just a drop...

Thewinearray suggests one drop of knowledge a day. There's simply way too much wine information to process and still keep the drinking fun. Why not have one question to ask yourself about the wine in your glass? For the moment the conversation stops or when your date has run out of things to say, why not have a thought on hand? A daily grab bag of wine thoughts...this is the forum for the tidbits of your wine expertise.
Never too much…
Just a splash. that’s enough. thank you.

Summer of Riesling Intro: a classic matchup

Summer is here. Officially. Today. Right now. It is the Solstice (and it is scorching hot, in case you needed further proof!). That means the Summer of Riesling is now in full effect. Time to make a serious dent in the stainless vats holding the bounty of this great and noble grape, now made in nearly every corner of the world and made certainly more popular by Paul Grieco (thanks AcidHound for paving the way!) and his campaign to give Riesling its worthy trophy. It is funny that there is such a contest to prove how great this one little grape can be. It has suffered the cycles of poor presentation in markets around the world and has never quite shaken it’s lowly (unfairly adorned) reputation for overly sweet blah. It has fought the good fight to regain a chance at the title. It may now be in the top ranks among everyday drinkers (thank goodness).

The trouble riesling faces, ironically, lies in its amazing ability to present itself in countless ways. It has remarkable range of ripeness, clarity, texture and vivacity. Yet, if a consumer only ever takes one sip, and it does not come across as the style preferred, it can suffer denial and be outcast for a long time. Until now, it has not been given the chance to show itself off. It needs a stage. A stadium perhaps. A floor to play itself through so that the world can see its best qualities. That could be the topic today: If the Grand Slam of Riesling were to happen, how would it play out? Maybe this image can help target how you would claim it as champion…

Presenting..The Riesling Open

May I introduce the players:

This is the top-ranked player in the riesling world: Acidity. This guy rocks with all of his electrifying dazzle, his ability to outlast everything on the palate and get to every corner. Just when you think he has run out, the kid keeps coming back and makes the point play out with nail-biting tension and keeps your mouth-watering for the next stroke.

His opponents are a wonder-duo:

The old-school, wood-armed, net-covering, everywhere man 3 Sugar and his partner,

The classic, austere ground-stroker, the champ from the baseline way back on the palate whose breed and class show nothing but a sense of his upbringing and training. This is #1 Sugar, the dry, stoic finisher. The rock. 

So, how do these mega-stars of riesling fight it out? Well that’s all in how closely you watch and how engaging you find the match to be. Acidity rules the pace of riesling. It is the life beat of the game on the palate. He seemingly is everywhere, dancing, stretching and slicing up the palate. He is the superstar delight on the palate. This guy is ridiculous.

To counter that, Sugar plays in two ways (thus the doubles) as it can be coating, graceful, floating about the palate, lyrical and beautiful to watch (and taste). It seems to blanket the court and nullify the hard hitting Acidity with a gentle touch. It is the fruit enhancer and depth of play you hope for in the great ones. It alone could present a great challenge to Acidity.

When the front court sweetness run out, then the back court magic of dryness (Sugar in a minute amount) takes the lead with an in-exhaustive persistence and long gorgeous strokes. He just never seems to go away, almost as if the sweet side has left the court. For lovers of the long- match, this foe will delight. He gives you joy in the game being played on different surfaces: the hard slate and soft clays of the vineyards around the globe. You’ll love the dirt he kicks up racing back and forth because the sugar has let the ball pass by to the finish. Watching this against acid lengthens the court and the points play long.

So the game is yours depending how you want to watch the players in action.

Here’s a few ideas:

High Acid (3 on thewinearray scale) vs Low Sugar (1 on thewinearray scale), you will have a lean, tight match that will send ooohs and ahhs around the crowd. Tense and long.

High Acid (3) vs. Sweet Sugar (3), you will have a slower, game full of dynamic swings of acidity playing back by gentle lobs and drop shots of glazing court coverage.

