I am a big wine description reader…especially when it is the first time I am tasting a wine. Often, I become just a little frustrated when I cannot taste what I am expecting after reading the tasting notes. This makes learning about wine a little more difficult.
Many times, the reasoning behind this has to do with where the wine comes from and the weather in the growing area. When the grapes are harvested plays a role in the quality of the wine, as well.
Cool Climate Wines
Being a wine producer, I understand a little about wines and the effect climate has on them. I also know that the better Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, tend to come from cooler climates. Grapes grown in cooler climates do not ripen as fast, which provides for lower natural sugar which tends to increase natural acidity.
These cool climate grapes are often described as tasting more refined or subtle. Cooler climate grapes tend to produce more tart flavors such as cranberry, cherry and raspberry. The grape also may produce flavors that have green or spicy characteristics. When that happens, the wine produces aromas that smell like the “forest floor.”
Grapes that are grown in cool climates tend to be lighter in body, have lower alcohol levels and have much higher acidity levels. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is well known for its high acidity levels. Winemakers tend to face different issues in cool climate areas. Vines tend to produce less grapes per vine and grape skins are thinner.
I tend to drink cool climate wines when they are paired with food rather than when sipping wine on a Saturday afternoon. Although I must admit that I am a huge fan of very dry German Riesling. Let me also add that I believe many people think all Riesling is sweet, which is not true. A good dry Riesling is delightful when paired with fish and seafood. If you have not tried this type of Riesling, please do so soon.
Warm Climate Wines
Most of the wine I drink is warm climate wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Spanish Rioja, Zinfandel and Merlot.
These grapes tend to carry more weight and their sugar levels are higher, therefore produce higher alcohol levels. These factors allow greater aging potential. The types of red wines are full-bodied, deep and powerful. These warm climate grapes also produce wines that tend to have aromas and palate flavors that are spicy, often with black fruit flavors such as plum, blackberry and cherry flavors. They also tend to be dry to very dry and have great chewy mouth feelings.
Climate is just one major contributor to a wine’s flavors.
If you have trouble answering the question “what do I like in a wine?” I would take the following approach. Buy a cool climate and warm climate bottle of the same vintage and taste them side by side. For example, try a French Malbec and an Argentine Malbec and see which flavors you prefer.
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Upcoming Events – Mark Your Calendar For the Entire Year!
3/12/2021 March Wine Dinner
Our next LEX 530 Wine Dinner will be held on Friday, March 12, 2021, at the LEX 530 Event Center in Elkhart. This wine dinner will feature premium wines selected by LEX 530 Wine Director, Stan Minden, to pair with Executive Chef Chad Coryn’s delectable four-course dinner. The wines have not yet been finalized. The evening will feature music by Decker-Ridout (Double Deal) with Paul Decker and Craig Rideout!
RECEPTION: Passed hors d’oeuvres. Paired with an assortment of different wine options.
1st Course: Leek and Yukon Gold potato soup, crispy pancetta, Vermont white cheddar.
2nd Course: Pan-seared sea scallops, cauliflower, caper beurre blanc.
3rd Course: Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, sweet potato, sprout salad, cherry gastrique.
4th Course: Chocolate and chile pot de crème, Mezcal whipped cream, cinnamon palmier.
Cost (includes 20% service charge): $100 (plus tax)
If you are a LEX 530 Dinner Club Member call Courtney at 574-296-1314 to purchase your tickets.
3/26/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event – Buy Your Tickets Here
4/9/21 April Wine Dinner featuring music by Patti Lightfoot – CANCELLED
4/23/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
5/7/21 May Wine Dinner featuring music by Jesse’s Gurl
5/21/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
6/11/21 June Wine Dinner featuring music by Julia James
6/25/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
7/16/21 July Wine Dinner featuring music by Checkmark Sallie
7/30/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
8/13/21 August Wine Dinner featuring music by Jesse’s Gurl
8/27/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
9/10/21 September Wine Dinner featuring music by Julia James
9/24/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
10/5/21 Oktoberfest Dinner with Iechyd Da Brewing Co. with music by Patti Lightfoot
10/22/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event
11/5/21 November Wine Dinner featuring music by Checkmark Sallie
11/19/21 Wine Talk & Taste Event