Archive for May, 2013

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For May 6, 2013

Vinted on May 6, 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!

  • 10 Mud House Pinot Noir (Central Otago): Through a red currant, darkly. Also spicily, pith-ily, and somewhat sweet-toast-ily. $19 B >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Mud House South Island Pinot Gris (South Island): Toasty, friendly, and carrying melons. Like, back-up-the-truck volume of melons. $16 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Mud House Waipara Riesling (Waipara): Mineral water bath, in a slate-and-flint tub, lime zest soap and can of diesel at the ready. $12 B- >>find this wine<<
  • NV Grahams Twenty Year Tawny Porto (Porto): Richer than a sultan, toastier and smokier than his hookah, and silkier than his robes. $59 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Firestone Vineyard Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley): An entire meal here, from jammy fruit to smokey meat to a Nilla Wafer for dessert. $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley): Has energy, but gets picked on by its cheaper South American cousins. $22 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Firestone Vineyard Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley): An amorphous black fruit form that eventually settles into a smokey, solid stance. $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Firestone Vineyard Riesling (Santa Ynez Valley): A bit wobbly on its feet, but it is trying very hard to make friends with you. $14 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Cuvelier Los Andes (Mendoza): If dark plums made some sort of blood sausages out of themselves in a hedonistic, cannibalistic feast $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut (Sonoma County): An orchard full of green apples, aggressively blowing bubbles at frequent intervals. $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (Carneros): Remember Cherry Jam from Strawberry Shortcake? This is like her baking high-end pastries. $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Gloria Ferrer VA de VI Ultra Cuvee (Sonoma County): Lemon peel, peach, and bread walk into a bar… then they get pretty wasted. $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay (Carneros): Trying to make itself look busty, but its slim and slender build is already pretty. $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir (Carneros): Floral/fruity shirt with tight, taut leather pants. But moves well on the dance floor $27 B >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Navarro Correas Structura Ultra (Mendoza): A burly, burlesque entry buffeted by a broad, bracing, bright, and brisk denouement. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza): Dark cassis, toast and the depth you'd expect from vines twice as old as most of you. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Kaiken Ultra Malbec (Mendoza): So chewy, meaty, big and savory, you just might think you'd been served steak in that glass. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Pence Ranch Estate Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County): Carries a redcurrant-and-leather whip, ready and able for cattle rustlin'. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Pence In The Sta. Rita Hills Cross Hairs, But How’s The Wine?

Vinted on May 2, 2013 binned in overachiever wines, wine news, wine review

Central Coast-ish California’s Pence Ranch, and its charismatic owner, Blair Pence (who, with toothy grin and cowboy hat looks every bit the part of a rancher) have been making the wine scene headlines so far in 2013, and not in a good way.

To bring you up to speed on what has become the U.S. wine biz equivalent of tossing flaming poop bags about AVA boundaries, let’s quote a few spots and then we can talk about what no one else seems to be getting at in this battle, which is Pence’s wine itself.

To the tape, from Independent.com (emphasis mine):

Vintner Blair Pence filed with the federal government this February to expand the borders of the increasingly renowned Sta. Rita Hills wine-grape-growing appellation to the east to include his vineyard, which he planted in 2006 outside of Buellton… USC-educated developer-turned-farmer has been dealing with the wrath of his winemaking neighbors, and their terroir tussle is now making headlines in the international wine press. “If you look at the history, you look at the geology, you look at the weather, it belongs in the appellation,” said Pence, who built Los Angeles office buildings and industrial parks before growing grapes, ranching cattle, and raising avocados. “The science is so clear-cut.”

And the opposition summary, via WineSpectator.com (emphasis mine):

The board of the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrower Alliance (SRHWA) disagreed with Pence’s arguments, however, and voted unanimously to oppose expansion. Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe, the original petitioner who crafted the AVA boundaries, is against the expansion, saying the new border would extend into a distinct landmass called the Buellton Flats, which has a north-south orientation, while the current AVA has an east-west orientation. According to Hagen, the areas Pence wants included also lack the maritime influence that growers insist make the region ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “We’ve spent $25 million and 20 years promoting the area,” said Hagen. “We don’t want to be catty, but we want to protect what we’ve built.”

Reaction has not been kind, probably because this seems like a bit of a money grab for Pence, who stands to gain higher grape prices if his AVA expansion bid is successful. Since I visited Pence Ranch and talked about this with Blair Pence last August, I thought I’d chime in on the debate/debacle; mostly because I find it very odd that little has been said about whether or not the Pence Ranch wine itself seems to fit what one might call the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot profile…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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