August 27, 2008

Wine 101: Smell

Remember in 10th grade chemistry class the teacher sang that jingle, "If you want to smell an odor waft it to you *clap clap*!" Ok, whether you do or don't is a separate story, but we're going to use that as a guide to smelling our wines. 

In fact, the most important part of assessing your wine is achieved through your nose.  By swirling around your glass, you'll release the esters and aiderhyde in the wine (for beginner noses, we are referring to the wine's aroma). Releasing these entities will make it easier to detect the overall bouquet of the wine. When the scent is released it will help you determine fruit and spice characteristics. For more advanced noses, you may also be able to detect the origin, climate, vinification and vintage of the wine. 

When you hear real winos describing their wines, they often relate it to fruits. That's because 

What's aroma? The correct smells identified in wine may be similar to that of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, earth, minerals, tar, oak, leather, honey, caramel, etc. Winos use these terms becausewine consists of over 300 different chemical compounds, many of which are similar to those found in fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, etc. 

Now it's time for "homework" (this is the homework I would have got an A+ on when I was in school)... Next time you're enjoying a glass of wine, make sure you follow these steps:

1) Use your pointer and middle finger at the stem of the glass to swirl your wine around.
2) Dip your nose into the wine glass and take a deep breath in paying attention to all the scents. Make sure your wine smells clean or "like wine." If you smell something off-color, there could be a "fault" with your glass/bottle, in which case don't proceed.
3) Take a sip of the wine and swirl in your mouth, similar to like you would with Listerine. Let the wine cover your tongue and cheeks.
4) With the wine still in your mouth, breathe in a tad bit of air (we'll get into this in a later post).
5) Swallow and enjoy.

What did you taste? Jot it down if you need to. By taking the time to explore your wine, particularly it's smell, you'll get a better feel for personality of your glass.

August 26, 2008

Wine 101: Appearance -- Gas & Viscosity

In the past few posts we've been chatting about the different appearances that your wines can exude in order to help you better characterize your glass. Both viscosity and gas are two additional components under the "appearance" category that you should keep in mind during wine tasting.

Next time you're drinking a nice glass of vino and someone comments about your "nice legs," don't be so quick to jump to conclusions that the person is hitting on you an an outdated sort of fashion. Truth is, they are probably commenting on the viscosity of your wine. 

Viscosity refers to the consistency of your wine and can be identified by those dripping marks (known as "legs" or "tears") trickling down the inside of your glass. Test it out - swirl your wine glass around and look how the wine drips down the glass. The thicker the "legs" the higher the alcohol content and/or sugar contents of the wine. More alcohol? More sugar? It's no wonder I go for the thicker consistency wines!

Evidence of gas in a still wine should be noticed, as it indicates that the wine is young, fresh or in some cases, out of condition. 

As we continue to break down the attributes of wine, be sure to check back in for Wine 101. We'll continue to unlock the mysteries that are smell and taste. Afterall, a good wino wannaBEE, enjoys their wine with all their senses (of course, with taste being the most appreciated - mmm!) 

August 22, 2008

Wine 101: Appearance -- Red Wines

So like myself, you may have noticed that red wines tend to range in color starting from a strawberry-esque hue to cherry red, or from purple to deep ruby, and even from garnet red to brown. So what exactly do these colors imply? Simple, they can help define both the age and the body of the wine you're drinking. Use the below topline guide to help you analyze your next glass:
  • Young wines -- usually purple and either show no change in color from center to rim, or show a lighter purple or pink rim
  • Older wines -- show change of color from orange to brown developing first at the rim
  • Lighter wines --  expected to be light bodied 
  • Darker wines -- tend to be more concentrate and fuller in body 

August 21, 2008

Wine Tasting Package in Napa

Calling all winos! posted a fantastic 2-day getaway to Silverado Resort in Napa. For a whopping $159/night, you not only get great place to stay with great food, but more importantly you get great wine. MMM! I can taste it now. And did I mention that the resort sits on 1200 acres which include 2 of California's top golf courses, and features the area's largest tennis complex, a full spa (my other guilty obsession), fine restaurants and numerous outdoor activities.

Within the above rate you get all of the following:
  • Resort Guestroom with king bed
  • Wine tastings at Markham Vineyards and Conn Creek Winery
  • $10 dining certificate in The Grill at Silverado
  • 20% off select spa treatments
  • VIP coupon booklet to the Napa Premium Outlets
Hurry and book now! Visit 

August 19, 2008

Wine 101 - Appearance: White Wine

The color of white wines will generally range from almost colorless to straw, yellow, gold, or even amber or brown. But what does the rainbow of colors mean for each of these styles?
  • Colorless Wines --  have seen no wood treatment and are expected to be fresh and light. 
  • Greenish Wines -- indicate the wine is young or from a cooler climate
  • Golden Wines -- indicates the wine is from a hot climate, has a high extraction and/or is older. Try: 
  • Amber Wines -- imply a later harvest or have considerable age. Most dessert wines will appear to have an amber or brown hue. 

August 14, 2008

J Vineyard - Robert Thomas Pinot Noir

Yesterday I learned that opting to enjoy a nice single glass of vino during lunch time can often lead to a lethargic remainder of the day. Nonetheless, I had a spectaular lunch out with one of my favorite vendors and his colleague yesterday afternoon at Landmarc in NYC. Landmarc is one of the few restaurants in the city that sells bottles and half-bottles of wine close to warehouse price (compared to that lovely 50% markup I had experienced earlier in the week while in G-Town). Again, I deviate... we're here to talk about wine - drinking it, learning it, savoring it.

