Archive for August, 2015
Today, we take a brief break from talking about wine as art, and instead talk briefly about wine as art subject.
I get contacted by many people with wine product ideas who would like a shot at getting their wares featured or reviewed on the virtual pages here. A not-insignificant percentage of those products find their way into a heap in my basement, either proving to be too useless, too frustrating, or aesthetically disastrous enough not to make the cut.
A pleasant exception is “PROST” by self-taught pointillism (remember George Seurat from art class, folks?) artist Elizabeth Bollwitt.
I’ve never met Bollwitt, and was unaware of her work, but she’s a 1WD fan and sent me a poster print of her “PROST” painting, shown inset above. I absolutely loved it at first cardboard-tube-opening-and-unraveling. Personally, I despise art that is obviously descriptive, preferring more abstract interpretations that give the viewer at least some means of participation in completing the experience of witnessing what the art is attempting to do/convey/capture. So for me, Rockwell (despite the obvious talent) is pure and total hell, while Nude Descending a Staircase is genius oft he highest friggin’ order. No surprise then that I would be drawn to Bollwitt’s deft use of the pointillism technique, and the colorfully abstract rendering of an overly-enthusiastic, drunken “cheers!” moment.
According to her website, canvas reproduction of Bollwitt’s “PROST” will be on display at V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley, so if you’re in the area I’d suggest checking it out (or just order yourself a reprint on poster or canvas, if you find yourself compelled to hang it up in your home, as I did).
One of the speaking engagements
where I scared everyone sh*tless with tough luv for which I was hired earlier this Summer was recently given a write-up in the Corks And Forks section of The Columbian’s website.
While I am flattered at the positive mention, I thought it worthwhile (because, hey, I need to kill time until it’s 4:30pm and I can drink wine without feeling too bad about it) to expand on a couple of things that author discusses in that write-up.
First, I am stoked that she picked up on something that I often mention during these talks, particularly when given to those who work inside of the wine biz…
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- 13 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): Sweet rhubarb herbal tea providing just enough pick-me-up. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 13 Maley Brothers Vineyards Lodi Native Wegat Vineyard Zinfandel (Mokelumne River): Spicy? That's not spicy. Let me show you spicy! $34 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 13 Quanta Terra Terra a Terra Branco (Douro): And then all you Chardonnay lovers were all like "uhm, whoa! what was **that**?!??" $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Hedges Family Estate DLD Syrah (Red Mountain): Everything great about WA Syrah, only it's spent a bit too much time in Funky Town. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Robert Oatley McLaren Vale Shiraz (McLaren Vale): Minty, juicy promises that don't quite get fulfilled, but the attempt's tasty. $19 B >>find this wine<<
- 05 Lokoya Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): A glass of beautiful, tragic opera in which our favorite characters all die. $400 A >>find this wine<<
- 11 Mt. Brave Merlot (Mt. Veeder): Brambly dark berries, bouncing on herbs & chocolate, and peeking playfully out of the cigar box. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt. Veeder): Anise, espresso & cassis chiseling fine, polished statuettes out of graphite blocks. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 13 Trefethen Oak Knoll District Harmony Chardonnay (Napa Valley): Aptly named complex congruence of both richness and energetic pop. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Trefethen Dragon's Tooth Red (Oak Knoll District): Thankfully, more like seductive, sexy, spicy love bites than toothy chomps. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
Message to Etna: No devastating explosions while I’m visiting, ok?
It’s somewhat ironic, as I kick off a series of posts about my press jaunt to Sicily earlier this year, that the wine region I often cite as a source of reasonably-priced wines made from international varieties will now be compressed into a highlight reel focusing primarily on one indigenous variety.
But hey, we gotta keep it real, so my take on the 2015 Sicilia en Primeur event (in its twelfth year, showcasing the wares of some of the island’s best producers) will orbit like a satellite around my new-found vinous luuuurv, the Carricante grape.
Much more from my Sicily jaunt is coming (and there’s been a teaser of sorts published last month via one of my final Answers.com pieces) but today is a cross-cut from the walk-around tasting at en Primeur, with my takes on some of the juice that I found particularly intriguing.
Sicily is entering an interesting time (interesting in both the American and British senses of the word).
It continues to produce a fairly substantial amount of wine, though plantings have decreased by about fifty percent in just over fifteen years (a combination of economic realities and a renewed quality focus). There might never be a better time for Sicily to try to capitalize on its entrenched U.S. market opportunities (hello? how many Italian restaurants are there in Manhattan alone?), with the 2014 vintage being hailed as “la vendemmia perfetta.” There’s serious potential there, if they can get ti together and get some of these wines into the mouths of importers/buyers/consumers. But since we’re talking about Italian politics here, there’s certainly a non-zero chance that they’ll squander it.
Speaking of the wines, best that we get to those before I get myself into trouble (and/or before this all starts reading like the lyrics to a Soronprfbs song)…
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