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…
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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.
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.
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.