Moderate Acid (a wine in the 5th set, say 2 on the scale (PS rielsing never goes below this!!!) vs. the twins (2 setting then by our scale) then you will have a curious, intriguing leisurely played contest where you can check the stats or simply enjoy.

In any case, this is what the conversation is in any riesling. The body generally is lean, which means lower alcohol and cleaner on your palate. Tannin is almost never in the conversation. Acidity needs a foil and Sugar is it. So play the volley back and forth while you taste. Give it a chance for the game to evolve. I promise you there will be spectacular moments. It is the game of the summer. We have it to watch in so many combinations. 

Thanks for joining the game. Check out the schedule of events for the summer:

http://summerofriesling.com/

Game. Set. Match.

What the cool wines are doing.

        It is ridiculously beautiful as I sit above the streets in the HighLine park of Manhattan’s west side today. It is a true treasure to have this in NYC. Those who live here know that we have to search for your perfect backyard since our little boxes usually are even higher up and nowhere near earth and greenery. So we travel out to places like this. With all the places to sit amidst the grasses, trees and flowers, elevated above the concrete on this slender park, with plenty of dotted blue shade cast by the surrounding buildings, I cannot imagine a suburban setting any better. It is 70+ degrees and stunning. What’s more, there is food and refreshment mere steps away and of course the afternoon beverage seems to be in everyone’s reach. Nirvana!

      What makes me stop people watching for a spell though and pen this thought is the pleasure I am getting from the wine that sits before me. It is a gamay. It is red and juicy. And it is chilled to the perfect point of slurp-abilty. It is as delicious as I would guess the honeysuckle is the tiny flowers down the path here to be. Ahh, but it is cold and that makes it special. That is my point; my leaping off for today’s blog. What wine is best served chilled and why?

      As I look around, I see many people are drinking wine here. Much of it is white of course. That is what comes to mind when we think chilled wine. Enough of the crowd though sees my point with going red. New Yorkers these days get spoiled with all the wine savvy establishments staying dead-on accurate with serving temperatures, so reds are a bit more common on the scene. But you may not be in a wine-freak center like this. It should not leave you locked out of the garden of Eden. Stock your home with the right wines for the patio and you will be sitting pretty like I am today.

     I want to encourage you to avoid generalizations and sharpen the focus a few degrees. Learn a few simple basics and then it all falls into place. In this case, do not assume all wines are just better in the summer pulled from the icebox. Think of other beverages. Milk is best served cold but in the summer heat, milk just doesn’t sound tempting. Beer, ahh the great summer glugger. It may wash the sweat off your palate but not if its a big caramel-laden brown ale full of malty richness. And even sun tea, made all morning for a perfect afternoon sitting, is not comfortable to drink too fully brewed or without enough ice. Closer to wine, I have had sangria that was no better than bitter, oaky wine with chopped fruit in the glass. If you have ever had a well made version, you’ll understand the degree of disappointment after such anticipation. So basically, the right wine at the right temperature makes the world of difference. Remember, this is summer. The time to relax and stop thinking. So plan this little bit ahead of time. You will be chilling like the all the cool kids do.

Here are the basic guidelines. What follows is a (printable, if you like) set of tips as thewinearray.com would break down the components in a wine, to make quick work of making a better selection. Wave it proudly in front of the salesperson at the wine shop. Trust me. They’ll be happy you know so much.

Effects- First off, the colder the wine, the tighter the wine feels (what we would call closed) and the less expressive it will be. The beauty of texture can be compromised slightly and the harsher elements can take the lead. So wines that are “too much” in the glass, might not be ideal cold. Think subtlety and finesse and your palate will smile.

Actual temperature- If you see the glass profusely sweating, it might be too cold. Keep the bottle that way but allow a moment for the wine to adjust to the atmosphere to ‘cool’ rather than ‘cold’. You’ll find more aromas and fruit flavors perfuming out. And the texture will soften the blow of the acidity in a more gentile way. On the flip side, think of warm lemonade; too warm might turn your palate completely, so keep a chiller close by.

