877.812.1137

wine tasting

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

Christina has given me a few bottles of wine to stretch my tasting abilities and educate my nose and taste buds. Here’s how it went! My go-to’s have always been a sweet white or rosé, I haven’t really ventured out with reds mostly because the first red I had was gross and I figured all red wines were like that. I was definitely wrong! Note, I am a beginner at tasting red wines so these are very amateur notes.

The first wine Christina gave me to try was a 2018 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ashley: I smell cherry the most, with kind of a plumy smell, and maybe prune; but cherry was the first thing I smelled.

Christina: Great! Next time think about what kind of cherry – Black cherry? Red cherry? Ripe cherry?

Ashley: It has a nice deep purple toned color to it and has no floaters.

Christina: Good, the browner the tinge of the wine the older the wine is.

Ashley: There’s no carbonation or fizz – I’m used to the wines I drink having bubbles or a little fizz to them.

Christina: Good! Fizz really only happens if the wine wasn’t taken care of or if it is a sparkling wine.

Ashley: It makes my mouth pucker at first but doesn’t leave my tongue dry for long, it goes away quickly.

Christina: If you salivate that means the wine is high in acid, if it dries out your mouth that means tannins are present. Sometimes people use the word “pucker” referring to both. Next time try to think about what is causing that feeling? Is it the salivation in your mouth like if you just tasted a bitter lemon, or is it the drying out of your mouth/chalky feeling in your mouth?

Ashley: Alcohol is pretty high!

Christina: Glad you picked up on this! Most Cabernets from Sonoma and Napa California are higher in alcohol.

Ashley: Kind of tastes like a Cigar.

Christina: That usually has to do with barrel aging or growing region; you find this characteristic a lot in red wines from Chile and Argentina. If you find it in a CA wine it’s usually due to barrel aging in a heavy toasted barrel.

Ashley: I pick up black pepper but it’s not strong.

Christina: I’m glad you thought about the type of pepper. That’s great. Try to be as specific as you can be.

Ashley: It’s easy to swallow but gives a hot feeling in my chest, kind of like if you drank something hot with cinnamon.

Christina: That is an indicator of high alcohol. Good job picking up on that!

Ashley: Kind of a charred taste, like eating the black burnt part of a marshmallow or pizza crust.

Christina: This has to do with the aging process of this wine. It sounds to me like it was a little “tight” and could have been laid down for a few more years so the balance of fruit and earth could shine through. Great specific description of what you tasted.

Ashley: It’s not something I would drink on a regular but it wasn’t terrible.

Christina: Great, you are figuring out what you like. Think about what type of food you would have this with and if it would change your perception of the wine.

Next was a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon 169.

Ashley: This one gave a rush of burning through my nose upon first sip and swallo2. It reminds me of the sensation you get when you burp through your nose

Christina: This means it’s got a decent amount of alcohol in it.

Ashley: I definitely taste black pepper with this one; it’s very smooth, smoky and earthy. Kind of when you eat a vegetable right out of the garden without washing it and it has like dirt on it haha!

Christina: Haha those are good descriptors!

Ashley: It doesn’t seem to be too high in tannins, after a few sips my tongue started to dry out, but right off the bat I didn’t feel much dryness.

Christina: This means the tannins were balanced, soft, and supple.  That’s a good thing for red wines.

Ashley: I also got black cherry and plum in this one, though it is dry it kind of gave me the impression that it was going to be slightly sweet, because it smells like it but it definitely was not sweet.

Christina: This happens a lot with dry red wines; you get sweet notes on the nose but not on the palate. Good job picking up on the fruit aromas!

Ashley: Overall this is the first red wine I didn’t hate and would actually drink again! I definitely see myself enjoying it with a steak for dinner.

Christina: Wow that’s great!

The last wine I tried was a 2018 Chilean Malbec.

Ashley: Very earthy, I got that same dirt taste from the cab but it’s way more prominent with this one.

Christina: Good descriptors!

