Filed under: General, Helix Wines, Reininger Wines, Uncategorized, Wine Club, Winery
I will probably get in trouble for this post. Confidential winery information, Chuck’s secret lair, and even a glimpse of Chuck Reininger you have probably never seen before are all about to be revealed. If this is my last post and I disappear, look in the chicken coop behind the winery for my remains.
Reininger’s tasting notes garner a lot of attention by tasters, wine club members, and anyone who stumbles upon our website. As many of you may know, Chuck has a pretty dry sense of humor, so when he started writing them in 1997, he set the bar pretty high to find new and ever-more fantastical ways to describe our wines. For example:
“Deep Purple meets Victoria Beckham —smoke and spice. Smo-oak on the wi-ine… Draped in thin leather haute couture and perfumed with peppercorn and dried herb, this girl is smooth – yet rocks! Big fruit — fig, black raspberry, dark cherry. Big spice that, when opened awhile, evolves toward eucalyptus with micro-mint…” (2005 Reininger Carmenere)
Or, how about:
“Scruffy, bearded 007 in a tux; refined yet rustic. Appropriate for the most elegant cuisine (or it’s the tantalizing bad boy at a rowdy, spicy barbeque!) A stunningly bright, dark purple hue pronounces the vibrant beauty of its character. Well developed fruit that flexes blackberry and plum while rolling in the dirt with coffee and vanilla laced with just a hint of anise and white pepper. This gaucho has the palate weight and the firm, tight tannins to back it up.” (2006 Reininger Malbec)
Seriously. How do these come about? It may be unconventional, but I’ll take you through the process, at least as I have seen it happen.*
When we are about to release a new wine, Chuck takes a bottle and a glass back into his office and shuts the door. Pouring a small glass for himself, he lets the wine breathe for a few minutes while he responds to emails and, I suspect, reads US weekly online (how else would he know Victoria Beckham is wearing leather dresses all the time?). He picks up the glass and swirls the wine, looking for the legginess and color before tilting the glass to his face to take his first whiff. With a furrowed brow, he detects the unique aromas of the wine (is that leather? Smoke? A subtle hint of lavender?) and sniffs again. Chuck writes these down and pauses for a minute, recalling a moment in his life where these scents have been before. Perhaps it’s the beach, or a rainy day, or a memory of zipping between wheat fields on his bike, headed home to a Sunday night supper.
He lifts the glass again, this time to taste. Aerating the wine as it hits his palate, Chuck makes a slurping sound not unlike the sucker machine at the dentist. He smiles. The wine has grown up and now those delicious flavors are shining (red raspberries, summer strawberries, currant) and he swallows, allowing the taste of the wine to linger on his tongue and savoring those flavors on the finish (eucalyptus, coconut, vanilla, the ever-famous pencil lead and “farm”). As the taste dissipates, he evaluates the texture (silky smooth, tannic, soft). He writes again and chuckles slyly as the words “manly” and “gaucho” come to mind. “Oh yeah,” he thinks, “this is a wine that Daniel Craig/Pancho Villa/Gerry Lopez would love drink after assasinating/buying shoes/doing yoga in the mountains/a chateau/a helicopter!” The office gals receive these notes and shake our heads and smile as Chuck has done it again.
The tasting note is born.
*I cannot attest to how much of this information is true or fabrication of my creative mind.