Glassware: Yes, It Does Make a Difference.
Viognier and Syrah.
These wines were purchased from Corkscrew Wine & Spirits in Norman, Oklahoma. The manager of the store, who I’ve already purchased wine from before, helped me find these. He also suggested the Bota Box Malbec to me, highlighted in my first wine tasting blog! I love shopping at Corkscrew, because it is so close to my house and has a massive selection at decent prices. I initially wanted to buy a Shiraz, but the selection was greater for Syrahs so I decided on a California Syrah instead of an Australian Shiraz. The Viognier I selected was the only 100% Viognier that Corkscrew had in stock, and I didn’t want to opt for a blend and lose some of the aromatic impact.
Michael David 6th Sense – Syrah – 2015 – Graton, California, United States – $15.99
Appellation: Lodi, CA
Critic Review: Distinctive and exotic, this affordable wine is concentrated while layering cola, pine forest and clove nuances on top a core of ripe blackberries. It is medium to full in body and moderately tannic. The saturated flavors coat the palate nicely and linger on the finish.
My review: I only made notes of the tastes that were outstanding. Otherwise, I didn’t notice any differences in tastes.
shot glass: This is my first chance to smell this wine, and I immediately noticed how soft the wine is. I usually get a sense of the high alcohol content when I smell a red wine, with an almost burning sensation in my nose. However, this Syrah is very light and I only smell florals! I have to take a huge whiff of it to get a sense of smell though, because it is so delicate.
short glass: I immediately noticed a difference between this and the shot glass, because there was greater surface area exposed to the air and I smelled more of the alcohol in it. It is still soft though, and I specifically smell raspberry.
tall glass: I get a very similar sensation as I did when I used the short glass. I was able to swirl more so more of the inside of the glass was able to be coated with wine. I cannot pinpoint what I am smelling here, because it isn’t the usual fruits I have smelled in the red wines I have tasted so far. It is delicate and floral.
V-shaped glass: This isn’t a very good glass to smell wine out of, because the lip is flared out and the aroma isn’t concentrated near the nose. I do smell the most alcohol I have so far, though. It is still light enough to not distract from the soft raspberry and pine I smell.
white wine glass: At this point, I ditched the smell-only technique and caved in for a taste. I love this wine! I understand why this experiment is being done with this variety of wine — it is so floral! I didn’t know what it meant to taste floral until just now. Big fan. Anyway, I smell pine for sure, something very refreshing and clearing but without burning. This is a note I might not have picked up on if I hadn’t tried pinpointing it after reading the official review. I do appreciate it though.
red wine glass: I definitely am being hit with the alcohol the most in this glass – and I don’t think I like it. If anything, I was expecting to notice the alcoholic aroma lightening as I transition to more appropriate glassware for the wine of interest. In this case, it’s almost as though the alcohol begins to take away from the delicacy that I noticed in the shot glass and short glass. The pine is extremely exaggerated in this glass, which I appreciate a lot. This pine complements the alcohol but makes the scent burn more. Overall, I think I prefer this wine in the white wine glass.
- My roommate, Aubrey, tasted this as well and said it’s one of her favorite reds she’s tried! She said, “it’s very smooth, and I taste the florals too!” From a devoted Moscato drinker – there you have it.
bowl: The surface area to volume ratio is high, let me tell you. This bowl is going to be a disaster to try to drink from, so I’ll definitely reserve this one for scent only. I feel like a puppy dog sniffing its food, but I cannot smell anything. I had to literally bob for apples to get close enough to smell anything here. Do not recommend.
Overall, I loved this Syrah. Before today, I had never tried a Syrah or Shiraz; but I can guarantee that I will purchase more in the future. I’ll keep in mind that I prefer this wine in an atypical glass, so I can be sure to enjoy it as much as possible next time. And the color of this wine is just so beautiful – it’s almost magenta it is so warm purple. The first photo makes it look very dark, so here’s what it actually looks like:
Zaca Mesa – Viognier – Santa Ynez Valley, California, United States – 2016 – $12.99
Critic review: From Wine Enthusiast: Exotic aromas of yuzu, quince sorbet, peach and mandarin orange show on the intriguing nose of this bottling from the region’s Rhône pioneer. That quince flavors holds strong into the palate, where it’s cut by lime juice.
From Zaca Mesa: Our 2016 Viognier displays classic aromas of peach, honeysuckle and wet stone. The palate has flavors of ripe citrus and nectarine that are complemented by lingering acidity.
shot glass: I won’t lie when I say I had a slight reflex to what reminded me of a bad Pinot Grigio I had a few weeks ago — but this one is a little better. When I first started this process, I favored white wines. However, in the short 5 weeks of class so far I have transitioned to favoring red wines. That’s beside the point — I notice light hints of citrus once I got past the alcoholic smell that hit me at first and reminded me of the Pinot Grigio.
short glass: I finally tasted this wine and it is pleasantly sour. It tastes acidic and almost citrus-y like the orange smell that I’ve picked up on. I appreciate describing it as honeysuckle, because I agree. I don’t know what yuzu or quince sorbet is, but maybe I agree?
tall glass: I liked the scent of this wine more in the tall glass than the short glass, maybe because my nose could be farther away from the liquid but the aroma was still concentrated because of the high walls of the glass. I really notice the citrus, and appreciate it much more than I originally did. The acidity and alcohol is pretty similar to all whites I’ve had recently.
V-shaped glass: The smell is so much softer in this glass, it’s not overwhelmingly alcoholic like in the other vessels. It is very pleasant and floral. I smell the honeysuckle again and mandarin.
white wine glass: This is the glass that I have enjoyed it the most in, because the scents are concentrated perfectly as it was designed. I smell the sour. Right before tasting this, I had a few semi-sweet chocolate chips, because Aubrey was making cookies. The chocolate went well with the sweet wine! If this was a dry wine, that would have probably been slightly unpleasant.
red wine glass: This smell was very hard-hitting to the nose, and almost too alcoholic for my liking. I gave this one a HUGE swirl before I smelled it, so it was opened up a lot more than the other glasses allowed it to be. I smell lemon and orange here.
bowl: Last but not least, puppy round 2. I still don’t smell anything here, just smells like someone spilled something. I get a very slight whiff of orange, but nothing like in the other vessels.
Overall, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this. This was the first white wine to make it to my blog, and I’m being reminded of why I’m starting to like reds more than whites. That’s an overgeneralization, but I definitely preferred the Syrah to the Viognier.
It’s so interesting that I really did notice differences in smells, depending on the vessel I was sampling from. In most glasses, the scent differences made only a slight difference in the perceived taste so I didn’t take much note of this aspect of the lesson. The smell was a pleasant treat to enjoy in the different glasses, though. I’ll be honest, I’ve had $3 wine in a coffee mug before and thought nothing wrong of it. Now I appreciate spending a little more money on a wine, doing research on it before, and using the right glass for the occasion. Overall, the aromatic wines like these should be enjoyed in glasses that foster the optimal aromatic concentration, like the white wine glass. I liked this lesson!