Archive for June, 2018

Patience Becomes Virtue (About 40 Years Of Vintage Port)

Vinted on June 13, 2018 binned in on the road, wine review
Vintage Port tasting 2018 NYC

“I hate waiting…”

So… I promised a follow-up to that 2016 Vintage Port preview, and since I’m a man(-child) of my word, here ’tis!

The central theme of my `16 VP roundup was that we all need to slow the f*ck down and accept the fact that Vintage Port not only takes a looooooong time to come around, and that a) many of us might be dead before newly-released VPs are fully developed, but we should buy them for future generations, and b) your patience regarding waiting on the slow maturation of VP will be well rewarded.

It’s time for us to get to the “b)” part, as we take a trip back through roughly thirty years of time, beginning with 2007 (when we were lamenting the state of our 401k balances) and ending with 1980 (when we were wearing JAMs, listening to disco, and some of you were probably snorting cocaine). We’re going to walk through a tasting of some of the world’s best “recent” Port vintages (with an average price per bottle of a staggering $367), from a tasting at which I was a media guest in NYC because, well, my life totally rocks (for more on the background of the various Port houses and their respective VP styles, see this post).

Alrighty then, wipe your nose and let’s get to it…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For June 11, 2018

Vinted on June 11, 2018 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-ish 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!

  • 14 Le Cimate Montefalco Sagrantino (Umbria): Spice, fruit, and tobacco that are all sweet, in both senses of the word. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Arnaldo-Caprai Cuvee Secrete (Umbria): The worst-kept-secret here is how deliciously tropical this rich, sultry white blend really is. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Cecchi Villa Rosa Gran Selezione Chianti Classico (Tuscany): So… as in So Sexy, So Brooding, So damned good, and So Full of Poential. $NA A >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Donnafugata Lighea Zibibbo (Sicily): Flowers – and joyful enjoyment – for daaaaaaaayyyyyysssssss…. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Violets and blackcurrants arm-in-arm in peaceful protest against the ills of the mortal world. $99 A >>find this wine<<
  • 17 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc (St. Helena): Lead character in a quirky foreign film: exotic, interesting, and acting with a zest for life. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Attune Eighth Street Vineyard Pinot Noir (Carneros): Tea, and red berries, and citrus peel, awesome, and just YEAH BABY! $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Gerard Duplessis Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru (Chablis): Piquant, perfumed, peachy, and, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. $75 A >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Domaine Romain Collet Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux (Chablis): Svelte of figure, yet also rich, toasty, and adorned with high end trappings. $40 A- >>find this wine<<

 

 

Critics Challenge 2018 Highlights

Vinted on June 8, 2018 binned in on the road, wine news
San Diego pier bubbles 2018

Staying Classy with bubbles in San Diego

Once again, I had both the pleasure and the honor of judging at the annual Critics Challenge wine competition, held in (stay classy!) San Diego and helmed by WineReviewOnline.com‘s Robert Whitley. This year, I was paired up with talented author Linda Murphy (whose book American Wine you should absolutely check out, because it kicks all kinds of ass).

San Diego view 2018Critics Challenge is top-notch, with excellent, experienced judges and a killer-good volunteer crew (yeah, I don’t understand why they keep inviting me back, either). So the results should, I’d argue, be taken seriously, and you can check out the full list of 2018 medal winners right now at http://www.criticschallenge.com/results.htm.

I wanted to highlight the wines that Linda and I collectively awarded Platinum, as there are some fantastic wines – several of which are surprising bargains – in that lineup of winners. This is why we judge them blind, folks! Fortunately for all of us, picking up many of these wines won’t make the bank account seem appreciably lighter…

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Who’s Your Daddy… Of RRV Single Vineyard Pinot? (Davis Bynum Recent Releases)

Vinted on June 6, 2018 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Zama Sushi

sushi – it’s not just for Pinot anymore

Recently, I was invited for a media-lunch-tasting-type-thingy in Philly with the affably hippie-ish-appearing Greg Morthole, who has been making wines for the Davis Bynum label since 2010. Davis Bynum wa purchased by Rodney Strong in 2007, and before that was a bit of a Sonoma-area legend, based on its eponymous founder.

That Davis Bynum (who passed away in 2017) is literally the daddy of Russian River Valley single-vineyard Pinot Noir, having harvested the first ever such varietal wine in 1973. Bynum got his start as a home winemaker in the 1950s, went pro in the 1960s, and at times had vineyard land in Napa and handshake grape deals with the Rochioli clan. And those last two sentences are a gross oversimplification of why Bynum’s name is well-regarded in the vinous world; I mean, this is also the former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who famously bought a box of grapes from Robert Mondavi for less than $2, once employed the about-as-legendary winemaker Gary Farrell, and used to haul grapes to his Albany winery in a 1946 Studebaker flatbed.

Morthole speaks fondly of Bynum, and if he’s suffering from any pressure-related performance anxiety related to making wines under Bynum’s name, he doesn’t betray an iota of it in his laid-back, California dude demeanor. Here’s what we tasted together over bites of Zama Sushi in Philly (and, yeah, Pinot works with sushi, depending on how earthy a cut you order, and how reserved your application of wasabi is…)…

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