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Old 10-26-2017, 04:13 PM
nelliebly nelliebly is offline
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Wine with "notes of asphalt"?

As someone who enjoys wine but is no means a connoisseur, I find the descriptions on bottles and placards interesting. Recently, I found a bottle whose label claimed it had "notes of asphalt." What kind of note IS asphalt? Smoky? Tarry? And why would it be desirable in a wine?
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:18 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:29 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Try here.

The author does a good job of addressing some of the more "earthy" wine terms and why they happen and which are desirable.

Last edited by silenus; 10-26-2017 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
As someone who enjoys wine but is no means a connoisseur, I find the descriptions on bottles and placards interesting. Recently, I found a bottle whose label claimed it had "notes of asphalt." What kind of note IS asphalt? Smoky? Tarry? And why would it be desirable in a wine?
It paves the way to romance.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:15 PM
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I was at a bar last week and some friends were comparing some wines. I described my iced tea with lemon as "thin bodied, with tart notes and a citrus finish". They glared.

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Old 10-26-2017, 05:23 PM
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It makes it the perfect wine when having one for the road.
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:44 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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"Cat piss" aromas in a Sancerre (French Sauvignon Blanc) is actually a desirable trait.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:21 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
"Cat piss" aromas in a Sancerre (French Sauvignon Blanc) is actually a desirable trait.
Yeah, that's a common smell associated with sauvignon blancs. Grass and cat piss. I haven't quite been able to grasp it, though. I love sauv blancs, but I never quite got that "cat piss" description. Then again, I don't own any cats (though I have cat sat before, so I have some experience with their urine.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-26-2017 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:37 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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I'd think it means it has a bit of a sulfurous odor.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:44 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Yeah, that's a common smell associated with sauvignon blancs. Grass and cat piss. I haven't quite been able to grasp it, though. I love sauv blancs, but I never quite got that "cat piss" description. Then again, I don't own any cats (though I have cat sat before, so I have some experience with their urine.)
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I'd think it means it has a bit of a sulfurous odor.
It's kinda hard to describe accurately, and obviously not everyone is the same perception-wise. It's not, to me, "cat piss" exactly, as cat urine has a very distinct ammonia smell and the best Sancerres I've tried don't have an ammonia element so much as what pulykamell references...a grassy, new mown hay, herbal quality that when represented strongly enough references that "cat piss" qualifier.

It also strongly depends on where the Sauvignon Blanc is from, too. Warmer growing climates like California yield vastly different "tropical" styles where cooler climes like Sancerre and New Zealand definitely showcase what we're talking about.

It never ceases to amaze me at the variance in wines of the same grape dependent upon weather, sun exposure, soil mineral content, etc. That's what terroir is all about. IMO, the very best winemakers allow that element to shine through in the finished product rather than trying to manipulate it's essence during the vinification process.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:54 PM
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Notes of asphalt means it was spilled in the driveway and soaked back up and rung out back into the glass/bottle.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:10 PM
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Greek Retsina has always been described by my friend and me as having notes of squeezed telephone poles.

That is, to us, a desirable quality in Retsina.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:47 PM
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Like the OP, I just enjoy wine and don't consider myself a connoisseur by any stretch, but I know that after experiencing a lot of different wines over many years one eventually develops a sense for what to expect from a wine with certain classic descriptors. It's interesting that the article linked in #3 talks about "minerality" a fair bit, as it just happens that one of my current favorites (sadly, now sold out) is a Malbec-Cabernet blend described as having "intense mineral and berry aromas and touches of mint, wood, plum and raspberry". Frankly I can't really detect the wood and raspberry, but it definitely has a unique mineral-water like undercurrent that balances beautifully with the more fruity attributes.

In general these weird descriptors just mean a hint of that sort of aroma but usually in a very pleasant way. Even descriptors with negative connotations like "barnyard" or "skunky" can be positive when they're very mild and/or transient. A promising red wine that seems a bit "skunky" when first opened is often one that quickly develops mellow complexity as it breathes.
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:58 PM
Gray Ghost Gray Ghost is offline
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Haven't read the specific wine yet, but a hint of hot asphalt/tar smell is common in a lot of Italian Nebbiolo-based wines, like Barolo and Barbaresco. I haven't picked it up in US Nebbiolos, but I haven't tried many. I've mainly smelled it in Barolo. I imagine it's some odd sulfur containing compound, but I don't know. I'll bet Davis does though.

