Posts Filed Under Tales of the Purple Monkey

A Local Wine Menage-a-Trois Soiree via Twitter

Vinted on November 26, 2008 binned in Tales of the Purple Monkey, twitter, wine products, wine review


This exciting edition (is there any other kind?) of Tales of the Purple Monkey has Plumboo (that’s the monkey) and me taking on one wine, but in three slightly (but importantly) different ways.

Last week, I participated in several Twitter Taste Live events, one of them being co-hosted by BinEndsWine.com and DrVino.com titled “Drink Local!” in which we reviewed local (to the reviewers., that is) wines. My previous post on the event has more background detail (and a recap of the twitter conversations).

Because I’m a homer, and I’m lazy, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I reviewed Penns Woods’ 2004 Ameritage Reserve (a Bordeaux style red blend), but with a twist – I presented the wine in three different “formats”:

  1. Poured directly from the bottle
  2. Decanted 3+ hours before serving
  3. “Decanted” directly from the bottle using a wine gadget called the Wine Soiree.

The Soiree looks like a glass Christmas tree ornament, or a sex toy for the very, very adventurous. Or an elegant alien spacecraft for extraterrestrial fleas…

Anyway, according to the Wine Soiree website and promotional materials, it is supposed to function somewhat like a decanter, using the principle of aeration. Wine contains many volatile chemicals that impart aroma, flavor, and also help to integrate a wine’s components so that it tastes better. Exposing those volatile components to air starts the process. This is one reason why decanting hefty red wines for a time before drinking them helps to make the wine more accessible and softer.

I poured all of my “versions” of the Penns Woods Ameritage into identical ISO tasting glasses (because I’m a nerd and I do own those, thank you very much) and had a go at each in comparison.

The result? Check out the following excerpt from my twitter feed during the Twitter Taste Live event:

10:41
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl Yo yo YO! I’m tasting 2004 Penns Woods Ameritage Reserve. Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Sangiovese, & whatever other reds the winemaker (Gino Razzi) wants
10:42
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl From the Brandywine valley of SE PA
10:42
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl I did a little experiment. I have 3 glasses of the same wine, but each is different…
10:43
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl #1 was poured directly from the bottle. #2 was decanted 3+ hrs. #3 was poured using that in-bottle Soiree decanter thing-y
10:44
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl #1 direct from the bottle: smoke (a LOT of it); cedar; black currants; a little rough around the edges on the tannins; good finish
10:44
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl According to Mrs. Dudette: “It’s like licking a chimney there’s so much smoke! But in a good way.”
10:45
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl #2 decanted 3+ hrs: MUCH smoother, with more dark cherry; the oak is more integrated and the finish seems to go forever…
10:46
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl I might be still tasting this finish tomorrow when I brush my teeth in the morning!!!
10:47
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl #3 ‘decanted’ via the soiree: has the currant & cedar elements of #1, but not as integrated as #2; finish is la bit onger than #1
10:48
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl This Soiree does something… and it seems good to aerate a wine in a pinch or when a decanter is not available.
10:48
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl but it ain’t quite like decanting!
10:50
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl As for the wine itself – very good, not his best vintage tho. The 2005 has more promise; 2002 is… well… freakin’ sublime!
10:51
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl This 04 is a bit too expensive for what it is, but it’s a very, very well made Bord’x style blend. And YES it is from PA!
10:53
Twitter 1winedude: #ttl So in summary: Penns Woods make a kick-ass wine, and the Soiree does actually do… something; but not as much something as a decanter

As it turns out, the Soiree does indeed seem to aerate the wine… somewhat. For me, the Soiree doesn’t compare to actual decanting, which in this experiment I found to be far superior. Still, I think the Soiree could work in a pinch if you are desperate to decant and/or to take the edge off of a serious red, but can’t wait for proper decanting (winery tasting rooms come to mind).

It you can get past the sight of a Christmas tree ornament sitting on top of your wine bottle, that is.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com, drvino.com)

6

 

 

Portable vs Potable II: A Tetrapak Smackdown (or "Garbage In, Garbage Out")

Vinted on October 30, 2008 binned in Tales of the Purple Monkey, wine review


In this exciting edition of Tales of the Purple Monkey, Plumboo (that’s the monkey) and I take on some wine samples provided in Tetrapak packaging. And narrowly survive!

During the Wine Bloggers Conference earlier this week, one of the event sponsors, Tetra Pak, supplied us with samples of wines from wineries that are using their packaging for their products…

Specifically, Plumboo and I tried juice-carton portions of French rabbit‘s ‘petit’ Merlot/Cabernet blend, and Three Thieves‘ “Bandit” Chardonnay, assisted by Mrs. Dudette who was hankerin’ for some vino when I cracked them open. Er, I mean, popped them open. Or peeled them open, actually.

Before I pass judgment on the wines (warning: it won’t be pretty), I should bring some positive karma to this post by giving some attention to what Tetra Pak is all about.

I can really get bahind what Tetra Pak is all about, which is making coin in a green, sustainable way. Their manufacturing is officially carbon nuetral. The packaging that they produce (think milk cartons) requires less material and less weight than glass to hold the same amount of liquid – which also reduces the carbon footprint needed to ship whatever liquid is in the Tetra Pak container.