Ashley: It’s also very dry, significantly drier and higher in tannins than the cab 169. It dried my tongue out on the first sip and kind of made my throat feel dry too.

Christina: Perfect! Now you know the difference between medium/balanced tannins and high tannin wines.

Ashley: I do pick up on a black pepper, and get some licorice, some bitter blackberry as well. But the dirt taste is what my mouth captures first and sticks throughout the whole experience.

Christina: Okay good observations and descriptors!

Ashley: I wasn’t a fan of this one because the dirt taste was all I could focus on.

Christina: Good! You know now that you don’t like high tannin earthy wines.

Reflection

The Cab 169 from Suisun Valley, CA definitely left an impression on me and I am going to explore with other wines from the similar region and see what else I can take a liking to! Overall this was a fun experience and I look forward to experimenting and broadening my wine horizons. A big thanks to Christina for being an awesome teacher, it’s looking like I’ll be a pro at tasting and winemaking in no time!

If you are interested in wine tasting and help with developing your palate, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Sales@JuiceGrape.com, or by calling us at 877-812-1137. At Musto Wine Grape we are always searching for ways connect with you and help you along in your winemaking and wine loving journey.  We offer a wide variety of products, services and classes to help you create a wine you love and assist you in being able to experience the way wine was created to be experienced!

For updates on harvests, educational tutorials and more, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Bordeaux wines to try this winter

Are you a fan of Bordeaux wine? Check out these Bordeaux wines to try this winter as you snuggle up in your own chateau to drink by the fireplace.

 

2014 Château de Pez (St-Estèphe)

This is the oldest domain in St. Estèphe, dating back to the 15th century. Reach for this if you like red wines from the St-Estèphe region, which are highly structured, powerful, full bodied, and oftentimes tannic with excellent aging potential.

Find it at Toast Wines by Taste in West Hartford CT for $55.99

2016 Chateau Landereau (Entre-Deux-Mers)

Yes, Bordeaux makes delicious white wine too, though people oftentimes forget this. The region of Entre-Deux-Mers is producing some of the best quality wine at a low price you can find, simply because this sub-region does not yet have the name recognition that other areas of Bordeaux do. Jump on this deal before too many people realize how good it is!

Find it at The Wine Thief in New Haven CT for $16.00

2010 Sociando-Mallet (Haut-Medoc)

2010 is one of the best vintages on record in Bordeaux. If you enjoy wines that scream blueberry, raspberry, leather, and chocolate, this one is sure to please.

Find it at Table and Vine in West Springfield MA for $49.99

2015 Chateau de Lardiley (Bordeaux Blanc)

Organically grown, this wine is made from the Semillon grape. This pairs great with light fare or as an aperitif before a meal. Think aromas of peach, pear, citrus. Light and fruity with some sweetness, this is a good introduction in white Bordeaux for the wine drinker who isn’t convinced they’ve had one they’ve liked so far.

Find it at Wagon Wheel Fine Wines in Stamford CT for $15.99

 

 

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 25 – Why is my wine evaporating?

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! 🙂

Smoke or vapor coming from a wine glass on black background.

Why is my wine evaporating?

Just like water or any other liquid, with prolonged exposure to air, wine can evaporate. When aging wine in an enclosed container such as a tank, carboy, or demijohn, the container should have an airtight seal via an inflatable gasket or an airlock and bung. This will help prevent against oxidation and will reduce the amount of evaporation dramatically. If you still see some evaporation happening in one of these closed containers, evaluate your bungs and seals as they may not be working properly.

