Winefashionista.com Blogger Mary Orlin
Wine of the Month Club and Wine Fashionista.com
Host: Paul Kalemkiarian, President Wine of the Month Club
Guest: Mary Orlin WineFashionista.com
Paul: Hey welcome to the continuing, not the wine makers series it is the wine bloggers series here at wine of the month club. And we are very excited to introduce Mary Orlin
Paul: How are you?
Mary: I am great Paul, How are you?
Paul: Glad you are here. And she walked in and I kind of recognised her. And then we started talking, and I realize that she was host of or producer of
Paul: Wine Country?
Mary: In wine country
Paul In wine country, right and we were the main club for that program, and she has moved on to other things and now she has the website Fashionista,
Paul: WineFashionista.com ok what's wrong with me?
Mary: You need some wine
Paul: That's right, we're going to do that too. It is a great site, we've been a members for years, and we have been watching what she's been doing and fascinated by your articles
Paul: And not to be, not the least of which is snifapaluza.
Mary: Snifapaluza yes.
Paul: Tell us about Snifapaluza.
Mary: Snifapaluza. Well, first of all I have to tell you that I am obsessed with perfume has much has I am with wine.
Paul: Oh, Ok, so
Mary: So that's where it comes from. And years ago Snifapaluza started as a small group in New York City, two friends; they called them The Karen's, both named Karen. They started this group and started holding perfume events, where either perfume companies, it actually the smaller niche companies, would come and present their new perfumes and their new releases. And this growing group of perfume lovers just start taking on this amazing, amazing influence in the industry. So it's growing to a group of five thousand members worldwide.
Mary: They would always have these great events in New York City, like a master class with a perfumer or the nose behind the label. Or a blending session and I always wanted to go. So a couple years ago I said ok, wherever they go this coming year, they always do big international trips. I said I am going, and I was fortunate that the destination was Grass and Province [unsure].
Paul: Wow that's pretty cool
Mary: And that's kind of the world headquarters for the perfume industry. So many of the big fragrance companies IFF, MAN, and GUVITAN. They all have factories there.
Mary: So Snifapaluza is able to get us into the factories to meet with the noses and to get a tour.
Paul: That's like, that's pretty amazing access right?
Mary: Yeah. Because you know the perfume industry is really secretive.
Paul: Yes, it is
Mary: so what was really great was the first factory we walked into, we got to see the production line. Well, it's just like a winery, they bring in the raw materials. The day that we were there, they happened to be bringing in, I forget what kind of flowers, but, and then they were processing them, and then they had to go through an extraction or fermentation if you will
Paul: Right, yes
Mary: Then and once they get what they call the juice, then they have to put it in stainless steel tanks. And so they kind of
Paul: Age it, right. So it is distillate.
Mary: Right, but there are several processes. There is a distillation, there's extraction, and there is something called amflorage.
Mary: Which is an old technique, but it was fascinating, so it just kind of hit me; it's really similar to wine.
Paul: It is
Mary: It's like a winery; and then the more I learned about the aromas and smelling the perfumes, it really seemed like the aromatics really spoke to me as much has the aromatics in wine. And learning to smell perfume and being able to identify different aromatics
Mary: It helps me with wine
Paul: Yes, very interesting because people, put your glass up. Often when I go to Macy's or wherever and I smell some of the perfumes, and like give them a description, they go, "hey how did you know that?" I say like "I am in the wine business and I think there's a huge cross overs or ven diagram of that. So, in fact I was telling Mary off camera that we have found a bunch of our old wine from the seventy's and eighty's, and you'll be seeing some of those video clips. And has soon as I saw the labels I remembered the smell. It is such a memorable, the scents right?
Mary: Yeah, it really is. Your sense of smell is more powerful than your sense of taste because if you didn't have your sense of smell you wouldn't really taste anything. Your tongue can only perceive bitter, sweet, salty, and sour.
Paul: Right that's right
Mary: but to get the florals, to get the fruit, that comes from your sense of smell. So wine wouldn't be as enjoyable.
Paul: Well, that's the smell. In fact sometimes
Mary: The nose on this is just so beautiful.
Paul: Isn't that great, this is… so she asked why we taste a wine that has a lot of aromatics , wine that would be a Viognier, a Ruson a Marson or one of these kind and they have to be from the south of France as well. And this is a white coat juroon. And it Vaughn too actually, and so yeah, the tropical nose.
