Monday, February 24, 2014

Shana Speaks Wine has moved to

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Fours and a Pour - A Team Challenge

One of the main reasons why Fours and a Pour started was to force me to stop and note what's going on in this moment.   It's easy to keep projecting forward but it's challenging to be present.  However, by constantly being observant of this instance, or of this small thing, I gain a greater appreciation for all that swirls around me. 

I open with this as a way to publicly shame myself because I have not been following this ideology AT ALL.  I have a scarlett "S" for "slacker" emblazoned on my arm  I have been barreling through my days; my eyes don't see what's around and my mind is charging towards the next task at hand.  And it's autumn.  In New York.  One of the most beautiful times of year.  For chrissakes….

So, let's create a challenge together.  I'll get back to doing this column weekly and in turn, please post just one of your own "fours" in the comments section. A little inspiration for us all. 

The Fours

1. The F train musicians
Want to hear some quality live music?  Take a ride on the F train, especially to the Delancey Street and 14th Street stops.  Holy hell, there is some serious talent going on down here. I have actually let a train go by just so I can listen a little longer.  At 14th St, look for the girl with the Afro and her guitar.  Sheer, raw talent.  And Delancey Street always has a rotating showcase of soul musicians.  Forget Ticketmaster, I'm swiping my Metrocard when I want to attend a concert.

2.  The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Although the protagonist is male, I can't imagine that this novel about a writer loving and living in modern-day Brooklyn isn't semi-autobiographical.  However, the rise of demise of a relationship chronicled throughout this novel is thoroughly relatable to anyone who's been, or wants to be, in love.

3. The Wancko Cookie from Sigmund's Pretzel
I'm been carbo-loading on Sigmund's Pretzels for a while, but how did I nearly overlook this cookie?! Peanut Butter. Chocolate Chunks. Pretzel pieces.  And did I mention it's the size of my head?

photo source:

4. Brooklyn Based's Indie Media Camp Event
This daylong conference was a source of great information as well as inspiration.  It's encouraging to hear how even successful sites, such as Design*Sponge still consider themselves a work in progress, even ten years later.  And the sale of Curbed, a network that started as a small passion project, to Vox Media for $25 - $30 million?  Dream big, people, dream big. For a full recap, click here

The Pour
Bricco Rivoira Masna Barbera d'Asti 2007 
 Simpler, more fruit forward than other Barberas, this medium-bodied red showcases bushels of  blackberries and cherries.  Classic notes of plum and soil do come through but this juicy version of a Barbera fits the bill for the chilly-but-not-quite cold autumn evenings.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Return of the Rhone

The Rhone tasting calendar has been pretty quiet this fall.  Budget cuts?  An effect of the impending global wine shortage? (I'm not kidding, read about it in this Huffington Post article). Whatever the reason, there hasn't been a huge promotional push this season and I only conducted one tasting.  But, here are three for your Rhone portfolio.  Try them before France runs out of wine.

E. Guigal Cote du Rhone Blanc, 2011 (approx $15)  - The sole white in the tasting smelled of golden delicious apple, lemon zest and a hibiscus note to add a floral intrigue to the nose. On the palate, the citrus fruits, particularly line, brought a zesty freshness to the round and lush orchard.  Medium bodied and noticeably acidic, this wine brought something interesting to each sip.

Delas Saint-Esprit Cote du Rhone, 2011 (approx $13) - Sometimes simple is good.  Case in point: this easy, uncomplicated red. Bright strawberry and cherry were dominant right away, but a bit of white pepper gave it a spicy edge that kept it from being a total juice bomb. The body was on the lighter side but moderate acidity kept it in check.  There was a ping of bing cherry on the finish, just for fun.  This was very easy drinking and was light enough to be a good summer red (file that away!).  Food need not apply.

Famille Perrin Cote du Rhone Village, 2010 (approx. $14) - This last red was a fun contrast to the Delas.  Immediately, you could tell a difference in the fruit - tighter, small berried fruits, such as blackberry, were dominant on the nose, as opposed to the cheery cherries on the other. Earth and animal came through in a big way, along with some vegetal funkiness, and black pepper added a kick to the profile. On the palate, the tannins were much more prominent than in the Delas, as well as the acidity. There was almost a chewiness to the wine, but wasn't quite chewy as it was still a medium body rather than uber-full. 

