Saturday, May 03, 2008

Review and Rating: * Chez Ray Dry Elderberry Wine 2003, CT

Review: The Chez Ray Elderberry, 2003, shows as medium brick-red in the glass, turning orange at the edges. Aroma is a bit sharp and vegetable-like - think musty cabbage. Doesn't make you want to dive into the glass, I must confess.

On the palate, there is a sense of acids and wood on the tongue and edges of your mouth. Very little fruit. Definitely old-world in character, though little in the way of charm. I doubt age will further mellow this concoction, as the color suggests it is already breaking apart.

The toughness of this elderberry wine might add some character to my inaugural 2002 "kit" wines, which remain fruity but have become a bit mushy. On its own, I can only give one star out of five. I almost added a plus for it still being "grizzled" after all these years.

This wine was made from canned elderberry, hydrated and sweetened for fermentation. In contrast to my "wines" made from fresh fruit (grapes, blackberries, blueberries), it was a disappointment. I suppose we're learning a lesson here. My one batch of red-wine made from pre-squeezed juice from Lodi was a similar disappointment. Nothing like the real stuff...

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Post-script: Interesting... when mixed with a 2002 combo of mostly "kit" wines (including RJ Spangols Cellar Classic "Rosso Grande", Wine Art Gold cabernet sauvignon, Brew King "Old Vines Zin" and real grape syrah from Yakima, WA), this did add a needed acid sparkle, but at the cost of funky flavors.

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Another post-script: wiith some sub-par reds, I have noted that sweetening them a bit can make a more palatable drink. I tried that here too - but I must admit, it really did amount to the following:

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