Archive for March, 2012

Monday Mini Wine Reviews Round-Up For March 26, 2012

Vinted on March 26, 2012 binned in wine mini-reviews

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

  • 09 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley): Like bringing freshly cut honeydew melon to a Spring picnic on that freshly cut lawn. $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • NV Zonin Prosecco (Prosecco): Simple, but when it comes to refreshment sometimes simple is all that you really need, isn’t it? $12 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Antoniolo Gattinara Classico (Gattinara): Grippy, complex, serious, & embattled by inner demons about its seductively dark powers. $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Antoniolo Gattinara Le Castelle (Gattinara): Leather, clay, red fruit & more life to it than Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. $55 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Produttori Nebbiolo di Carema Classico (Carema): More shroom than barnyard, more cherry than veggies, more stunning than not. $24 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Vallana Campi Raudii (Piedmont): Nebbiolo’s brighter side, which still means tar & earth, but screaming for pasta in a meat sauce. $16 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Odilio Antoniotti Bramaterra (Bramaterra): Red berries & orange rind shining through mucky earth, kind of like stars in a night sky $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Vinedos Aurora Petite Sirah (Lodi): PS gets a dusty, floral, plummy stand-alone treatment, & then ably stands right on its own. $21 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Fields Syrah (Lodi): Gamey, funky, bright & structured? Or lush & sexy? In this case, there isn’t a mutually-exclusive Yes answer! $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 m2 Soucie Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi): Sporting a rustic authenticity that many like to talk about but few really deliver. $28 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 McCay Cellars Contention Zinfandel (Lodi): Things haven’t been this sultry & complex since Gene Tierney was on the big screen. $64 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 McCay Cellars Jupiter Zinfandel (Lodi): Dares you into its funky, brooding, chewy staring contest (& beats you handily at it too). $28 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 McCay Cellars Paisley Red (Lodi): Ought to be a kitchen sink, but ends up spicily greater than the sum of its spicy, herbal parts. $24 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 m2 Tempest Tempranillo (Lodi): This funky date starts with leather & chocolate & ends with tobacco smoke (& probably you smiling). $24 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Bokisch Graciano (Mokelumne River): Hey, who took this lovely little piece of Spain & transported it to Lodi’s volcanic soils? $21 B >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Bokisch Verdelho Vista Luna Vineyard (Borden Ranch): The whole tasty tropical fruit; skin, flowers & rocky soil in which it grew. $16 B >>find this wine>>



Weekly Wine Quiz: Oh Sherry…

Vinted on March 23, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps just like you, I do not supply the quiz answer directly in the post – you will need to tune back in later in the comments section for the answer. So you can put your answer in the comments for potential bragging rights later (not that you’d gloat… too much…).

This week we’re continuing the WWQ theme of stinky wine faults! Sooner or later you’re going to run into one of these, so you might as well embrace the fact of the stank and know the enemy!


Oh Sherry…

Sometimes good wines just go… bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. When a wine smells like Sherry, only you didn’t actually buy a Sherry, we don’t start singing Steve Perry tunes from the mid 1980s (well, maybe some of us do). No, in those cases we say that the wine has been…?

  • A. corked
  • B. lactized
  • C. maderized
  • D. oxidized

Cheers, and good luck!




Out Of Time: Peeling Back The Layers On Corison The Wine, And Corison The Matriarch

Vinted on March 22, 2012 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

The best way to introduce you to Cathy Corison, I think, is by telling you what happened when I said goodbye to her.

I was making my way out of her Route 29 winery building in St. Helena, having just wrapped up a short bit of video for with the diminutive (even by my modest vertical viewpoint), soft-spoken, but not-to-be-trifled with winemaker (example: during a retrospective tasting over lunch, one of the things she told me was “the word ‘No’ is, in fact, a complete sentence”). We seemed to be waiting for the least-awkward moment, an opening for my exit (if that makes sense), when Cathy began… gardening.

She semi-nervously began picking out dead plants from a colorful bunch of small flowers planted atop barrels in the entranceway to the winery. I am familiar with this sort of habitual behavior, tidying up, constantly feeling as though you have to do something; she didn’t know it but I silently bonded with a small part of her psyche at that moment. Since I can’t stand even nanoseconds of silence, I stoked up a lead-in to a goodbye conversation.

“See you tomorrow at Premiere?” I asked.

“No, I won’t be pouring,” she answered, then stopped tending the flowers and looked up at me, squinting in the sun through her schoolmarm glasses. “Galloni is coming to taste tomorrow.”

That’s Antonio Galloni, who has taken over the CA wine reviewing beat from Robert Parker at The Wine Advocate. To briefly summarize why that might have gotten Cathy into flower-weeding mode, I’ll refer you to this statement from NYC’s California Wine Merchants: “Robert Parker has not published ratings on [Corison’s] wines since 1995, and really never awarded them with scores above the low 90s anyway.”

“Oh,” I said. “Does that make you nervous?”

“Do you know my history with Robert Parker scores?” she countered.

“Cathy… I don’t really know anybody’s history with anyone’s scores” I replied.

“Well, bless you for that!”

And so it goes with Corison, both a matriarch and a wine that, when you start peeling back some of the layers, reveal a series of contrasts: a winemaker not courting high scores but hosting critics and garnering a boatload of acclaim; an anachronistic woman making anachronistic wine, one that is produced in modern ways but with nods to the ancient past (the artistic busted-pottery artwork adorning the labels wasn’t put there without some forethought, I gathered); and someone who came into winemaking “old school” but now is totally killing it with her customers on twitter (more of that coming up soon on the blog) and recently hired wine media maven Hardy Wallace

Read the rest of this stuff »




#WBW75 “Singles Night”: Pinot From Alto, By Way Of Norse Mythology

Vinted on March 21, 2012 binned in best of, wine blogging wednesday, wine review

Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, people!

I’m thrilled to be hosting WBW this month, and I’m stoked to see what you all will be tasting throughout the day today, in keeping with our theme: “Singles Night!” For the background on the theme, check out the announcement post – the short story is that this month we are celebrating wines that are made from grapes grown on a single vineyard.

So get yourself some single vineyard wine, blog about it, comment here about it, or tweet about it (#WBW75)!

I’m kicking things off with a single vineyard wine that has been sitting in the bowels of the basement sample pool for some time, but that I’ve been excited about trying ever since I cracked the cardboard on its shipping box. It’s a familiar grape, and maybe even a familiar region, but not necessarily a grape/region combo that would be all that familiar for many of you…

Read the rest of this stuff »




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