I may not be a wine connoisseur, however I've never been known to turn down a glass either. So when I heard about the 9th annual Grand Portfolio Wine Tasting hosted by the Masciarelli Wine Company held yesterday, I leaped at the opportunity to go. I pictured dozens of wines laid out before me, all ripe for the choosing, and ready to sip. I found that my day dream about the event was spot on, however I had not counted on being a bit overwhelmed!
When I entered the Wharf Room at the Boston Harbor Hotel last evening I was handed a heavy booklet outlining each table station, the vineyards represented, and the varieties available. Each distinct variety was noted with it's year, any awards won, and the prices per case. Overwhelmed might have been an understatement.
I began my evening with a Barolo from the Parusso Vineyard, 2006 vintage. This was a beautiful wine- richly fruity, I thought I detected some sweet cherry flavor, and a wonderful finish to it. Delicious. I'm going to be on the look out for this one at my local wine stores.
My absolute favorite of the night though was from Claar Cellars, located in the Columbia Valle, and their 2008 Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented. This had some of the strongest butter flavors I have ever experienced in wine, but with a great undertone of sweetness. After falling deeply in love with this wine, I wondered, what was did "Barrel Fermented" mean exactly? I could, of course, infer a general idea, but I thought a little research was in order.
In basic terms, Barrel Fermentation refers to the idea that the wine is literally fermented in small barrels. Apparently, under normal wine making practices, wine is transferred into stainless steel tanks, or large vats for the fermentation process. Barrel Fermented blends actually stay in relatively small batches in their barrels. This can dilute the actual fruit flavor some, but instills in its place creamier flavors with richer complexities.
Attending last nights event made me realize just how much I have to learn about wine, and the qualifying factors of them. So I have to ask you, my readers, what do you think is the most important thing to know when tasting wines?