Monday, February 23, 2009

[Wine Log] Girardet 2006 Gewürztraminer

Wine: Giradet Gewürztraminer
Year: 2006
Region: Southern Oregon - Umpqua Valley
Alcohol: 11.5%

Have we ever reviewed an ice wine in this blog? I don't think we have! A momentous occasion! For that reason I'll overlook the fact that the stamp on top of this particular bottle of wine looks a lot like a UGA endorsement and give it a fair shot.

This ice wine is syrupy to pour and is a pale translucent corn-silk color. The nose is very rich and warm, with heavy floral tones, especially honeysuckle. There's just a little bit of a tang to the end of the scent.

The taste is as thick as it appears when poured, with very fruity flavors including pineapple and apricot, with the latter lingering for a long finish. There's a very little bit of the floral smell also in the taste, and when you lick your lips afterwards (as you will inevitably have to do, because the liquid is so thick) it has a honeyed vanilla flavor.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

[Scotch Log]Glenmorangie 12

Quinta Ruban Port Cask
Lasanta Sherry Cask
Necar D'or Sauternes Cask

I've tried each of the Glemorangie 12 year varieties separately, but haven't yet had a chance to taste them together so I could get a good idea of how the flavors varied. The 12 year batch of this scotch comes in 3 varieties: the Quinta Ruban, aged in a port cask, the Lasanta, aged in a sherry cask, and the Nectar D'or, aged in a Sauternes cask. A bit of googling tells me that Sauternes (so-TERN) is a region of France known for it's rich dessert wine.

All three of these scotches have a lovely, rich amber color. Darkest to lightest, we have the Quinta Ruben, the Lasanta, and the Nectar D'or. The first has a slightly rosier, woodier color than the other two, while the Nectar's hue is more golden. The differences in the three are very subtle, though, and we could only really discern a difference with good lighting and background.

Each of the three scotches had a fairly sharp bite, both in scent and flavor - more so than I remembered from tasting them out at restaurants, which makes me wonder how they'll mellow with a little exposure to air. The nose of the Nectar D'or was very sweet and honey like with a sharp, spicy undercurrent - maybe cloves, though subtle. The smell of the Lasanta was much richer and spicer by comparison, with a scent more mapley than the honeyed Nectar. The Quinta was the lease overwhelming of the three with a sugary, floral nose.

To taste, the Quinta was smooth and thick on my tongue with a lovely lingering finish. It was neither smoky nor peaty, but it was also not particularly sweet. Unable to place a finger on the distinct flavors of the Quinta, I referred to the bottle and found it described to be chocolatey and minty - though I can't speak to the latter, the former is certainly true, and where so much of the richness in flavor comes from. After letting my tongue rest for a minute I noticed a slightly smoky after taste.

The Lasanta has slightly more of a peaty flavor, but again very subtle. The much more dominant flavor was something close to caramel and a bit like hazelnut. On the tongue the Lasanta was much sharper, though both it and the Quinta made my lips nice and warm.

The Nectar D'or is the sweetest of the three and also goes down the most smoothly and with the least sting. The after taste reminded me a bit of cherry, though the initial taste had something closer to sugary lemons and a very prominant honey vein.

Really I could happily drink any of these, though I don't think they're likely to displace The Balvenie from the title of "staple scotch." Still, I'm glad to have the chance to taste them all back to back so I could more fully appreciate the subtle differences between them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

[Scotch Log] Penderyn Whiskey

Scotch: Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky
Region: Wales
Malt: Single Malt, unknown age
Price: ~$60
Proof: 92

While exploring the fine Scotch list at The Vortex last night, I saw that they had an entry for "Welsh Whisky". Being a general fan of all things Welsh, and being curious what this was all about, I decided to give it a shot.

The color was fairly light, a diluted tea or honey color. The smell was sweet, especially up front. A lot of brown sugar and not astringent in the least. It was quite pleasant to smell; I found it difficult to move on to tasting! There's also a lingering honeysuckle or other floral flavor once the sweetness fades a bit.

The flavor had more in common with maple syrup than the aforementioned brown sugar, but the mouthfeel was very thin. It has a pleasant burn in the mouth, but at first I didn't notice any warmth once I swallowed. However, as I continued drinking I found that a very pleasant warmth was building slowly behind my ribs.

The taste isn't quite Scotch and it isn't quite Irish, but it's quite tasty. I've since learned that the Penderyn distillery is the only whisky still in Wales, and it only began production in 2000. The current age of the single malts it is producing are between 4.5 and 5.5 years old. This definitely surprised me, it could easily pass as a 10 year or even 12 year old Scotch. However, by the end of the glass the drink was tasting rougher, more harsh. I suspect this is a symptom of the youth of the bottle.

Overall, I consider this a very promising distillery, I'd be more than happy to continue drinking Penderyn Whisky in the future, although until the bottles start getting a little bit older, I think I'll stop at one glass a night, rather than sticking with it all night like some of the smoother whiskies. I can't wait to see what else they produce, especially since there is rumour of them producing a Sherry cask bottling and a Peated bottling[0], both of which would be very interesting!

Their website implies that they do not produce very many bottles... with luck I'll be able to track down a bottle of this locally[1]...

[0] It appears that these have already been released as limited editions, but some commentors appear to imply they will be making seperate full-release versions.

[1] Oooh! The Penderyn site has a "find a retailer" section! Nice! It looks like they carry this at Beverage Superstore in Suwanee, Green's on Ponce, and Tower in Buford, amongst many others. Bonus :D