Chardonnay & Cabernet
Recently, a bunch of Binny's wine consultants got together to do a blind tasting of chardonnay and cabernet. No, we didn't blindfold our employees. We put a bunch of wines in brown paper bags and let the chips fall where they may. Wine education comes in many forms, but one of the most humbling is to asses a wine without knowing the name, region or price. Here are six of our favorites, all chosen blind.
2012 Chateau Ste Michelle
Indian Wells Chardonnay
Binny's Price: $15.99
At this price, a mouthfull. Loads of tropical fruit and butterscotch. it made us wish for lobster.
2011 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Vaillons
Binny's Price: $32.99
As soon as he tasted this wine, Jay from our Bloomingdale store said "this is a really good Chablis". He was sure because of the expressive fruit and stony flavors. delicious and refreshing wine.
2012 Cakebread Chardonnay
Binny's Price: $39.99
Half of us thought this was from France, the other half California. It has the best of both worlds: great fruit and good delineation.
Cabernet & Cab Blends
2011 Las Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Binny's Price: $16.99
A controversial wine. Not everyone liked the cedar, woody notes on the nose. But it's pure Chile, and a great bargain for the money.
2011 Tamarack Cabernet Sauvignon
Binny's Price: $29.99
One of our tasters said this cabernet "screams Washington State." If you like your wine to have a red plum and black licorice profile, this is for you. Very well made.
2009 Tolaini Valdisanti Tenuta San Giovanni
Binny's Price: $29.99
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and cabernet franc. Medium bodied that's gorgeous. Nobody could figure out where it was from, but everyone loved it. You need to try this.
This month, our "wine guy" is actually Barbara Hermann, Binny's fine wine buyer. Barbara has traveled all over the globe and has decades of experience under her belt. She is an eight-time winner of Geja's blind wine tasting. So we went to her with this month's Ask the Wine Guy question.
"I sometimes hear wine drinkers use words like 'jammy' or 'buttery.' Are these typical descriptions?
Do they literally mean what they sound like?"
Refers to a style of chardonnay that smells of butter popcorn and has a rich, creamy, somewhat oily texture with flavors of roasted nuts and butterscotch. Chardonnay is actually a fairly neutral grape variety that gets most of its flavor and texture through winemaking intervention. The buttery texture and popcorn aroma comes from diacetyl, a by-product of of malolactic fermentation. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this style of chardonnay has gone a little bit out of fashion.
Applies only to reds. A great, mouth- filling concentration of fresh, ripe, pure fruit, that masks the tannins and makes the wine feel plush and soft. This descriptor works with the varieties like grenache and zinfandel that are natural "fruit bombs."
It's what you say when you don't know what else to say. Really, there are so many kinds of minerals, you need to be more specific - even "stony" has a more specific meaning. People use "mineral" to describe streamlined wines, like muscadet or some German whites, when they are sleek but light on fruit.
This is a negative description, in my opinion. It implies a wine has strong dry wood tannins that overpower the fruit and body. It can also mean too much charred oak flavor or aroma. All of which can result in a dried out, hard wine.
A big time wine flaw. The wine either smells like mildew or a moldy newspaper. The main cause is the cork. Before bottle insertion, the cork was exposed to the compound known as TCA. It can also come from contaminated barrels or winery building. The appearance of the cork won't give you a clue, but a badly tainted cork might smell moldy. To confirm the problem you have to smell the wine.
We're here to answer your questions! If you have a question for the wine guy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.You may see your question in the next Wine Hotline!
Across our 24 climate-controlled wine cellars is a library of rare and collectable wines. We asked our cellarmaster to highlight one special selection that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks. He didn't deliver that. Instead, the newest vintage from:
Maison Louis Jadot 2010
On Burgundy, Maison Louis Jadot, and Jacques Lardiere,
"....he is a perfectionist."
Master of Wine from his book The Wines of Burgundy
Pinot noir and chardonnay were long found to flourish in Burgundy, each capturing and expressing the region's potential. Any shift in altitude or aspect, any change in soil detail or depth, any exposure to or enclosure from the wind - and both pinot noir and chardonnay express the change by flavor. From the meat and the power of Gevrey-Chambertin, the perfume and grace of Chambolle-Musigny, the spice and majesty of Vosne-Romanee, to the charm and elegance of Volnay; each designated plot, in the hands of a skilled, sensitive vigneron, can express a distinct set of flavors.
Few others possess the skill and sensitivity of Jacques Lardiere, winemaker of almost forty vintages at Maison Louis Jadot. Lardiere prefers warm fermentation and lengthy maceration to extract every drop of flavor. He avoids industrial fertilizers or herbicides, favoring organic nutrients to nourish the vine and manual labor to encourage ripe fruit ready for harvest. He discards the stems, home to harsh and bitter tannins. Fresh fruit notes remain, floral hints, exotic spice - all rendered more intense after a warm fermentation and lengthy maceration. He racks the wine just once which not only minimizes the need for sulfur, but also encourages the retention of carbon dioxide, an anti-oxidant that adds lift to the flavors.
The results? An array of distinct cuvees, each possessing an intensity and persistence second to none. This month's offer is not a single bottle, but the 2010 portfolio from esteemed Burgundy house, Maison Louis Jadot.
The 2010 vintage from Jadot is newly arrived. Many of these wines are in scarce distribution - part of what makes them special. Many bottles are not available at all Binny's locations.
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*Prices valid with Binny's Card until March 4th, 2014, or while supplies last. Not responsible for misprints or typographical errors. Advertised items limited to quantities on hand. Sizes 750ml unless otherwise stated. Not all wines are available at all Binny's locations.