Mary: The tropical nose is really amazing, the pineapple, the guava that really comes out. And you also get the white flower, so you get some of a little bit of honey suckle some Jasmin
Paul: Some stone peach, stone fruit but. The thing about this wine is they always confuse me anyway, the viognier's and some of them, they're dry
Paul: but you get this appellant nose
Mary: You do
Paul: And then you, it's kind of dry.
Mary: Then once you taste it, it's very dry. But you still get that rich, at least with this one, it's going to be a very rich taste on your palate
Paul: This actually will open up as time goes on this one that's still closed. This is for my friends
Mary: Very nice
Paul: and Plumeridge importers one of the main importers for Trader Joe's actually, but not a Trader Joe's wine, so
Mary: It doesn't taste like it as well. There's some dense to be found at Tray
Paul: Oh, we love them. They, I mean, Bob Bernie who passed away a few years ago, the original wine buyer for the Joe Cologne, good friend of wine of the month club. And he's the guy that would find these gems, right? They are more, there inventory is more stable now than they used to be, they used to be really... Now we talked about this off camera
Paul: And this is, and you have never tasted one so we got a chance to do that
Mary: I've never tasted a Mencia .
Paul: Mencia. And we were discussing this earlier that it's not 'mencia' although it's spelt like it. It's Mencia and it's, what I love about these kinds of things is
Mary: Look at the colour.
Paul: The addition is grape, we don't grow it here.
Mary: Yeah, right, but most people don't know it.
Paul: Right. And you can't compare it. You can't say this tastes like Syrah, right?
Mary: Right, and you don't want it to.
Paul: Right, exactly
Mary: I mean, that's what's fun about wine is that, there're so many different varieties that people are discovering now, like this, the white Rhone that we just had, it had Grenache blanc in it and that's become one of my favourite.
Paul: Great, great
Mary: Few years ago, I didn't know about Grenache Blanc but it is fun now and people are starting to learn about it. Look at the colour on this, wow
Paul: Isn't it gorgeous? It sort of has the berries and then those are the spice
Mary: It smells so earthy
Paul: Love it, so fun.
Paul: The story is funny, it came to me from a neighbourhood, you know, the local neighbourhood Christmas party last year, two or three years ago. And the gentleman came up to me and he goes, "hey I heard you are in the wine business, you know, my cousin has farms in Spain.
Mary: That's nice
Paul: Ribeira Sacra which is upper North West of Spain, kind of a secure area, not a lot of wine comes from there that area that we get. Anyway, usually we get regular stuff isn't that fun?
Mary: This is fun and it's really delicious and it does not have the big tannings that say a tempranillo
Paul: Somebody… I get a new black fruit all kinds of berries in it
Mary: That's a black fruit, a little pepper spice
Paul: Yes, I agree, and this is their, I guess it's their reserve, if you were to call that. We have also featured their regular mencia
Mary: That's delicious
Mary: Yeah, it's easy drinking. How much a bottle does this sell for?
Paul: I think it's actually 12.99
Mary: Isn't that amazing? It's really well made, it's got nice structure and it's, yeah fun.
Paul: Aint that fun? That's why you love this industry
Paul: Right, because you get to try things that you wouldn't try before.
Paul: They say on WineFahionista.com that you like, in your bio you talk about Rhone varietals
Paul: Has that always been the case or you
Mary: No, it's just something maybe in the past five six years, the more I learned about them, I think Vienna is my favourite wine
Paul: Is that really? That's great
Mary: And the northern rose Syrah, they're great and I love Grenache
Paul: Well, you know, it seems like and maybe you've seen this in your travels, but people start with, first like, they don't like to start with red wine, they start with the white wine and then they move in the red, then they start with the Bordeaux varietals, the Merlot's and the Cabs, then they learn about Pinot Noir then they come to the Rhone varietals
Mary: And I think the Rhone varietals, whether they're grown in the Rhone Valley or in this country, it's just very interesting and different I am not a big Cabernet Sauvignon person. I used to be a Chardonaway person.
Paul: Chardonaway, I like it, I've never heard that one, it's really good
Mary: Our ABC or anything but chardonnay in the past year or two, I've been finding some really great chardonnay, especially in California that burnt the big oak butter bond that they use to be
Mary: The wine makers are coming around to balance and more leaner styles with fruits there, there's minerality
Paul: You're absolutely right on with that, and we see that here in our tasting.
