When you think of a vertical wine tasting, you might think that it means you have to drink standing up. Or maybe you'll walk in and see the glasses stacked one on top of the other like a purple, glass fortress. And although you're free to do both, there's more to the idea than just geometry.
On Wednesday night the 25th of March, between rain storms and wind, we gathers to find out what a vertical tasting is. In essence the term refers to sampling wines of the same grape usually from different vintages but from the same vineyards but we twisted the term a little and did the same grape but different regions completely. We chose the Syrah grape (known as Shiraz in Australia) because its flavors are so versatile and yet dramatically different. If you're going to learn about wine and learn how to recognize a certain grape, vertical tastings are a good part of your protocol.
As we entered the well appointed and plush room at D'Vine Wine Cafe, we were handed a glass of Black Bubbles; the title for this bouncy and party-starting sparkling Syrah called Shooting Star. Besides the fact that most women in the room decided to buy a bottle to take home, the audible ahhhs and oooh's were more proof of its popularity! ($15.99)
There's a lot of chatter about Americans shying away from French style wines but I think it's just because they don't know how exquisite they are with food or their palette is geared towards the wines they've always liked. Believe me, you'll like this Domaine Des Cedres, Vin de Pays du Gard, Syrah. (Cool name, eh? Oui!!) The nose is almost truffle like but with a little sun shining through to add an aroma of green plants and warm earth. The taste hands you a mouthful of fruit but it's masked in layers of different flavors that unfold for several seconds after you swallow your first sip. In fact the wine changed throughout the night and we enjoyed going back to it to give our tongue a treat. ($14.99)
Gravity Hills Base Camp Syrah took the room by storm. It's the wine you came for. Peppery and mouth filling it begs you to swish it around for as long as you can. The fruit bursts out of the glass, coating your taste buds with dark fruit and licorice. The list of foods eager to join it at your dinner table are as long as the conversations we enjoyed that night. Check it out. ($14.99)
An organic gift with a story to match, (ask Justin, General Manager of D'Vine to fill you in), the 2007 Gemtree Tadpole Shiraz has a story that will make you wanna be green. Zero filtration, zero fining and minimal intervention it tastes so much more mature that the date would convey. But while you're listening, open and enjoy a bottle of this great wine. It's natural, juicy, soft and drinkable. You'll be on bottle number two before you know it. ($12.99 - amazing!)