Chateau Julien Wine Estate
Have you ever sat amongst nearly 2000 aging oak barrels of wine, with ambiance lighting, an exquisite four-course meal paired with the winemaker's choice vintage wines from the owners' cellar? Witnessed Monterey County crush with the winemaking crew, followed by a family-style dinner in the cellar? Heard the beauty of a cappella performed privately in a Chai over the holidays? Chateau Julien Wine Estate rests amongst the Santa Lucia Mountains in beautiful Carmel Valley, California and offers a magnificent setting for eight different events throughout the year–such as the Fall Winemaker Dinner, Harvest Wine Seminar and Holiday Spectacular. You may view a complete list of Chateau Julien Events on our web site!
Family owned and operated since 1982, Chateau Julien Wine Estate produces Estate grown wines from the soils of Monterey County. Through daily wine tasting, estate tours and a selection of unique events, the winery continually shares its passion for wine and hospitality. For more information on the Estate, please visit us at www.chateaujulien.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Chardonnay & Oak Aging
This dry white wine, made from the Chardonnay grape, is the most popular of its variety. Chardonnay ranges in style, with some oakier versions contributing to taste. The purpose of Chardonnay aged in oak is to add some of the oaks characters, along with helping the wine develop its texture. Winemakers may lightly toast the inner surface of barrels, allowing the smoky oak or toasty characters to be detected in the final product. Oak gives the taste a dimension of spiciness and adds a hint of vanilla or coconut to the grapes aroma. The oak and Chardonnay combination is a favorite that is sure to last!
Wine Tasting - The Sense of Smell
There are a few very important things to note when we "nose" a wine. It is suggested to first smell the wine before swirling, noticing the delicate aromas. Next, swirl the wine and smell again after it is at rest. Depending on the bouquet, you may then notice a profound difference in the odors emerging. Aroma is a smell that originates from the actual grape, with very clear cut characteristics. Aroma is most prevalent in young wines. The bouquet of a wine refers to smells generated as a result of aging; smells found particularly in mature wines that were aged in a bottle. The bouquet generally has much softer and complex characteristics than aromas. Identifying what you smell is usually the most challenging part in wine tasting. Although there are many smell categories used to describe characteristics of wine, none have been exclusively agreed upon.
There are three elements to consider in evaluating a wine’s quality: its appearance, its aroma, and its taste.
Color and clarity
Young white wines range in hue from a pale straw-yellow to a rich amber. The color depends on the grape variety, the ripeness of the grapes at harvest, the way the wine was fermented and aged (white wines fermented and/or aged in barrel will have a more golden hue than those fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks), and how much oxygen the wine was exposed to during vinification and bottling. As they age, white wines darken, assuming a deeper golden color. Browning suggests either an extremely old white wine or, if found in a younger white, a wine that has been prematurely oxidized and should probably not be consumed.
Red wines, conversely, grow paler as they age. Young reds range in color from a translucent cherry for lighter wines such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir to a deep ruby, sometimes with purplish tints, for a Zinfandel or Syrah. Older red may display a brickish hue around the edges. This should not be present in a younger red wine.
When you swirl wine in a glass and sniff it, the volatile essences of the wine are carried by thousands of nerve endings in your nasal cavity to the olfactory bulb in your brain. The same thing happens, via the retronatal passage in the back of the mouth, when you sip and swallow wine. In effect, flavors are odors in your mouth. Swirling volatilizes the wine's aromas and sniffing draws them into the olfactory bulb, which "interprets" them -- i.e., compares them to other familiar smells.
This is a complex process, because a wine consists of over 300 different chemical compounds, many of which are identical or similar to those found in fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and other substances. That's why wine aficionados describe a wine’s aromas in terms of various fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices (e.g., apple, melon, citrus, cherry, berry, honey, peach, mint, bell pepper, grass, green olive, clove, licorice, cedar, etc.). They're not being fanciful; there actually are chemical correlations underlying the comparisons, which explains the rich metaphorical language used to describe a wine's sensory characteristics.
The primary grape smells of a wine, distinct by variety, make up its aroma, while secondary characteristics, caused by factors such as fermentation and oak and bottle aging, blend with its fruit smells to form the wine's bouquet.
To fully appreciate a wine's aroma, gently swirl it in your glass. The aroma should be clean and fresh, with the characteristic scents associated with the variety (e.g., apple with chardonnay, melon and citrus with sauvignon blanc, cherry and blackcurrant with cabernet sauvignon, blackberry and black pepper with zinfandel, etc.), perhaps accented by the toasty, vanilla-y, or spicy scents imparted by the barrels it was aged in. If the wine is older, it may have a less fresh and fruity aroma, but one with more complexity.
Humans can perceive combinations of only four tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. These sensations are localized in taste buds on different parts of the tongue: sweetness on the tip, with acidity and bitterness on the sides and to the rear.
You may notice the tartness of a young dry white wine, for instance, or the astringency of a full-bodied young red. Some varieties, like riesling, chenin blanc, and gewürztraminer, are especially fruity, if not literally sweet, while a strapping young cabernet sauvignon may taste very dry and even bitter.
The “body’ of a wine – the sense of its weight on your palate – is a function primarily of its alcohol content (the higher the alcohol, the weightier the wine). A wine too high in alcohol may taste hot or harsh, while a wine low in alcohol may seem thin or watery. In red wines, the tannin acids contained in the grape skins, which are absorbed into the wine through fermentation (whites do not ferment on their skins and thus have little tannin) can promote a drying, puckery sensation, like sucking on a walnut skin, while a wine low in acidity may have an overly soft, even flabby impression.
Whatever tastes a wine imparts, the key to its quality is balance, a harmony of all its elements: fruit, alcohol, acidity, wood (if any). By tasting a wine – especially by sloshing it about in your mouth before swallowing - you can gain a quick impression of its most salient elements (is it fruity, tart, soft, bitter?) and to what degree those elements are in harmony. Combined with assessing its appearance and aroma, this will complete your evaluation of the wine’s quality and, most important, whether you find it pleasing or not.
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