Posts Filed Under best of

Dude, Where’s My “Wine?” (Marijuana And Wine Remain Popular Pairing For California Winemakers)

Vinted on April 18, 2012 binned in best of, California wine, wine news

I recently had a conversation with a celebrity involved in the California wine biz that went something like this:

CA Wine Celebrity: “Hey – have you ever had cannabis-infused wine?”

Me: “Cannabis-infused?”

CWC: “Yeah. Totally. Pot wine?”

Me: “No – but I wouldn’t be surprised if every other winemaker in California was drinking it; and probably making it.”

CWC: “I just tried some. It was weird. It smelled exactly like…” – at this point he extended a long, lanky, outstretched arm ending in pinched fingers directly under my nose – “…like someone stuck a bud in there; it smells just like a big ol’ bud right up in your nose!”

Turns out, he wasn’t very far off. It is with very, very little surprise that I give you the findings of Michael Steinberger’s recent article for The Daily Beast, titled Marijuana-Laced Wine Grows More Fashionable in California Wine Country: apparently, a lot of winemakers in California wine country make the stuff (by dropping about one lb. of dope into fermenting grape juice, Cabernet apparently being the variety of choice, and nearby Humboldt County being the marijuana source of choice), because a lot of CA winemakers dig pot.

Whoa – now there’s a news flash [ Editor’s note: sarcasm intended ].

We are talking about California here, people…

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The 2012 1WineDude.com CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off!

Vinted on April 10, 2012 binned in best of, wine review

This is a tourney several years in the making.

I first had the idea of having a “Taste-Off” – a March Madness tournament-style tasting of sixteen wines, randomly matched against one another, and proceeding in a single-elimination tasting against one another over the same day until one is crowned “champion”– back in 2008.

It’s taken me this long to get around to it, inspired in part by the facts that a) we’ve had an exciting NCAA tourney this year, b) simply having a free day in which to do it, and c) having the personal realization that I had sixteen different California Petite Sirah samples (none of the poor things knowing what was in store for them) sitting in the bowels of my cellar and therefore could actually pull it off. Also, I had a pretty sh*tty week and just needed a fun escape.

Why Petite Sirah? It just felt right. It’s a divisive wine, usually eliciting either intense devotion or complete hatred hatred – and as a result, it’s a variety that tends to get less press coverage than a Xylophonist convention.

How it went down: Sixteen different CA Petite Sirah wines were randomly assigned numbers, which were then randomly matched into a field of sixteen, single-elimination tourney bracket-style. The winner of each bracket went on to face the winner of the next, with the losers being eliminated. This means that a) it’s possible for mismatches, just like in a real tournament – and there certainly were some of those! – and b) some really good wines didn’t get to compete against one another. A wine advanced if, at the moments I tasted it, it seemed a better, more complete, well-crafted, more complex wine; and yes, that means that a wine not tasting well on the given day was at a disadvantage – no different than any other wine competition (or competition of any kind, for that matter!).

That’s the nature of single-elimination tourneys, people: it’s not entirely fair; too friggin’ bad; deal with it and let’s have some fun!

Over the course of this week, I’m going to feature the results of the tourney, revealing the “champion” on Thursday and highlighting the two finalists. Mini-reviews will post this coming Monday and will include any wine in the lineup not already reviewed in the minis. So if you’re not into PS, this is not  the week for you to be checking out 1WD. If you’re curious or already a PS lover, then read on!…

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#WBW75 “Singles Night”: Pinot From Alto, By Way Of Norse Mythology

Vinted on March 21, 2012 binned in best of, wine blogging wednesday, wine review

Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, people!

I’m thrilled to be hosting WBW this month, and I’m stoked to see what you all will be tasting throughout the day today, in keeping with our theme: “Singles Night!” For the background on the theme, check out the announcement post – the short story is that this month we are celebrating wines that are made from grapes grown on a single vineyard.

So get yourself some single vineyard wine, blog about it, comment here about it, or tweet about it (#WBW75)!

I’m kicking things off with a single vineyard wine that has been sitting in the bowels of the basement sample pool for some time, but that I’ve been excited about trying ever since I cracked the cardboard on its shipping box. It’s a familiar grape, and maybe even a familiar region, but not necessarily a grape/region combo that would be all that familiar for many of you…

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Do Wine Experts Taste Differently Than You (And Does It Matter)?

Vinted on March 14, 2012 binned in best of, commentary, wine news, wine tasting

I don’t mean here that if you lick a wine expert (something I do not recommend, unless you happen to be Heidi Klum and the wine expert you plan on tasting is me) they taste like chocolate-covered hazelnut while you taste like a dog coming out of the rain.

I mean, are wine experts hard-wired to taste wine in a fundamentally different way than you are, physiologically?

Sound crazy? Well, crazy or not, that’s the conclusion suggested by results published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, from a study performed by John Hayes (assistant professor of food science) and others at (WE ARE!) Penn State. Even NPR jumped in on this action despite the study results not having been repeated yet (see “Most Of Us Just Can’t Taste The Nuances In High-Priced Wines” – not that they’d stoop to using an incendiary title that insinuates the conclusions as unalterable scientific fact or anything gimmicky like that…).

The coverage of the study at PSU.edu is pretty sparse, and open to some rather gaping critical holes, but assuming the results hold up to further scientific scrutiny they will bolster the controversial position taken by Master of Wine Tim Hanni (and others) that individually we perceive wines differently based on a number of factors, some of them physical.

To the tape, quoting Mr. Hayes (emphasis mine):

“While learning plays a role in their expertise and other factors matter, such as how they communicate their thoughts and opinions on wines, some wine experts may have an innate advantage in learning to discern small differences in wine.”

The most interesting thing about this study? For my money, it’s the further implication that reviews from wine experts are actually even less helpful to the general public than previously thought

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