Anyway in Barolo/Barbaresco, it often comes with a lot of rose aromas too. And brambles and violets, and sour cherries, but mainly the tar and rose thing.

Strangely, it works. Like Red Burgundy's, "It smells like poop, but in a good way, like smelling your own."

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 10-26-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:02 PM
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If you want a wine with hints of smoke, Pouilly Fume isn't a bad place to start. Should have a hint of struck flint to it, with other typical Sauv Blanc flavors. I don't generally find cat pee in it, more gooseberry going to melon, but I wouldn't be shocked to find it there.
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:48 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
It's kinda hard to describe accurately, and obviously not everyone is the same perception-wise. It's not, to me, "cat piss" exactly, as cat urine has a very distinct ammonia smell and the best Sancerres I've tried don't have an ammonia element so much as what pulykamell references...a grassy, new mown hay, herbal quality that when represented strongly enough references that "cat piss" qualifier.

It also strongly depends on where the Sauvignon Blanc is from, too. Warmer growing climates like California yield vastly different "tropical" styles where cooler climes like Sancerre and New Zealand definitely showcase what we're talking about.

It never ceases to amaze me at the variance in wines of the same grape dependent upon weather, sun exposure, soil mineral content, etc. That's what terroir is all about. IMO, the very best winemakers allow that element to shine through in the finished product rather than trying to manipulate it's essence during the vinification process.
my comment was assuming by "notes of asphalt" it was referring to the smell of actual asphalt being laid down or blacktop being poured. which- due to asphalt's sulfur content- has a bit of that rotten egg smell. and I've had wines with a similar nose; I'd assumed it was not thoroughly degassed.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:08 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is online now
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
As someone who enjoys wine but is no means a connoisseur, I find the descriptions on bottles and placards interesting. Recently, I found a bottle whose label claimed it had "notes of asphalt." What kind of note IS asphalt? Smoky? Tarry? And why would it be desirable in a wine?
You might want to re-read that label and make sure it didn't say "asphodel"...
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Old 10-27-2017, 02:56 PM
nelliebly nelliebly is offline
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Thanks much for the helpful, informative, and in some cases, humorous--"Pave the way for romance," indeed--replies. Cat piss, poop, squeezed telephone poles...I see now that my issue is an unquestioning and unobservant palate.

I can see, too, that some tastes are difficult to describe. How much of a role does the nose play in some of the more ineffable flavors in wine? Can someone with a very sophisticated sense of smell detect asphalt in the scent of the wine? Or is it more the case that the wine tastes the way asphalt smells?

And for the record, yes, it said, "asphalt" on the label. I read it three times, as the first time, I thought it was a little vintner humor. I've often thought it'd be fun to put little phrases like " spent fireworks" or "your nana's brussels sprouts" in descriptions.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:04 PM
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Or Dave Barry's "essences of plum and toast."
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:13 PM
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I assume it was a Burgundy, like an Echezeaux. They are Pinot Noirs. A really subtle one has a coal-tar taste to it. It's all about French terroir - emphasizing the earthiness of a wine vs the fruit forward. After a glass, you grow accustomed to and taste a lot of stuff going on.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
How much of a role does the nose play in some of the more ineffable flavors in wine? Can someone with a very sophisticated sense of smell detect asphalt in the scent of the wine? Or is it more the case that the wine tastes the way asphalt smells?
Your nose is a really important part of detecting flavor. I don't think it requires sophistication to detect asphalt, etc., just experience and a willingness to accept descriptions that sound goofy. Once you had wine with a certain quality, and had it described a certain way, you can usually say, "Ah, I get it now." There is a wee bit of power of suggestion in the process. "Here try this. What do you get? I get wet paper, elmer's glue, and LA smog. And grapes, definitely grapes."

But that said, people do fall on a spectrum of abilities to detect scents. Some are at the high end, some are at the low end.
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:54 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Haven't read the specific wine yet, but a hint of hot asphalt/tar smell is common in a lot of Italian Nebbiolo-based wines, like Barolo and Barbaresco. I haven't picked it up in US Nebbiolos, but I haven't tried many. I've mainly smelled it in Barolo. I imagine it's some odd sulfur containing compound, but I don't know. I'll bet Davis does though.

