Evaluating Wine by Sight
I previously discussed wine tasting surroundings and avoiding unwanted smells. Your next step is to visually examine the wine; your glass should be about one-quarter full.
Look straight down into the glass, then hold the glass to the light, and finally, tilt the glass so the wine rolls toward the edge. This will allow you to see the wine’s complete color range. I recommend you do this by placing your glass in front of a piece of white paper so you can see it more clearly, this will also show you how clear the wine is. By doing this you get a sense of the depth of color, which gives an indication of the density of the wine. A deeply-saturated, purple-black color might be indicative of a younger Syrah or a Petit Sirah; a lighter, pale shade might suggest a Pinot Noir. A wine that looks clear and brilliant and shows some sparkle, is always a good sign.
If the color looks pale and watery, it may suggest a thin, possibly insipid wine. If the color looks brownish (for a white) or orange or rusty brick (for a red wine) it is either an older wine or a wine that has been oxidized and may be past its prime.
Swirl! You can swirl your glass most easily by keeping it firmly on a flat surface. Notice if the wine forms “legs” or “tears” that run down the sides of the glass. Wines that have good legs are wines with more alcohol content, and are not necessarily better wines as some people may tell you. Wine legs are caused by alcohol evaporation; when you swirl your wine you create a thin film of wine on the surface of the glass. As the alcohol evaporates (creating wine aromas), the leftover water-wine mix collects on the sides of the glass creating droplets that fall back into the glass.
This is the first in a series of short informative articles about wine tasting and wine evaluation. I will be offering some simple suggestions to help you enjoy and evaluate wine. These are suggestions you can immediately use in your wine tasting journey. I want to simplify the process and make it a fun learning experience rather than giving you a rigid set of rules to abide by. After all, wine is to be enjoyed and appreciated. Starting out, I will address tasting surroundings and conditions, and in subsequent articles I will address identifying certain characteristics such as: color, taste, balance, complexity, and the harmony of wine.
Wine aroma tells you a lot about the wine, therefore, make sure to avoid or distance yourself from cooking smells, perfumes and even pet odor, which can impair your ability to get a true impression of a wine’s aromas. If there are strong smells where you are, especially perfume, find a place with some fresh air where you can evaluate and taste your wine.
The shape and size of the glass make a difference, too small, the wrong shape, or smells of detergent or anything else, can affect a wine’s aromas and flavors.
Smelling is an important part of wine tasting, it is through the aromas we identify certain components, and we ultimately taste the wine. The flavors we perceive in wine come from aromas we get in the nose.
Try this, pour a little wine in your glass, swirl the wine to coat the walls of the glass and get the full aroma, then smell and think about what you perceive. For instance, when smelling the aroma of a Syrah, you’d normally perceive plums, blackberry, dark fruit, pepper, and sometimes a little smoke. Just like you will find in Reyes Winery’s double gold medal 2011 Syrah. Come to our tasting room and try it!
Who will be joining me for “Paella Day at Reyes Winery”
Hosted by Le Chene and the Santa Clarita Wine Enthusiasts
May 17, 2014 at 1pm
$40 per person, purchase tickets at http://www.reyeswinery.com/events
It includes lunch, 2 glasses of wine, a tasting flight of 5 wines, and a tour of the vineyard.
Come and enjoy and afternoon and Reyes Winery enjoying Paella and listening to an amazing guitarist, The Latin Neon while sipping award winning wines.
2nd Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association Wine Festival
The Perfect Pairing of California Fine Wine & Good Living
Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association (SPVVA) will hold its 2nd Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association Wine Festival on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Reyes Winery in Agua Dulce. Proceeds from the festival will benefit College of the Canyons, the Institute for the Culinary Arts, scheduled to open fall 2014. Guests will enjoy “ticketless” tastings of wine, beer, spirits, and gourmet fancy food samplings, all paired perfectly with a full day of good living and great experiences. Guests will receive a complimentary commemorative tasting glass and plate, a specialty gift bag, and free parking. Festival attractions will include:
· Wine, Beer & Spirits Tastings from San Antonio Winery, Alonso Family Vineyards, Chavez Vineyards, Golden Star Vineyards, Harris Wine Biz, High Desert Cellars, Oasis Vineyards, Agua Dulce Winery, Coruce Vineyards and Winery, Antelope Valley Winery, Donato Family Vineyards, Pulchella Winery, Reyes Winery, and other SPVVA Members.
