Archive for May, 2015
High-end Bolgheri, anyone?
If you’re me, when you get an invite to attend a guided tasting of Ornellaia’s 2012 “L’Incanto” release (and some past vintages) with Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja and winemaker Axel Heinz at 620 Loft and Garden in NYC in May, you accept.
Because, well, that’s how you spend a Monday when you’re me, alright? And it’s been a couple of years since I’d had an opportunity to get up close and personal with Ornellaia’s wares.
Also, if you’re me, when they name a wine “L’Incanto” (“the Enchantment”), you expect them to put pixelated references to Minecraft on the label. I am sad to tell you that didn’t happen, my friends. I know, right? C’mon, even first graders know the Minecraft references now (not that those consumers should be Ornellaia’s market…).
I am not sad to report, however, on the wines that we tasted during that session, most of which were excellent (as you will read in a few moments). I am sad to think that several of you reading this will flame me for liking these wines, though I am quite sure that will happen. Having said that, I incite you to consider the following insight:
Some of Ornellaia’s releases are every bit as high quality (and age-worthy) as high-end Bordeaux reds, yet (while certainly expensive) rarely reach the lofty, scale-K2-with-oxygen-tanks price points of those First and Second Growths.
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You want more Wine.Answers.com article madness, peeps?
Well, too f*ckin’ bad! Because here’s the Wine.Answers.com article roundup for the month!
Wine Product Review: Mooma Wine Chill Rod
Hmm. Well… I was divided on this one. The Mooma has three functions, none of which it excels at performing, BUT… if you don’t already have a pourer/aerator/chiller and are tight on storage space, the price makes it compelling.
Wine Book Review: “A Vineyard In Napa” by Doug Shafer
I’d been meaning to review “A Vineyard in Napa” for some time now. As in, like, more than a year. So I’m happy to finally have had an opportunity to enjoy it and to talk about it, as it’s well-written and deftly avoids being a long Shafer commercial. There’s actually some conflict (imagine that… in a wine book!), and it does a nice job of following the development of Napa Valley and the Stags Leap District as broader settings to the Shafer foundation story.
Three Things That You Didn’t Know About Soave
Look, it’s getting warmer in the States, which means you ought to at least be thinking about drinking more Soave, right?!??
Wine Book Review: “The History of Wine in 100 Bottles” By Oz Clarke
Ah, the irrepressible Oz Clarke, who manages to somehow be British and yet a part slightly removed from full-on, dry-as-a-bone British humor. The narrative of “The History of Wine in 100 Bottles” often seems as though it’s about to go totally off the rails, and yet never does, and Clarke manages to hit a surprisingly large volume of detail about the key moments in wine history in a short space.
- 14 Le Charmel Cotes de Provence Rose (Cotes de Provence): The Good Life is out there somewhere, So stay on my arm you little charmer. $13 B >>find this wine<<
- 13 Corona de Aragon Special Selection Garnacha (Carinena): Tall, dark, handsome & friendly stranger, speaking in thick Spanish accent $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 10 Idella Syrah (Santa Barbara County): You'll need to don the Big Boy Wading Pants to step into this rich spice-fest of a river. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Idella Las Cerezas Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Yountville): Densely packing up the tropical fruit oomph in controlled, tight rolls. $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Nasiakos Nemea Red (Nemea): All tension & pretension were left at the door, in their places are just tartness & lovely spices. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 14 Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko (Santorini): Canistel, chalk, and citrus… we really don't need more evidence of this guy's talent. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Forward Kidd Napa Valley Red Wine (Napa Valley): The kid is not kidding, is indeed forward, and undoubtedly still quite young. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Pillar Box Shiraz (Padthaway): This pillar box is apparently used to send messages constructed primarily of jam, jam, & more jam. $20 B >>find this wine<<
- 12 M2 Wines Century Vineyard Zinfandel (Lodi): And then, all of a sudden, all of the the kitchen spices totally exploded! I swear! $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Bodegas Paniza Vinas Viejas de Paniza Garnacha (Carinena): NOt shy about giving you something thoughtful to chew – & chew – on. $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
I have (among other things) been described as peripatetic.
That adjective is apt, but as peripatetic as I can be, I pale in comparison to Red Car‘s tall, thin, and quick-witted General Manager Peter Willmert. Willmert, along with winemaker Carroll Kemp and vineyard manager Adam Carter live, breathe, and seemingly sleep (if Willmert actually settles down long enough to do that, I mean) all things Red Car from their small spot on Graton Road in Sebastopol.
Like Willmert (who is fond of jumping quickly from topic to topic, somehow without losing an ability to take deeper dives along the way), Red Car has been in more or less constant motion in its relatively brief history.
“I like the acidic, crisp style,” Willmert told me when I visited. “One part of the [ Red Car ] evolution was getting out of the Central Coast; we’ve left a trail of warmer vineyards, and moved everything to the Sonoma Coast. Since the 2000 vintage, the wines have been pretty consistent.” It helps that they’ve got dedicated vineyard staff (as he put it, “I’m a control freak. And Carroll’s a control freak”). Somewhat ironically given Willmert’s penchant for rapidly bouncing between topics, Red Car’s wines have arguably never been more focused and singular of purpose.
What he means is more lithe, energetic, and focused on premium. Much of the source material for Red Car’s wares come from vineyards that are surrounded by orchards and redwoods (and gophers), within spitting distance of the sea, in areas that were long though too cool to house “serious” viticulture. Judging by the wines I tasted, those early pronouncements were dead wrong…
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