Tuesday, February 5 2013
Nothing is Brighter Than An EclipseHere comes the sun (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
I'm going to do something I have very rarely done in my blog: talk about one of Winexpert's products. I know, I know, quelle surprise!
For folks who came here honestly expecting to read a blog about wine and got my idle ramblings sociological observations and lifestyle posts, I do in fact live my life in wine, despite the dearth of references I make to it here. Sometimes a day goes by that I don't enjoy a glass of wine, but not two in a row. And I'm an ardent user of Winexpert's winemaking juices--I make at least thirty batches a year (well, I would, wouldn't I? I have to know how they're working and how every new wine tastes, and that means a lot of make-and-drink. It's a tough life.)
Never made your own wine? Wonder what the heck I mean by thirty batches a year? Check out this video series on how-to. For why-to: it's fun, people who make their own wine are cool, it's astoundingly economical, and (this is important, gentlemen!) many nice people you would like to get to know drink wine, ahem!
The product I'm enthused about is our new Eclipse line.I love how cool this box looks. It's like if Batman made his own wine.
Eclipse is the ultimate expression of consumer-produced wine, in a shelf-stable package, and lets winemakers produce amazing AVA/region or even vineyard-specific wine from an array of top varietal grapes. All of the reds except one contain a package of grapeskins, which are fermented along with the rest of the wine to add flavour, tannin, aroma and depth to the finished wine (that one wine is the Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir--including skins with it throws the balance of a subtle, delicate Pinot a little off, and doesn't improve the gentle poetry of this shy little grape). All of the whites are wonderfully aromatic, lush and crisp, with excellent varietal character.
I know what you're thinking: doesn't he get paid to endorse his company's stuff? Yes, yes I do. So don't take my word for it. Instead, here's what a bunch of folks said about it last weekend, at an Eclipse tasting party: Craig and Colin from Winesense in Manitoba wanted to do a tasting of the Eclipse wines for all of their staff so they could get everyone's feedback, and everybody in their stores could describe the wines to their customers. Here's part of the email Craig sent about the tasting event:
The event went exceptionally well.
We had 21 people with Staff and spouses in a Hospitality Suite. We also had hot and cold appetizers. The plan was to have all staff taste all styles before we officially launch. Everyone was impressed.
The reds each showed varietal character especially considering their youth. The oldest wine was probably about 6 weeks yet they were all clearly different wines. All the reds got significantly better as they spent more time in the glass and opened up. The Pinot Noir was clearly Pinot Noir but definitely needs time to develop. The Cab, Merlot and Zin went over really well.
The off-dry whites showed very well. The NZ Sauv Blanc was only in the bottle for 2 days and was clearly a NZ Sauv Blanc in nose and taste- it will be amazing once aged.
Although a few styles came out as the 'favourites' all of the reds/whites seemed to be very balanced amongst the staff. There was not any wine that did not show up in someone's top 3.
My top picks- the Ranch 11 Cab and NZ Sauv Blanc.
Neither bottle of commercial wine (there for comparison purposes--Tim) was finished.The Winesense Crew--they put the 'cheers' in cheerful!
That's pretty close to my assessment as well. Considering the fact that the wines are probably going to start showing their best at somewhere between 9 months and a couple of years of age, they drink remarkably well when young--even when they've only been bottled for a couple of days!--showing strong varietal character, smooth tannins and good aroma right from the start.
I'm really excited, happy and proud of Eclipse, and the winemakers and product development team that made it happen. We've always worked to make our wines better, year after year, but this is a big step, and shows just what you can do with a fresh slate and some of the best grapes in the world to work with.
And I've got three on the go right now. On the other hand, maybe I should make a double-batch of the Pinot Noir . . . hmm!
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