· Arts & Crafts Exhibit featuring some of LA’s most esteemed artists and craftsmen including Bacelar Woodworks, Patina Soul, Prussmeier Fine Pens, and the paintings of Winemaker Robert Reyes.
· Raffle items will include Wine & Dine gift certificates, a variety of other wines, gift packages, artwork, and many more exciting items from the event’s sponsors. Sponsors for the event include Union Bank of California, Galpin Motors, and Rec Solar.
· VIP Treatment: With the purchase of a VIP Pass, guests will experience the private Winemaker’s tour and barrel tasting including early entrance at 11 a.m.; V.I.P. lounge reserve wine tasting paired with a gourmet lunch, plus all general admission ticket benefits. (Only a limited amount of VIP passes are available). Exclusive V.I.P. Access Event Passes will be available online at $90.00 until February 28. After February 28, V.I.P. passes will return to their original price of $100.00.
Please visit the SPVVA website. Prepaid general admission tickets are $65.00 and $75.00 at the door. Special-Benefit-Designated-Driver tickets are also available.
Reyes Winery is located at 10262 Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce, CA 91390.
About Sierra Pelona Valley AVA and SPVVA Vintners Association:
The Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association is an organization that brings together the talents and resources of its members, partners and community in order to promote the production and appreciation of fine wines grown or produced within the Sierra Pelona Valley AVA. Nestled in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of Southern California, just 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, the Sierra Pelona Valley’s untouched natural beauty provides the perfect environment for burgeoning vineyards, boutique wineries and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a day of discovery and relaxation exploring the area’s fine wineries, tasting rooms, events and hiking trails. For information on how to make the most of your time in Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Country, join the Sierra Pelona Valley Vintner’s on Facebook and follow along on Twitter.
Reyes Winery is hosting the Second Annual Sierra Pelona Valley Wine Festival on Saturday April 26, 2014 from 11am-4pm. We will have local winemakers and numerous wineries, breweries, and tequila producers from all across Southern California. We are happy to be part of one of California’s most exciting burgeoning winemaking regions.
Come and join us at this year’s Wine Festival benefitting College of the Canyons. Our guests will be treated to gourmet food pairings from highly acclaimed Los Angeles area chefs and artisanal food makers. We will have an art exhibit from local artists and craftsmen. You will be entertained with live music from several local bands. There will be a raffle, which will include Wine-and-Dine gift certificates, wines, gift baskets, and a variety of other items.
Mixed Greens with Reyes 2012 Chardonnay Dressing
By Beth P. Heiserman
Growing up, my grandpa started a garden that 4’x6’ and eventually the garden grew to half the yard. He grew corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and many more vegetables that we enjoyed in our salad for dinner.
Ingredients for Salad
16oz Mixed Greens, cleaned and drained
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup celery, sliced
½ cup pea pods
½ cups of dried cranberries
½ cup apple, chopped (pink lady or granny smith are good choices)
¼ cup red onion, chopped
¼ cup chevre cheese
Ingredients for Dressing
½ cup olive oil
½ cup pear vinegar
½ cup of Reyes 2012 Chardonnay
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp seasoned pepper
2 tsp salt, kosher
1. In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients.
2. Mix together and let rest for 10 minutes.
By Beth P. Heiserman
One afternoon, when I was putting together a menu for Ladies Night Out, I was trying to pair 2011 Renaissance Merlot with some dishes. It has aromas of mocha and anise. I thought of making red-eye gravy with my meal, but instead I did a Merlot au jus and used the coffee as the rub. Coffee and cayenne are a perfect pair.
3 lbs of tri tip
3 tsp of olive oil
2 cups Renaissance 2011 Merlot
½ cup ground coffee (I used cinnamon hazelnut)
2 tsp garlic, chopped
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp oregano
3 tsp cayenne
1 ½ tsp of kosher salt
2 tsp of seasoned pepper
1. In a dutch oven, heat the pan and add the olive oil.
2. In mixing bowl, combine coffee, cayenne, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.
3. Rub the meat all over.
4. Sear the tri tip on both sides.
5. Add Renaissance 2011 Merlot to pan and cook for about 10 minutes.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees for 2 hours, covered.
7. Uncover and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Reyes Winery had their 3rd Annual Bottling Event October 19-21, 2013.
