics and other aromas that we often notice in wine, such as spice or vanilla; and finally, we tasted the wine and described what we sensed on the palate, including flavor components, body or weight of the wine, acidity, tannin and the level of alcohol. Students were focused on the sensations of acidity and tannin and how these components can compliment food. It was interesting to notice the different alcohol levels in the wine and how this characteristic was sometimes very obvious, even to a flaw.

Here’s the list of wines we tasted:

  1. Cherrier Pére & Fils Sancerre 2009 – Loire Valley, France
  2. Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio 2009 – Friuli, Italy
  3. Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner Terrassen Smaragd 2009 – Austria
  4. Trahan Carneros Chardonnay 2007 – California
  5. Morey Coffinet Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumes 2009 – Burgundy, France
  6. Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2007 – Tuscany, Italy
  7. Chateau Langoa Barton 2000 – Saint Julien, Bordeaux, France
  8. Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2006 – South Australia

Instructor Jordan Mackay did an excellent job of breaking down the components of wine and how to describe them. He also gave some helpful background on varietals, including where they are grown and how they are labeled in different wine regions. Students were engaged and enjoyed comparing the different wines we tasted.

Thanks to Jordan for a great class and to all the students for attending! If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment.

See you next time…

Melanie Friedman

A typical Monday at the SF Wine Center

Monday, April 11th, 2011

This afternoon, a storage member stopped by with a couple friends to share some wine upstairs in our City Room. He lives in another city and travels to San Francisco often, so he stores his wine here at the San Francisco Wine Center and occasionally comes by to enjoy a few bottles while he’s in town. Today he took out 4 bottles, and one of his friends ran out to get some cheese to go with them. They stayed for 4 hours – not a bad way to spend a Monday afternoon! It is great to see one way that members benefit from our wine community: an out-of-towner has a secure place to store his wine and a hip, comfortable space to enjoy it with friends when he comes to visit.

Melanie Friedman

Welcome to the San Francisco Wine Center Blog!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

This is your forum to interact with our wine community. We encourage you to comment on our posts, share what you liked from a recent tasting class or event, and engage your fellow collectors and enthusiasts.

San Francisco Wine Center is a wine community that brings together collectors, educators, members of the trade and fellow wine lovers. Whether you store your wine here or attend wine school, you are part of our community. We look forward to continuing the conversation.

Melanie Friedman