The main source of evaporation in winemaking is through barrel aging. Barrels are a porous environment that allows the wine to “breathe” over time. This “breathing” process is essentially evaporation. The wine is exposed to air through the porous staves and small portions of the wine evaporate into the atmosphere. This has positive effects on the wine as it creates a creamier mouthfeel, can reduce the perception of acidity, and imparts oak flavor. The barrel must be filled monthly with additional wine to reduce the head space and replace the evaporated product. This will prevent the wine in the barrel from oxidizing. While the breathing process may be a source of frustration, as you witness your wine evaporating into thin air, it will help you to create a fuller, heavier, more lush wine.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

“Good day, Grapes looked really good. No mold, clean, juicy. Let set with enzyme for 5 hours. Good press. Tomorrow will measure, adjust and add goodies and pitch yeast.” – We are sold out of the white grapes but still have some reds grapes and white & red juices available Give us a call at the office to secure your order!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Bootcamp with winemaker Frank Renadli! Learn how to make great wine at home in just 5 weeks!

chilean grapes_home winemaking sb_fr2

The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 12- Common Winemaking Faults and Flaws

Wine expert testing wine silhouette image

What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! 🙂

In this week’s Winemaker’s Think Tank we outline the difference between flaws, faults, and how to identify them.

  • Flaws
    •  Flaws are a mistake made in the winemaking process that leads to a property in the wine that is not characteristic of the varietal
    •  Stylistic Choice vs. Flaw
    •  Imbalance Flaw
      • Acid vs Sugar, Oak Levels, Alcohol Level
    • Visual Flaws
      • Haze, Sediment, Effervescence, TA Crystals, Floaters, Lack of Color Saturation
    • Aroma/Bouquet Flaws
      • Lack of Aroma, Non-varietal aroma, Over-oaking
  • Faults
    • Faults are often a microbial or chemical reaction within the wine in some part of its life that significantly alters a wine, eventually leading to the point of spoilage.
  • Oxidation Faults
    • Acetaldehyde – oxidation of Ethyl Alcohol smells like sherry, or old apples, browning
      • Causes: headspace, low sulfites, poor corks, bacterial contamination
    • Acetic Acid – Vinegar
      • Causes: Acetaldehyde, Acetobacter bacteria react with ethanol, Fruit Flie
    • Ethyl Acetate – Nail Polish Smell
      • Oxidation of Acetaldehyde and Acetic Acid
      • Causes: headspace and bacterial contamination
  • Sulfur Faults
    • Hydrogen Sulfide – Rotten Eggs Smell
      Causes: lack of yeast nutrients, yeast stress, sulfur sprays, yeast bi-product, high temps
    • Sulfur Dioxide – Burnt Match Smell
      Causes: over sulfating, wild yeast
    • Complex Sulfur Faults- Mercaptans, DMS, DES, DMDS, DEDS
      Causes: Hydrogen Sulfide reacting with Ethyl Alcohol
  • Microbial Faults
    • Brettanomyces – Barnyard, Horse Saddle, Antiseptic Ointment, Band-Aids, Bacon, Clove
      • Causes: spoilage yeast cells that are incredibly dangerous and difficult to eliminate. Most often found in contaminated barrels, winery cleanliness, resistant to acid and SO2
    • Geranium Taint – Fresh cut geranium leaves
      • Causes: Reaction of potassium sorbate with Lactic Acid Bacteria in the presence of Ethyl Alcohol
    • Refermentation – Fizzy wine, popped corks
      • Causes: Yeast or microbial fermentation of residual sugar
  • Other Faults
    • Cork Taint – Wet basement, wet old newspaper, mildew
      • Causes: strain of trichloanisole on cork (cork taint); mold that contacts chlorine and wood
    • Heat Damage – Cooked fruit smell, brick red color, similar to oxidation
      • Causes: leaving wine in a hot car, in the sun, etc.

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Come Celebrate Your Winning Wines on January 21st

wine-competition-dinner-invite

 

The results are in and the date is set! Come Celebrate Your Winning Wines on January 21st, 2016.

The 2016 Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC. Wine Competition Dinner will entail a catered dinner, medal ceremony, wine themed games, dancing, and raffle prizes. All raffle money proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.

This is an event you don’t want to miss! There may even be a possibility of hitting Frank Musto in the face with a pie! (Shhhhh don’t tell Frank ;))

Tickets: Purchase HERE

Results: Musto Wine Grape Wine Competition Results!

