Posts Written OnJanuary 02, 2008

What do you look for in a tasting room experience?

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I was thinking recently about winery tasting room experiences. You read all the time about a wineries wine, its wines and maybe the architecture/decor, but you don’t often read about the overall tasting experience. Of course, the wines themselves and the surroundings are all a part of the overall experience, but the people pouring is one of the most important parts of the equation. To me, I can have a great tasting experience in an ugly space if the wines and the people pouring them for me are good. What do you look for when you visit a tasting room?…

WTN: Raphael 2006 Grand Cru Chardonnay Reserve (North Fork)

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When it comes to his white wines, Richard Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Raphael, typically eschews oak to preserve the natural flavors of the grapes. Both his stainless steel chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are perennial favorites and are terrific spring and summer sippers. But, after a 2006 growing season that was cooler than 2005 and was marked by a lot of overcast days and higher-than-average levels of rain, Rich decided to make his first barrel-fermented chardonnay at Raphael. He didn’t make much though, only four new French barrels worth. All told, the wine spent five months in those barrels. He stirred the…