As many of you know Chuck and I went to wine country for the first half of our honeymoon and while I have already talked about much of what we did and the wineries that we went to I want to take a moment to reflect on everything that I learned while we were there.
I have always been kind of a wino (since I was old enough to drink anyway) but as I get older my tastes have changed quite a bit. Cheap fruity wines just aren’t my thing anymore. I really like all wine, but especially crisp oaked Chardonnay’s, dry Rieslings and very rich, full bodied reds. While we were in wine country we spent hours tasting wine and talking to the aficionados about everything that they knew. I wish I was better at taking notes but here are some of the major points that I learned while on the trip.
- The Finger Lakes region is known for whites, though some places do make Pinot Noir’s. We ran into a number of Rieslings, and Chardonnay’s that were amazing. Even some really special Ice Wines.
- A good Pinot Noir is slightly transparent when held in a glass at an angle. We heard this in more than winery.
- Where there is chardonnay there is pinot noir. The two grapes varieties are related and grow well together.
- Rieslings vary wildly; they can be very light or rather rich. None taste alike.
- There is a distinct difference in oaked and un-oaked chardonnay. Un-oaked chardonnay’s are lighter, fruitier and reminiscent of pinot gris, or sauvignon blanc while oaked chardonnay’s are rich and buttery with flavors like caramel and oak. The Finger Lakes is a cooler grape growing climate so their oaked chardonnay’s tend to be more citrus-y then the tropical notes of warmer climates.
- Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio – both are made with the same variety of grape, however they are very different wines. Pinot Grigio is a lighter, crisper, fresher wine with lots of fruit and floral notes. Pinot Gris is more full bodied, richer, and spicier, with more aging power.
- Serving temperature makes a difference – I already knew this but it’s still good to mention. The info graphic below from my new obsession Wine Folly does a great job of explaining the correct temperatures for an array of wines.
- Ladies first. I loved that pretty much every winery and restaurant served ladies first. It’s nice that tradition sticks around in the wine culture.
- Ice wine is really made with ice – or frozen grapes that is. Grapes are left on the vine to freeze. The sugars do not freeze however, just the water so when pressed a more concentrated sweeter juice is released and then made into a super sweet wine.
- Only champagne’s made in France can be called champagnes. – In 2006 the US signed a trade agreement that prevents US producers from using certain terms for their wines, with the exception of those who already had an approved label. That’s why you will sometimes still see a California Champange, however it must be labeled with its location.
That’s just the main points. I’m excited to keep learning more about wines and wine pairings.
So what are your favorite wines?