Oak vs. Steel-Where a wonderfully enhanced spice and butteriness comes into a wine (especially white) to add dimension and complexity, it can often be the only flavor in a cold glass. This could be bitter and you might want more water than wine. Wines made and stored in neutral containers (steel, glass, concrete) will have a pleasant freshness about them that will remind you that the fruit was ripe and juicy when picked. Avoid Oaky wine. Go neutral.

Alcohol Level- simple thought: alcohol expands and feels hot. If you want to keep the palate light avoid wines at 14% or above. As I mentioned, textures and flavors might become more shy when chilled. You do not want to only taste the alcohol in the finish.

Color- Color does not matter exclusively. Think balance. White and rose wine takes to being chilled better. This is generally because the balance in the wine tends to be less concentrated, brighter and often less oak influenced. In the modern world though, where impressive weight and substance can immediately satisfy, more wines are made bold and rich. So the color might be deceptive. Go beyond the first look and think composition. What type of white, red or pink is it? Knowledge is cool.

All right, way too much thinking for the heat. Time to chill. I hope you are somewhere as lovely as this today. Ahhh, the sweet drop of summer.

In memory

I am going to make a note here about the simple power of memory, particularly as it relates to wine. Why you ask? Because, if you scroll past posts, you can see it has been nearly a year since I posted last. In fact, I started this last Memorial Day weekend, which hits again tomorrow. Something universal must have triggered my memory to get back at this. (my sincere apologies for those who were left with empty glasses patiently waiting for my next bit of babble). As I read through the few posting myself, I was immediately placed back in front of the tiny glowing box, in my tiny Brooklyn office, with the humidity blanketing the city. I could re-sense, if you will, my moments. Nothing monumental was going on. Just living. But I certainly can replay the scenarios and hear my thoughts again which prompted the posts and the space I inhabited while typing. It brings me to thinking about recalling wine.

I must admit I have a freaky memory for the good grape juice and by that, I do not mean only the best stuff. I have little interest in bragging about the rare and hard to find wine I have tasted. I am truly an appreciator of any wine, if only for a fleeting moment to allow it to express itself. I might not desire a certain wine ever again, but that too leaves its mark and should be filed away into the memory banks. Like it or leave it, we shared a moment.

In looking at it this way, I realize that I look forward to an encounter with wine everyday because of the memory I have with it. The record of my life looks pretty darn happy when I see all the people I have met with glass in hand, the places I have seen because of it (or day-dream about venturing to) and the great musings that have grown from it. It is perhaps my culture. It has certainly filled my life, easily, effusively, and optimistically. Perhaps that is why I can remember wines so easily. I can recall the location and the sounds, smells and sights around me then. In fact, when I am often trying to get my wife to remember when she last tried a particular wine, I find myself describing the whole event and the wine is simply present in the room. I could just as easily summon back my first swim in a lake, my first day of college,my first live concert, my wedding day. I suppose it comes from living in the moment. Being there as opposed to moving though. And I think viewing the past as a series of snapshots then makes it easy to see the whole picture. Even the label.

So, remember when I was going to mention memory in regards to wine? I know this frustration is the root for most people’s wine exploration. You just can’t remember all the wine you encounter. Well, I think you can. Simply see them as unique experiences. If you can engage with the wine while you sip, it makes the process easier. Put it in context and make it part of the moment. Ask your self a few questions about the wine while you are with it. You would be surprised how the answers pop up later and make you relive the scene. Now, I know most people opt for a drink so that they can disengage. Shutdown and relax. Great…let it be the background in the scene but take a small note. File it somehow in reference to the environment. Then when you are next with those same friends, or in that same cafe and you ask, “what was that wine we had last time?”, you will have just the smallest bit more to pull out of wine storage in the back of your mind. The little Sommelier in your head can call down, “pssst, remember last time, you learned that all burgundy was pinot noir”. Suddenly you will remember and it all becomes easier. And the free bonus, you will remember more of the good times you’ve already had (or how you avoided the bottle that could have ruined it!). You will remember that old tie you were wearing and loved and is now sadly gone. You will re-sense the spring day it was. Life will seem fuller. That is worth remembering!

