Jan ’15 – Do Not Trick Your Mind!

We all can recall that moment when it comes. The wine is in the glass and you begin to study it.  You have that taste and before you finish, you are already calling out varietals and regions.  Well that’s because you and almost every wine drinker out there, think they know it all. I can say that most of the group does know it all, that’s why we can only drink amongst each other, but we need to take the minutes and appreciate it. Isn’t she beautiful; look as her color; appreciate her age; she smells like a bouquet of roses; and when see speaks… take the 60-120 seconds and listen before you judge her.

The group had the opportunity to have Mr. Brian P. Connors of Connors Davis Hospitality. Brian is a Professor at Johnson & Wales University, The School of Hospitality Management. He lectured us on the how we have different “Sensations we experience are Reality” or are they not. This often triggers our minds to believe the wine we prefer is immediately from something we experienced. Yes, we have links from your palette to your brain, but it’s time to stop and take the steps to understand the wine.  What is good to you may be bad to someone else. Or is it just “different”.

Brian poured five wines.  The final two were blind tastings after our lecture.

Wine #1: 2005 Tempranillo Spain, Valduero – 6 Años Reserva Premium.

Wine #2: 2008 Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine #3: 2008 Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon.

Brian’s lecture was comprised of many facets.  To list a few: Sensation Versus Perception; Analysis Versus Evaluation; See / Sight (Color and Intensity); Smell Descriptors (Off-Odors or distinct aromas); The 6 ‘S’s (Swirl, Smell -Three times, Sweetness, Savor); the human tongue; French Oak (Vespa), American Oak (Harley Davidson), Hungarian Oak (Moped Bike); viscosity (2%, Whole Milk or Light Cream); Rim Variation (Age and quality with color consistency when you look at the wine from the side, below and directly from above.)

Tasting Technique

Here is where we have our initial conclusions (Climate, Variety, Quality Level, Age, New vs. Old World).  After we think about the initial and a few minutes thinking, then we can come to our Final Conclusion.  Varietal, Country, Region, Vintage, Quality/Price.

We were able to practice the wines with the information in front of us. Now was the test. BLIND.

Wine #4. White wine. Color: Light Gold meant wasn’t aged too long. Bouquet: Slight Minerals meant Old World. Old World meant the Region could be from Europe. Vintage: Rim Variation was light it meant young.  Finally Quality: Sweet with citrus on the nose. Slightly textured, with a crisp finish.  Andrew Cohen, nailed it. Sancerre – 2013 Domaine de la Perriere Sav Blanc.

Wine #5. Now here this one was great!  It had all the challenges we love. Complex, interesting, old world, dark, high alcohol. Who guessed it? No one. This 2011 Ribera del Duero Pagos de Carraovejas was just hard to pinpoint.

As I said, we often know it all. Now, study the wine with these steps and you’ll be surprising people and yourself like a David Copperfield at the Playboy Mansion.



September Tasting – Experimental Meritage

Wines are always left to the wine maker.  Some are experienced as others take a chance.  There are so many ways of making the special juice.  Have you ever felt you could make a wine that would taste great?  Making wine takes years and years of harvests and attention.

The club took the easy way. We decided to blend three varietals and attempt to concoct a great wine.  This experiment was interesting because most of us have never tried this.


The meritage was led by Jeff Tenin.  In his recent trip to where blending is a true art, Bordeaux.  He learned the craft and selected three varietals from Napa Valley.  We tasted them in the order below.

13_WineClubMiami_09_45Merlot by Martin Ray – Diamond Mountain District 2009. 14.6% Alc.

Cabernet Franc by World’s End – Against the Wind 2009.

Cabernet Sauvignon by Martin Ray – Diamond Mountain District 2009. 14.6% Alc.

Merlot: Dark red with hints of new leather.  Some dried cranberries with a light structured body.  The alcohol opened our palates and it had a lasting tart finish.

Cabernet Franc: Dark ruby red. On the nose it expressed hints of vanilla and ripeness.  Great depth and full bodied – not bold!  The finish was soft and tannic.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Ruby red.  French oak nose.  The taste and texture was a bit astringent and lasted through the long finish.

Now the blends:

  1. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10 Cabernet Franc: Great layers and complexity on the nose.  A full body and good finish.  (This was the teams favorite)
  2. 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc:  The merlot provided a great bouquet, however on the palate it was soft and tart.  The finish was long.
  3. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 Cabernet Franc: Ripe Cherry Nose but the astringent of the Sauvignon was powerful. Tart finish.
  4. 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Cabernet Franc: Ripe cherry but tart.


We paired the wines with the cuisine prepared by Tuyo.  They menu was based on the music from Memphis.  Master Chef Norman Van Aken based his dishes from Carl Perkins, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, and B.B. King.



February 2013 Tasting “Knock your socks off”

Tuesday, February 26th

As the club raises their sail, the group is asked a simple question.

“Which bottle will knock a taster’s socks off?”  Meaning, which wine has the most intensity, full body and power to overwhelm all other wines?

Wine Club Miami February 2013Members were paired to start the search.   Two bottles came from Napa Valley.  We can all agree that the characteristics of a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley were right for the tasting, but you’ll be surprised where they ended up in our list.   However the successor was the generous Joseph Phelps, Insignia 2001.  In comparison to the rest, it shined brightly beside the others from the beginning and transformed in to a graceful giant as the winner.   The award was given to Jeff Tennen and Andrew Cohen, something tells us that this duo is prepared for a challenge and know how to impress a sophisticated wine group.  We paired the exotic flavors of Mandolin’s Aegean Bistro to compliment the favors of Food & Wine pairing.

Each bottle was placed in specially crafted silk cover and general notes were collected.  Find which bottles matched the colors further below.

  1. Gold – Ripe Cherry, Robust and tannic. Crisp finish (5.7pts.)
  2. Green – Vanilla Bean, light body and crisp finish (6.5pts.)
  3. Red – Earthy Nose, light body soft tannins and long acidic finish (5.4pts.)
  4. Copper – Earthy and cherry. Full bodied and strong long finish. (8.2pts.)


  1. Chateau Longoa Batron  – Saint-Julien 2005-  Bordeaux, France $65.
  2. Two Hands – Max’s Garden Heathcote 2006 – Shiraz  – Victoria, Australia $67.
  3. Chateau Montelena  – Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 – Napa Valley, California $60.
  4. Joseph Phelps  – Insignia 2001 – Napa Valley, California $175.

Wine Club Miami February 2013

With two guests, they provided wines for sampling, Roger Sabon, Chateauneuf  Du Pape 2003, France & Villa Di Cecciano, Chianti Classico 2006, Italy.  The Roger Sabon was a classic Du Pape of the ’03 vintage having excellent balance and a soft nose.  The Villa Di Cecciano tasted impeccably.  The powerful nose and robust flavor was a solid Chianti.  This Chianti was so unique that it will be regarded as an outstanding buy.  We suggest to try it as it is one of a kind.  This wine raises the bar and is why Chianti is a leader of Old World Wines.  Thank you Mr. David. Yaris and Mr. Chris Caplan.

Wine Club Miami February 2013