“The Worst Place In The World To Make Wine” (Tasting With The Madeira Wine Institute)

Vinted on November 25, 2015 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Madeira tasting 2015“If you’re looking for the worst place in the world to make wine, Madeira would be a candidate.”

Also sprach Rui Falcão, during a recent tasting/masterclass for the media in Philly, hosted by the Madeira Wine Institute.

You see, this is why I love Madeira with a passion bordering on unreasonableness. And the border is quite close. And porous. It’s not a style of wine that could be planned or designed; it had to evolve. It’s the wine world’s version of the triumph of evolution over intelligent design. Well, that and the fact that it’s responsible for what might have been the single most interesting wine to ever get processed by my liver.

Falcão’s talk on the wines of Madeira was fascinating in its highlights of just how absurd Maderia wine is, and how f*cking lucky we wine geeks are to have it.

For starters, the raw material seems… well… underwhelming.

Compared to Champagne, the base wines for Madeira are “truly awful,” according to Falcão; these are wines that are obnoxiously high in acids, and laughably low in alcohol by volume. But of course, they then become “something extraordinary. Madeira is all about how you age the wine…”

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For November 23, 2015

Vinted on November 23, 2015 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 Page Mill Winery Chandler Vineyard Chardonnay (Livermore Valley): Lovely lemon pie with peach-infused whipped cream to top it off. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Steven Kent Winery Merrillie Chardonnay (Livermore Valley): Queen's depth of character, complexity & elegance for a pauper's price $34 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Darcie Kent Vineyards Madden Ranch Petite Sirah (Livermore Valley): As bold & as sizable as the vineyard's NFL legend namesake. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Fenestra Winery Ghielmetti Voneyard Petite Sirah (Livermore Valley): Unforgiving, opinionated, & offering a powerful argument. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Champagne Mailly Brut Rose Grand Cru (Champagne): What you won't find in complexity or length, you'll get back in lithe freshness. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Champagne Mailly Brut Reserve (Champagne): And then you drank it with Asian take-out and your mouth was all like Oh! Snap! $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Gundlach Bundschu Estate Vineyard Gewurztraminer (Sonoma Coast): Bouquet of aromatic flowers clenched in a buff weightlifter's arm $23 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot (Napa Valley): The polar opposite of "svelte." Also quite the polar opposite of "short" & "sucks." $85 A >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Chateau Carbonnieux Bordeaux Blanc (Pessac-Leognan): Your resistance against tropically-armed deliciousness is futile, my friend. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 83 Toro Albala Don PX Grand Reserva (Montilla-Moriles): Imagine serving rich, dense caramel sweets to Greek gods & goddesses. 1/2 btl. $52 A >>find this wine<<



No No No No No No NO (Wine Is Still Not A Good Investment)

Vinted on November 17, 2015 binned in commentary, wine news

Recently, the Drinks Business reported that, according to Vin-X’s head of procurement Martin Pruszynski, “fine wine investment has been the best overall performer when total growth across major asset classes since 1988.”

No no no no no no NO.

Not again.

It seems that almost every year I write this retort. My view on this has not changed one iota in the last twelve months, despite Martin Pruszynski’s assessment that fine wine prices have outpaced the Dow Jones and S&P 500. The Vin-X findings are, in my opinion, closer to smoke-and-mirrors than to anything substantial.

Bear in mind that I am NOT an investment expert, and therefore I am NOT offering any true investment advice here. But I did semi-retire (in terms of being able to switch career gears) at the age of 40, so make your own assessment of how well I manage money, and the value of my opining on the subject. And my opining in a nutshell is that “investing” in fine wine (in terms of hoping it will accrue in value, and that you will actually be able to realize that gain) is basically a a really, really poor way to utilize your money…

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