All posts in Wine Class

Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Yesterday, August 31st, was #CabernetDay and for Conconnan Vineyard the celebration of Cabernet Sauvignon continues through September!

Last year in August at the Wine Bloggers Conference, I had first-hand experience of a special excursion trip hosted by the Livermore Valley Wine Country to Concannon Vineyard for an elegant dinner, unique conversation with winemakers, and lovely visit with the Concannon family. The featured picture of Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon was a gift from the winery thanking all the wine bloggers who came out to visit that evening. The experience at Concanoon was so memorable, I saved my gift for a very special occasion — a birthday dinner for a dear friend. On the menu, for my dinner party: filet mignon. And, yes, it was incredibly heartwarming to hear my guests enthusiastically comment, “What a stellar wine!” “What is this?” And, “Where can I get this? I love it!”

My thoughts: wine paired for special occasions should be chosen based on an experience, feelings and memories. Happy Cabernet Day, and thank you, Concannon Vineyards!

The dinner table is set at Concannon!

Sunset over Concannon Vineyard!

Concannon Vineyard House in evening!







Exploring the Lost Grape of Bordeaux

Bottle of Carmenere

A bottle of Marques de Casa Concha 2011 Carmenere

After previewing a very nice selection of wines last week in WSET 3 class, the final blind taste assignment turned out to be a Carmenère — the lost grape of Bordeaux. Who would have thought this grape would possess such a mystique, and carry with it such an interesting history?

Related to the Cabernet family of grapes, the Carmenère share some similar characteristics in flavor and color, yet still maintain a uniqueness. They were thought to have been extinct when they disappeared from European vineyards in the mid-19th century. But then, they somehow reappeared a hundred years later — a world away, flourishing in Chilean vineyards! Now rarely seen in France, Chile claims the Carmenère with pride, producing some impressive wines in a class of their own.

I got some mixed reviews from my peers in class, but personally, I found the Carmenère to be very interesting. I tasted a lot of robust black fruits, a light herbaceousness, figs and red hot pepper elements. To be honest, I loved the Carmerère’s spicy character — I guess it’s my hot-blooded Latina nature and the wine’s agility to pair with Latin American cuisine.

With all the recent hype surrounding Carmenère and the many countries considering growing the varietal, it seems to be a great Karma Carmenère for Chile!


Sip, Swish, Spit

Sip, Swish, SpitBlind wine tasting – or “the systematic approach” as it’s termed by the WSET – is 99% determination, 1% inebriation. The system itself is so structured, even down to the type of glassware, so as to enable the blind tester to identify certain flavor characteristics of the wine being tasted. As wine enthusiasts and students, we spend a lot of class time in serious contemplation, zeroing in on the mystery of flavor and aromas. After tasting, we try to determine what country the wine comes from, the region, and the type of grape.

There’s a certain camaraderie when you’re all spitting out at the same time. But make no mistake: we’re a group of competitive overachievers! Things get really entertaining during the discussions that follow, when everyone shares their perspectives on the wines in question and hopes that their observations are on track. I have to admit, it does feel good to get some or most of the details correct.

And as for spitting out expensive wine – that’s definitely a talent that will always be under professional development status.