Reyes Winery bottled over 45,000 and in addition, 30,000 for Alonso Family Vineyards, Oasis Vineyard, and Harris Vineyard. The weekend was packed with lots of food, wine, and live entertainment. Reyes Winery has 12 new wines available this year and will be released in December. It will include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Muscat, Zinfandel and many others. Reyes Winery will be releasing a 2012 Rosa’s Choice Rose. It is a blend of Chardonnay, Muscat and Syrah. The 2009 blend had sold out a few weeks ago. This is a limited edition wine. Only 30 cases were produced.
Sierra Highway performed on Saturday October 19 with a beautiful view of Sierra Highway.
The Still Moving Project performed live for their guests on Sunday October 20.
Reyes Winery offered a bbq style lunch that included a Turkey 2010 Syrah Chili. Fans of Reyes were able to experience a wine that came of the bottling line within minutes of being produced.
Winemaker, Robert Reyes took people on a tour of the bottling line to show how a bottle of wine is produced. This was the first bottle to come of the line, Robby’s Blend; a new blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. We also have two other new blends, one is Julia’s Blend; which is a blend of Merlot and Syrah. And under their new label, Renaissance, Les Deux Rois; it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Stephen Hemmert from Oasis Vineyard helped on the line.
Watching the moon rise from the Sierra Pelona mountains. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect this weekend. The wind was calm and it was a gorgeous 80 degrees.
Reyes Winery Events
We have many wonderful events coming this fall. Come join us! We will be continuing our monthly events: Sierra Pelona Hike and Ladies Night Out. Also coming up is our 3rd annual bottling event. In addition, we will have a winemaker dinner, vertical tasting, and a few other fun events. To purchase any event, please go to our website or purchase in our tasting room. Please follow our blog or Facebook for updates.
Saturday September 21, 2013, 8am-12pm (check in at 7:30am)
$50 per person. Please wear hat, sunglasses, long pants, and comfortable shoes. It includes a two hour hike through the Sierra Pelona Mountains, a light n healthy lunch, tour and tasting. Robert Reyes will guide you on a medium-advance level hike through the Sierra Pelona Mountains. You will have views of the beautiful valley from the 3500ft elevation. It’s a 7 mile hike. ($95 value)
Please purchase tickets in our tasting room on online at http://www.reyeswinery.com/events.
Ladies Night Out
Friday September 27, 2013, 5pm-8pm
$35 per person includes 2 glasses of wine of your choice, and hors d’oeuvres/light dinner on our North Terrace. Come mingle with other ladies and enjoy some delicious appetizers and talk about wine, weather, or anything wonderful!. Please purchase tickets in our tasting room on online at http://www.reyeswinery.com/events .($57value).
3rd Annual Bottling Party
Saturday and Sunday October 19 & 20, 2013, 11am-4pm
$75 pre paid ($85 at the door)You will enjoy a gourmet wine infused BBQ lunch while enjoying our newest releases. You will receive a tour of the bottling line; to learn the process of bottling our wine. Then you will take home a bottle that was just produced and enjoy it later.
Unveiling of the Newest Robert Reyes’ Painting
Saturday November 2, 2013, 12pm-2pm
$35.00 per person includes tasting flight of 5 wines in the tasting room and 2 wines in the barrel room, a litho (17”x 11”) from the “Vineyard Series” signed by the artist, a cheese plate, and a Winery & gallery tour at 1pm.
Please purchase tickets in our tasting room on online at http://reyeswinery.com/events. ($60 value)
Mocha Reyes’ Renaissance 2011 Merlot Cupcakes
By Beth P. Heiserman
I created this recipe for August 2013 Ladies Night Out. When we were creating the labels for this new wine; I kept thinking what I could pair and create with this fabulous wine. It has aromas of mocha, plums and a hint of anise. After the wine had time to breathe, I started to get a bouquet of black cherries and cocoa. This was my sweet dish and of course I had a savory to pair; which was my Herb and coffee crusted Tri Tip.
preheat oven to 350
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup strong coffee (I used cinnamon hazelnut)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup Reyes’ Renaissance 2011 merlot
½ cup cocoa
Chocolate covered espresso beans
1. In mixer, blend eggs, sugar, oil, coffee and Reyes 2011 Merlot wine.
2. Slowly add sifted dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa
3. Even disperse batter into muffin tins
4. Bake 15-20 minutes. Check after 15 to see how much more time.
5. After cupcakes have cooled, frost them and decorate with a chocolate covered espresso bean.