Wine Wednesday – 2010 JV Fleury Crozes Hermitage

Hello, hello!

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I recently learned that there was a Total Wine not too far from my house so I decided to check it out this past weekend.

I love the little wine market by my house but I know what they DON’T carry and I wanted to see what I could find at Total Wine.

It was okay. I wasn’t overly impressed with a lot of the selection but I’m a wine snob particular.

I did find a couple of bottles that interested me and I snapped them right up.

One of the cool things about stores like Total Wine and Corridor Wine Market (when we lived in Maryland) is that sometimes, they list the Wine Spectator score and give brief tasting notes.

One of the bottles I found was this Rhone that was rated at 90 points (out of 100).

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I thought it was a pretty great deal at $25!

And I love wines from the Rhone region. ❤

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The interesting thing about this wine is it is not a blend. It is 100% Syrah.

Now, French Syrah is much, much different than a California Syrah or an Australian Shiraz.

It’s less “punch you in the face fruit” and more subtle, earthy, chewy spiciness.

This syrah had a lovely deep garnet hue and smelled of fruit and plums and earth. Mmmm…… 🙂

The tasting notes indicate ganache and espresso notes but my nose didn’t pick any of that. I guess the espresso was probably in the “earth” smell that I got. Think of how freshly ground coffee smells or maybe how the earth smells after a good rain. It’s clean and damp and … for lack of a better descriptor … earthy.

Wow. I should really brush up on my adjectives. 😉

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The tasting notes state “leaves a smoldering feel through the finish” and I would totally agree with that. It was full (of flavor), round (I could taste it in my whole mouth and not just on my tongue, a little chewy (like I really wanted to chew it!), and spicy when I swallowed.

It was pretty heavenly.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I  a good California Syrah and I never turn down a glass of wine from a Barossa Valley Shiraz (Australia) but this wine was something else.

It was complex and elegant and yet simple and very easy to drink.

We paired it with some sirloin steak tips (holy. delicious.) and roasted butternut squash.

I think you definitely want to pair this with red meats and hearty stews. You could do chicken but it should be hearty like Coq au Vin or even this stew (made this quite a few times. WORTH. IT.).

Talk to me: Have you ever tried a wine that surprised you? What’s your favorite recipe you’ve ever made from a Food Network chef?

– jennifer

Wine Wednesday – what’s up with all the different bottle shapes?

Hello, hello!

It’s Wine Wednesday, people!

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Instead of reviewing a wine, I want to do something a little different.  A little more educational, perhaps, as an homage to all those with kids who are heading back to school!

Yeah, that’s it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t snap a single photo of any of the many glasses of  wine that I consumed on Saturday. Not a thing. Moving on. Nothing to see here.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve noticed, either from reading my reviews or just plain walking through the wine section of your local grocery store/liquor store/wine market, that the bottles are all KINDS of differently shaped.

Here’s a small sampling of what you’ll encounter.

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Why the heck can’t they make it easy and just use one kind of bottle?!

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Well, there are reasons (mostly because that’s what the French did to distinguish the different wine regions) and knowledge of bottle shapes will help you know what’s (probably) in a bottle before you even look at the label.

(I say probably because some winemakers like to throw caution to the wind and do whatever the heck they want.)

The first bottle (the St. Supéry) is a Bordeaux bottle. They generally have straight sides and tall shoulders (the slope of the bottle) and dark green glass for the dry red wines, light green for the dry whites, and clear glass for sweet whites produced in the Bordeaux region in France. This shape is now used all over the world for Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll find some Australian Shiraz wines bottles in this style and even many blends.

The second bottle (Edna Valley) is a Burgundy bottle. They generally have sloping shoulders and will house both red and white wines in the same colored glass. This style of bottle is very common with Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays (which, primarily came from the Burgundy region in France until the US (California) and other countries got hold of some vines). These bottles tend to be a bit sturdier and will feel a little heavier. I’m  not really sure why but I like to think that it’s because Pinots and Chardonnays can be temperamental grapes to grow and they need special coddling. 😉

The third bottle (Kunde) is indeed a Chardonnay but there is a small difference between that bottle and the Edna Valley Pinot Noir bottle – the shoulders are a little different. This bottle is a Rhône bottle and is often just a teeny bit skinnier than the Burgundy bottle which is what makes the difference in the shoulders.

There are quite a few other bottle shapes and sizes but those are the 3 most common, outside of a champagne bottle.

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The design of the champagne bottle (really thick glass, sloping shoulders (rather than angular like the Bordeaux) and a punt (basically, a place for your thumb) on the bottom) was born because the contents are under pressure – watch out for the flying cork! It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye! – and it helps prevent the bottle from shattering once opened. Just try to imagine popping a cork on a champagne bottled in a Bordeaux bottle. Um, no thanks. I’ll be in the other room.

So there you have it! The mystery of the many wine bottle shapes solved!

And, I think it’s high time I grabbed some wine in diffently shaped bottles so I can cover the three other types you might encounter. Hmmm….I have a birthday coming up. Perhaps a toast with some lovely Port is necessary? 🙂

Talk to me: How much did you love Scooby Doo as a kid? 🙂

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– jennifer