Monday, April 27, 2015

Blend a Better Bordeaux

Reservations for this tasting are closed.
We hope to see you at our Summer Picnic.
Check back for updates.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
7:00 pm

Blend a Better Bordeaux

No, we don’t mean that you should put your wine into a blender!
Many of the world's favorite wines are blends of grape varieties. Red Rioja, Cotes du Rhone, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Chateauneuf du Pape, Port, and the GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre) blends of Australia are examples. The list is long. But, no blended wine is as sought after as red Bordeaux.  Nor is any wine as copied.
Going back in time, the main reason for the Bordeaux blend was agricultural. Winemakers used Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc not because they tasted good together, but that the three budded, flowered and ripened at different times from spring to fall. The main reason for the blend, ironically, was so that you didn't need to have a blend. If the Merlot failed, well, there was going to be some Cabernet Sauvignon to harvest and sell.
The grapes grew in different sections of Bordeaux because each was more adaptable to some soil types than to others. One blend, weighted with Cabernet Sauvignon, characterizes many wines from the Medoc.  A second Bordeaux, far heavier in Merlot, characterizes those made on the Right Bank (north of the rivers that divide the region), in places such as St. Emilion or Pomerol.
There is no one true Bordeaux blend, even though a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is often an expected starting point. (Despite that about two and a half times more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon grows in Bordeaux itself.) The romantic idea that Merlot softens Cabernet Sauvignon's astringency or fattens and plumps up its austerity reads back into Bordeaux blends an idea or goal that wasn't there at the outset of the blend itself.
So, on the one hand, it's easy to copycat a Bordeaux blend outside of Bordeaux, even if no one, including many a Bordelais, puts one together for the original reasons. The goal everywhere is just to make as good a red wine with the best grapes available. We’re going to do exactly that!  
Our tasting will be a lesson in blending so that, to quote Aristotle, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  Our presenter will be our own blending expert, Terry Germanoski.  He will guide you through the process with four varietal wines, and help to make a better, Bordeaux style blend.  Each table will have four varietal wines to use for blending.  They will present their final blend to one of our esteemed judges for the final determination of the “Best in Show”.


If you have not yet received your six wine glasses and carry bag, we will have them for you that evening.

The cost for members is $30.
The cost for guests is $35.

Please reply before May 6 to:

Or you may reply to Kathleen Simpson at 412-657-1861

Mail your check, payable to AWS to:
Dr. Dennis Trumble
1302 Arch St
Pittsburgh PA  15212

Don’t forget to visit the website for directions, useful tips, and recipes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Look like a wine expert!

14 Charts That'll Help You Look Like A Bona Fide Wine Expert
We've heard wine experts toss around phrases like "Oaky with a bit of banana" or "jammy," as if the rest of us could also distinguish those flavors. The film "Sideways" was filled with that type of annoying bravado as it followed two friends across California's wine country. "A little citrus, maybe some strawberry. Passion fruit, and there's just like the faintest soupçon of, like, asparagus, and there's a flutter of, like, a nutty Edam cheese," one of them said. And we rolled our eyes thinking, "Sure."

While there's a good argument against wine experts' tasting abilities, knowing something about wine is still one of the ways we prove to ourselves that, yes, we are classy adults. We know that Champagne might feel at home in a vintage coupe, but pinot noir is better off in a wider wine glass. And if we're serving veggies, a white wine might go along with them nicely. See? Fancy.

You, too, can brush up on your knowledge of vino -- here's a crash course in wine, as told by these 14 charts.

Where It All Begins

How It Becomes Alcohol

How To Read The Label ... And The Bottle

How To Serve It Up Right

How To Taste It Like A Pro

How To Describe The Color

How To Describe The Flavor and Aroma

How To Enjoy It With Food

How Many Calories

How All Those Bubbles Got In There

And Finally, How To Find A Wine You'll Really Like

Thursday, April 9, 2015


One of our members, Deanna Kuder, took some photos at the 2015 American Wine Society's Pittsburgh Wine Conference and Amateur Wine Competition on March 15.  She has posted them here, and would like to share them with us!

Thank you very much, Deanna!  They are fantastic!  We hope that these will inspire other members to attend next year.

Password:  AWS