Palate Practice

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Category: Noble Grape Challenge (page 1 of 2)

The Underrated Chenin Blanc

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we explored acidity’s reining champ, Sauvignon Blanc, and this time around we get to know the delicious and underrated Chenin Blanc.

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

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Sauvignon Blanc, Acidity’s Reigning Champion

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time I had the great pleasure of nerding out to the Riesling grape for your benefit. This time to move on to a highly acidic wine and a great summer sipper – Sauvignon Blanc.

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

Continue reading

Noble Grape Challenge – Riesling, the Wine Lover’s Grape

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time around we began the second half of the challenge by getting to know Pinot Grigio. Now it’s time to move on to one of my favourite white varietals – Riesling!

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

Continue reading

Entering the Second Half of the Noble Grape Challenge

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. This time around we begin the second half of the challenge – nine whites await us! Last time I reflected on the first half and the nine reds I worked through, and today we get to know our first white, Pinot Grigio.

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Halfway Through the Noble Grape Challenge

With my post about Malbec a couple of weeks ago I’m now halfway through Wine Folly’s Noble Grape Challenge. Created as a challenge to learn about the range of wine, the Noble Grape Challenge lists nine red and nine white ‘noble’ varieties – generally speaking, the most widely planted varieties throughout the world – and challenges the reader to taste through them all as a way of getting to know the breadth and depth of wine created throughout the world.

At this point it feels like a good time to take a look back on how things went and a look ahead at what awaits.

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Noble Grape Challenge – Last of the Reds

It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. This time around we learn about our last red variety, which means after this post we’ll officially be halfway through the list. Last time we explored the wild and wacky world of Syrah/Shiraz, and today we get to know Malbec.

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

Continue reading

A Return to the Noble Grape Challenge

After an extended break it’s time for another installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we explored what Cabernet Sauvignon was all about, and today we’ll get to know Syrah/Shiraz.

 

About the Noble Grape Challenge

Remember the Noble Grape Challenge? Yeah, I kind of forgot about it too. Let me refresh you on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

 

Continue reading

Starting the New Year Right with Cabernet Sauvignon

Well friends, the holidays are over. Gone are the family visits, the hours spent languishing on the couch, and the never-ending feasting on delicious treats.

 

But before we continue boldly into 2016, let’s recap a few highlights of my holidays.

  • 10 – Days spent at my parent’s place, being fed and wined to my heart’s content
  • 5+ – Bottles enjoyed with family and friends that were at least 10 years old
  • 3 – Litres in the bottle my family enjoyed at Christmas dinner (a double magnum!)
  • 2 – Bottles generously given to me on Christmas morning (a 2008 Rioja and a 12yr DoubleWood Balvenie, if you must know)

 

All in all a delicious and productive holiday, if you ask me.

 

And now, it’s time for another installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we tasted our way through the Tempranillo grape. Now, as we taste the first of the last three reds, we turn our attention to one of the most well known varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

About the Noble Grape Challenge

I know, I know, it’s been a while since we did this. Let me refresh you – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites, we’ll go through them from lightest to darkest, learning about the key characteristics and flavours of each.

 

About Cabernet Sauvignon

Unsurprisingly, France grows the most Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, buuuuuuuut they usually blend it with other things. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the main five varietals of the Bordeaux region, and most (if not all?) wines in that region are blends.

 

Also, did you know that the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is actually a hybrid? It’s true! Check out the centre column of the adorable drawing below.

 

credit: http://winefolly.com/review/enthusiasts-guide-sauvignon-blanc/

credit: http://winefolly.com/review/enthusiasts-guide-sauvignon-blanc/

 

See? Cabernet Franc + Sauvignon Blanc = Cabernet Sauvignon!

 

I’ll wait while you recover from your newly blown mind.

 

Ready? Ok.

 

Cab Sauvs are one of the more fuller bodied reds out there, and tend to be more opaque but still reddish in colour. Flavours found often include dark fruits and black pepper. Generally speaking this is a confident wine that you could drink with other stronger flavours (a burger or some full-flavoured cheese, perhaps) or sip on its own.

 

The Test Case

To delve more intentionally into the world of Cab Sauv I chose to try the Art de Vivre 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon by Gerard Bertrand. I’ve told you about Gerard Bertrand before – this is one of my favourite winemakers. I have yet to be disappointed by any wines I’ve had from them. Or is it him? Either way, the wine is great, and you should try it immediately.

 

GerardBertrandCabernetSauvignon

Even the label design is lovely.

 

GerardBertrandCabSauvinglass

 

Tasting Notes

Right off the bat I could see some age in the colour. It was still decidedly red, but there were some brownish undertones that tell me this isn’t a wine that was bottled yesterday.

 

It smelled nice and bright and quite fruity. I came back to it the next day and smelled lots of depth and earth, too. I love how much wine changes over time once you open it, always full of surprises!

 

The flavour was full of fruit – all I could think of was ‘red fruit’ but, as usual, couldn’t pin it down more than that. I was intrigued and excited to taste some black pepper too, it helped balance the fruitiness. As expected, on day two the flavour had softened quite a bit. It got more velvety and I tasted some vanilla that wasn’t present the first night.

 

Bottom Line

A wonderful and enjoyable Cab Sauv. I know I’m a bit of an omnivore when it comes to wine (there is very little I don’t like) but I do think this is a really solid wine, and in keeping with everything else I’ve had from this maker.

 

But does it taste like what we now know a Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like? You bet it does! Full bodied and fruity, with some lovely peppery-ness when you take a sip – this is a great example of a Cab Sauv.

 

It’s also a great example of a wine that can be enjoyed over a couple of nights. No need to finish it on night one – you should get a bottle just for you and taste it over two or three evenings to see how it changes.

 

Well, that was fun! It’s nice to be back in the swing of things.

 

Next up – Syrah!

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