And so to will I remember to post more often. In drips and drops. 

Cheers

Its about time

I hope you have a glass of something delicious in your hand right now. I want to warn you though, that glass is not what you think it is. Nor will it be moments from now. The wine is not what the bartender claimed it to be before he poured it and it will never be the same again. Yet you and this glass, love it to the end or spit it out, are now part of the same story. 

Ok. I have not turned surrealist sommelier with a proud manifesto to bestow upon you. I want to point out to you one simple notion, one which makes any wine magnificently more complex. You and that wine are part of time.

A marvelous magic of wine is somehow lost in the modern world. Wine, no matter how simple, is drawn from a particular point in time and is also a line in time itself. It is created within a season of ripening, a moment of picking, and ultimately the chance decision to stuff it into a bottle. It is then, the result of one year in time. It could be from fruit of immature vines or from lazy, arthritic, aging knobs or of vines in the prime of their expression. So, it could come from a youthful, recent past or from wise vines who have weathered the terrain like a Dickens tale (i.e. best of times, worst of times thing). But, it also comes from a long-ago decision to plant the grapes in one specific place, cultivating them for many, many years, with lessons handed down and new ideas changing the course. It comes from land that has changed owners, seen families pass on, seen political borders change and thus how it can be made. So it is of many years, or generations as well.  In fact, wine itself might pre-date us all and the human acknowledgement of vinous pleasure. Ok…wine wins.

Yet, here it is in your glass. And what is it? Perfect? No…it’s too cold or warm. Perfect now? No. It needs time to open. Perfect now? Well, actually yes… but I thought it was good before and now it is better. Well, could it be better still?  So, here..no there..it is in your glass. When is it the right time  to consider it?

And then there is you. You, the person who choose to empty it into your glass, also bring your whole life experience, mood and assurances to the sip. You get the chance to declare to the world the pros and cons. You throw the stone into the pond. It ripples to the wine maker and the press, the guy who sells the wine and your nervous friend who thinks you know everything about wine….You are rooted in this too. You are the present and the future.

So, simply… I mention this as today’s Just a drop: do not be too quick to judge any wine. Take some time to experience the taste, the feel, the whole of the wine. Remember the first sip when you are taking the last. Everything develops in wine to a great point of understanding. Comprehending the path you are on, that you share, makes the wine so much more. After all, it took years to make it. It will carry on well after you finish the bottle. Give the stuff it’s due by hearing it out as you drink. Enjoy it while you have the time.

The Raw Deal: Sugar

If I were to say that I really dislike sweet wines and almost never drink them but I often enjoy sugar in my wine, you might think I am already a bit tipsy from the day’s tasting and jumbling my thoughts. Or, worse, you’d think I can’t make up my mind on the issue so I will make you dizzy with technical wine jargin to disguise the matter.

Fear not, I am indeed neither. I bring up the concept of sugar because I think it gets a bad rap. Most people are pretty black and white on the issue.

“I like my wine a little sweet.” says one, “I hate sweet wine!”, contends the next.

I think the natural sugars in wine deserve more consideration. Afterall, it does take months of gentle guidance to produce them. Why not give then least a moment to dazzle you with their charms? And, to that, most wines we drink are dry (meaning little to no sugar remain after fermentIon) and so it is more the perception of sugar than the actual presence we might be judging.

Here’s the quick glance I give it, which provoked Just a Drop for today. Sugar in wine has more effect than just making it taste sweet. It also has a profound effect on the feel of the wine as well. This latter thought is what I meant in my opening comment. Considering the tactile sensation in equal measure, I am more likely happy with the balance that sugar creates rather than the impact of raw sugar.

It is easy to picture (if your mouth can do that) the texture of truly sugary wine. It would actually feel honeyed or syrup-like. I think you can feel that as you read this without a wine in hand. On the other end of the spectrum, a super-dry wine can feel gritty, coarse, more tactile from the minerals and maybe a bit too un-charming. There’s nothing to glaze the palate and therefore might feel lacking? I would call this extreme, the transparent quality of a wine.

