Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wobbly Wine Wisdom Wednesday: Layer Cake Shiraz

Thought a little wine review would be a cool addition.
Why "wobbly"?...Well, that is attributed both to my knowledge about wine (which is weak) and the effect that a good wine will most certainly have on me. (I am a light weight when it comes to alcohol!)
I disclaim that I am not a sommalier, although I do know what a sommalier is and even how to spell it. No siree, I am just an occaisional, no frills, drinker of the stuff and so my reviews should be fairly simple and probably much more understandable than what you might get from a wine expert (or sommalier).
I hope to share here what I learn as I gain some wine wisdom and maybe we can both figure out what all the fuss is about. (and get wobbly together)

I really believe that wine preference is an individual thing- decide for yourself what you like and what is good. Don't be concerned about price. The cheaper wines, in many cases (punny!) are just as good as the more expensive ones. We will commence with all wine snobbery here!

I picked up the Layer Cake Shiraz on a recent trip to Trader Joe's. I confess that I had never heard of this wine before, but was taken in by it's fabulous name and, well, I also fell prey to the label. (It was like it was expertly marketed just for someone like me!)

Important fact: A "shiraz" grape is the same as a "syrah" grape. For some reason, when it comes from Austrailia they just call it Shiraz...(mate).

For me, "layer cake" conjurs up images of tiers of chocolate cake goodness- not billowy coconut or lemon poppyseed cake layered with jam - just chocolate. And I think the makers of this Shiraz definately share my vision. According to the Wine Bible (which you will hear me quote often), Shiraz tends to have a chocolate or mocha tone to them.

Although I am no expert on wine, I have watched experts and I know that they will first hold a glass up to the light to look at the color. I do not know why they do this, but as far as wines go, this one is a brilliant color of ruby red and I think it would make a great nail polish color actually. (I promise to investigate in future blogs what the color checking thing is all about.)

The next thing that I do with wine is swirl it in the glass which is done to release the essence of the wine. One then points one's nose into the glass and inhales. I play a game here, whereby, I attempt to determine what fruits, spices, barrels etc which have influenced the particular wine. With Layer Cake, I immediately smell a berry of some description, and coffee. The bottle gives only a description of "layers of flavors".

Tasting a wine also involves a special technique. A small sip, followed by a larger sip to basically coat the mouth, followed by a normal sip- and supposedly after this sip you should have a good idea what the wine tastes like and because you look very savvy at wine tasting your credibility is immediately increased. However, I often have to try several sips before I can clearly determine the wine's unique characteristics.

Immediately upon drinking the third sip of Layer Cake Shiraz, I tasted dark chocolate. I am not sure that this is one of my favorite wine flavors, so I am afraid I cannot be completely impartial on this one. I love chocolate and coffee, and I even like chocolates with wine, but this wine starts fruity and ends a bit too bitter for my tastes (although I confess that did not stop me from drinking over half the bottle).

A neat little hint that I read not too long ago in Martha Stewart Living about pairing wines (don't ask me what issue- I may have been reading one of my old ones!) When you determine what is in a wine (and many times it is written right on the label), it makes it easy to pair with the right foods. For the Layer Cake shiraz, I would just look for a dish that could mingle with chocolate...this could be chili, or peanut satay.

If you chance to give this wine a try, or know this wine already, let me know what you think (or thought) of it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Happy New Year

Layer Cake Wines