Archive for April, 2013
It’s not often that you hear a winemaker say things like this about one of their wines:
“We don’t care if people like it or not; if not, I’ll drink it!”
And yet, that’s exactly what Casa Wines’ Helder Cunha said to me earlier this year in New York City, when I worked my way through a tasting of the 50 Great Wines of Portugal as selected by MW/MS Doug Frost. Cunha was talking about a wine he makes from the grape Ramisco; and he feels passionately about the wine, because its made from a grape that is a “dying variety, even in Portugal.”
It’s a rare grape, even in a country known for its small plantings of nearly-extinct grape varieties, and one of which few wine geeks have ever heard. But Cunha seems determined not to let Ramisco go gently into the dark night.
Casa Wines sources its Ramisco fifteen hectares of a vineyard on Portugal’s west coast, a cool and foggy area known as Colares on the southwestern edge of Lisboa. You could, apparently, just about spit into the ocean from the vineyard. These old vines, literally on the beach, aren’t even head-trained. Cunha knew he wouldn’t get much out of them, but viewed them as special and was determined not to let them get grubbed up even as Ramisco became a footnote in a country known for grape variety footnotes.
“Instead of ripping this up,” he told me, “we said, ‘let’s see what happens’…”
Read the rest of this stuff »
Last week, Tara Devon O’Leary and I had the pleasure of hosting the modern world’s equivalent of wine royalty, Jancis Robinson, on Episode 4 of The Punch Down. An embed of the broadcast is below for your viewing pleasure.
Jancis was in tip-top form, sharing wine with us (a Moravian Riesling… yes, really…), fielding questions about her accomplishments in the once-stodgy old boys’ club world of wine, and not shying away from questions about her past spats with Robert Parker, her strong views on alternative wine closures, and what she thinks of emerging wine regions. She also professes love for the Finger Lakes region, and we geek out a bit about the Local Wine movement.
And yes, a week later I’m still a bit upset that no one said anything about the Millennium Falcon t-shirt I was wearing during this interview…
Anyway… Just another day at the office, when your office involves drinking wine in the middle of the afternoon while talking to some of the world’s best wine educators…!
Mentioned in this episode:
The Punch Down Episode 4 With Jancis Robinson
- 09 Alpha Box And Dice Mistress (South Australia): Spicy and floral, but they're just no match for the meaty balsamic, plums and herbs. $30 B >>find this wine<<
- 07 Alpha Box And Dice Blood Of Jupiter (Mclaren Vale): Tasty, savory blood, at that; might want to watch the cholesterol intake, tho. $35 B >>find this wine<<
- 10 Route Du Van Dolcetto Shiraz (Victoria): Violets, orange peel, verve, with an abandant and alarmingly engaging sense of humor. $20 B >>find this wine<<
- 10 Adelina Shiraz (Clare Valley): Tense like a poker championship, fresh red berries playing a winning hand against savory balsamic. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 10 Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart Of The Barossa Shiraz (Barossa Valley): Greenish but grrrrreat; the finish roars loudly and long. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 10 Jamsheed Healesville Vineyard Shiraz (Yarra Valley): Lightly poised, with a demanding intellect, will hurl gravel stones if angry. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 10 First Drop Mothers Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon (Mclaren Vale): Mama really likes her fruit to be on the ripe, fresh and juicy side. $20 B >>find this wine<<
- 09 Dandelion Vineyards Pride Of The Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon (Fleurieu Peninsula): Stewed plums and toast, with a balsamic drizzle. $18 B >>find this wine<<
- 10 Pyren Broken Quartz Cabernet Sauvignon (Pyrenees): Fresh enough to almost cross the line, sexy enough to hold back just enough. $20 B >>find this wine<<
- 10 Rusden Christines Vineyard Grenache (Barossa Valley): The Q is not if it's excellent but if you have the patience to understand it $36 B+ >>find this wine<<
Bienvenidos – and, as I’ll explain in just a moment, adios – to the Weekly Wine Quiz!
This week, I’m preparing to head back down South of the equator, this time to Uruguay to tour its budding (from a global market perspective) wine regions. And so this week’s quiz is a bit of a brain-wrangler about the Uruguay’s wine scene (maybe it will help me learn something new before I haul my butt down there!).
This week, we’re also bidding farewell to the Weekly Wine Quiz series here on 1WD. It’s been a good run – well over a year – and a fun one, but the increase in my paying gigs (more on those coming soon… stay tuned) means that something has to give time-wise, and that something is the (gratis) republishing of the weekly quiz. I’ll still be penning this series, and it will still be free to access, but from here on out you’ll just need to subscribe to the awesome wine newsletter The Juice to read it (and look, if you’re not already a subscriber… what the hell are you waiting for?!??).
True or False: Uruguay’s wine growing regions resemble those of Bordeaux’s Right Bank?
Cheers – and good luck!