Chile’s Finest, Via San Francisco (Wines of Chile Awards 2017 Winners)

Vinted on November 22, 2017 binned in on the road, wine industry events

AWoCA 2017

[ Editor’s note: Yes, I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the USA. No, I don’t feel compelled to write about wine pairings for it, because that topic has been covered, and covered, and covered, and covered, and covered already. If you’re really jonesing for Turkey Day wine help, see previous coverage of that here on 1WD, all of which is still relevant. ]

Every once in a while, I get asked to do really cool things, like judge wine competitions alongside bright, interesting, qualified people who, for reasons that I still don’t fully understand, consider me a peer.

Evan Goldstein AWoCA 2017

Evan Goldstein, MS, surveys the room during the AWoCA 2017 judging

Such was the case a couple of months ago, when my friend Evan Goldstein (and his Full Circle Wine Solutions biz) asked if I’d be interested in judging the 2017 incarnation of the Anual Wines of Chile Awards, held this hear in his native San Francisco. I’ve worked with Evan and FCWS a few times before, who are top-notch, and we know that Evan knows his shiz when it comes to South American wines in general, so of course I said Hellz Yeah to that.

The winners of the 2017 AWoCA (now in its 14th incarnation) were recently announced at an event in Washington DC, and so I am now officially able to share highlights of the results with you.

What I found most exciting during the unfolding of the AWoCA competition, even more so than the high quality of Chile’s vinous wares in general, was how well Chile’s much-touted diversity was on full, 4KHD-tuned-to-vibrant-color-settings display in the wines that were entered…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For November 20, 2017

Vinted on November 20, 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 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cenerentola (Orcia): Cinderella story in which the oft-overlooked beauty of Foglia Tonda finds a handsome prince in Sangiovese. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): A sports car with leather-&-wood interior, dark red paint job, & orange peel air freshener. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Il Drago e le 8 Colombe (Toscana): Rich, poised, and sinewy Tuscan blend; feed it – & yourself – some beef. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Casarena Naoki's Vineyard Malbec (Agrelo): very, very good things can happen when people are not afraid of Malbec showing off its floral, herbal side. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Reva Barolo Ravera (Barolo): Its floral, spicy, and balanced litheness is, in fact, worth raving about, at least for the time between sips. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Reva Langhe Bianco (Langhe): That time when sage brush met passionfruit, & they lived happily ever after and all of that kind of stuff. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Vineyard Pinot Noir (Aconcagua Valley): There is nothing wrong with your Pinot; do not attempt to adjust its sexiness. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Cornerstone Cellars Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Flashy, yes, but adorned with gorgeous subtleties for the detail-oriented among you. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Selection Chardonnay (Sonoma County): Finalist in the Best US Domestic Chard for the Cash category that I just made up. $35 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Priest Ranch Grenache Blanc (Napa Valley): Almost too curvaceous for its own dang self. Almost. In this case, Big is certainly still Beautiful. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Rangen Riesling Rocks, Revisited

Vinted on November 15, 2017 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

Remember when I waxed all smitten-like over a tasting of Rangen Alsace Grand Cru Riesling?

Well, I do. Rangen view 2017

I was so smitten, in fact, that I did  something that I’ve only ever done twice in ten years, which was to reach out to the U.S. PR agency dealing with Alsatian wines and ask them to book me on a media jaunt to the area, so that I could get my feet directly on those Rangen rocks. Which, luckily for me, they did.

Rangen steps 2017In a classic case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for-vuz-you-just-might-get-it, I then had to scale the greater-than-45-degree slopes of Alsace’s southernmost (and by far its steepest) Grand Cru vineyard site, though the view (and the tastes) about 450 meters up were well worth a little breathlessness (PSA: if you consider yourself not exactly physically fit, you might want to skip a visit to Rangen). Think the Mosel, only steeper (yes, the vineyard workes use ropes to secure themselves from falling to their deaths during harvest), or the Douro (only with less terracing and more danger to life and limb). The only marring comes by way of the factories along the nearby Thur river, a holdover from the `50s. Otherwise, this spot between Thann and Vieux-Thann is thoroughly picturesque.

Rangen has a few other characteristics that distinguish it from the rest of Alsace’s (many) GC sites. It might be one of the oldest of the region’s Grand Crus, with the origin of its name being lost to posterity (the first recorded reference goes back all the way to the Thirteenth Century). The rocky soils are about 330 million years old, the result of older mountain ranges and volcanic extrusions all mixed up together. This makes for a harder-than-average vineyard soil, with dark components that help to retain heat, with a more fragile subsoil that allows deep penetration by the vine roots.

You’d think that, with the steepness, naturally low yields, and the fact that it takes new vines closer to seven years to produce fruit here (versus three years in more forgiving environments), that harvest would be a total bitch. But there’s an even bitchier aspect of the Rangen for those that tend it…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For November 13, 2017

Vinted on November 13, 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!

  • 11 Domaine Bruno Hertz Riesling Rangen de Thann Hospices de Strasbourg (Alsace): Turpentine & flint that are magically drinkable. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Domaine Maurice Schoech Harmonie R Rangen de Thann (Alsace Grand Cru): The color of lemon rind, the headiness of lemon blossoms. $52 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Gundlach Bundschu Vintage Reserve (Sonoma Valley): A little Cab Franc – & a lot of opulent cocoa – can go a loooooong way, folks. $125 A >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Cadaretta Southwind Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla): Bring a high tolerance for wood spice, & lots of patience. But worth it. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Rain Dance Vineyards Nicholas Vineyard Estate Riesling (Chehalem Mountains): The apple-limes answer to your Thai dinner question. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • Domaine Papagiannakos Skin Contact Savatiano Vareli (Markopoulo): Probably how all Retsina-bound grapes really ought to be made. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Olianas Vermentino (Sardegna): Enough hint of a sea breeze to make you contemplate moving permanently to a Mediterranean island. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Vivanco Seleccion de Familia Reserva (Rioja): Aptly named, as there’s a lot of life left to live here; the familia has good taste. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta (Apalta Valley): Soft, silky, and smooth almost to a hedonistic fault; the operative word being Almost. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley): This one is punching above the welterweight class with complexity & balance 1-2 combo. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
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