There is though, somewhere in the middle of that pendulum, a sweet spot that feels perfect for you. It might make the fruit taste riper but it feels lovely as well!

So with that in hand, will you join me in a moment of reflection? This might make you sound like a pro in seconds! It works for white, red, bubbly or rose. Sip and then ask yourself if you think the rawness of the wine is managed well? Does the overall texyure make sense with the amount of residual sugars or is it too little/much? Does the ripe, sweet flavors stay on your palate because they have been cloyingly saturated? Or, does the fruit almost need a bit more sweetness to make it feel more opulent? Perhaps you nailed it and it’s right on the money already: dry but charming?

If you tried it, may I ask, is my opening comment making a bit more sense? It might take a few different wines to nail this down but with a moment of reflection (a nod to the total wine) you might find yourself loving a broader range of wines. And, you might know how to avoid the blah ones a bit better!

Sugar gets a raw deal. It becomes a bullseye descriptor when actually the balance is often the issue. Perhaps, just a drop is all it needs.

All right. Enough chatter. Drink on!

Would you take cream with that?

I am sitting here, in the waning afternoon, thankfully staring at the bottom of my coffee cup. Perhaps the caffeine fix I needed has loosed my mind enough to inspire a post or maybe, I am just now ready for some wine? But in any case, there is reason to chat.

I love coffee almost as much as wine. It has depth, high and low notes, aroma, interesting texture and is, in my opinion, good both hot and chilled, so it can warm the bod or refreshingly hit the spot. Plus, it does have the added adult pleasure of a spirit-changing high. Nice. (I do consider it better served in a real and proper cup but hey, that’s me being snooty.)

Interestingly enough though, one note that coffee and wine share rather obviously, I do not like equally. Acidity, or the sharp, edgy, tingling thingy that keeps your palate perky and stimulated, is a must for me in wine yet is an over achiever in coffee. I crave acids to keep the weight of sugars and texture of any wine lifted off my palate. Give me a bit mouth-watering acid, please!, to keep me coming back to a glass of wine. But, with coffee, the sharpness I feel is distracting, aggressive and makes the bitter bugger no better (if you will pardon the alliteration). I think acids help coffee to be invigorating but, I do raise an eyebrow with each different barista’s mug of brew. Perhaps, you have no idea why I would even focus on this? Coffee is coffee and wine is wine, right? Well, I love to think about what I am experiencing and hone in on what shapes my loves and hates. So then, how is the same quality, both necessary and insulting, needed and yet in need of taming?

Here is my drop for the day. (Trust me, it will help you with a better chosen wine!) The reason why it differs so much is because the other components swimming around in both beverages helps balance any outspoken acid levels. Wine, being pressed grapes, has sugar and alcohol that lends to a dense, concentrated feel. It is a juice concoction, slowly grown and matured, with all the pulp afloat in it, so to speak. The composition then, can actually be helped by the acids; keep it clean and focused.

In coffee, there is nothing to cloud the issue, is there? It’s water poured over a delicious bitter bean extracting roasted oils, aromatized but thin and not sugary or smooth. So, what do we do if we find it lacking? We add sugar to quell the bitter. We add milk to enrichen it, adding more weight but at the same time, clouding the sharper acids. Heavy cream, lattes, one lump or two?… These all are augmentations to tame what is so transparently assertive. This, unless you are standing with Italians, in smug ascots, smoking and sipping espresso, is still the personal freedom of each of us. Have it your way.

The difference is, you can’t change your wine. But, you can take a lesson from how you take your coffee. Do you add cream? Is half&half your speed? You sneer at milk but stir in 2 scoops of sugar? Think about this when you sip your next wine or the one you are trying right now… Could it use a bit more texture? Does the acid bite a bit too much? If you would rather have it in perfect balance like you do with your coffee each morning, consider this comparison. When chatting with your wine guy, ask him or her about the overtness of the acids. Mellow or racy? Calm or nervous? You can answer without hesistation about your coffee. Why not the same with wine?

