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 in a “mini-review” format.
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!
- 2017 Bota Box Dry Rosé (California): One hell of a pithy, fruity, well-rounded bargain, except without any of the actual Hell part. $22.99 B+
- 2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard 30th Anniversary Le Cigare Volant (Central Coast): Lovely, lovely, lovely; a fitting, reserved, and perky tribute to a venerable legacy. $45 A-
- 2015 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Seco): Curvy and pretty, floral and perfumed, living up to the Beeswax vineyard namesake, and coming off as a veritable bargain. $28 A-
- 2015 Clos du Val Winemaker’s Signature Series Three Graces Red Blend (Napa Valley): The Napa deal, the whole Valley deal, and nothing but the deal, and basically the real deal. $180 A
- 2015 V. Sattui Winery Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Boldly going where, well, where many Napa reds have gone before, but doing it with both gusto and a sense fo prestige. $100 A-
- 2012 Donnafugata Mille e una Notte (Sicily): Check it out, somebody is doing their sexxaaaahhhhh dance!!! $75 A-
- 2015 Rocca Sveva Castelcerino (Soave Superiore Classico): Substantive, textural, interesting, anda little nutty; so, basically, a really good Postmodern novella. $17 B+
- 2015 Selbach Riesling Kabinett (Mosel): Subtle and understated, but to be overlooked only at your lime-blossom-missing peril. $25 B+
- 2016 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Lesquerde ‘L’Esquerda’ (Cotes du Roussillon Villages): Could use a bit more verve, but otherwise you’ve got an incredibly tasty, sweet maple sausage breakfast in a glass here. $28 B+
- 2013 The Infinite Monkey Theorem “The Bubble Universe” Sparkling Wine (Grand Valley, CO): Like a bubble, rich in texture, beautiful to behold, and yet light as a feather throughout. $55 A-
“I hate waiting…”
So… I promised a follow-up to that 2016 Vintage Port preview, and since I’m a man(-child) of my word, here ’tis!
The central theme of my `16 VP roundup was that we all need to slow the f*ck down and accept the fact that Vintage Port not only takes a looooooong time to come around, and that a) many of us might be dead before newly-released VPs are fully developed, but we should buy them for future generations, and b) your patience regarding waiting on the slow maturation of VP will be well rewarded.
It’s time for us to get to the “b)” part, as we take a trip back through roughly thirty years of time, beginning with 2007 (when we were lamenting the state of our 401k balances) and ending with 1980 (when we were wearing JAMs, listening to disco, and some of you were probably snorting cocaine). We’re going to walk through a tasting of some of the world’s best “recent” Port vintages (with an average price per bottle of a staggering $367), from a tasting at which I was a media guest in NYC because, well, my life totally rocks (for more on the background of the various Port houses and their respective VP styles, see this post).
Alrighty then, wipe your nose and let’s get to it…
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- 14 Le Cimate Montefalco Sagrantino (Umbria): Spice, fruit, and tobacco that are all sweet, in both senses of the word. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
- 16 Arnaldo-Caprai Cuvee Secrete (Umbria): The worst-kept-secret here is how deliciously tropical this rich, sultry white blend really is. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Cecchi Villa Rosa Gran Selezione Chianti Classico (Tuscany): So… as in So Sexy, So Brooding, So damned good, and So Full of Poential. $NA A >>find this wine<<
- 16 Donnafugata Lighea Zibibbo (Sicily): Flowers – and joyful enjoyment – for daaaaaaaayyyyyysssssss…. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Violets and blackcurrants arm-in-arm in peaceful protest against the ills of the mortal world. $99 A >>find this wine<<
- 17 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc (St. Helena): Lead character in a quirky foreign film: exotic, interesting, and acting with a zest for life. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Attune Eighth Street Vineyard Pinot Noir (Carneros): Tea, and red berries, and citrus peel, awesome, and just YEAH BABY! $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 15 Gerard Duplessis Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru (Chablis): Piquant, perfumed, peachy, and, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. $75 A >>find this wine<<
- 14 Domaine Romain Collet Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux (Chablis): Svelte of figure, yet also rich, toasty, and adorned with high end trappings. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
Staying Classy with bubbles in San Diego
Once again, I had both the pleasure and the honor of judging at the annual Critics Challenge wine competition, held in (stay classy!) San Diego and helmed by WineReviewOnline.com‘s Robert Whitley. This year, I was paired up with talented author Linda Murphy (whose book American Wine you should absolutely check out, because it kicks all kinds of ass).
Critics Challenge is top-notch, with excellent, experienced judges and a killer-good volunteer crew (yeah, I don’t understand why they keep inviting me back, either). So the results should, I’d argue, be taken seriously, and you can check out the full list of 2018 medal winners right now at http://www.criticschallenge.com/results.htm.
I wanted to highlight the wines that Linda and I collectively awarded Platinum, as there are some fantastic wines – several of which are surprising bargains – in that lineup of winners. This is why we judge them blind, folks! Fortunately for all of us, picking up many of these wines won’t make the bank account seem appreciably lighter…
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