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1WineDude TV Episode 11: Cahors (Malbec Days Festival 2010)

Vinted on May 23, 2010 under 1WineDude TV, on the road

A very brief intro. into the 2010 International Malbec Days Festival. 

As for the event – great intro. to Cahors and its wines; confusing marketing strategy / message; terrible, terrible, terrible organization of events and logistics overall.  More to come (on all three fronts)!

 

 

Cheers!

1WineDude TV Episode 10: Go Forth, And Blend! (An Interview with Franciscan’s Janet Myers)

Vinted on February 24, 2010 under 1WineDude TV, California wine, winemaking

Most 1WineDude.com readers will already be aware that my fellowship to last week’s 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium was underwritten by Franciscan.  As part of the fellowship award, Franciscan invited me to a private tasting and interview with Janet Myers, the wine director who also handles winemaking duties at Mt. Veeder.

Janet is a geek, in every positive sense of the word.  We got to know each other a bit the night before the interview, at a dinner held for the fellowship recipients and their underwriting wineries, and I got enjoy Janet’s down-to-earth approach – which belies an almost encyclopedic knowledge of all things related to Franciscan, Mt. Veeder, and especially how their respective terroirs translate into their finished wines.  She’s especially geeky about yeasts – and when you produce one of the more expensive Napa Chardonnays based on native yeasts (Cuvee Sauvage – the 2006 of which wowed the diners at our table with its balanced marriage of stone fruits, rich mouthfeel and acidic, refreshing finish) , it’s probably an enormous benefit to have a passionate geek making your wine.

Janet also has a passion for blending that was evident when tasting the Franciscan and Mt. Veeder portfolio; all of the wines under her care are clearly well-crafted.  And while Franciscan’s best-known wine (the 2006 Napa cabernet) felt out of balance to me, I was floored by the 2006 Napa Merlot, which Janet indicated gets a lot of focus at Franciscan in general because Merlot is such an important part of the blend that goes into their flagship Meritage (“Magnificat”).  The Merlot is textbook Oakville – plump, ripe, full of plums and smoky tobacco – but is extremely well-balanced and supple.  For $22 bones – it’s an impressive feat of winemaking and a hell of a wine for the price tag.

Janet kindly agreed to have some of our discussion on her approach to blending captured on video, which is embedded below.  You might be surprised to learn (as I was) that there isn’t a set “recipe” for blending the Magnificat.  “We’re in the ‘blend late’ camp,” Janet told me, meaning that individual varieties are vinified separately and then blended together to make the final wine later.  “I want to see how they develop before they get ‘nominated’ to go into the final blend – because they can surprise you.  We’re not making Coca-Cola here; we’re keeping within a theme.”  More on that in the vid.

While the first thing that you may notice in the vid is my annoyingly rampant use of the dumbass’ anthemic “uhhhmmmm…” (due mostly to my state of exhaustion after having tasted dozens of wines at Pre-Premiere Napa events, some of it in soul-suckingly sterile environments – more on that in a later post), the first person who comments correctly identifying the MAJOR gaffe that I toss out in this video will win a fabulous prize (not kidding). Good luck!

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Drinking Inside The Box (1WineDude TV Episode 9: You Got Boxed, Beeeatch!)

Vinted on August 26, 2009 under 1WineDude TV, giveaways

At the risk of sounding like a complete and total corporate brand shill, I’m going to mention that Black Box Wines, one of a few wine brands that have come on the scene offering higher-quality boxed wines, has been good to me and I consider them “friends of the Dude.”

It helps that their product doesn’t suck, of course. I’m not going to call their wines amazing, and while they claim that their boxes of wine will stay fresh for up to four weeks after opening, their idea of “fresh” after two weeks doesn’t coincide with my idea of “pleasurably drinkable.”  But… if you’re looking for a larger volume of fruit-forward, easy-drinking wine for a party you’d do a lot worse than to pick up a box of Black Box Chardonnay, which I found to be a bargain in terms of quality / price ratio – you get a lot of decent, easy-drinking, tropical-fruit-driven Chard for a very good price.

GEEK-OUT ALERT: I need to mention that the term “boxed wine” gets on my nerves, since technically it’s “bagged wine” – the wine is in a bag that happens to be stored in a box.  The technology behind the bag is pretty amazing, actually, since it needs to collapse at the same rate as the wine so that as little air as possible gets into the bag, thus preserving the freshness of the wine. To allow this, the bag is slightly permeable, which means it has a freshness shelf-life even when unopened.  Ok, I’ll stop geeking-out now.

Black Box Wines happen to be running a video contest at the moment, which amazingly has fewer than 10 entries at the moment.  I say “amazingly” because they are giving away $10,000.  Even if people from CA aren’t eligible (I blame the broken CA state government, from which PA seems to unfortunately be taking its model), that’s a paltry number of entries for a prize like that.

The thing I can’t figure out is why there seem to be so few entries.  The economy is in the toilet, and wine people came out of the woodwork for a chance to win a similar amount of monthly dough from Murphy-Goode winery.

So, what gives?  Do people not want a chance at $10 Gs?

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1WineDude TV Episode 8: Masters of the Wine Universe

Vinted on August 13, 2009 under 1WineDude TV, interviews

Joe talks to Wine Educator and WSET insider Jason Whiteside, who tells us about the most valuable tracks of wine education for the budding wine geek and the wine professional – such as the CSW, the WSET/Masters of Wine, the Court of Master Sommeliers, and the Masters of… the Universe!

By the Power of Grayskull!!!

Cheers!

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