Anyway in Barolo/Barbaresco, it often comes with a lot of rose aromas too. And brambles and violets, and sour cherries, but mainly the tar and rose thing.

Strangely, it works. Like Red Burgundy's, "It smells like poop, but in a good way, like smelling your own."
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If you want a wine with hints of smoke, Pouilly Fume isn't a bad place to start. Should have a hint of struck flint to it, with other typical Sauv Blanc flavors. I don't generally find cat pee in it, more gooseberry going to melon, but I wouldn't be shocked to find it there.
Nebbiolo is one of my very favorite grapes. It's such a shame that Barolos are so damn expensive (thanks, Gaja!) because I truly believe they are one of, if not THE very best red wine grapes on planet Earth. I am one of the few that can enjoy them young, as tannic as they are, and to me, I've never picked up that "poopy" aroma but I definitely get the violets, tar, dark cherry, autumn leaf, etc aspects in Barolos. Such big, magnificent red wines. For those of you reading, if you want to try this grape without spending close to or more than $100 for a bottle, look to other regions adjacent to Barolo in Piedmont like Barbaresco or Alba. Similar traits, more approachable when young, and way easier on the wallet.

As for smokiness in Pouilly Fume...well duh Grey Ghost, it's right in the name, silly!


Great white wines though, love them too.

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my comment was assuming by "notes of asphalt" it was referring to the smell of actual asphalt being laid down or blacktop being poured. which- due to asphalt's sulfur content- has a bit of that rotten egg smell. and I've had wines with a similar nose; I'd assumed it was not thoroughly degassed.
Could be. I don't think I've ever tasted a wine that was "asphalt", unless "tar" counts, or a "rubbery" smell, like in Pinotage. There's a South African grape that makes wines people either love or hate. It's the asparagus of wines. I happen to not like the examples I've tried but SA has probably come a long way with that grape since I was in the wine business so it's likely there are now more flavorful/better smelling examples.

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Greek Retsina has always been described by my friend and me as having notes of squeezed telephone poles.

That is, to us, a desirable quality in Retsina.
That's a great descriptor, and very true of Retsina. That is such an oddball wine, I could never get into it but it definitely smells funky as all get out. I'd probably call it "melted telephone poles" because it has that aroma of tar/pitch on it that telephone poles smell like when you sniff them on a hot summer day. Yes, I have done this, why do you ask?

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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
Like the OP, I just enjoy wine and don't consider myself a connoisseur by any stretch, but I know that after experiencing a lot of different wines over many years one eventually develops a sense for what to expect from a wine with certain classic descriptors. It's interesting that the article linked in #3 talks about "minerality" a fair bit, as it just happens that one of my current favorites (sadly, now sold out) is a Malbec-Cabernet blend described as having "intense mineral and berry aromas and touches of mint, wood, plum and raspberry". Frankly I can't really detect the wood and raspberry, but it definitely has a unique mineral-water like undercurrent that balances beautifully with the more fruity attributes.

In general these weird descriptors just mean a hint of that sort of aroma but usually in a very pleasant way. Even descriptors with negative connotations like "barnyard" or "skunky" can be positive when they're very mild and/or transient. A promising red wine that seems a bit "skunky" when first opened is often one that quickly develops mellow complexity as it breathes.
Minerality is especially explicit in what are known as "transparent" wines, grapes that display terroir more than others. The best example of this I can think of, and some of the most memorable wines I've ever tried are German Rieslings, specifically those from the Mosel, and also to a lesser degree the Rheingau and Nahe regions.

That "wet stone" minerality is possibly my favorite aspect in a Riesling, because it is something you can both smell AND taste in the finished product. For those that don't know, it literally comes from the vast amounts of shale in the soil on the hillsides where the vines are grown. As a wine grower, you want to vines to "struggle" a bit to get water. Too much and they produce watered down juice and a thin finished wine (especially true of a very rainy harvest season), and obviously too little and the vines will die.

The vines, seeking water, will extend their root systems deep into this shale rich soil, and as they draw water from there, that minerality is literally transported from the shale into the water the vine uptakes, and then into the juice of the grape. It's fascinating, and one of the elements of wine that make it such an interesting, and historically important, topic of humanity and it's ancient relationship to the production and consumption of wine.