Balancing the acids to your liking is key to your favorite style of wine. Think about this one factor as you try through different wines. Once you find that balance, you’ll begin to find wines that are perfect every time. And who knows, it might make you change your coffee habits too. You might become one of those scarved-Italian snobs? Then I’ll meet you for another cup after I finish my wine!

Ok…just a drop. Cheers

Romancing the Stone(s)

As I was tasting with a group of friends this weekend, there was a term (which would ring the bell on the ol’ Family Feud ‘survey says…’ of WINE VOCAB) that was loosely tossed about and, from my perspective, noted but passed over all too quickly. The term was, Earthy. Come on…I know you have heard this one before or at least seen it in print on the back label of a bottle or two. Earthy. Interesting word but what exactly is it getting at?

To me, this singular word covers too broad a spectrum to connect one sipper’s experience to another’s with absolute certainty. I prefer a slight separation into 2 categories. If we were to divvy this up, earthy could cover wet earth, as in the topsoil and things growing below the low plants of the woods, spanning into the realm of mushrooms, roots, the aromas of forest floor and woodsy scents. This version I think you find more in the nose of the wine and in the flavors mingled with the fruits. This quality of dirt is definitely and rightly so, earthy.

In another way, earthy could also describe the harder ground, where the roots have dug deep and excavated purity and precision. If I am losing you here, answer these few thoughts: Ever stand near a trickling stream and breathed in the wet rocks at your feet? Perhaps in avoiding the hole of a deep dig construction site you noticed the distinctive smell of old clay and broken rock? Maybe the attractive clean smell of the surf-crushed shells and sand in a dried dune of a beach caught your attention while digging your toes along the shore? I am not being the cheeky wine guy here. I am describing what I call, minerality. Minerals are actual present in the wine your sipping right now. They are harvested from deep below, trapped within the liquid belly of the grapes and then floating in the juice that is now your wine. If it is abundant, and the wine is not too dense, then you can feel it more than just taste it. Your teeth will feel chalky. Your palate will feel scrubbed clean. You might even say it feels crunchy?

This is the division…Earth vs. Mineral. The poetic beauty of decomposing matter vs. the hard, intact Mother rock. Smell your wine first to start the questioning of what you are sipping right now. Is there a sense of one or the other?

Now, on the finish, how does your palate feel? Can you taste the stones? Does it go farther into a feeling than just a taste? Does it add a level of interest you never identified before? It is in there…but is it soil or rock? Hard or breaking down? Felt or simply tasted? 

Something to ponder as you get to the last drop. Now, back to your friends and the real reason your sipping your wine. Cheers.

Take the Breath(re)alizer

Friday has landed and by now I am way too late to recommend a perfect wine. However, I can help you add a mental note as to why you love what’s been poured for you. Since we have entered the heat of summer, refreshing your palate is most likely ruling your selection. The calming effect of a pinch of alcohol, though is also in order to relieve the heat-stroke of your work week. A great combination…a teetering balance.

What I mean here is that the perceived presence of alcohol can greatly affect how refreshing a wine is, no matter how cold it is served. Alcohol does 2 things to a wine:

1-It impacts texture and thus contributes to how thin a wine feels. A lower alcohol wine can feel a bit, let’s say, watery, so it can be more palate light and refreshing.

2-It warms the palate as it breathes out of a wine, either adding the welcomed bite of a wanted ‘adult’ beverage or leaving you a fire breathing dragon. Let’s focus on this point today as no one wants a mouth on fire today, at all.

Regardless of what the label might indicate as the technical alcohol percentage, your individual receptors to the intensity of alcohol can vary. Some people can handle a martini, some need a white russian, no? So, let’s see where you are at and assess your comfort. This is super simple.