Mary: That's right
Paul: We're more into stainless steel, that's more lactic. And really the character of the fruit, right, not the character of the barrels. This came to, you know, you're actually on a cutting edge today because we haven't released this wine yet, and we are the first in America to have it.
Mary: This is beautiful
Paul: Wonderful vendor in Corona, you know, last but very French, lovely French woman and her husband, and she does the wine and he does motorcycles. And I just think this is so classic for what it's trying to be. This is the coup domain decouverel this is the rhone varietal I think old vines as well.
Mary: It's got that really nice in depth of fruits, you've got the red fruits from the strawberry, from the Grenache.
Paul: Isn't that great, the nose?
Mary: It really is, there's from the Syrah
Paul: Sometimes I think that, she's a certified Sommelier and so she's been through rigorous training and we know how excruciatingly, I've read the test, I've never taken it and as well it is a mastery of wine test, which is incredibly different. Another level, right?
Mary: Yeah, that's totally another level, so I still admire the people who have achieved that, it's really amazing
Paul: We've had a few in here, there's one in the local beer who sells South African wines, we used to do a lot of business with him but. When you go to a restaurant and somebody serves you wine, quite often I just need to smell it, because of this stash of a business we know so much of it. And some say the wine goes waste, and I told them it is fine and they still wait for me to taste them like, I don't need to taste them you can tell
Mary: Yeah, because I think, you know, because it's so engrained in us, you know, we have to we have to taste it to make sure it's ok, but really what you're doing when you're smelling the wine with either the wine server's or somebody else waiting for is free to say, it's ok, it's not corked.
Paul: Right and you get that in the nose
Mary: You totally get that in the nose and I do the same thing, I sniff it and I put it down and I say, it's great. Thank you
Paul: Yeah, great. So I went to a restaurant the other night in Pasadena, just a while ago, I won't go back actually, somebody brings me the wine, and he brings it, I know the wine, I just tasted it recently and I liked it when I tasted it. And the guy was fair, it was like fifty bucks. And the next one he, we ordered another bottle, and it was corked, it was clearly corked. My brother-in-law who's not a wine guy goes, "This smells funny" I say you're right, it's corked, so I called the guy over I say this wine is corked, "No it's not," he says. Because this is fifty dollars. So he pours another glass, he opens a fresh bottle for the table next door they taste it, they drink it. I said bring me a glass of that, I do not smell these two. He goes this is not cork. So I said, ok fine and he goes, "but you can have the rest of this bottle from that table."
Mary: That's not nice
Paul: Isn't that stupid? Well I got so mad and I came back here I got on the computer which I have showed you and they had offered the wine here for like seven dollars.
Mary: Oh really?
Paul: And he was charging me fifty. And he couldn't come to grips to offer me another bottle. Isn't that annoying?
Mary: Customer service is e everything, and we were talking about how long you've been in the business and one thing you really owe that to is your really personal…
Paul: Oh, totally
Mary: You know, Customer service is so important in the wider world and more intimidating, you know, why make it an intimidating experience when it should be after all. Part of my training has a certified Sommelier and to master Sommelier is customer service and your guest is the most important thing and you are there to serve the guest. And after all it's a great experience that we want you to have with wine, we want you to come back and try it again enjoy it learn and love it. But you know some Sommeliers don't get that message.
Paul: They don't get it.
Mary: I was in Australia in Sydney at a restaurant and I ordered a wine and I was having salmon that night and I wanted to have a white wine with it. And the Sommelier said "No you need to have red with this." And I was like I don't feel like drinking that tonight, I'm going to have a white. And we went back and forth, he made it, he was so obnoxious about it that I said, ok you know what, I'm not even ordering wine tonight.
Mary: I was that upset.
Paul: That's amazing
Mary: And so half way through, me and my husband are having our entrees, he comes with a glass of wine like this and he just kind of slams it in front of me, it was like, "this is what you need to be drinking with your dish," I'm like "ok."
Mary: So you know, I tried it, it was fine but I wasn't going to order a glass it just looked unprincipled
Paul: That's terrible, that's terrible
Mary: But would I ever go back? No
Paul: In fact, one of the best meals that I have ever had was at Pinot Noir festival but they were serving chardonnay with their waffle salmon over oak fire. What's wrong with salmon and white wine nobody wanted it?
Mary: Absolutely nothing.
Paul: So what's the next step with your Sommelier, you get a master Sommelier, what's the next step?
