Archive for March, 2014
“Stay out of Malibu, deadbeat!!!”
As a stunning display just how behind I am on everything, my take on the upstart, bootstrapping wineries of Southern California’s Ventura County was recently published over at PalatePress.com.
Yeah, that’s the one I talked about back in January when we featured the recent releases of Ventura’s Four Brix Winery (and that was written about six months after my visit). Whatever, look, I’m kind of busy lately, alright?
Thus endeth the triumvirate of articles I’d planned resulting from that S. Cal. jaunt, the remaining third being an overview of the wineries in the Ventura County wine trail for Wine.Answers.com. Mini-reviews might peek out here and there, though, to further highlight a few of my faves from the trip. Otherwise, it’s on to all of the other shizz on which I’m similarly several months behind.
The PalatePress.com piece continues a theme of sorts on which I’ve focused in my features over there: talking about off-the-beaten-wine-path vino areas about which almost no else is talking, and certainly mainstream media has been touching with a ten foot punch down pole, such as Ventura, Colorado, and Pennsylvania (incidentally, I’ll likely be sticking to that theme for future PP pieces, since whenever I veer from that and talk about ultra-expensive wines, or whether or not critical acclaim matters for wines that are so popular that they’ve created enduring brands, I create a veritable sh*t storm and get into all kinds of trouble… see, and you thought that only happened here on 1WD!).
But it (the article, I mean, which technically is still the subject, despite the ludicrously long sentence above) also explores the idea of whether or not Northern California’s vineyards exhibit terroir, and if so whether or not that individuality and vinous fingerprinting can be interpreted and displayed by bootstrapping upstarts buying the region’s grapes, just as the better producers on the Ventura County trail are attempting right now. I’m not yet convinced that they’ve fully achieved it, but the experiment is still in progress, and of course gives us geeky fodder about which to conjecture (is that a verb?… if not, it should be)…
- 12 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay (Carneros): Almost the complete NV Chard package, delivered with class, energy, & even joy. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Shafer One Point Five Red (Napa Valley): More like One Point Awesome, if you're into flowers, black fruit & a lively undercurrent. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Gandona Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Dark fruit, pencil lead, gun flint, tuxedo, black tie, and a serious James Bond accent. $200 A >>find this wine<<
- 10 Montagna La Presa One South Cabernet (Napa Valley): Black cherry, black tea, & a black glove grip keeping it all tightly wound up. $125 A >>find this wine<<
- 10 BRAND Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Moving in demanding, dusty, opulent fits & starts now, but each motion is compelling. $225 A >>find this wine<<
- 10 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Only glamorous, genetically-perfect movie stars should be this sexy. $160 A >>find this wine<<
- 11 Continuum Red (Napa Valley): Steel-like scaffolding, fearlessly embracing sweet black fruit & just about an entire herb garden. $175 A >>find this wine<<
- 10 Modus Operandi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Kinda like dad's Napa Valley Cab, only now it's a hell of a lot edgier. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 10 Hall Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): In hot pursuit of complex, elegant harmony, and nipping right at its heels. $125 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Silverado Vineyards Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Favoring transparency & honest enjoyment over perfect form. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Tangled up in blue fruits, violet flowers, dusty spices, & dry underbrush. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
By now, many of you will have heard that 2014’s incarnation of Premiere Napa Valley, the annual Napa Valley Vintners fundraiser auction, broke records and brought in a haul to NVV that I think is best described as a sh*t-ton of money, times three (I had dinner with a couple of nice folks from NVV after the weekend of the event, and their collective mood could be summarized as something between kid-at-the-Crayola-factory elation and exhausted relief). PNV14’s auction of rare, small-lot Napa Valley wine rarities amassed nearly $6 million, with Scarecrow’s lot bringing in something to the tune of $4K per bottle.
I’ve covered PNV, on and off, for several years here on 1WD, and for 2014’s recap I’ve decided to play the tune again, which has a catchy-but-getting-too-damned-familiar-like-Call-Me-Maybe melody to it at this point, but with a different tempo and some funky rhythm section time signature changes, to try to keep things feeling a little fresher.
As usual, I did not taste all of the auction lots at PNV, because that is an endeavor that I view as somewhat insane, like NHL hockey goaltending (seriously… they need to be a little not-quite-altogether to volunteer for that job… just sayin’…). However, between two days of preview parties and barrel auction tasting, I did manage to sample more PNV lots than I ever have in past years. Ironically, this has made me decide to refrain from listing all of the lots I tasted with their respective ratings, and instead talk about only the lots that really moved me in some way. No ratings, no badges, just praise. It’s a “Best Of” PNV14, if you will, only with me acting as the sole arbiter of what constitutes “best” in this case (hey, it is my blog, after all).
But first, a few words on Napa’s 2012 vintage, which was on strong (arguably the strongest possible, given the pedigree) showcase at PNV14…
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In a a week and a half, I’ll be taking the stage with a pair of like-minded fellow wine bloggers at the request of Vineyard and Winery Management magazine’s Tina Caputo, to talk about (how terrible most) wine PR (is), as part of the upcoming Wineries + Breweries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference in Richmond, VA.
I don’t expect to see many 1WD readers at the conference, namely because it’s not really a taste-all-kinds-of-awesome-juice-and-chat-with-winemakers event, and more of a place-to-be-to-check-out-developments-in-labeling-bottle-technology type of event. I do, however, expect that there will be some interesting take-aways from our panel discussion, the focus of which is how to approach (pitch) bloggers.
Unlike some of my fellow wine blogging compatriots, I do not see PR as evil, and I received quite a divisive reaction when I publicly stated so here on 1WD back in November of 2011. I do, however, see wine biz PR as mostly lazy, an attribute it shares with just about 95% of all U.S. service industries. They have a difficult job, and the difficulty curve of that job got pushed a little closer towards the Impossible axis over the last seven years or so with the explosion of wine blogs and alternative wine media voices that ended up garnering influence and splintering fine wine media consuming audiences…
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