LOCATION:
Zandri’s Stillwood Inn:
1074 S. Colony Rd, Wallingford, CT 06492
January 21st, 2017
6:30PM – Midnight

 We Hope To See You There! Cheers!

Harvest Update: 8/25/2016

ARRIVING to Hartford, CT Early Next Week:

harvest calendar

8/29/2016:

LODI

  • Costamagna Chardonnay
  • Lodi Gold Grenache
  • Valley Beauty Barbera
  • Smiling Baby Merlot
  • Valley Beauty Zinfandel

9/1/2016:

LANZA – Suisun Valley

  • Sauvignon Blanc

CENTRAL VALLEY

  • Cry Baby Muscat (42lb)
  • Muscat King (42lb)
  • Cry Baby Thompson Seedless (42lb)
  • Lugano Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Lucerne Old Vine Zinfandel

JUICES from LODI

  • A Mix of Varieties

 

 

Call 877.812.1137 or email sales@juicegrape.com for more information

Take An Adventure to Lodi Wine Country

Instagram Post _Take an Adventure to Lodi Wine Country

We are bringing Lodi Wine Country to you this fall. An exciting time for the region, Lodi was recently named “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The grapes are grown in a Mediterranean style climate producing wines of great character and strength. Keep an eye out for our newer Italian Wine Grape Program from this region. These grapes will be producing some fantastic and age worthy wines.

nero_15.8brix Sagrantino_15brix1 mourvedre_13.4brix Aglianico_15brix

 

Red Wine Essence Aroma Kit

red wine_essences

Every “Wine Wednesday” we have decided to work on some type of wine education. This Wednesday we decided to focus on the aromas in Red Wine.

So the first question is – Where do wine aromas come from? Well they initially come from the grape and the terrior. Have you ever heard the quote “you can’t make great wine from bad grapes, but you can make bad wine from great grapes”? This couldn’t be more true. The grape is the starting point for the wine and its aromas. That being said, different grape varieties have different aromas associated with them. For example, most red wines have notes of dark berries and other plants. Specifically, Cabernet Sauvignon usually has aromas of black currant, mint, and violet. Each wine grape has a different aroma starting point which is impacted by where the grapes is grown, the yeast that is inoculated, oak, and any other additives that are introduced into the wine during the fermentation and aging process. Red wine aromas are complicated but pleasing representations of the vineyard & winemaker’s work.

When tasting wines many people have difficulty describing the different aromas they smell. The kit that we used challenged us to identity specific aromas and describe them. First, we smelled each essence and guessed what it was. We had some interesting descriptors…bubblegum, salt water, and aftershave just to name a few. When the actual aromas were revealed sometimes we were right and sometimes we were way off. But being challenged to describe what we smelled and training our sense of smell will only help us when making our own wines. This will also help us at wine judging events, winemaking events, and even when identifying faults.

All in all it was a great learning experience.

Stay tuned for more updates about our wine education courses (we will be adding a new aromas/faults class soon) and Spring Harvest Updates! Cheers!

Mulled Wine ~ Getting in the Holiday Spirit

This gallery contains 1 photo.

We hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and it’s good to take a step back, reflect, and enjoy each others company.

Now that we are in the holiday spirit we have been experimenting with different winter wine recipes. One of them being Mulled Wine. Below is my recipe. I suggest pairing it with friends by the fireplace and a tasty charcuterie plate.

 

4 cups apple cider (or can use apple juice if you want it a little sweeter)

1 bottle of red wine (suggest cabernet, merlot, or a blend of both)

1 tablespoon – 1/4 cup of honey (depends on your sweet tooth)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange – juiced and zested

4 whole cloves

2-3 stars of anise (do to taste)

orange peels/wedges for garnish

Add the apple cider/juice, wine, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, orange juice, and cloves to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add stars of anise and honey to taste. Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel/wedge for garnish, and enjoy!