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Thanks much for the helpful, informative, and in some cases, humorous--"Pave the way for romance," indeed--replies. Cat piss, poop, squeezed telephone poles...I see now that my issue is an unquestioning and unobservant palate.

I can see, too, that some tastes are difficult to describe. How much of a role does the nose play in some of the more ineffable flavors in wine? Can someone with a very sophisticated sense of smell detect asphalt in the scent of the wine? Or is it more the case that the wine tastes the way asphalt smells?

And for the record, yes, it said, "asphalt" on the label. I read it three times, as the first time, I thought it was a little vintner humor. I've often thought it'd be fun to put little phrases like " spent fireworks" or "your nana's brussels sprouts" in descriptions.
Also for the record, and since nobody else has asked...what the hell wine is it, anyway? Producer, region, grape varietal, etc...pretty please.

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I assume it was a Burgundy, like an Echezeaux. They are Pinot Noirs. A really subtle one has a coal-tar taste to it. It's all about French terroir - emphasizing the earthiness of a wine vs the fruit forward. After a glass, you grow accustomed to and taste a lot of stuff going on.
Possibly, and my experience with Premier and Grand Cru Burgundy is limited (just like the production, hence the expense), but I have found those Pinot Noirs are all over the map (literally and figuratively) aroma and flavor wise.

My understanding is that Burgundy reds are the apex of terroir. I do know that the best vineyards are heavily parceled out to many different owners. You'll have your row of vines over there, and here are mine, all on the same plot of land on the hill facing the Sun in Romanee Conti.

Burgundy was also home to medieval monks that practiced winemaking and whom developed the essence of terroir, learning to taste the soil, where to best locate the vines, which direction they should face, how to prune the leaf canopy to to get the right amount of "spangled sunshine" on the grape clusters...it goes on and on. These vineyards are ancient and are family heirlooms, and some of the land parcels are TINY. It's amazing shit, read up on it sometime.
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:09 AM
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Foiegrasisevil, I'll look for it the next time I'm at that particular store. I'm pretty sure WordMan is correct and that it was a pinot noir. It might be a few weeks before I head back there, but I'll post here when I find out specifics. I hope they still carry it!
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:26 AM
Kolak of Twilo Kolak of Twilo is online now
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Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
Nebbiolo is one of my very favorite grapes. It's such a shame that Barolos are so damn expensive (thanks, Gaja!) because I truly believe they are one of, if not THE very best red wine grapes on planet Earth. I am one of the few that can enjoy them young, as tannic as they are, and to me, I've never picked up that "poopy" aroma but I definitely get the violets, tar, dark cherry, autumn leaf, etc aspects in Barolos. Such big, magnificent red wines. For those of you reading, if you want to try this grape without spending close to or more than $100 for a bottle, look to other regions adjacent to Barolo in Piedmont like Barbaresco or Alba. Similar traits, more approachable when young, and way easier on the wallet.

(SNIP)
In particular Langhe Nebbiolo can be a real bargain. Vietti makes a Nebbiolo called Perbacco that is basically decertified Barolo. The could declare it but choose not to do so because these are the younger, more productive vines. It still runs $25ish a bottle but is well worth it. There also some excellent wines from the more northern part of Piedmont in the Gattinara DOCG. Travaglini is a reliably excellent producer that is most likely the easiest to find in the US. Their basic wine runs around $30 a bottle and is consistently excellent. Ghemme DOCG is another northern spot for great Nebbiolo but they are not so easy to find here.
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Old 10-28-2017, 12:34 AM
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Aha! I remembered the producer's name was female and sounded American aristocratic. That led me to "Kennedy," and after I googled it, then did a Google image search, I recognized the (boring) label, which I'd examined carefully for signs the asphalt thing was a joke. When I looked it up on the Wine Enthusiast site, the description fit. It's a Kathryn Kennedy 2012 Estate CabernetSauvignon (Santa Cruz Mountains). I'm not certain of the year, but the rest is accurate. Here's the description from Wine Enthusiast:

