Born Digital Wine Awards – WineSnark Honored in Europe

bdwabywim-logo_transparentThe Born Digital Wine Awards has shortlisted WineSnark in the Best Editorial/Opinion Wine Writing competition. I think of BDWA as an international version of the Wine Blog Awards and WineSnark is up against competition from the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil. Here’s the post that somehow fooled the judges.

The Angel’s Share. It Will Be Mist. (Revisited)

Angel in Montepulciano wine cellar copyCenturies ago, Cognac producers learned that impermeable oak barrels were very good for keeping spirits in, but not very good at keeping spirits out. When cellarmasters discovered their precious product was disappearing from the barrels locked in their basements, they came to the logical conclusion that angels must be visiting the cellars and drinking from the heavenly casks. The missing portion became known as “la part des anges” or the “angel’s share”. I think most Cognac producers believe the 2% to 4% that disappears every year is fair compensation for the angel’s empyrean influence on their maturing brandy.

Two to four percentage points might not seem like much but it adds up over time. A single Cognac cask holds 263 bottles when full. Sixty years later the angel’s share will reduce that by 83 bottles, or approximately half the Cognac Busta Rhymes and Snoop Doggy Dog drink on Tuesday night. On the bright side, Cognac producers don’t have to pay tax on the missing spirit, leaving me to wonder; what does a line item deduction for angel’s consumption look like on a tax return?

Read More

The Angel’s Share. It Will Be Mist.

Chapter Thirteen, Part Five.
Angel in Montepulciano wine cellar copyCenturies ago, Cognac producers learned that impermeable oak barrels were very good for keeping spirits in, but not very good at keeping spirits out. When cellarmasters discovered their precious product was disappearing from the barrels locked in their basements, they came to the logical conclusion that angels must be visiting the cellars and drinking from the heavenly casks. The missing portion became known as “la part des anges” or the “angel’s share”. I think most Cognac producers believe the 2% to 4% that disappears every year is fair compensation for the angel’s empyrean influence on their maturing brandy.

Two to four percentage points might not seem like much but it adds up over time. A single Cognac cask holds 263 bottles when full. Sixty years later the angel’s share will reduce that by 83 bottles, or approximately half the Cognac Busta Rhymes and Snoop Doggy Dog drink on Tuesday night. On the bright side, Cognac producers don’t have to pay tax on the missing spirit, leaving me to wonder; what does a line item deduction for angel’s consumption look like on a tax return?

Read More

Oak – The Grandfathered Ingredient.

Chapter Thirteen, Part One.

“Oak in wine should be like a ghost in a chateau; you sense its presence, but you don’t actually recognize it.” Pierre Seillan

Manoel Pedro Guimaraens.

Manoel Pedro Guimaraens.

Before his untimely death in 2002, I had lunch with Bruce Guimaraens, the fifth generation winemaker for the esteemed port houses Fonseca and Taylor-Fladgate. Guimaraens was the great, great grandson of Manoel Guimaraens, who founded Fonseca-Guimaraens in 1822. I probably think being a great, great grandson is a big deal because I was never a great, great grandson; I was just an average great grandson.

Read More

Who Put The Bop In The Bop Shoo-Bop Shoo-Bop?

or “Where Do All Those Wonderful Flavors Come From!”

Chapter Ten. Part One.
Woman with recordRegular followers of WineSnark have learned how to discern and describe the varied vagaries of vino but have you ever wondered where these peculiarities come from? Why does Syrah from the Rhone Valley taste different from Shiraz produced in Australia? (Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety but our spell buds perceive them differently). Where does the “butter” flavor come from in some Chardonnays? How come Cabernet Sauvignon can taste like blackberries or like vanilla? What makes Pinot Noir taste different from Pinot Gris?

The answer to these questions can be found in the science of winemaking. Now don’t roll your eyes and reach for the mouse. I realize the onus of this site is flavor and not geography, meteorology, botany or chemistry, but this stuff has everything to do with the quality of wine and it’s about time WineSnark examine the scientific foundation of these unique flavors. I promise to keep it simple and I won’t even use a periodic table, unless I need someplace to set my wine glass.

Read More