Making wine is exciting and fun, but oh so challenging. Not many folks think about this, but once the wine is made there is little if any opportunity to change the end product (although it is possible to tweak the wine in the barrel while it is aging). Once it is bottled it is impossible to change. The only changes after bottling come from the aging process. We all hope the wine ages well and tastes better than it did when we blended it.
Many other manufactured products can be changed after they are produced. They can be renamed, repainted, resized, defects corrected, etc. after being released for sale. Not so with wine…the only chance to change it is in the next vintage.
As a rookie in the wine game it is very challenging to me when I have to say to the winemaker “Let’s make this one” after we have spent time blending different versions of the wine we are trying to make.
Over this Thanksgiving Holiday I tried three of our new, yet-to-be-released (they will be soon) wines. They have gone through the various stages of production…from the “let’s make this one” to aging in the bottle. The three wines I tried are the 2015 Adler’s Blend Red Wine, the 2014 Glenwood Cellars Chardonnay and the 2015 Glenwood Cellars Pinot Noir. Over the next weeks I will give you my thoughts on each of them. This week I will start with the Adler’s Blend.
Tiedemann Adler’s Blend
This red wine is named after and made in honor of my 8-year-old grandson, Adler Bear Carris. As I have written before in my blog, Adler has inoperable brain cancer. He is a rock star and is as mentally and physically tough as anyone I have ever known.
When I blended this wine with winemaker Bruce Devlin in Napa Valley I wanted to make a wine that had a profile just like Adler: full-bodied, fun and with a finish that made an impression on you…Just like Adler does.
I have written about this wine in my blog before, but that was before the wine had been in oak barrels for a year and glass bottles for six months. All of which affect the taste of wine.
The wine is a blend of three different varieties of grapes. The blend is 50% Zinfandel, 30% Petite Sirah and 20% Lagrein (la-grain). Let me tell you a little about each grape variety.
Zinfandel arrived in the U.S. in the early 1800s. Zinfandel remains a niche grape as not as much is planted compared to Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Although the U.S. has the majority of the world’s Zinfandel vines, vines are also found in Italy (believed to be origin of the grape) and in Croatia.
Zinfandel is light in color; not as dark as Cabernet or Merlot. The primary flavors are fruity like berries and dark cherries. The finish often has a spicy, peppery finish and at times a little tobacco creeps in as well. Zinfandels typically have high alcohol levels that can increase the peppery flavor and tends to make the body of the wine bolder and chewy.
Petite Sirah originated in France and was discovered in the early 1800s. The grape is a cross between Syrah and a little known and rare grape named Peloursin.
Petite Sirah wines are full-bodied, with high tannin levels making it taste a little better. Typically the wine is a dark, inky purple color and produces aromas of dark fruit, black pepper or spice. On the palate the wine is fruity and can be very tannic with high levels of acidity. The finish is usually long and chewy.
The Lagrein grape comes from northeast Italy and is a cousin of Syrah. The grape is found in France and the U.S. as well.
The color of a Lagrein grape is a dense ruby color with aromas and a palate of black fruits, plums and coffee. The finish displays soft tannins with light hints of spice.
My Tasting Notes on the Adler’s Blend
Adler’s Blend is a very young and complex red wine. The color is a deep, dense red/purple with a tinge of black. Because the wine is so young, it has a stubbornly tight nose. The wine has a high alcohol level of 15.2% (which is common in Zinfandels). The high alcohol level, coupled with the acidity from the Petite Syrah, might overpower your palate if the wine isn’t given time to air in a glass or decanter. I decanted the wine for about an hour. This decanting opened the nose and softened the mid palate of the wine and beginning of the finish.
On the palate there were juicy fruit flavors of dense black fruits with a little hint of oak. This combination made the palate pure and vibrant. Again, the denseness of fruit coupled with some acidity reveals the wine’s youth. The combination of the wine’s youth, alcohol level and spiciness produce a rather hot, complex finish. This finish goes on to coat your mouth and then provide a degree of chewiness. The finish lingers for a nice period of time. This wine should drink well for the next 10 to 12 years.
As you can tell by my rambling and glowing report on Adler’s Blend, I am impressed with the wine. It will only get better with time and I certainly suggest you try this wine and add it to your cellar collection. Adler and I thank you for doing so.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- December 8th – Uptown Kitchen Wine Dinner
- December 31st – National Champagne Day
- March 3rd – National Mulled Wine Day
- April 17th – International Malbec Day
- May 4th – International Sauvignon Blanc Day
- May 9th – National Moscato Day
- May 21st – National Chardonnay Day