Take a nice full sip of your delicious vino and wash it around your mouth. Once swallowed, pass over all thoughts of flavors and such. Now, just breathe slowly inward through your mouth. Does it seem to suddenly say..aha..that’s no glass of juice in my hand? Is it intensifying as your read this? And, if you go back to smell the wine, do you now get the same heat in your nostrils? That is high alcohol, showing somehow overtly in the balance of the wine. Perhaps, its not noticeable at all and therefore right in harmony with all the other components. Maybe it could even use a shot? Again, this is all your perception and up to you if it is pleasurable.

If it is too strong though, it might set the tone for a relaxing weekend but it may not be refreshing. If it is indeed too ‘hot’ for your taste then perhaps a different wine is in order for your second glass. Don’t be afraid to say you’d like something with a little less alcohol. After all, you worked hard for your time to sip. You might as well enjoy it to the fullest.

Ok. That’s that. Just a drop.

Enjoy the weekend.

A wine in 3 Acts

Ok Class, here is the lesson for the day:

It is a known fact that wine comes from grapes. Grapes, being a fruit, conveniently come from a vine of some sort. And, assuming they are not hydroponically grown, these plants are rooted somewhere in the earth, with a particular soil type below.

So, following the rules of logic, a wine lover understands wine via this equation:

A complete wine = %fruit(flavor x sugar/acid) +/- %plant(flowers>vegetal) +/- %roots(spices<mineralsx(total funk))

What? Class? Did I lose you? This is why math and wine do not mix. Do not try to solve this at home. 

Instead, let’s take the artistic approach.. the experiential take… the realization of actual tasting as it is meant to be. There is a real splash of study here. A grape brings to the press a history of the season registering from each part of the plant: Berry, vine and root. A moment of inquiry while you casually sip can expand your enjoyment of the wine before you. Plus, it can get you to understand a little of your own palate preferences too.

From the wine you are drinking right now, ask this of what you taste and smell:

1-Is there a dimension of fruity pleasure? This means anything that relates to ripeness, sweet sugary fruits or lean unripe tones, in taste or aroma. Perhaps its overtly wafting? Perhaps is subtle?

2-Is there a note of the plant poking out? This might be grass, herbs, flowers, perfumes and pepper, perhaps leaves of green vibrancy or curled and browning.

3-Is there a facet pulled from the ground? Think here of roots spices, wet earth, moss, rocks of various recollect, truffles if you like, but things below the earth lets say.

There hopefully is a dapple of each, which is fun to explore, no?. Perhaps you would claim this wine as ruled by one of the 3? Name them if you wish or delight in how the union creates something uniquely this wine. It is the 3 Acts of the grape that make wine so profound… so worth reading to the end.

Ok, just a drop. That’s enough. Class dismissed.

Watching your weight

I am thinking of refreshment for some reason? Perhaps because it is a brazillion degrees and miserably humid just about anywhere on the East Coast right now! In this climate, a beer might sound more refreshing but wine can certainly fit the bill here too. This is a perfect moment to single out the thought: What exactly makes a wine refreshing?

It very much has to do with what is called the body of the wine. Not sure what that means? Then take this as today’s Just a Drop.

Look at whatever wine you have in your glass (be it red, white or even rose) and ascertain how rich it looks. How opaque is it? How thick does it appear when swirled? Does it have a particular sparkle to the color?

Does this suggest to you that the wine might have a specific richness?

Now give it the proper taste and requisite swish around the mouth.

Wait for it…Now, does the weight of the wine…

a-seem to match your expectations? A perfect go at first crack?

b-somehow seem thinner and perhaps more watery (even more refreshing!) than you assumed?

c-strike you has oddly heavier, denser, more intensely thick than you thought it would be?

Right or wrong, for better or for worse, whether you like the wine more or less now, you have just identified the factor of weight. You have ‘felt’ the wine. It is one dimension that can often make or break the pleasure of a wine, even if you are not sure why. If you can identify the weight you want right now, it can save the day.

Now…does it quench thy thirst or should you ask for another splash?

Just a drop. That’s enough. Thanks.