A thoroughly elegant, serious and yet immensely
enjoyable wine that stays lively many days after
opening, this bottling from a regional icon shows
dried violets, dried strawberry, crushed pepper
and touches of leather and soy on the wondrous
nose. Lithe black plum and elderberry fruits ride
along a tight but forgiving tannic structure, with
support from crushed gravel, asphalt, potpourri,
sandalwood and cedar flavors. Editors’ Choice.
—M.K.
abv: 14.9% Price: $100

How I missed the "crushed gravel," I'll never know. I recall now that I thought of buying it just to show the "asphalt" bit to friends, but $100 was out of my price range. If anyone tries it, I'd be curious to know if you taste the crushed gravel; it seems the asphalt would drown it out.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:05 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Aha! I remembered the producer's name was female and sounded American aristocratic. That led me to "Kennedy," and after I googled it, then did a Google image search, I recognized the (boring) label, which I'd examined carefully for signs the asphalt thing was a joke. When I looked it up on the Wine Enthusiast site, the description fit. It's a Kathryn Kennedy 2012 Estate CabernetSauvignon (Santa Cruz Mountains). I'm not certain of the year, but the rest is accurate. Here's the description from Wine Enthusiast:

A thoroughly elegant, serious and yet immensely
enjoyable wine that stays lively many days after
opening, this bottling from a regional icon shows
dried violets, dried strawberry, crushed pepper
and touches of leather and soy on the wondrous
nose. Lithe black plum and elderberry fruits ride
along a tight but forgiving tannic structure, with
support from crushed gravel, asphalt, potpourri,
sandalwood and cedar flavors. Editorsí Choice.
óM.K.
abv: 14.9% Price: $100

How I missed the "crushed gravel," I'll never know. I recall now that I thought of buying it just to show the "asphalt" bit to friends, but $100 was out of my price range. If anyone tries it, I'd be curious to know if you taste the crushed gravel; it seems the asphalt would drown it out.
That's just cork-sniffing douchebaggery. A way to say that the tannins are as big as the very-forward fruit component, so it's balanced even while a big taste. Beyond that, they're makin shit up.

Fois is correct about Burgundies and terroir. The French literally want you to taste the dirt in their wines. California wines are like Phil Spector's Wall of Sound: a huge production that is a blend of over-the-topness on all fronts. French wines are like string quartets: every ingredient is distinct, and you appreciate how the come together as much as what each is on its own. Both work.
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Old 10-28-2017, 01:06 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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That's just cork-sniffing douchebaggery. A way to say that the tannins are as big as the very-forward fruit component, so it's balanced even while a big taste. Beyond that, they're makin shit up.

Fois is correct about Burgundies and terroir. The French literally want you to taste the dirt in their wines. California wines are like Phil Spector's Wall of Sound: a huge production that is a blend of over-the-topness on all fronts. French wines are like string quartets: every ingredient is distinct, and you appreciate how the come together as much as what each is on its own. Both work.
That's a good summation. Simply put, French wines veer towards elegance, CA wines towards power. And it's not just how the wines are made in the winery, it's the different climates too. CA is a much warmer growing region than France, and hence get more of everything in the grapes.
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Old 10-28-2017, 02:08 PM
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Sometimes if I get fall-down-drunk enough I might detect notes of asphalt.

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cork-sniffing douchebaggery.

Thank-you, WordMan, for providing one of the more enjoyable phrases I've come across here in a while.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:33 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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And just for the record, you aren't supposed to sniff the cork when it's presented. You check it's pliability, see if it's crumbling at all, and check the depth of the stain (if red) on the end. Age-worthy wines should always be stored on their sides so the liquid stays in contact with the cork to prevent it from totally drying out.

Of course, a lot of this is starting to go away with alternative closures like plastic corks, screw caps (stelvins), etc...
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:52 PM
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And just for the record, you aren't supposed to sniff the cork when it's presented. You check it's pliability, see if it's crumbling at all, and check the depth of the stain (if red) on the end. Age-worthy wines should always be stored on their sides so the liquid stays in contact with the cork to prevent it from totally drying out.

Of course, a lot of this is starting to go away with alternative closures like plastic corks, screw caps (stelvins), etc...
Muppets go well with any wine.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:20 PM
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And just for the record, you aren't supposed to sniff the cork when it's presented. .
Oh. No WONDER wine stewards have looked askance when I snorted it up a nostril.