Mary: So there is a step in between called advanced Sommelier and it takes a lot of self-study, I think it takes, it can take a couple of years to do that and master it
Mary: And that involves, with the exams there's three parts, there's theory, which is knowledge of wine of regions and the higher you go up the more obscured the regions and the knowledge and the grape, varietals and you to know the soil types, the climate, all these things.
Mary: Producers, small producers, big producers and then there is the service component of it so you have to actually conduct proper service for formal restaurant dining, in my case, it was champagne service.
Paul: Really? Wow, that's interesting.
Mary: Yes it was tough
Paul: Yeah I bet
Mary: It was really tough. And I'm not sure what they do for the masters but it's much more
Paul: That's amazing
Mary: But you are kind of role playing, you are the server and you have master Sommelier sitting at your table, while you're are trying to do, you know, open the bottle correctly, do the perfect pour, just concentrate on that, but they're asking you questions on cocktails and food pairing and all those other things
Paul: So you are multi-tasking at that point
Paul: But you know there's like about 150 Master Sommeliers around
Mary: It's just under 200, it's it's very difficult, it takes years and years and not everyone passes the first time. I'll be honest I didn't pass my certified test on the first time. I had to go back and brush up on the service. And the other part of it is the blind tasting.
Paul: They say the MW is like an eight percent (8%) pass rate
Mary: Yeah it is very difficult, yeah and I think it might be harder. We had a master on our trip to Argentina and Chile
Paul: Which one?
Mary: Mary Gorman
Paul: Love Mary Gorman
Mary: She's based in New York City
Paul: So here is this Grenache
Paul: Which is some of the grape with a completely different wine from a different region. This is from Spain, that one is from the south of France, but isn't that, I just love this wine.
Mary: So fruity
Paul: So fruity and
Mary: Just the black juice and it's so juicy
Paul: Soft. Which would lead you to think that the aging potential of this wine which a lot of acid, you know, would be younger, five years maybe. May not develop all that much, whereas the Rhone version of the same kind of grapes, this one is a little more acid and probably has some more longevity to it. But that leads me to the Segway, the incredible Segway, which was
Mary: Love that
Paul: You wrote an article on winefashionista.com about aging wine in the ocean vs in a celler and I remembered that study when happened, which was a couple of years ago
Mary: Actually, there were studies but this experiment actually started back in February
Paul: Oh, just recently.
Mary: Just recently. Mira winery which is in Napa. They wanted to do something different and they kind of like the idea of, I think recently, they recently wrote about some wine that had been discovered in the shipwreck
Paul: That's right.
Mary: So I said, maybe there's something here too, why don't we try it. So they took four cases of their, in 2009 in Napa valley and they put in under the water in Charleston harbour, sixty feet below
Paul: Isn't that amazing
Mary: for 3 months. They designed these cages that would keep the wine kind of anchored to the bottom of the ocean floor.
Paul: Yeah, right.
Mary: So divers had
Paul: And when they were ready they couldn't find it when they went back.
Mary: They couldn't find it immediately. They had kind of the surface GPS coordinates
Mary: You know
Paul: Aint that funny?
Mary: It's funny but they found it, they did find it.
Paul: Ok. So you tasted the wines, you're one of , well, it's intriguing that you were invited to be one of six cities or something to taste them.
Mary: Yeah that was great. They had fifteen people in each city come and mix with people in the wine industry some writers, some people in the business in either the retail or distributors because they wanted to do a blind test between the wine that had been ocean aged and then the wine, the same vintage, the same wine that had finished aging just in a dry cellar
Mary: And on land, and would we see a difference? And that was really what they wanted to know
Mary: Was there a difference. And then every city they went to, pretty much everybody said there is a difference, and
Paul: That's interesting to me
Mary: Yeah. There was a difference in colour, just looking at the glass on the counter, when we saw it, it didn't look too different, but when you held it up over a piece of white paper
Mary: And looked at the words, you could see some of the words under the wine that turned out to be the land age one. The wine that was ocean aged was a little more opaque.
Mary: And also the colour to the rim was stronger on the ocean age wine vs the land age wine.
Paul: That's amazing.
Mary: Yeah, so I thought ok maybe it's different. The aromas were definitely different.
Paul: Yeah, that part I read, yeah.
Mary: The wine that was blind age it had a little greenness to it. The one that was Ocean age was definitely more fruit forward, more concentrated. This seemed to be more opened. The one that, and then the palate too, the tannings were bigger on the ocean aged one
Paul: Aint that interesting? So you guys are talking about an article about whether it's true that the pressure, clearly there's no light sixty feet deep maybe there is light in the celler conditions, maybe there is vibration from the compressors. I don't know what.
