Archive for April, 2012

Dude, Where’s My “Wine?” (Marijuana And Wine Remain Popular Pairing For California Winemakers)

Vinted on April 18, 2012 binned in best of, California wine, wine news

I recently had a conversation with a celebrity involved in the California wine biz that went something like this:

CA Wine Celebrity: “Hey – have you ever had cannabis-infused wine?”

Me: “Cannabis-infused?”

CWC: “Yeah. Totally. Pot wine?”

Me: “No – but I wouldn’t be surprised if every other winemaker in California was drinking it; and probably making it.”

CWC: “I just tried some. It was weird. It smelled exactly like…” – at this point he extended a long, lanky, outstretched arm ending in pinched fingers directly under my nose – “…like someone stuck a bud in there; it smells just like a big ol’ bud right up in your nose!”

Turns out, he wasn’t very far off. It is with very, very little surprise that I give you the findings of Michael Steinberger’s recent article for The Daily Beast, titled Marijuana-Laced Wine Grows More Fashionable in California Wine Country: apparently, a lot of winemakers in California wine country make the stuff (by dropping about one lb. of dope into fermenting grape juice, Cabernet apparently being the variety of choice, and nearby Humboldt County being the marijuana source of choice), because a lot of CA winemakers dig pot.

Whoa – now there’s a news flash [ Editor’s note: sarcasm intended ].

We are talking about California here, people…

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Ma(i)n Of La Mancha (Airén It Out With The World’s Most-Planted Grape)

Vinted on April 17, 2012 binned in overachiever wines, wine review

In Spain’s La Mancha winegrowing region, there is a saying (and no, it’s not “Don Quixote slept here,” though that’s a reasonable guess):

“Nueve meses de invierno y tres meses de infierno.”

Which means, “nine months of Winter, and three months of hell.”

This is how the locals describe the climate of La Mancha, where it can go as low as 10F in the coldest months, and in the low 100sF in the hottest. Rainfall is ridiculously scant in the region (about 14 inches per year), and so vines are planted on average about eight feet from one another in order to maximize the amount of that scarce resource that does manage to hit the ground.

The result of such low planting density is that La Mancha has nearly half a million hectares under vine, making it not just the largest winegrowing area in Spain, but the largest winegrowing area worldwide.

And the grape that lays claim to the majority of that space?

Meet the lowly Airén – a white wine grape that most folks know nothing about, but which, by far, dominates the statistic (trivia alert!) of most-planted grape (in terms of  area under vine) in the world

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Monday Mini Wine Reviews Round-Up For April 16, 2012

Vinted on April 16, 2012 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 sample tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible. 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 Frank Family Vineyards SJ Vineyard Reserve Petite Sirah (Napa Valley): Violets float like a butterfly, power/grip sting like a bee $65 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah (St. Helena): George Foreman of PS; a meaty, powerful, demanding – & totally talented – heavyweight $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Robert Biale Royal Punishers Petite Sirah (Napa Valley): Hurts-so-good, punishing blows of grip, complexity, & silky mouthfeel. $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Cupcake Petite Sirah (Central Coast): Aptly named, & in this case the Cupcake is definitely chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. $14 C+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Redtree Petite Sirah (CA): A fruit-and-vanilla act that starts to get cloying a bit quickly after it just starts to get going. $8 C+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Huntington CA Series Petite Sirah (CA): Practically brings you the whole cow (meat & leather) but you’d better really be into cow. $14 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 August Briggs Petite Sirah (Napa Valley): An asteroid of rock, plum, leather & chocolate on collision course with awesomeness. $38 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Artezin Petite Sirah (Mendocino County): Funky, but smooth & quite sophisticated, not unlike a Christian McBride upright bass line. $25 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Draconis Classic Petite Sirah (Lodi): Internal tension of a political thriller, with the sexiness of Saffron Burrows as a co-star. $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Foppiano Lot 96 Petite Sirah (Sonoma County): PS for the rest of us (the rest who like bright, feminine, floral reds that is). $12 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Marr Cuvee Patrick Petite Sirah (Tehama County): More cola than Pepsi, & more grip than Gorilla Glue. Will work with burgers, tho! $18 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Clayhouse Petite Sirah (Paso Robles): Game hunting in a field of blackberries and soft violets? Hey, stranger things have happened. $23 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Windmill Petite Sirah (Lodi): A hearty, meaty welcoming; like catching a whiff of sausages being cooked up at breakfast time. $12 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Seven Artisans Clayton Road Ranches Petite Sirah (Suisun Valley): Grippy & complex, & will give PS lovers something to cheer about. $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Line 39 Petite Sirah (North Coast): Drawing a funky, earthy, plummy, & spicy line straight to bargain-priced overachiever land. $10 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Reserva (Chianti Rufina): The raciness of the ride, leather of the chaps, & the brightness of the chrome. $23 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Matetic Corralillo Syrah (San Antonio): Underneath a smattering of bell pepper, a spicy, jammy & meaty dish awaits the patient. $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Matetic EQ Chardonnay (San Antonio): Like the deep cuts on Ozzy’s “Bark At The Moon” album; not mind-blowing, but damn enjoyable. $26 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Matetic Corralillo Pinot Noir (San Antonio): About as meaty and muscular as PN gets – & this one is flexing pretty damn hard. $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Dry Creek Vineyard The Mariner (Dry Creek Valley): Structure with both practical *&* artistic purpose; best Mariner in several yrs $40 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Dry Creek Vineyard Somers Ranch Zinfandel (Sonoma County): A “sexier” steak with red plum reduction sauce you’re unlikely to find. $38 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): Vines that are actually *old*, & have a long, spicy story to tell you. $28 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Dry Creek Vineyard Foggy Oaks Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Creme brulee with side of refreshing apple & pear spritzer. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg): Start with a Loire base, add a twist of overachieving CA ingenuity, & voila! $12 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Dry Creek Vineyard Endeavour Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley): Mighty Joe Young as a Master of Ceremonies, & wearing a tux. $60 A- >>find this wine>>

 

 

Weekly Wine Quiz: A Rosé Is A Rose Is A What?

Vinted on April 13, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps 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. Blah, blah, blah – you know all this already…

Continuing our current theme of quizzing you about winemaking comes this week question, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Friday the 13th, unless you suffer from triskaidekaphobia and feel that you will answer unluckily, I mean:

A Rosé Is A Rose Is A What?

How are rosé wines made?

  • A. Red wine grapes are pressed directly, and the juice is fermented without any contact with the grape skins (as in white wine).
  • B. Exactly the same way as red wine, only for a shorter, abbreviated period of maceration.
  • C. “Free run” juice from maceration of red wine grapes is “bled” from the grapes, and then continues fermentation without skin contact.
  • D. Red and white wines are blended together.
  • E. All of the above

Cheers – and good luck!

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