My mother was from an impoverished village in southern Italy. No tragedy was too great nor celebration too small to warrant the appearance of the wine jug, usually from the sale bin. Ma favored full-bodied reds, usually chianti from Ernest and Julio or the now-defunct Italian Swiss Colony. She came to appreciate white wine but I think always viewed it as foreign, probably due to the cultural rift between northern and southern Italians. Since Ma's region produced olives, not grapes, wine was wine.

I know more about more kinds of wine than Ma did, but I still have a lot to learn. Thanks for all the help.
  #32  
Old 10-28-2017, 10:22 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Muppets go well with any wine.
LOL! Forgot all about Steve Martin in shorts as sommelier. Good stuff!
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  #33  
Old 10-29-2017, 02:16 AM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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I was at a bar last week and some friends were comparing some wines. I described my iced tea with lemon as "thin bodied, with tart notes and a citrus finish". They glared.

Dennis
You're my kind of guy!

Oenophiles and audiophiles are the biggest bullshitters in the world. Yes, there is a difference in quality but it only fits into three categories, garbage, good and exceptional.

Audiophiles don't listen to music, they listen to equipment. Oenophile don't enjoy wine for the purpose it was created, they just want an excuse to act like pretentious assholes.

Last edited by R. P. McMurphy; 10-29-2017 at 02:17 AM.
  #34  
Old 10-29-2017, 09:40 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is online now
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Can't argue. As a man whose father has been married to a woman from Lyon for 30+ years I've experienced this first hand all over France one time or another. Nobody snobs up wine like middle class Frenchmen.

Seriously, basic marketing theory indicates that if you have to advertise - or talk up in fancy terms - your product there's really not much difference between yours and the next guys. It's why we see beer and cars advertised so heavily. If there were that large a difference in quality or performance we'd see the market take care of that in a reasonable amount of time.

That's not to say that there's no difference. Experiment and drink what you like. But the terms they use to promote and market could just as easily be cut down to 'sweet', 'tannin', and other straightforward terms.

And, because I love the show...

Adam Ruins Everything: Wines
  #35  
Old 10-29-2017, 10:02 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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That's a good summation. Simply put, French wines veer towards elegance, CA wines towards power. And it's not just how the wines are made in the winery, it's the different climates too. CA is a much warmer growing region than France, and hence get more of everything in the grapes.
As a Californian and a wine lover, I must step in to defend my state. More and more CA winemakers are opting for a European style and Californians (not all, but many) are tiring of the over-oaked Chardonnays (Rombauer, anyone?) and overpowering Cabernets. One of the leaders of that change is Randal Graham of Bonny Doon Vineyard (aka, The Rhone Ranger). This is especially true when you get away from Napa and into some of the other, just as interesting but less well known, wine growing regions.

I realize that you were purposely generalizing, which it's sometimes necessary to do, but things really are changing in the CA wine industry, which is very large and very diverse in terms of winemaking philosophies.

Last edited by John Mace; 10-29-2017 at 10:04 AM.
  #36  
Old 10-29-2017, 11:29 AM
Tatterdemalion Tatterdemalion is offline
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One of my favorite Thurber cartoons. I think it apropos.

https://condenaststore.com/featured/...s-thurber.html
  #37  
Old 10-29-2017, 01:54 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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That "wet stone" minerality is possibly my favorite aspect in a Riesling, because it is something you can both smell AND taste in the finished product. For those that don't know, it literally comes from the vast amounts of shale in the soil on the hillsides where the vines are grown.
Even before I came to the second sentence, I was thinking of the water taste in central/western NY, with the best tasting tapwater in the world. And NYS has a lot of shale, including in the wine-producing regions, so the next time I have a NYS wine I'll have to watch for stony tastes.
  #38  
Old 11-20-2017, 12:08 PM
MacLir MacLir is offline
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Greek Retsina has always been described by my friend and me as having notes of squeezed telephone poles.

That is, to us, a desirable quality in Retsina.
I would describe it as pinewood sawdust, but yes, definitely.

