Monday, May 14, 2007

Wente Wine In Ohio

Years ago when I was just beginning my education in the wine world, and enjoying every moment of it, I was lucky enough to have my good friend Lee working in the wine business. She and another friend of mine, Al, lead me through many tastings with many bottles of wine. At one of the wine festivals here in Ohio, there was a private tasting of Wente Vineyards Wine and Carolyn Wente was present. Lee ask me if I would like to attend with her and, of course, you know the answer to that request. It was a nice event and I felt cool being able to meet someone who was part owner of a winery, especially a winery with a history like Wente's. They are the oldest family owned and continuously operated winery in California. The Wente Family established their winery back in 1883 and it is now managed by the fourth and fifth generation of the Wente Family.

Every once in awhile I pick up a bottle of Wente Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc because it is a good wine for the price, under $12.00. I choose a bottle of their 2004 Livermore Valley Sauvignon Blanc which had a beautiful, almost clear straw color to it. Alcohol content was 13.5%. On opening, there were aromas of gooseberry and citrus climbing into my nose. On the palate I found the same flavors of the gooseberry, citrus and also I may have detected a hint of grass. It was a lovely dry, crisp wine with just the right amount of acidity to give you a little smack on the tongue. Served it nicely chilled for that Spring evening, that wound up giving us a little chill later as the sun went down!



Nate said...

Sounds great! And how fun to meet Carolyn Wente! But I have a question for you - have you ever seen or tasted a gooseberry? When I'm writing up tasting notes, I always try to put things into context with foods / smells /etc that I've actually experienced, and not trained myself to identify from wine alone (cassis is a good example of this).

I guess part of being able to accurately describe the scents and flavors in wine is building a scent and aroma library in your brain, and that means consciously smelling and tasting all sorts of things (not just wine) for use in descriptive tasting notes later on. So I was just wondering if you'd ever had gooseberries, and could thus pull that scent/aroma out of your mental library as a descriptor for the Wente Sauv Blanc.

Not meaning to be critical here - just always trying to learn!

winedeb said...

Hey Nate - I base my gooseberry flavors on a gooseberry wine I made some years ago.(The only wine I have ever made at home. It is alot of work to make your own wine but it was a good exercise) I used gooseberries that I purchased at the wine store that were canned but grown in California. They had no sugar or anything added to them. The berry was very small and light green-gray in color. The berry itself when I tasted it was sour and green tasting. Kind of made your mouth pucker up, ya know. So when the wine was complete and bottled it was very dry, crisp, maybe just a hint of green apple, still had that green taste to it and it was tangy on the tongue, almost effervecent (did I spell that right?) The wine was very pale and clear in color. So sometimes that is a good description for me to use as I pull those flavors and smells out of a wine.
I do not know if an organic market in your area may have fresh gooseberries, but it may be fun if you can find some to give them a try. Mine were not fresh, but I think it was close enough to get the flavor. Probably getting just a normal can of gooseberries at the store will not work as they probably have sugar added to them. I would check the can for ingredients before I would purchase. I know it is hard to describe a flavor, but I hope this helps you. Thank you for asking!