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Ten years ago, on a trip with friends to New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, I bought a few bottles of bubbly.
I was not a pseudo-wine-pro back then; I was an avid consumer (that term still applies!), and the majority of my vacation travel was centered around wine exploration. I had a budding interest, passionate zeal, and I knew what I liked though I would have had a lot more trouble telling you why, or explaining how, a wine I liked got to that point.
It was one of those gorgeous sunny Autumn days that was quickly turning into a chilly Autumn evening (no sun = no heat) and most of the Finger Lakes tasting rooms were closed or moments-away-from closing; we happened upon what was then a joint-producer tasting room featuring only local sparkling wines.
I knew what I liked, and I really liked the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut that evening. So, my girlfriend and I bought some.
Ten years later, at the surprise 50th birthday party of one of dear friends (who helped us greatly in getting through the tough times leading up to the recent loss of our Weimaraner, Samson, and to whom we gave a bottle of 2007 Quinta do Vesuvio so you know we love her), I had occasion to open the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut – Dr. Frank is one of the birthday girl’s favorite wine producers (alongside the most recent offering of Chateau Frank’s non-vintage Riesling sparkler, Célèbre Cremant).
And it rocked.
The fruit had started to subside a bit, but what remained was bready, lively, and wonderful; still fresh, still food-friendly, still (in the words of Simple Minds) Alive & Kicking.
An apt comparison, it turns out, for the state of NY wine in general…
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You may have noticed that Wine Spectator has been advertising here on 1WineDude.com. I know, right? The temperature in Hell may just have gotten a couple of more degrees below freezing.
WS are pushing their new iTunes vintage chart app, and part of that push involves a month-long ad stint here and on other on-line wine publications/blogs. Me being me, I asked them to sweeten the deal and as such this week we are giving away a one-year subscription to Wine Spectator (print or on-line), a $49.95 value.
I think I just heard teeth chattering by another lost soul in Hell… [though I should note, before you or the FTC send me any flaming e-mail, that this post is not sponsored, I worked with the WS reps to concoct the giveaway idea].
Anyway, here’s how the giveaway works:
- Leave a comment here telling everyone what you think about vintage charts: are they useful? overrated? essential?
- In one week, I will randomly select a winner from the commenters to walk away with a one-year Wine Spectator subscription!
I’ll kick things off by talking about my view on vintage charts – but first, I probably need to clear the air about how I view Wine Spectator in general, because right now that air seems to be a little smoky…
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Special Report from the IP (Inebriated Press) – Constellactus, devourer of wine brands, appears to be heading towards Earth, with dire consequences for the planet’s wine industries.
Fueled by the mysterious “power cosmic” and a recent rise in market share, Constellactus Brands – devourer of wine brands and the largest wine producer in the known Universe – is expected to reach Earth in a matter of days, say world scientist and wine industry analysts.
“At this point, we know Constellactus is coming and we strongly suspect that he is interested in the wine brands of Napa,” Napa Valley Vintners Association Executive Director Linda Reiff told reporters yesterday at a hastily-organized press conference held at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, CA. “What we don’t know what brands here will survive – if any at all.”
The wine industries in Napa and Sonoma have been sent into near-chaos this week after multiple reports of local sightings of The Silver Surfer, Constellactus’ primary brand ambassador. It is widely believed within the global wine industry that the appearance of the Silver Surfer heralds doom for the independent wine brands of that local area. When pressed about whether or not the Sonoma wine industry – which has yet to respond publicly to the coming threat – should also be concerned about the coming of Constellactus, Reiff responded, “I am not aware of a wine industry in Sonoma… but if they are making wine there, then they ought to be very, very concerned right now. All we know is, wherever the Surfer goes, two weeks later that wine industry dies.”
Constellactus is widely feared throughout the known Universe for its seemingly insatiable ability to devour a planet’s entire population of wine brands, in some cases leaving the Profit and Loss statements of those brands a mere husk of their former selves and laying waste to their market positions.
The Surfer was last seen on Sunday, flying low across the sky in the Carneros region which straddles both the Napa and Sonoma American Viticultural Areas (AVA). At first mistaken to be a plane or some type of experimental aircraft, the Surfer eventually slowed down his flight to the point where it could be photographed and confirmed to be the harbinger of its galactic master, Constellation. The Surfer was largely unresponsive to the mass of reporters seeking comment and asking questions about the intentions of Constellactus, pausing only on Sunday afternoon to address the media with the cryptic statement, “All the wine that you know, is about to end,” before speedily taking flight towards the East…
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I have uncovered potentially serious evidence that could possibly refute the recent scientific evidence suggesting that drinking wine makes you smarter.
Specifically, I offer my recent experience reading Nicholas Joly’s essay-like treatise on the hot-potato topic of Biodynamic viticulture, Biodynamic Wine, Demystified
. If this is the demystified version, I’d hate to see it mystified.
I received Biodynamic Wine, Demystified as a gift, of sorts, from the lovely (I know it doesn’t sound particularly manly, but he is a lovely guy) Mike Benziger after a recent visit to his family’s gorgeous biodynamically-farmed Sonoma wine estate.
Frequent 1WineDude.com readers will recall that some of Mike’s comments in my video interview with him caused a bit of a stir and sparked lively comments-section discussion on the topic of soil profiles and biodynamics generally. Those discussions mirrored, in a way, the current love/hate tête-à-tête – ok, and the occasional heated exchange of invective barbs – between biodynamics’ supporters and detractors.
Supports generally describe Biodynamics as having favorable impacts on the vineyard, its grapes, and the resulting wine. for example, Mike Benziger, from the comments to our interview, speaking about why Benziger employ soil analysis and biodynamic farming:
“Commercially farmed soils around the world have become biologically very similar. The use of commercial fertilizers and pesticides over the last 50+ years, combined with aggressive cultivation has homogenized much of the soil life in the topsoils worldwide. Artificial inputs reduce or terminate soil microbiology and thus eliminate points of differentiation from site to site… Vines that grow only in the topsoil that is healthy or not, usually only express the varietal character and don’t express the sense of place that is associated with soils. When commercial fertilizers are overused, there’s no impetus for roots to stretch down deep, because the snack bar is right on top in the topsoil. To express a more complete sense of place, vines need to have deep roots that feed deep down into the regolith and parent material.”
And the counterpoint, from the comments of that same post, from an anonymous commenter who claims to also be a winemaker:
“No doubt that BD has a tremendous feel-good quality that prompts a certain amount of rationalizing. The problem I have with BD is that it is not benign. It makes claims of superiority without real evidence and presents a defense of “there are some things that science just can’t reveal” as a blanket retort. It’s disingenuous and bad for society in general… There are lots of us that make rational decisions about how to do what we do in the vineyard or cellar. But BD says that it doesn’t matter. That all the science that has served us well in the past, in any aspect of life, is wrong. And that rationality is wrong because there’s a way of looking at the universe to reveal a truer truth. You and I cannot see it, but someone can – he’s a clairvoyant named Rudolf Steiner… The wine industry is enough of a dinosaur already, we certainly don’t need a fairy tale to impede real progress. BD exists only in microcosm. Excess wealth and labor usually do produce good results.”
After reading Biodynamic Wine, Demystified, I’m no closer to understanding which viewpoint is right than I was before I’d even heard of the book. Uh-oh…
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