Mary: But there's definitely vibration in the ocean because
Paul: Yeah, because it's moving around. Yeah that's interesting.
Mary: So that may have had something to do with it. They're not a hundred percent sure, they're doing another experiment and this time its eight cases and it's a different vintage so the results will vary.
Paul: It takes six months I think they said it was going to be
Mary: They're going to do it six months, kind of experimenting to see what happens, you know, is there something to this. They say, you know, it's really not cost effective to age a whole production run of wine.
Mary: That, you know, but they're going to kind of experiment with it a bit and see.
Paul: You wonder if there is like this whole market place now where you go to the market and they say wine age in the celler and wine age in the ocean or something
Mary: Yeah exactly. They even came up with their own term called aqua, it's kind of a plant, aquar.
Paul: Oh yeah that's right, aquar
Paul: I don't know, I don't know, because I think it's a great experiment, really fun and love to have the opportunity to taste them, but you know, often we get wines even, this premier that we are going to taste now from Argentina. There's bottle variations amongst the bottling
Mary: That's true
Paul: You know and I suppose if you do enough samples and you do enough and they find the distinct difference then I guess that makes sense.
Mary: Yeah, yeah
Mary: But you know, I went into that tasting kind of sceptical, I was saying you know, it's just a marketing gimmick
Paul: Yeah, right
Mary: And there was a difference so there were things good and bad, but I liked the one that was ocean aged a little bit better and so did the wine maker.
Paul: Well, that's great. Hey, it's a great experiment, regardless
Mary: You know, it's kind of a fun story
Paul: It is a fun story
Mary: If you can have fun with wine, why not
Paul: Should be fun. One of the other articles about your travels with with Chile one of my destinations here soon and my first question, before we go into the wine part, and I ask this of all Chile who come, indigenous or not. I go why, how and who decided that Chile gets this little narrow strip all the way down to the length of Central America, and Argentina gets this huge area and clearly divided at the top of the Andes but why? And I've gotten political answers, I've gotten religious answers. If I haven't got an answer, I buy it
Mary: I don't know
Paul: You don't know that one?
Paul: Well, we've got this
Mary: What's it's interesting about Chile is coming wisdom was that, differences, it was more important, the north south orientation, or as you went from north to south, that was the bigger influence on the grapes and the vineyards, the east west, or west east I should say, going from the Andes to the ocean. They're finding now that there's a bigger variation and bigger influence of vineyards that are in the western side versus toward the oceans. That is becoming more and more of an important factor, where they are planting the varietals and all of that and it was north to south
Paul: Well, that makes, I mean that makes great climate.
Mary: great climate, soil and stuff
Paul: However, I think you will agree that salter wines are distinctly different from wines grown toward the south of the ozone
Mary: Yeah, absolutely
Paul: You know, there's some aging factor there
Paul: This is, I don't know if I poured you a glass or not
Mary: This is it
Paul: Ok. This is one of our special, this is a 2005
Paul: And it sells for $40 at wine.com, we sell it for 19, exact same vintage, the exact same blend. This is sort of a Bordeaux blend, you know, blends back in Merlot but this is one of the softer, more dynamic, more complex most chilling wine I've had. I just flipped over it and the chance to offer it at a substantial discount, it was great. Ever had a Euraca?
Mary: Fantastic. No I haven't.
Paul: It's, the importer is…hard to read because my eyes are so bad.
Mary: Yeah. __________ in 05, it's still very fresh
Paul: Yeah, it's very
Mary: It has lots of fruit
Paul: Well, I love it. Malbec has so many different flavours to it and this one, more Bordeaux like, and the rest from there. You know it's very interesting people don't know Malbec really is a Bordeaux varietal, become the darling of Argentina.
Mary: It really has, it found its home there, people are doing great things with it. We had, it ages on its own really, really well. We had some beautiful wines from Catena 2000
Paul: That was a great one.
Mary: now oh gosh, yeah very nice
Paul: Well actually, let me show you something, these are, I found these in the cellar I told you about. This is my dad featured this wine which is now a main stream wine but this is the 1983
Paul: This does look a little ______. Then the Lus Vascus
Paul: Which I think this is the first vintage that the field made, that the company made
Mary: Right, right.
Paul: I think 87 was the last vintage that the old Vascus family. And so we tasted these recently 30 years after them and still incredibly sound.