Archive for April, 2013

Righting Wine Award Wrongs (Merced del Estero 2012 Mil Vientos Torrontes)

Vinted on April 4, 2013 binned in on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Merced del Estero, in the über-sunny San Juan region of Argentina, has been tending vineyards under the care of the familia Rodriguez  for three generations, since 1897.

But it took me just one iteration of the annual

Argentina Wine Awards to help screw them up a little bit.

MdE was one of the producer visit stops for a group of about half of AWA judges that followed the awards judging, seminar and winners’ gala in February. It was also one of the most unassuming – twelve hectares of estate vineyards, west of the Tulum Valley, close enough to the Andes to be impacted by the hot sonda winds, and sitting about 700 meters above sea level (which sounds impressive, but that’s about average for a lot of fine wine grapegrowing in the high elevation dessert of Argentina).

The first thing that you notice about the Rodriguez family vineyards – if you’re a geek like me, I mean – is that many of the vines are trained in pergolas, reaching fairly high off the ground. The second thing you’ll notice is that the Bonarda (planned to be introduced to the MdE lineup this year) on the sunnier, exposed areas of the pergola are practically… raisins.

Which you’d resemble, too, if you were openly exposed to that punishing sun for as long as they are…

Read the rest of this stuff »



Carneros Wine Tour CD Giveaway!

Vinted on April 3, 2013 binned in giveaways

This week, I’m teaming up with southern-born author Corinne Van Houten to give away a copy of her Carneros wine tour CD.

The CD (remember those? don’t worry, an audio file version is also in the works) is an engaging introduction to the Carneros region, highlighting the history of (and providing current tasting/visiting tips for) eleven wineries in the area that straddles both Sonoma and Napa valleys. For my money, Carneros is one of the few areas in Napa where Pinot Noir has a shot at über-specialness (and let’s not forget that on the Sonoma side, a stunning Carneros Pinot made Dude’s Top 10 MIW list for 2012).

Corinne’s CD is aimed at beginners (and/or those putting foot-to-dirt in touring the area), but aside from gifting possibilities there’s ample fodder within Corinne’s CD for the geekier among you who have yet to visit Carneros: it includes $40 worth of tasting coupons, and a map for each winery mentioned). In terms of the winery players, Bouchaine, Ceja, Cline, Domaine Carneros, Homewood, Larson Family, McKenzie-Mueller, Robledo, Roche, Schug and Truchard Winery all get profiled on the CD (several of these producers I’ve personally yet to visit, but now have a hankering to see – and taste – after hearing Corrine’s descriptions).

To be eligible to win, you need to live in the continental U.S., and be a 21+ years old carbon-based life form consisting mostly of water. You also need to leave a comment on this post telling us all about your fave wine tour (and/or tasting spot) – doesn’t matter where, I’m just curious who’s doing it right. On April 9th at 9PM ET/6PM PT, I will randomly select a winner from the commenters.

Cheers – and good luck!




Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For April 1, 2013

Vinted on April 1, 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!

  • 12 Harkham-Windarra Azizas Shiraz (Hunter Valley): All kosher; and all mineral-driven, delicate and earthy-dark loveliness, too. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Flametree SRS Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River): Mad currents of currants; grab hold of the nearby eucalyptus for support. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Ochota Barrels Fugazi Vineyard Grenache (Mclaren Vale): Heavy, rich, savory, but the peppery fruit has a hell of a wide-eyed stare $73 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Jauma Wood Vineyard Grenache (Mclaren Vale): Enter the ninja… with a roundhouse anise-and-pepper dropkick right to your face. $75 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Lethbridge Pinot Noir (Geelong): Darkly brooding, but will use its tea-like tannins and wiles to eventually get under your skin. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley): Happy to be alive, and lucky enough to be so pretty, sipping floral tea. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 BK Wines One Ball Chardonnay (Adelaide Hills): Peach jam, on toast, side of lemon and fennel, all washed down with mineral water. $30 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Jamsheed Garden Gully Riesling (Great Western): A reticent stunner, deep in soitary contemplation of its own pithy pithiness. $30 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Dandelion Vineyard Wonderland Of The Eden Valley Riesling (Eden Valley): Wonderland is a very, very, VERY dry place, it seems. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Lethbridge Dr. Nadeson Riesing (Geelong): Hunk-ish, but it’s thoroughly in touch with its more feminine, pithy side, as well. $26 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Zontes Footstep The Love Symbol Savagnin (Langhorne Creek): The potato chips of Savagnin; crisp, and probably cannot stop at one. $18 B >>find this wine<<



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