Archive for January, 2013

Of Griffins, Protoceratops And Sonoma Syrah (Qualia’s Pavo 2009)

Vinted on January 31, 2013 binned in crowd pleaser wines, wine review

While I cannot verify it via personal experience, I strongly suspect that apart from mining, graphic novels, porn (or maybe graphic novels about porn), the wine business is the only other industry in which you can start a story with the phrase “so I once met this guy in a cave…” without raising eyebrows in suspicion of your sanity.

It was, in fact, in a cave – during a dinner event at

Pine Ridge on Napa’s Silverado Trail – that I met San Franciscan Jordan Kivelstadt. Long-time 1WD readers might recall his name as the young winemaker behind Pavo Syrah, a wine that was featured here back in 2009 and one which I compared to the Balrog (but in a good way).

Jordan’s parents bought the vineyard in 2005, on ten acres of farmland at the intersection of three AVAs (Sonoma Valley, Bennett Valley and Sonoma Mountain), which for ten years provided fruit for Landmark’s Steel Plow, and now is the source of their Syrah and red blends. When sending some more recent incarnations of his family’s wines – now called Qualia (named after a sensory perception phenomenon that, interestingly, was also profiled in a post on wine ratings that caused a bit of a stir here last year) – Jordan included a letter to me in which he wrote “I have been busy playing with wine. I cannot wait to see… what mythical creature you associate with it.”

And so it’s in that spirit that I give you some thoughts on Sonoma Syrah, Grenache, the mythical Griffin, and the extinct-but-not-mythical Protoceratops. All of which will make sense in a minute or two. I hope…

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New York Wine Expo 2013 Giveaway (And Discount)!

Vinted on January 29, 2013 binned in giveaways, wine industry events

Once again, I’m partnering up with the New York Wine Expo to help try to get some of you lushes to this annual – and seminal – Right Coast tasting event in the Galleria at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NY.

This is a big shindig, and one in which you’ll have the opportunity to taste 600 (!) or so wines from 200+ (!) global exhibitors. For a bit more of your hard-earned money, there are also optional seminars on topics such as California Pinot Noir, Italian cheeses, and Cool Climate Finger Lakes wines.

But one of you won’t have to shell out their hard-earned money to go to NYWE this year, and many more of you will shell out less than the sticker price!

I’m happy to announce that one lucky 1WD reader will receive a free ticket to the event’s Grand Tasting on either Friday March 1st, 6pm-10pm (an $85 value) or Saturday March 2nd, 1pm-5pm (a $95 value) – it’ll be winner’s choice!

And if you play along and don’t win, fear not – when we announce the winner next week, we’ll also be giving you a discount code that’s good for $15 off Friday and/or Saturday tickets (if ordered on or before Feb. 28, 2013)!

Here’s how it will go down:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us (that’s the royal us), which wines, producers or regions you’re most looking forward to trying at the tasting (here’s a list of who will be pouring) and why. You’ll have until 5PM ET on February 4th, 2013 to leave a comment.
  • On February 5th, I will announce a randomly selected winner from the comments, and will also reveal the discount code that can be used for those who didn’t win but still want to save some dough when they purchase tickets.

If you’re planning on going (and you should, as it will give your wine tasting IQ a seriously rapid boost), check out my survival guide for getting through big tasting events alive (Hint: Spit!).

Cheers – and good luck!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For January 28, 2013

Vinted on January 28, 2013 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!

  • 09 Casca Wines Monte Cascas Ramisco Tinto (Colares): Stunning example of floral, delicate, dusty strength triumphing by sheer will. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Filipa Pato Nossa Calcario Red (Bairrada): Sporting more mineral freshness than the mountain stream in the Coors commercials. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 94 Blandy's Colheita Malmsey Madeira (Madeira): Old charmer that still has all his wits – &amp; spiced figgy freshness – well-sharpened. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Anselmo Mendes Vinhos Muros de Melgaco Alvarinho (Vinho Verde): Pithy citrus that got dressed to the nines in honey &amp; apricots. $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Adega Cooperativa de Moncao Muralhas de Moncao Branco (Vinho Verde): It doesn't get much prettier, vibrant &amp; delicate than this. $13 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 80 Adega Cooperativa de Favaios Moscatel de Favaios Colheita (Douro): Like smoking an orange rind doobie that was rolled by Valkyries $67 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Qualia Pavo Estate Syrah (Sonoma Valley): Charming Griffin-like combo of cool leather &amp; pepper with warm black raspberry &amp; smoke. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Qualia Syrah-Grenache (Sonoma Valley): Leather, pepper, verve &amp; easily-accessible deliciousness; oh, &amp; a side of smoked bacon! $26 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Pertois Moriset Mesnil Sur Oger Grand Cru Brut (Champagne): Enough toast &amp; citrus for breakfast; enough lift to achieve flight. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Elios Mediterranean White (Peloponnese): Familiar stuff (lemon, honey, flowers, vanilla) served up in a refreshing, unfamiliar way $11 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Ferguson Crest Viognier (Santa Barbara County): All lovely, friendly peaches-&amp;-cream, and more cocktail-drink-hot than Fergie-hot. $22 B- >>find this wine<<

 

 

Hourglass Recent Releases (Or, “Reports Of Napa’s Vintage From Hell Might Be Overblown”)

Vinted on January 24, 2013 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

I, along with a small cadre of other wine media peeps, recently got invited to one of those on-line Q&A / sample tasting thangs highlighting recent releases from high-end Napa Valley producer Hourglass (so named due to the shape of their vineyard holdings, which form part of the narrowest spots in the North-South winegrowing continuum that makes up the Valley).

Hourglass founder and Napa native Jeff Smith is a bit of a friend, and it took me a lot of prodding over dinner last year to get him to talk for even brief periods about happenings at Hourglass (and spill the beans that he would be parting ways with longtime consulting winemaker Robert Foley, and bringing on Cade / Plumpjack alumnus Anthony Biagi).

I figured that I owed Jeff one from that dinner, and hadn’t done an on-line tasting in a while, so I thought, “what the hell, send me the half-bottle samples and let’s do this.” Of course, it’s always fun to watch winemakers and proprietors that you know personally grapple with the uncomfortable scenario of being left alone to fend for themselves live on camera (in this case, they fared pretty well, actually). And at the very least, I figured it would be a chance to see what Biagi did with the blends, and get a feel for how much negative impact the touted-as-epically-horrendous 2010 Napa vintage actually had.

If the 2010 Hourglass releases are any indication, turns out the answer to the question of how much gloom-and-doom is to be expected from Napa’s 2010 vintage is “not that much…”

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