First, wine. After failing the certified sommelier exam yesterday (but before I had the failing grade in hand) I had lunch. Sad, unfortunate, and in some ways avoidable (certainly for the next time I face such an exam), but alas, even if things are going badly it rarely helps to deny oneself food (and drink). Thinking of the quote attributed alternatively to Napoleon and Churchill, I knew I was in the category of needing it. It was fine, but I wouldn’t fill a blog with it, let’s just say. However, the red wine I had by the glass to go with some lovely venison is worth an entry.
I had my first Zweigelt. I know, everyone remembers their first Zweigelt, and it’s always special, and this was no exception.
What? What’s a Zweigelt, you ask? Well it’s only the most popular dark grape in Austria! It’s apparently a cross between Blaufränkisch and St-Laurent, though you could be forgiven for not knowing that (and over the past three weeks I certainly have developed an appreciation for forgiveness in the face of not knowing something). Austria exports no more than a quarter of their wine, and most of their exports go to their close neighbours, with roughly 70% going to Germany and the next biggest market being Switzerland. So to find a Zweigelt on a wine list, much less to find one available by the glass, well who could say no?
Anyway, back to Zweigelt itself. As I mentioned, it’s a dark grape. It’s relatively low in acidity and in weight, with common flavours being cherries, peppers, and currants. It was originally crossed in 1922, so it’s a relatively young variety, and while very popular in Austria, has only started to go international with some plantings in Germany, the United Kingdom, and apparently Japan.
So this one in particular from Pittnauer – I just had one of those moments where I am pleased to have been keeping this blog. My memory isn’t the greatest (so I’m not sure how I managed to pass all the exams in 2010 and 2011) and while there logo on the bottle was familiar, it wasn’t until just now that I realized that I’ve blogged about them before, in particular about their Pittnauer Rosé 2010. Now their Rosé didn’t do a whole lot for me, but their Zweigelt was just the thing.
It had a very fruity nose, but with hints of chocolate, that went perfectly with my meal. It wasn’t heavy, maybe a medium minus body, and the alcohol was medium, but the intensity of flavour on the nose and the palate was fantastic. I really enjoyed this wine, and would rate it very good quality.
Right, meta update, just for kicks. This is post 53, which isn’t too bad really. I meant to mention it when I hit post 50, but didn’t realize until I was already on 51. I have 4 Likes on Facebook, and I’m not related to any of them (as far as I know). The number of impressions I’m getting on search results are way up, though I started from such a low base it’s pretty insignificant. And since I’m on the Internet, I’m getting spam – up to 111 posts blocked so far.
Also, it’s apparently still a done thing to tweet “drunk.com”, presumably when you’re drunk. Not really much to do with me, and if it makes people happy, more power to them. I only once saw evidence that anyone who tweeted it had read the blog, which made it even funnier. I almost feel like I should put up a special page just for people who should hit my homepage via Twitter so they get a special message congratulating them on being drunk and telling them to party on.
The trend does mean I’ve been asked to sell the domain more times in the last couple of months than in the past couple of years, but that’s fine. If I ever can’t afford my next drink, I know I can probably cash this in and get a case or two of something good.
Lastly, the future. I’m going to keep on blogging, though you may have noticed I’ve dropped the formal WSET style of writing up a tasting note. If it turns out I failed the tasting part of the exam, it will return. Also, I’m thinking of trying to work out some study materials for myself to do with wine geography. I love maps, and I have some good ones from a variety of sourse, including Vinodiversity. However, they mostly sit around and I only look at them when I’m after something specific, not as a general study aid.
So, I’m thinking it might be worthwhile to make up some maps online, probably using Google Maps/Earth. In an ideal world, I’d love to make up a game where the name of a wine region would appear and you would have to click on a continent, a country, possibly a state, and then zoom into the region itself. So if, for instance, if Umpqua Valley came up, you would click North America, then the USA, then Washington, and finally click within a polygon that would be the area of the AVA.
The problem, of course, is getting data for the multitude of wine regions into a map. While there are fine maps out there, I’m not sure how easy I’d find it to use them as reference for making my own, and with something like Google in particular you can zoom down to street level and I’m certainly not going to have that find a detailed set of data for most regions. There’s also the rights issue with regard to referencing third party maps – I can’t infringe on anyone else’s copyright, especially as there might be some way to turn a penny or two out of having good online maps of the wine regions of the world. There would be one further problem, and that’s staying on top of region changes. The Champagne region has increased in size recently, areas are upgraded from DOC to DOCG with increasing regularity, and the USA adds AVAs all the time. Keeping the maps up to date would be a job in itself.
But first things first – I’ll start having a look at what’s possible and what’s easy, which is always a good way to start. Thanks for reading.