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November 30, 2009

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Tom - I not only find those things incredibly cool as well, but I invariably eat the crystals. How could you pass up the opportunity?

Lenn - Very cool story. The romantic in me just loves the connective power of wine.

Julia - What do you think gives the first wine its meaty, bloody character? It's hard to tell if you're talking about Brett (which, again, I don't find instantly objectionable unless in large doses). Any thoughts on what gives the wine that personality?

Evan,
If your a fan of Bois De Boursan than you should pick up some of their 2007's while they are still available. I have seen them at retail but they may not be around much longer. Mother nature was quite nice to the southern rhone in 2007. I have had a few 2007 CdP and they are surprisingly open right now but will obviously age. I found them already more open than 2006 and certainly the 2005's.

Evan,

It's not a Brett thing - I've had more than my body weight in South African reds in the past year, so I can differentiate that aroma from this thicker, more dense one. I almost want to say it's a foxy/hybrid thing, since in this case it's accompanied by strong cherry-candy fruitiness. It really does smell like fresh, warm blood - not tin or iron, more earthy, meaty. Carnal, almost. (I sound like a cannibal right now...stay with me.) Think seared, rare venison, which is what I imagine to be a perfect food match. That's the best way I can describe it without sending you a bottle, which I'd be happy to do :)

As for what causes it, I've only experienced this characteristic with Leonard Oakes hybrid reds (their Chambourcin has it in spades) and a very good Noiret that I had in Chautauqua, so it must be a hybrid red thing. I'll ask the LO winemaker next time I see him.

If i may interject...

Some "cooked meat" aroma can come from 2-methyl-3-furanthiol, which is indeed found in cooked meat and has also been detected in wines.

This compound can come from wines with excessive H2S, so perhaps the grapes that came in were low in nitrogen, leading to H2S, which is a precursor for meat aroma.

Cherry is a very common descriptor for Frontenac, so in this case it appears the meatiness has added some nice complexity.

I am sure that the meat is not unique to Frontenac, though. There are lots of other meaty wines out there (Rhone/Midi Syrah, for example, which I often find I need to aerate a bit due to massive H2S...)

But enough about that. I'm curious why Frontenac is "usually sub-par".

Tom,

The Frontenac I've had (wines from Ohio, Chautauqua/Lake Erie, and New York, besides the LO example) has usually had a stupidly fruity, overly sweet, Willy Wonka-in-a-Barbie-dollhouse quality to it. I'm simply not a fan of sweet, candy-fruity reds.

Also, Frontenac exploded on my face and clothes while I was punching it down during harvest, so I have a personal grudge. I'm sure that there are other fine examples of Frontenac out there. If you've had some stunning Frontenac recently, please recommend!

There are many different "meat" characteristics that I've experienced in wine; in French, Italian and Spanish wines I sometimes get a cured meat thing, like soppressata, capicola, salami or jamon. The Frontenac thing is less like cooked meat, more raw or bloody. Words are failing me - you'd have to try them side by side. Thinking a "meaty wines" tasting party would clear this up...or a well-researched post entitled "Where's the Beef?", "Meet Your Meat," or something equally corny.

Dan - Thanks for the heads up. I can't say I necessarily share Robert Parker's ga-ga views on 2007, but certainly they're going to be very good. Cheers!

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