To me it conjures images of summer afternoons in rooms paneled in knotty pine.
  #39  
Old 11-20-2017, 01:45 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
As a Californian and a wine lover, I must step in to defend my state. More and more CA winemakers are opting for a European style and Californians (not all, but many) are tiring of the over-oaked Chardonnays (Rombauer, anyone?) and overpowering Cabernets. One of the leaders of that change is Randal Graham of Bonny Doon Vineyard (aka, The Rhone Ranger). This is especially true when you get away from Napa and into some of the other, just as interesting but less well known, wine growing regions.

I realize that you were purposely generalizing, which it's sometimes necessary to do, but things really are changing in the CA wine industry, which is very large and very diverse in terms of winemaking philosophies.
No doubt that change is happening. Cline is a California producer of Rhone-style wines with traditional Rhone grapes...as well as making some great red zins.

Another producer I quite like is Edmunds St John. I have met their winemaker Steve, and he's a cool cat. We had a great wine dinner based around his wines at a very nice (now closed) restaurant in Cincinnati called Pigall's (by Jean Robert).

Apropos to the thread, one of Edmunds Saint John's most popular wines is called "Rocks And Gravel".

https://www.wine-searcher.com/wine-5...california-usa
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  #40  
Old 11-24-2017, 07:14 PM
CelticKnot CelticKnot is offline
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I rarely like wine. I don't drink coffee, either, and tea must be sweet.
The only wines I have liked have been the sweeter ones. Riesling is about as far as I want to go away from dessert wines. Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and a wine from Wines of the San Juan called Sweet Cherry Pie are what I will drink.
I won't drink beer either, because I can't stand bitter flavors.

I never understood all the "notes" "tones" and "finishes."
But I have heard many times that wine snobs are often completely befuddled when they don't know what they are really drinking.
  #41  
Old 11-24-2017, 11:21 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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I never understood all the "notes" "tones" and "finishes."
If you don't like wine, you're not going to drink it enough to get to the point where you can understand those things. Also, since you like only sweet wines, you're going to be focused on the sweetness, and not the other "notes".
Quote:
But I have heard many times that wine snobs are often completely befuddled when they don't know what they are really drinking.
That sounds like something people who don't know much about wine tell themselves so they can feel superior to folks who do like wine*. Yes, there are wine snob poseurs who have no idea what they are talking about, but there are also wine aficionados who do.

*Not saying you fall in that category, but I suspect most of the people you have "heard" that from do.

Last edited by John Mace; 11-24-2017 at 11:22 PM.
  #42  
Old 11-25-2017, 12:58 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Wine lovers, wine snobs, and just about anybody who likes an interesting, informative documentary should check out Somm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw0PR3zm4z8&t=2s
  #43  
Old 11-25-2017, 05:53 PM
CelticKnot CelticKnot is offline
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If you don't like wine, you're not going to drink it enough to get to the point where you can understand those things. Also, since you like only sweet wines, you're going to be focused on the sweetness, and not the other "notes".

That sounds like something people who don't know much about wine tell themselves so they can feel superior to folks who do like wine*. Yes, there are wine snob poseurs who have no idea what they are talking about, but there are also wine aficionados who do.

*Not saying you fall in that category, but I suspect most of the people you have "heard" that from do.
Actually, I got it from Adam Ruins Everything, and IIRC, Mythbusters did a wine taste test that showed the same thing.

And since I don't like wine, I'm certainly not going to waste my money buying in bulk so I can have enough experience to "understand" it.
  #44  
Old 11-25-2017, 05:58 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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I was thinking about starting a thread about strange smells you find appealing. I thought of that while smelling fresh hot asphalt being poured. Maybe I should try that wine.
  #45  
Old 11-25-2017, 07:13 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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I was thinking about starting a thread about strange smells you find appealing. I thought of that while smelling fresh hot asphalt being poured. Maybe I should try that wine.
Or maybe a thread of "things that taste just like they smell", like peanut butter.

There are many smells I enjoy. Most humans love the smell of freshly baked bread, or the smell of freshly ground coffee, even if they don't like coffee the drink.

There are many man-made smells that I like a whiff of, freshly-laid asphalt being one. Or freshly cut grass in the Summer. A whiff of gasoline as I fill up the car. Sometimes even car exhaust, especially back in the day with leaded gas, smelled interesting.

I also like some smells of nature. I actually like a far off, faint wisp of skunk smell on a warm Summer night. Or the smell of the Earth, soil, dirt. Mulch has an interesting smell.

Start the thread, I'm ready!
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