... and in the afternoon, and at night!
One of my rituals many mornings is opening four or five wines and having a quick sniff and a taste, before putting them in my bag and heading out for the day to sample with my customers. I've been pretty lucky that I've rarely gotten a corked bottle, or one tainted in some other way, which can stink pretty badly, but that's what I'm checking for. These smells are covered quite well in the Le Nez Du Vin "Faults" aroma kit, which my friend Michelle kindly lent me, along with the core kit of aromas you'll find in most wines (54 individual scents in little bottles!), and the "New Oak" kit ...
Warning: shameless plug follows.
Today I took out of of my favorite wines in our portfolio, Monte Real Reserva 2003, from Bodegas Riojanas. They're a classic Rioja winery, and this wine has everything you'd want in a classic Rioja reserva: leather, some earth, cedar, cherry ... I can't get enough of the nose, I love going into the glass, smelling it, then taking a sip. All my customers love the Monte Real Reserva (80% tempranillo, 15% mazuelo, 5% graciano), whether or not they're going to take it (sometimes the guy down the street has it, or they have another Rioja reserva they've committed to, or it is too expensive for a glass pour, or whatever ...). It is probably the flagship wine in our small portfolio, and it has a really good quality to price ratio. I had the pleasure of placing it at one place in recent weeks that is quite close to my heart, but I'll not mention specifically seeing as this is a public blog and I'm not promoting any of my customers over the other! It is one wine that I love to have a quarter bottle of left at the end of my rounds, to enjoy at home - though any will do quite nicely, thank you!
My first exposure to wine on a regular basis was probably Spanish wine, given my many trips there as a youngster, and the fact that my folks got into Spanish wine to drink on holidays ("vacation") and at home - mainly from Rioja and Penedes. But Rioja wines of a certain quality (Crianza and above from a good winery) formed a taste anchor in my mind, and I always come back to them as something I love. Yet I also love many "terroir-based wines" such as the reds from the Loire valley - I love an unshowy wine from a single varietal like a Cabernet Franc from Chinon or Bourgueil as much as I like a blended wine with good oak-aging such as one from Bordeaux or Rioja. I just love good wines, and am glad to be schlepping a few nice ones around every week!