Disarmed By Carm (A Chilean Carménère Masterclass)

Vinted on December 14, 2017 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, overachiever wines, sexy wines, wine review
Wines of CHile Carménère tasting 2017

I know we look serious, but much fun was actually had by all

Earlier this week, I took part in an online masterclass/virtual-round-table of sorts with Wines of Chile and Snooth, tasting through a selection of Chilean Carménère reds (some of which you can purchase via a pretty good deal right now), with a group of capable and affable fellow wine-media-types (including @WineDineWanda, @enobytes, @talkavino, and @KellyMitchell).

If you’re kind of scratching your head on the uncharacteristically quick turnaround time in recapitulating the experience here on 1WD, it’s because the whole online-video-Carménère thing is nostalgic for me, as it was one of the first such tastings that I ever did under the 1WD umbrella (back when the writing here could charitably be described as fledgling…).

While almost unlikely to become a crowd favorite based on availability alone, Carignan is probably the empirically best Chilean red fine wine grape, or at least the one with the most depth, intrigue, and soul.

Having said that, the much more ubiquitous Carménère from Chile is still an incredible bargain, and arguably has never been better (or easier to enjoy even at modest price points). In Carménère, Chile is leveraging its ever-increasing winemaking knowledge levels to the full, combining modern know-how with more hand-crafted approaches; the results in some cases are single vineyard wines from older vines that provide an intellectually captivating experience at prices that still kind of defy credulity. At least, that’s how I’m increasingly seeing that landscape, particularly based on what we tasted during our video meetup…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 11, 2017

Vinted on December 11, 2017 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 15 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Selection Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Raspberries, rosemary, roses, & black tea, all adorably competing for attention with puppy-like enthusiasm. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Dr. Heger Pinot Blanc (Baden): In this case, an apple a day is what the Dr. is actually bringing to you. Lucky for you, and lucky for your wallet, too. $14 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Masciarelli Marina Cvetic S. Martino Rosso Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva (Abruzzo): Juicy, rich, dense, bold, and just totally unapologetic about all of it. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Luca Bosio Vineyards Barbaresco (Barbaresco): Sometimes, a good Barbaresco is even more beguiling than a good Barolo. This is not one of those times. $40 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Reva Barolo (Barolo): Understatement is a lost art; for those on whom it isn't lost, I've got juuuuust the Northern Italian red to pour for you… $49 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Pascal Granger La Jacarde Beaujolais Villages Blanc (Beaujolais): Refreshingly refreshing. Where were you when I was baking under the Summer sun? $16 B >>find this wine<<
  • 15 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages Occultum Lapidem (Languedoc-Roussillon): A little too big for its britches, but about as impressive as ever. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Blanc (Languedoc-Roussillon): I'm thinking that The Who's "Bargain" would make a great theme song here. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Prosper Maufoux Cremant de Bourgogne Rose Brut (Bourgogne): Kind of like your leftover Thanksgiving cranberries, only way, way better. $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Stephane Aviron Domaine de la Madriere Fleurie Vieilles Vignes (Beaujolais): Delightfully earthy. Or maybe that's earthily delightful. Whatever, just drink it. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Stem The Yuletide Cheer (December 2017 Wine Products Roundup)

Vinted on December 6, 2017 binned in holidays, wine products

So… here we are… the last wine product review roundup of 2017. The quick refresher: this is the series of posts in which I cast a critical eye (and, sometimes, other body parts) onto those product samples I receive that cannot be safely ingested. Given the inevitable (yule)tide of the approaching holiday season, I decided to go with a) products that seemed classy, and b) products that were also (potentially) useful. The results are recommendations for two new and interesting pieces of wine stemware, both on the pricey side, but both worth considering for the lovable drunk dedicated wine-lover on your Nice List.

Vacanti spirale

image: Vacanti.com

First, there’s the Vacanti Spirale Wine Glass ($50 per two-pack). The idea behind this stemware is that it’s designed for bottle-aged reds; there’s a nifty little spiral indentation at the bottom of the glass that’s supposed to trap sediment, so that your teeth don’t end up becoming what traps the sediment. Of course, you could just decant properly, but even then you tend to end up with a least a little bit of precipitate in the glass when you start reaching the last dregs of an older red.

The little spiral thingy is not only visual cool, it actually works, though admittedly the use case for the Vacanti is fairly limited. The only real word of caution I can add is that the Spirale design wrecks total havoc on sparkling wines, sending the bubbles up in a concentrated stream that strips away a surprisingly large percentage of the pleasure of drinking those wines; if you grab some of these, avoid pouring bubblies into them at all costs.

Martini Riedel Cabernet glass

image: louismartini.com

Next, we have what ought to be a limited use-case-scenario glass, that actually ends up being a very good almost-all-purpose one: the Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Glass by Riedel ($37.50 per stem). Ostensibly, this tulip-shaped, tapered wine glass is meant to enhance the sensory experience of drinking fruit-forward Cabs, such as those offered by Martini (well… duh…). And certainly the glass does an admirable job of doing just that.

But… what’s far more interesting, in my limited testing, was how versatile the Cab glass ended up being on the drinking front. I threw just about every style of wine at this thing, and it handled all of them either very well or almost-danged-superbly. It’s best for fruity, balanced whites and reds that aren’t too strong in alcohol, but it worked out just swell for more delicate styles and even bubbles. The only thing that it couldn’t handle (mostly a factor of its size) was the dessert wine category. Other than that? It could end up being the only stemware option that you (whoops, I meant the persons on your Nice List) need.

Cheers!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 4, 2017

Vinted on December 4, 2017 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 13 Mi Sueno Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): This is definitely the kind of dream that you have when sleeping in luxurious, soft, silky sheets. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County): Rich, generous, and friend to both grilled burgers and your bank account. $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel (Napa Valley): Aptly named, as this kind of dark, delicious density isn't for faint-hearted drinkers. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Olianas Cannonau di Sardegna (Sardinia): No wonder the locals live so long; you would too, if only so that you didn't miss drinking this stuff on the regular. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Donnafugata Tancredi (Sicily): Rarely does this much serious complexity come in such a forward, friendly, and quaff-ably fruity package. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 CUNE Vina Real Gran Reserva (Rioja): Tempranillo lovers will want to bring a very long straw, so that you can suck out absolutely every. single. last. drop of this little wonder. $47 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Atlantis by Maetierra Albarino (Rias Baixas): Tropical fruits that, while undoubtedly ripe, also usher in sea-breeze levels of freshness. $16 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Aecovi Alexandro Palo Cortado Sherry (Jerez): Orange peel, almonds, and the ability to start and sustain invigorating intellectual conversation. $26 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Brut Osterreichisher Sekt (Neusiedlersee): A little Champagne yeasts can go a long, long way. Bring crab cakes & thank me later. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Dopff & Irion Chateau de Riquwihr Schoenenbourg Riesling Grand Cru (Alsace): Open this. Grab cheese. Marvel at the wonders of our universe. $28 A- >>find this wine<<
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