My friend was trained by a close friend, who just happens to be a sommelier. Needless to say, we let him take charge. He chooses a '05 pinot noir, which some would say is too heavy a varietal to enjoy during lunch. To our enjoyment, the J Vineyard Robert Thomas was rich in it's flavor profile, strong in aroma, but light to the taste for a pinot. According to the vineyards website, the Robert Thomas vineyard runs along the Russian River, so the grapes are some of the last to ripen due to the coastal enviornment (which tends to have a cooler temperature and more fog).

The wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels and ferments for a year. It bodes a satisying combination of cherry, violet and spice. Low in acid and tannin for a stronger grape. Overall tremendously satisfied with this option and will purchase a bottle this weekend! Want some? Visit .

August 13, 2008

Luna 2006 Pinot Grigio

Enjoyed some vino during my family's 1st annual "girls day out" last weekend. My sister, who's a wino (but that's another topic in itself), chose a moderate priced ' 06 Pinot Grigio from Luna Vineyards for all to share. I was pleasantly surprised, despite the mere 50% markup and enjoyed this wine sitting waterfront in the heart of Georgetown, but I digress.

The 2006 varietal is light in color and expressed potent fruity flavors. The 95% pinot grigo/5% chardonnay blend bodes citrus and pear flavors, oak and an underlying hint of honeysuckle. According to wine experts, this is a great selection to drink now (after 2 years of shelf life). So I say... go grab a bottle - but pay the $18 for it... not $36. 

Visit Luna Vineyards at:


August 11, 2008

Move Over Milk...

According to the American Journal of Medicine, hitting the sauce may be good for your bones. A recent study showed that subjects who had more than half a drink, but no more than one drink per day, had a 20% lower risk of hip fracture. Moderate amounts of alcohol help boost estrogen levels and enable the body to absorb more calcium - conditions that contribute to higher bone density. 

But winos beware... Women's Health Magazine (September issue) identified that tossing back an entire bottle of vino won't build bionic parts (aww nuts!), so stick to one cocktail per day. 

August 3, 2008

For those of you who are beginners, to better enhance your ability to describe the complexity of the wine your are sampling, you can use this simple guide:

  • Spicy - consists of pepper, clove, cinnamon and licorice flavors
  • Fragrant - the wine tastes moderately floral
  • Fruity - made up of citrus, tropical, tree fruit, berry and dried flavors
  • Vegetable - tastes of herbs, grass, bell pepper, and mint
  • Chemical - exudes characteristics of paper and sulfur
  • Earthy - mold, must and Earth flavors
  • Woody - consists of smoke, oak or hints of vanilla

The terms  listed above are not only that which can describes both the flavor and scent of wine, but are often the most encountered. So, next time you try a new wine, take a moment to examine the above descriptors to better recognize and remember specific details about your wine.

August 2, 2008

Australian Shiraz - Tintara 2005

After attempting to refill my wine fridge yesterday evening, I decided that I would couple my atrociously rainy evening with my bed, a glass of red wine and a sappy movie. Little did I know, I was going to get a good movie, but sappy wine. 

Ok, I can't say that completely. While, the Tintara 2005 Shiraz (from Australia) reflected tastes of blackberry and currants, it's  grassy like qualities prevailed overpowering my tastebuds and smell. Though I'm guilty-as-charged for choosing to drink a normally heavy variety atbedtime, I will at admit that I was pleasantly satisfied with the wine's light and airy taste. Hardly tannic and mildly acidic. While I learned that this wine was not the best pairing for bedtime, I do think it would bide well to retry with a juicy red meat.

Now, you may ask... what is she going to do with the remainder of that bottle? And while I assure you I have at times finished a bottle all my own, tonight I will suffice with just one tasting. Truth is, that a re-corked bottle of wine can be stored in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days without compromising the flavor.

Retail value: $20.00
Available at JerichoWine -

August 1, 2008

Baron de Ley (1998)

Perhaps one of the founding inspirations for this blogsite, I had the opportunity to share a few bottles of vintage wines with a good friend yesterday evening. The 3rd of the bunch (yes, three bottles between the two of us) was this '98 Baron De Ley Gran Riserva from Spain. Made from Tempranilla, a premium red wine grape, the aroma and flavor were amazing. You could taste a variety of red berries and the scent of aged oak was rather potent. Medium-bodied, this wine was not too acidic, nor tannic. It had a nice kick to it, but didn't leave too much pucker on the tongue after swallowing. We paired our glasses with a goat cheese profiterole - perfection! 

Apart from Sherrys, Spain is not at the forefront of winemaking, however the Baron De Lay really boast a notable style.

Check for varieties from this producer: click:

OenoBee Rating:

Welcome to OenoBee!

Welcome to OenoBee - a refreshing new spot for those who enjoy wine, but lack the knowledge and skills of an seasoned aficionado! OenoBee was inspired by a 20-something "wino-wannabe" who frequently purchased wines based on the sassiness of their labels, oh yeah, and the pseudo-expertise of her peers.  From recommendations, pairings and comparisons to the general studies of wine and winemaking, OenoBee is an online decanter of information to help polish the most inexperienced to the most experienced oenophiles. 

So whether your a patron of the vineyard or a lush looking for a quick fix, I encourage you to engage with people like you (and those opposite of you, too!) in order to help build a learning environment for us all! Ask questions, make recommendations, spur debate... but whatever you do, remember the glass should always be "half full."