(Third in a 3 part series)
Most people realize that I am asking them what their favorite alcoholic beverage is. Only once someone gave me a true answer. He said their oldest scotch! The reason I ask is that the question tells me what flavors you like in your alcohol. When people come in and they say they like a good scotch or whiskey; I go and pull out the El Anejo. I tell them not to think of this as a wine or as a scotch, but to use both thinking caps when they try the wine. 99% of the time the client loves this wine because it shares a little bit of the peat flavors and the smokiness. Yet it still has some dry fruitiness from a wine. When people tell me they like beer, I ask them which beer they have in mind. People who love sour beers love wines like the Peterson Barbera, where there is a lot of fruit and acid, but no sweetness in the wine. Stout lovers like the big bold and slightly earthy wines. People who love Bud and Coors and Natural Ice…. I refer them to questions one and two.
Out of all three questions this is the hardest one for me to explain. I have had a lot of experience tasting different types of alcohol and tasting many different flavors; but a lot of how I find the best wine is just making little connections. I watch your face, listen to what you say to the rest of the group, see how much is left in your glass, what you are nibbling on when you are drinking the wine, and how people are looking at other people tasting. The most important thing is to be able to make that mental connection between flavors and what your own palette remembers about them. I have the opportunity to test out my theories on many people every day. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. But the most important thing when it comes to tasting wines is to open up your mind to whatever memories their taste and smell bring to you and be able to connect them to other memories.
When I first started working at locals I didn’t think I would have to change my personal habits too much. I get to sleep in, have a later dinner, and not have to worry about getting the frost off of my window. One thing I did not think of was how I would have to change brushing my teeth. I would come in and taste the wines and make sure they were not oxidized. Sounds pretty simple right?
Not 20 minutes before I had brushed my teeth as I was going out the door after breakfast. The wine I tasted was horrible! It wasn’t oxidized, but the flavor was very off. I figured it might have been because I had super spicy Thai food the night before and maybe my palette was still off. When this happened many days in a row I knew something was up.
I started brushing my teeth sooner, or tasting the wine later, it helped but not much. Then I switched out my peppermint toothpaste with a “citrus burst” toothpaste. I never had the problem again. There must be something about minty toothpaste that just kills the sweet and fruit receptors on your tongue. I find it can take up to 2 hours for the mintyness to come off of your palette. So if you know you will be tasting wine early in the day, be sure to use a non minty toothpaste so you can enjoy the wines the way they are supposed to be tasting.
The 50 Things List can be found HERE.
Boy ….you really missed a good time if you did not make it to the Eric Ross Pinot Noir Release event this past Saturday. Folks have been snapping up the new Pinot as well as Eric’s other wines. The Struttin’ Red is right in the zone now. Smooth, yummy and way too easy to drink. The Tempranillo is a treat as well. It is not too late to taste these wines for your self…..and finish up with a little of the Eric Ross Old Vine Zin Port. I dare you to put that one down!
I know it is hard to believe that the Dog Days of August are behind us. So what’s exciting to look forward to at the end of summer and the beginning of fall?
September is California Wine Month.
It is time for that road trip. Come see us at Locals and try some of our newly released wines like the 2010 Old Vine Zin and 2010 Port from Eric Ross, the new Cuvee Rose and Buzzard Red from Pendleton Winery, not to mention the whole line up of Kit Fox Winery that Locals recently added to our lineup.
We also have some recent award winners with Praxis Viognier and Lagrein as well. Harvest and Crush are just beginning, the smell of autumn is in the air and leaves are slowly beginning to move to the wonderful colors of fall. Take time to taste the wines. See you soon.
Locals Tasting Room
It always amazes me, working behind the bar at Locals to hear the adventures that the customers are having and the wines they purchase to enjoy. Lately we had a young couple from Oakland in to buy wines, they were headed to Lake County to lie outside on a blanket and watch the meteors with their four year old. They bought (accordingly) a bottle of One Time Space Man “Moon Duck” and a bottle of Pendleton Petite Syrah to enjoy while watching the falling stars.
Sunday a club member picked up her wines and then bought a mix of whites, Albarino, The Choir and Foggy Valley Chardonnay for their up coming trip to Burning Man. I’m sure their camp site will be a hit with all the great wines they are taking along.
Three weeks ago a couple from San Francisco came out and sampled wines, they returned this weekend and bought 5 cases of wines for their wedding, it was great fun discussing the wines and the foods and coming up with the wines that they will remember forever for their wedding event.
What are your plans?
Got the wines you need?
Stop by for a tasting and share the good times.
As we prepared for our Memorial Day feast, the smoke of grilled meats wafting down the lane; neighbors walking by stopped to wish us a good holiday and chat, suddenly a chilled bottle of Beachfront from Bedarra appeared, glasses were filled, laughter and conversation drifting down to the River and back drew other drop ins and more wine appeared.
Next extra deck chairs and candles are out and people are visiting, telling stories and talking about sharing meals, so the impromptu pot luck starts to unfold, people bringing dishes to share from their holiday meal. Being the unexpected host of the event I was pleased to be able to walk to the cellar and pull out some great wines for our progressive party. I pulled out two bottles of Peterson Old School Zin and two bottles of Eric Ross 09 Old vine Zin that I knew would pair well with the grilled meats.
Which begs the question are you ready for summer drop in’s and impromptu events. As our event progressed we all started talking about Sonoma Cheeses and everyone went home and brought one cheese from their refrigerator and we paired them with Pendleton’s Estate Late Harvest Sirah, a yummy way to finish the meal. Stop by Locals and sample some wines and find the neighbor pleasing, friend building, fun wines for your house hold and your next event, planned or unplanned.
Locals Tasting Room
In case you missed it. Geyserville was in the news again. This Sunday in the “Sonoma Living” section of the Press Democrat, Catellis was written up as a great restaurant to not miss during your trip to Wine Country. Unpretentious Catelli’s carries on a family tradition in Geyserville.
Catellis, a favorite of many locals is also becoming a hot spot for diners from surrounding cities like Healdsburg, Windsor, Cloverdale and San Francisco. Recently visited by Lady Gaga, Catellis was given four stars for ambiance and three stars for food, so get your road trip together and come visit us at Locals, pick up your wines and do some great dining. Catellis provides free corkage on one bottle of wine for any Sonoma residents, but never fear Catellis also provides free corkage for ANY wines purchased at Locals as well. See you soon.
Locals Tasting Room