Monthly Archives: October 2013

Off the Beaten Track: GranMonte Vineyard and Winery in Khao Yai, Thailand

GranMonte Vineyards

While I am working on more detailed posts about my visit to GranMonte winery in Thailand last August, why don’t you go and check out a small appetizer I just got published on Palate Press about it yesterday. There will be more about the winery on this blog, but this should give you a first idea.

The article starts like this:

When I first heard that wines were now being produced in Thailand I laughed it off as gimicky…

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2011 Epicuro Salice Salentino DOC

2011 Epicuro Salice Salentino

2011 Epicuro Salice Salentino

One of my earliest posts in this blog involved one of my go to, bread and butter, affordable reds: the 2007 Epicuro Salice Salentino, which is available at Trader Joe’s for $5.99. I later reviewed the 2009 vintage of that wine (decidedly less exciting than 2007). Upon one of my last Trader Joe’s visits, I realized that the 2011 vintage is now out, so in line with earlier posts, this is my review of that wine. I know this is an industrially produced, mass market wine, but I always had a soft spot for it, so bear with me…

The 2011 Epicuro Salice Salentino DOC is no longer qualified as a Riserva, unlike its predecessors. It is still made of 80% Negroamaro grapes and 20% Malvasia Nera, with 13% ABV.

In the glass, the wine displayed a decidedly lighter color than its predecessors, a watery ruby red that lacked the depth of color in the earlier vintages (I assume that this is due to less ageing in a barrel). The nose showed oriental spices (think mulled wine, a bit weird), wet tobacco leaf and earthy aromas underlying it. All in all a similar nose to earlier vintages, I think. On the palate, though, what struck me immediately was that this vintage has a decided sugary component which is too much for me. I am not looking for a semi-sweet red wine, so this was a downer. There were cherry, leather and tobacco aromas with barely noticeable tannins, so its feels mild and is rather easy to drink.

I think the earlier releases had more depth and character than this vintage. I was quite disappointed, frankly and am not sure I will reach for it again…

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Sunday Read: Minerality. A Reductive Phenomenon?

Let’s get all science-y this Sunday and explore the topic of minerality. It is one of those buzzwords that winemakers as well as sales people and wine drinkers love to throw around. In that context, it is usually used with slate-y soils that somehow are supposed to translate into minerality aromas in the wine.

The Wine Doctor looked into that in September and starts out by pointing out that that is most likely not the direct cause for this aroma to appear. His take in this post is that it might be connected to reductive winemaking practices. The connector to soil is that he believes these chemical reactions are more likely achieved in wines from rather rocky soils. So there is a connection, but no direct link.

While I have no clue about chemistry (literally: I got an F in every single term paper I wrote in chemistry and dropped it as soon as I could), I did appreciate this article and how it was explained. While the mystery of what is minerality remains, I know I sure enjoy it when I find it!

Have a great Sunday!!

The Wine Doctor: Minerality. A Reductive Phenomenon?

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