Archive for July, 2014 TV Episode 61: “How The Pros Taste” From #WBC14

Vinted on July 22, 2014 binned in 1WineDude TV, on the road, wine bloggers conference

Some of you asked for it, so here it is: our panel on how the pros taste wine from the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Or most of our panel, anyway; as much of it as could be recorded before my video camera lost its juice.

More thoughts on the wines that we tasted during that panel, as well as on WBC14 itself, later this week. In the meantime, you now have about 50 minutes of vid to peruse if you’re curious as to how Steve Heimoff, Patrick Comiskey, and I suck the joy out of wine by tasting it critically! TV Episode 61: How The Pros Taste From WBC14





Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For July 21, 2014

Vinted on July 21, 2014 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!

  • 11 Raptor Ridge Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains): Vibrant, racy, pure, and with nary a score to settle with anyone. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Raptor Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Hearty is probably the right word for its largesse and its earthy appeal. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Fresh and tingly comfort wine, geared for fresh comfort foods. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Sweet melons and wet river stones, all temporarily acting as kissing cousins. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale): The sooner you admit that it is, in fact, sexy, the better off you'll be. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Gustave Lorentz Riesling Reserve (Alsace): Orchard levels of crisp fruit, car battery levels of acid; have crevice at the ready. $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial (Champagne): Is "sextural" a word? Let's just say for now it is a word and we'll go with that, okay? $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Uvaggio Primitivo (Lodi): If only more of its Italian brethren churned out Zin as tasty and zesty as this… sigh… if only… $14 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Uvaggio Vermentino (Lodi): One foot on California land, one foot on Mediterranean shoreline, head in the clouds and loving it. $14 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah (Walla Walla Valley): Asking no quarter for its dark ripeness, & giving none in its heat in return. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Chateau La Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne Rose (Cotes de Provence): It will explain why all rose journeys should begin in Provence. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<



“One Foot Old World, One Foot New World” (Quivira Recent Releases)

Vinted on July 17, 2014 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

Ask Quivira winemaker (sorry, winegrower, as they prefer to call him) Hugh Chappelle for the Cliff Notes version of their style, and this is what you’ll get:

“One foot Old World, one foot New World.”

That’s a pretty darned good summation, based on my recent visit to their Dry Creek Valley winery. I should give you a similar Cliff Notes version of the entire Quivira story, before we get into the wines: A corporate drug company executive (Henry Wendt) gets attracted to a spot in Dry Creek Valley in the `80s, and as a avid fisherman gets upset at the decline in fish population in the nearby creek. Conventional farming is blamed, and a move to sustainable farming and Biodynamics ensues in the mid 2000s, after which Pete and Terri Kight purchase the place. Now they have 93 acres planted primarily to Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, along with a smattering of Rhone varieties such as Viognier, Grenache, and Mourvedre.

Quivira makes about 13,000 cases a year, using fruit from three estate vineyards, with a modest, restrained style that typically garners modest, restrained scores from mainstream wine critics.

Which, I think, means that those critics are missing the point of Quivira’s wines, which isn’t about conforming to a preconceived notion of how certain varieties – like Zinfandel – ought to be crafted (presumably into the highest bombast style wines possible). Maybe they’re taking the wild boar on Quivira’s label (a depiction of an adopted pet named Ruby who “died fat and happy” according to the Quivira staff) too literally, and assuming that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Whatever…

Much of what Quivira seems to be about is turning those conventional notions of Californian Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel on their (sow’s) ears…

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Blurbs South Of The Border (On Evan Goldstein’s “Wines Of South America”)

Vinted on July 15, 2014 binned in wine books

There are moments that mark a sort of rite of passage for personalities in any field. With respect to writing on the topic of wine, there’s the first time you’re given a wine sample, the first time you’re invited to a tasting event or a tour of a wine region, the first time someone quotes your review of a wine, etc.

Like sex (okay, that’s a really poor comparison), they say you never forget your first time, and I suspect that in any case several of those first time events were almost as awkward an exchange as that first time.


I was recently involved in another first (for me) when it comes to being a wine personality (for lack of a better term): being asked to write a blurb for someone else’s wine book, the soon-to-be-released Wines of South America: The Essential Guide” by Master Somm. Evan Goldstein.

On the finished product (a page proof copy of which I recently received), my blurb in support of Goldstein’s latest shares the back page with another blurb penned by the indefatigable Laura Catena of Catena Zapata; so I’m in very good company as far as covers go…

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