So… I do NOT blame Tetra Pak for what Plumboo and I had to endure, because their packaging is neutral and theoretically shouldn’t be imparting any flavor or odor qualities to the wine inside.

Qualities like an aroma of bug spray – which was in such prevalent quantity in the French Rabbit ‘petit’ red blend that I expected to find the words “Contains DEET” on the back of the carton.

As for the Bandit, we found it one-dimensional. And that dimension was astringency.

Green is Good. But it doesn’t change the time-tested rule of “Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com, quiktechsaz.com)

11

 

 

Turning Wine into Water (Wine Blogging Wednesday #50)

Vinted on October 8, 2008 binned in Tales of the Purple Monkey, wine blogging wednesday


In this exciting edition of Tales of the Purple Monkey, Plumboo (that’s the monkey) and I brave the wilds of Africa, don’t actually taste any wine, and then urge you not to buy a wine that I will recommend. Sort of. Then we end with an exciting announcement that I promise will be wine-related!

Plumboo and I are once again taking part in the ongoing super-cool blog carnival Wine Blogging Wednesday, this month (its 50th!) hosted by Russ Beebe over at his fine Winehiker Witiculture blog.

Russ’ theme for WBW’s 50th is a novel one: in summary, a favorite hike and a favorite wine to sip after that hike.

The Wine
I’m going to start with the wine, just because I’m incorrigible. I don’t know about you, but Mrs. Dudette and I really dig vigorous hikes and we’re fond of taking our dog out on said hikes with us, in order to have him tire out and later suitably calm down to the energy level of a normal canine.

I don’t know about you, but Dude is usually thirsty after a vigorous hike. So I want something crisp, cold, and refreshing at the end of it. Crisp, cold, and refreshing makes Plumboo and I immediately think of Sauvignon Blanc – specifically, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc


The great thing about NZ SB is the balance. Mouth-watering Acidity? Check. Tasty Citrus fruit? Check. Pleasing Grassy aromas & complex minerality? Check, and check. In fact, my mouth is watering just thinking about NZ SB. If Plumboo had a mouth, his would be watering, too.

A kickin’ example of the awesomeness that NZ SB has to offer is Cloudy Bay. It’s not difficult to find, and is reasonably priced if you get the latest vintage early enough. Cloudy Bay hails from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough (in the north of NZ’s South Island), where the grapes get the most sunshine of any area in NZ – and it shows in the hint of exotic fruits that you get from a typical Cloudy Bay.

Now, what Plumboo and I kindly request that you do is to set aside enough cash for 2 bottle of Cloudy Bay, and then only buy one bottle. Which will make sense after we tell you about the hiking portion of this WBW.

The Hike
The coolest hike I’ve ever taken was in Kenya, Africa, just outside the Maasai Mara. This hike took Mrs. Dudette and I from Alex Walker’s Serian Tented Camp through the arid bush, to a local school.

Our hike was brilliant and largely without incident, unless you count a fellow Serian guest from the U.K. and I running around with spears and “dispatching” a few large termite mounds during our trek. We did run into a not-so-happy male giraffe who wasn’t sure if he wanted anything to do with us or not – which doesn’t sound threatening until you realize that a) an adult giraffe could kill you instantly with one kick (though your grave would be in multiple locations, because whatever body part its leg touches first would undoubtedly be disconnected ungraciously from the rest of your body), and b) your puny spear is more of a walking stick than an actual means of protection against an animal roughly 5 times your size. And yes, you do thinkk about those things when you encounter a giraffe in the wild…

Anyway, what really blew us away on this hike was the school. Or, more specifically, the children at the school. The conditions that these children and their teachers deal with on a daily basis is shocking, which makes their dedication to learning and teaching all the more impressive. If you’re a parent, you’d probably have a hard time contemplating sending your child on a hike that might take hours through countryside that contains dangerous animals to a school room illuminated with one light bulb, where they rely on rainwater collection systems for their fresh water needs.

The children were mostly just happy and grateful to be there. That’s because there are many children nearby in Kenya who can’t go to school at all – they spend their entire day gathering potable water for their home and community, leaving no time to attend school.

Which brings me back to our little request:

Instead of buying two bottles of that Cloudy Bay, please consider buying one bottle, and DONATE the funds of the ‘other bottle’ to help relieve the water crisis in Kenya, and get potable water into Kenyan communities.
You will be ‘turning wine ito water’, in a way, and helping to bring relief to your other human brothers and sisters who are sorely in need. And, you still get to drink one bottle of kick-ass Cloudy Bay.

Just watch out for those pissed-off evil giraffes


Exciting Wine-Related Announcement
And finally… assuming no giraffe incidents between now and then the next Wine Blogging Wednesday will be hosted right here on 1WineDude.com! Stay tuned to 1WineDude.com this Friday for the official announcement and WBW #51(WineDude) theme!

Cheers!
(images: 1Winedude.com, telegraph.co.uk)


4

 

 

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com

Google+

Labels

Vintage

Find