Archive for September, 2012

Wine Blogging Isn’t Dead (To Those Who Are Paying Attention)

Vinted on September 12, 2012 binned in commentary

I hate this debate.

Actually, I love the debate, I just hate the way it’s being presented; namely, without a single shred of hard evidence to back up the claims that wine blogs are now dinosaurs.

People, wine blogging is, quite literally, about Kindergarten age. Wine blogging has been around for something like 7 years, depending on what you take to be the first official wine blog. Wine blogging can barely tie its own shoes or successfully write a lowercase “m” on its first try, and now it’s no longer cool, it’s going the way of the Dodo bird?

Beeeeatch, puh-lease!

Attention all those who would say that wine blogging has lost its sheen, failed to deliver on any of its promises, or has otherwise become passé: some hard evidence points directly to the contrary. You all remember evidence, right? Numbers… from data… the stuff from which we can actually start to draw the basis of conclusions without falling prey to our pronouncements being based solely on the shifting sands of subjective opinoin? That stuff?

Well, that stuff all tells a very different story…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 10, 2012

Vinted on September 10, 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 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!

  • 08 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Like black licorice? Then I’ve got something you gotta try in about 7 years. $60 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Mayacamas Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Mt. Veeder): Looks big & boxy at 1st, but possesses a racy lime-&-grass engine under the hood $25 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): More bling than zing, but dig the violets, mint & black cherry. $50 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Girth like Larry the Cable Guy, but melon, rind & opulence that’s way more serious. $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Pence Ranch West Slope Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara): Not quite ready to wake from its savory, plummy, herbal, earthy & pithy slumber $50 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Dierberg Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley): Intense, leathery stuff; salted meat w/ sides of blackberry, plum & chocolate dessert. $34 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon (Happy Canyon): Not only demanding with its structure, but demands that you *really* dig sage, too. $42 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Dierberg Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): New vines, tons of promise; but won’t deliver on that weighty structure for about 6 yrs. $42 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Dierberg Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley): Still life with a ton of just-ripe apples & peaches, done in textural & linear strokes. $32 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc (Happy Canyon): Opulent, visceral & elegant; like a swimsuit model photo shoot set on a tropical shore. $20 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Melville Verna’s Estate Viognier (Santa Barbara County): A palate that’s broader (& with more wet rocks) than a freshwater stream. $26 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Melville Estate Syrah (Santa Barbara County): Geek alert: there’s pepper & blue flowers to spare! Always nice to find 1 like this. $26 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Melville Estate Carries Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Concentrated & rich w/out being obnoxious, & w/ more chalk than a blackboard $52 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Melville Estate Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Jumping herbs eventually jump out of the way of plums, smoke, meat & muscle. $34 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Melville Estate Inox Clone 76 Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills): Tight, bright, & stripped of all pretense (apart from white flowers). $36 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Melville Estate Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills): Funky, fresh & nearly seamless; like Burgundy on a short California vacation. $26 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 La Follette Lorenzo Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Character over caution, personality over perfection, risk & reward $38 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Sanford La Rinconada Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Distracting sexiness, like trying hard not to look at the cleavage. $47 B+ >>find this wine>>



Weekly Wine Quiz: Showing Everybody The Money

Vinted on September 7, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz, and hopefully today you brought your wallets because we’re testing to see if you’re in the know on the world’s priciest current-release wine.

Standard disclaimer: based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I supply the quiz question each week, but do *not* supply the quiz answer directly in the post – YOU supply your best guess for the answer in the comments, and then tune back in later today in the comments section for the official answer. Incidentally, I’m thinking about changing that and putting this into more of a poll/quiz format, where once you click on your choice you get to see the correct answer instantly (would love your thoughts on that).

Showing Everybody The Money: The most expensive bottle price for a current-release wine hails from what wine region?

Cheers – and good luck!




Raiders Of The Lost Art (Tasting Not-So-Recent Releases At La Rioja Alta, S.A.)

Vinted on September 6, 2012 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

There’s a scene at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark (please don’t tell me you haven’t seen it… it’s only the greatest action/adventure flick yet made by humans) where an unnamed warehouse worker wheels a large box, presumably containing the Lost Ark of the Covenant (which turns out to be a WOMD) into a massive storage complex, through what appears to be miles of boxes stacked dozens of feet high.

Walking through the enormous barrel storage rooms at venerable Haro producer La Rioja Alta, S.A., anyone who remembers that closing scene from Raiders is bound to experience an eerie sense of déjà vu. Same goes for those strolling through LRA’s underground walkways and barrel storage areas – there are literally millions of bottles of wine slumbering in that quiet earth.

In fact, just about everything at LRA’s Haro location, aside from the tasting room (one of the few Rioja producers who even have one, and one which demonstrates a clear design love affair with high-gloss surfaces at that), feels oversized; from their display cases and production museums, down to the cask rooms and wooden casks themselves. Even their private tasting area has a huge open space smack dab in the center of it, as if a god with a magic iPhone had grabbed the corners of a normally-proportioned conference room and pinched-and-slid it to expand it to three times its normal size.

All of which makes it all the more interesting to a wine geek, weaned on the notion that truly great wine is only made in tiny quantities, that LRA’s large (okay, ginormous) production volume doesn’t get in the way whatsoever of the quality of their wines.

In fact, in tasting the wines from La Rioja Alta, one gets the sense that every hour of their near 125 years of winemaking experience has somehow been put to good use; the lineup includes not only some of Spain’s most long-lived and elegantly complex (and expensive) reds, but also one of Europe’s most stunning red wines bargains

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