Marques de Caceres Rioja!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by Julia

Rioja!

A few weeks ago,  I enjoyed a little fete with some girlfriends an an apartment in Fenway.  It was a fabulous evening chock full of Basil Martinis, spicy soup, apps and of course, VINO!  There were several wines tried that evening, but I’m going to stick with one in particular.  It’s a Rioja that I’ve seen around quite a bit.

Rioja wine is Spanish– it is made from grapes grown not only in the ‘Autonomous Community of La Rioja,’ but it can also be grown in parts of Navarre and the Basque province of Álava.  Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.  The wine in that region actually has much in common with a smooth Italian Chianti.  Both wines are blend relying heavily on one grape, in this case Tempranillo. Like Chianti’s Sangiovese, Tempranillo usually produces a relatively high acid wine of medium to medium-full body.  I couldn’t tell you what effect this has precisely on what you taste, but I can say it might be part of the reason that Rioja wines tend to vary a lot, even outside of vineyard and vintage.  Vintage references a year in which the grapes were harvested.  There is often consensus about different grapes and their respective “good years.”  Apparently the Rioja wines were quite good in 2005.  One more thing to note on this bottle, the word “Crianza”.  “Crianza,” (pronounced “Cree-ahn-zah,”) comes from the Spanish word for “nursing” or “bringing up.”  Its definition is a bit fuzzy, as the specifics change among different Spanish wine regions. But it’s safe to say that “Crianza” on the label guarantees that the wine has been aged (“brought up”) for a legally defined time before it can be sold; and that a significant part of that aging occurred in oak casks.  Crianzas are not released until two years after the vintage, of which at least six months must have been spent in 225-liter oak casks (“barricas” in Spanish, a relative of the more familiar “barriques” in French). In Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the rule is 12 full months in oak, plus at least 12 more in bottles.  This may seem like a long time in barrels, but in Spain, where oak aging is traditional, Crianzas are actually in the least-oaked category – you’ll need to look for “Riserva” or “Gran Riserva” if you want still more.

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Sin Zin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 4, 2010 by Julia

First review, of many!

Just a quick update because it’s ludicrous that I haven’t posted yet.  Especially seeing as I’ve had at least… 7 bottles since the new year?  Wait, that can’t be right.  It’s all in the name of research, right?  So, this is just a quick note from a wine I tried last night at a fantastic event put on by Second Glass, a Boston-based wine marketing/PR company.  An odd concept, surely, but they are a great group of people who organize big wine events, wine dinners, and small, fun tastings around Boston.  Look them up!   This event took place in Davis Square at Downtown Wine and Spirits.

Anyway, the event was in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Titled: Sexy Wines, alternately named: Nice Package, the tasting featured bottle with ‘sexy’ labels or packaging.  The wines really spanned the gamut: Prosecco, Cava, Zinfandel, Bordeaux and a few others. One of the ones I liked best for a few reasons was the Sin Zin.  Here is the basic information about Sin Zin:

Sin Zin
Location: Alexander Valley, CA
Grape: 100% Zinfandel
Barrel Situation: Aged for 10 months in 75% American Oak, 25% French Oak and 25% in new barrels
Release Date: I have to check which year we were drinking, but probably October of that year
pH: 3.7
Acidity: 6.6 g/L

(I am working on figuring out how the pH and Acidity tangibly affect what you taste, but I’ll get to that in another post).

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Who is Julia Uncorked?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 13, 2010 by Julia

Salut!  I’m Julia and very much not French.  I am a 20-something living in Cambridge, MA and have a love of things delicious– cheese, chocolate and of course… wine!  So, I’m starting an amateur’s wine blog where  I’ll write about a wine each week that will vary in price, grape, mix and region (suggestions welcome!).  I have been needlessly partial to Malbec, Zinfandel, Spanish anything (Spicy!) and Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ and I would like to use the blog to branch out to new wines and regions.  Suggestions, comments, critiques invited!

Notes on Language/Vocab:  I am REALLY new to writing about wine.  Sometimes I’ve actually made up terms to describe wines because I’ve never  studied the classical wine vocabulary.  In some respects, classical wine vocabulary is self-explanatory, in other ways, it’s quite technical.  While I’m going to try to explore the terms of connoisseurs, I will also hope to use my own descriptions when boring, old terms aren’t as potent as I think a wine might deserve (whether good or bad!).  I’m always interested in learning more– whether that is from wine resources, wine people or friends!

More about me:  I’m a sustainability coordinator for MIT, where I help to green the campus– from new capital buildings to renovating and retrofitting existing ones.   I’m interested in how the market deals with the increasing demand for sustainable products, which in all honesty, means I’m interested in the extent of greenwashing and determining what really helps the environment and what does not.  I do believe that the wine industry is tackling this issue today and I’m happy to be learning about screw-off tops, changes in transportation and weights of bottles.  The UK has particularly bad recycling processes for wine bottles and it’s good to see how other markets are picking up on that (flooring to use mashed up bottles for granulating their slick floors, for example).  Anyway, these might be mentioned from time to time on the blog too!

52 Wines in 52 Weeks

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 by Julia

A journey of 52 wines in 52 weeks.  More to come!