Keep tasting, friends...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Health Check: My Collection

After a harrowing tasting of one of my bottles the other week, I've been very concerned about the state of the others.  Did I royally fuck them up via poor storage? Nervously, I brought two bottles over to my friend's apartment as refreshments for a photo shoot.  One white, one red.  How'd they fare?

Hermann J Wiemer, Magdalena Vineyard, Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2011 - Yee-haw, this Riesling was just as amazing as when I first tried it over the summer.   It was all about the peach and apricot upon first sniff, but then limes and grapefruits came through, quickly followed by slate.  On the palate, it was like bushelfuls of orchard fruits had been dumped into the glass, but again, citrus to the rescue to keep it zesty.  Although it was classified as a dry Riesling, I did sense more residual sugar than anticipated. The high acid and viscous body gave it depth and interest and I'm sad that my sole bottle of this wine is gone. 

Domaine Anne & Jean-Francois Delorme, Mercurey, Burgundy, 2009 - This pinot noir started tight; I faintly detected blackberry, raspberry, a bit of plum and while the scents of soil and earth were apparent, the alcohol was rather prominent on the nose.  The first few sips didn't do much to boost my confidence; the alcohol was giving off some major heat and the whole thing tasted a bit flat.  Fuuuuuuccccckkkk. Luckily, it just needed a bit of time and air. As it evolved it became more lush and round on the palate.  The tannins and acid found they groove, giving the flowering fruits a richness to their flavor. I breathed a massive sigh of relief. 

I think they're going to pull through, but fingers crossed….

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sound the Alarm

Houston, we may have a problem.

Tonight, I opened up one of my more "casual" bottles of wine and it was not good.  Not good at all.
Now, there are a few reasons why this could be:
1.  The wine itself was just not that great.
2.  This particular wine is meant to be drunk young and doesn't age well.
3.  My palate is still off due to being sick.

Or, my worst fear:
4.  The wine, which has been improperly stored for the past few months, has gone off.

Don't judge.  I'm ashamed enough as is. I can try to blame various circumstances that have occurred over the past few months but let's be honest:  like some teenager about to be sent to juvie, I knew the rules and didn't follow them.

The cause of the bad wine is inconclusive but it does raise a major concern for the other bottles, the "better" ones that I'm waiting for the right time to open: have I destroyed my collection??? Have I done irrevocable damage to my vino?

I think we all can learn some valuable lessons from this experience:
1.  Drink your s***.  They are there to be consumed, especially if they are not wines that would benefit from aging.
2.  Store your s*** properly.  No excuses.

Has anyone else had a bad wine storage experience? Don't worry, this is a safe space, feel free to share...

        The whistle-blowing bottle

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Night Humor

Here's a little something to get you ready to face Monday, courtesy of my Mom (and everyone wish her a happy birthday!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fours and a Pour: Something Old and a Whole Lotta New

Change is abound and many are still feeling the energy of fall and that deeply ingrained back-to-school excitement.  Although this is sounding like an astrological horoscope, it is a time of renewal for many aspects of life,  one of which is changing my living space.  The concept of decorating and furnishing has sparked much creativity in me, so this week's Fours is primarily dedicated to interior design.   (I'm learning my style leans towards bordello chic - I foresee a lot of leopard print). 

The Fours
1.  Yogibo Fly - Holy crap, it's an indoor hammock.  From a practicality standpoint, what better way to provide seating in a small space?  But come on,  it's an indoor hammock!  I want this. So badly. My hammock obsession is thisclose to being realized.

2. Urbio wall garden - I've never been able to keep a plant alive longer than a week, but this Urbio wall garden is inspiring me to give some TLC to low maintenance succulents (and truthfully, saying "succulents" makes me giggle).

3.  Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces by Malcolm Gillingham-Ryan - Ingenious ideas for tiny space dwellers can be found in this coffee-table book.  Read it and try not to be inspired. 

4.  Vynebar hanging storage - this rack will serve as both wine storage and an art installation on my wall.  It will probably encourage me to drink more as well so I can rotate the bottle selection and create new "art." 

Bricco Boschis, Cavallotto, Barolo, 2004
And the one old - this gorgeous Barolo that I've been saving for a special occasion and finally had a chance to open.  It started off with deep cherry and plum but beautiful violets wove their way through the nose.  It sat and breathed for a while, which then produced the plum, earth and tobacco and a bit of rose.  On the palate, the deep berries burst on the tongue along with some strong acid and tannins. They kept integrating into one of the most beautifully balanced wines I've had in a long, long time.