“Adversity is a testament of God, but the confidence to believe in yourself defines the reason for Living.” In Memory of John D’Amico 1927 to 2013
Another thing he mentioned was to remember the year of the wine you ordered. They often switch and bring you another year. Most people don’t notice.
I hate screw top bottles. There is some good stuff now in screw top but I am a traditionalist. No cork….no buy.
This email reminds me of another quote. “What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?” W. Clement Stone
Sometimes the wine picks itself! So it is this time with the selection of 19 Crimes.
In England from 1610 to 1868, if you were incarcerated on your 19th criminal offense and they needed to clear the jails, you found yourself in a long procession to the docks where you were put on a ship and away you went. Originally, convicts were bound for the “Colonies” of the Americas, where you got a job for no wage for 10 years and then you were free. This was known as “punishment by transportation”.
The American Revolution put an end to this forced immigration program to our fair land, but it opened the vast area of Australia. The first ships started to arrive in Australia on January 26th 1788, which is now celebrated as Australia Day. These criminals-turned-pioneers built new lives for themselves and new countries in the process. And, they were FREE!
The wine 19 crimes attempt’s to capture the sprit and culture that these folks forged. The first thing you’ll notice about this wine is the black matte-frosted bottle that gives the look and feel of a bottle from 1700’s. Now this wine has a fantastic marketing program going for it: there are three different labels with the mug shots of three different criminals, and you can go to the wine’s website to find the stories behind the criminals. Each cork has the name of the one of the 19 crimes that could get you on the boat. This is a very well-thought out marketing plan. Here’s the information on face that graces my bottle John Boyle O’Reilly http://www.19crimes.com/wine_oreilly.html
Onto the wine, it’s a red blend of Shiraz and Durif, which is a varietal I had not heard of before. It’s grown in Australia, the United States, and Israel. In the U.S. and Israel it is called Petite Sirah. The color is a youthful plumb red, and the nose is powerful– which as you know I like–with red fruit and berries. I enjoyed the aroma almost as much as I enjoyed drinking the wine. When opened, 19 Crimes had a bitter taste, which I am sure the wine maker was shooting for. One of the characteristics of both Shiraz and, in particular the Petite Sirah, is strong tannins. The bitterness remained throughout but greatly diminished as the wine was open with the air. Some might be put off by this, but the licorice and fruit flavor is worth the slight mouth puckering, and the ride is worth the trip with a nice red berry finish. All in all, a very nice bottle of wine one that inspires both the palate and the mind.
Punishment by Transportation officially ended in 1868. However, with what I see today, I wonder if it isn’t still going on. Where you can have a person charged with a crime–not even convicted and in some cases found not guilty–but their situation is so far gone that they have to leave their home and go somewhere else to find peace and freedom. Are we a nation of laws, or an ignorant mob, blindly following where our passions lead us? Something I shall ponder over my next glass of 19 Crimes. Something we all should ponder.
“Bring the pure wine of
love and freedom.
But sir, a tornado is coming.
More wine, we’ll teach this storm
A thing or two about whirling.”
I remember a quote I heard when I first started traveling, “Life is like a book, if you don’t travel, you live on just one page.” The same is true of wine: if you only drink wine of one grape, from one manufacture, what have you learned about wine; how many pages are in your book? To put it simply, are you a wine drinker, or a wine lover?
The difference begins at about $4,000 to $6,000 a year depending on your disposable income level. Wine drinkers were once rare in the United States, though not anymore, but wine Lovers are still rare creatures indeed. See if any of this sounds familiar to you.
Do your adventures in liquor stores never get passed the big cardboard end cap isles where they keep the factory wine of the week, or do you roam the isles? Can you tell the difference between a Boudreaux, a Burgundy or Beaujolais–do you even want to? I’ll admit, I can’t tell one wine from another by taste, but I know there is a difference and I want to learn what that is.
How about specialty stores, have you visited any? I have a store for Italian wine, Center Street Wine & Spirits, 382 Center Street, Wallingford, CT 06492, another who knows a ton about Australian and New Zealand wines Madison Wine Exchange, 188 Boston Post Road, Madison CT 06443, my French wine guy Mount Carmel Wine & Spirits, 2977 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06578, Spanish and Portuguese wine guy Gran Vin, 28 East Grand Ave, New Haven CT 06513, and Napa Valley wine guy Gillette Ridge Wine & Spirits, 860 Cottage Grove Road, Bloomfield, CT. I bet I’ll have Chilean, Argentine, and South African wine guys too before long.
To be a wine lover takes effort, like going to the supermarket and buying some fruit. When was the last time you purchased and ate cherries, blackberries, raspberries, or boysenberries? I’ve never eaten a boysenberry in my life. So how would I ever know a wine taste likes boysenberries? Maybe our wine experience needs to start in the produce isle. And as a quick aside, if you say a wine tastes like dog doo, my first thought is “how do you know the flavor of dog doo?” I like a good adventure, but that sounds like a gustatory experience I can live without. I’ll just take your word for it and skip that bottle.
To be a wine lover might mean making a trip to the library, to pick up some vocabulary and basic understanding of the process and the history of wine. This might actually help you to enjoy wine more. I don’t like most wine speak: “firm skeleton,” “old bones,” and “nervy” do nothing to improve my wine drinking experience, not nearly as much as eating a raspberry. But learning what to look for in color, what to expect from the wines nose, and how to taste a wine will help you better understand what you are doing. You’re already reading this wine blog; check out some others to gain a deeper perspective. Two I really enjoy are The Buddha in Your Glass, and Red Wine Lovers.
Now I know some of you are probably thinking that wine is just for drinking, and all these extras are just Griffy being a wine snob! To that I’ll answer no, I’m a wine lover; love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong-doing and seeks the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never dies. Be a wine lover!
‘Phylloxera’ by Christy Campbell The air is like a draught of wine. … Who does not love wine, women, and song remains a fool his whole life long.
Embrace the Grape
- Use a wine glass with a narrow bowl to retain subtle flavors and nuances. This ensures that the surface area of exposed wine to oxygen is reduced.
- The wine will remain cooler for longer, therefore retaining its bouquet.
- A younger, fresher wine is best in a slightly taller, thinner glass. This is why champagne is always served in a tall, fluted glass: it contains the bubbles and slowly directs them gently upwards towards your nose.
- A fuller, fatter wine like a mature Chardonnay is best out of a slightly shorter, wider rimmed glass. As there is an abundance of flavor already in the wine, it is beneficial to have a wider surface area in your glass. A Chardonnay does not require so much chilling, unless of course it is very young and high in acidity.
- Use a glass with a wider bowl, increasing the surface area, enabling the wine to breathe.
- Exposure to oxygen will soften the tannins and allow the stronger flavors in the wine to show through.
- The wine will be served at room temperature, therefore it is easier to warm a wider glass than a tall, narrow one as you hold it in your hand, which in turn releases more aromas.