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Posts Filed Under California wine

Of Spouses, Samples and 92-Point Flawed Wines

Vinted on December 14, 2009 binned in California wine, commentary, wine review

What do you do when you and your spouse / significant other /favorite pet / whatever find yourselves double-booked for holiday party engagements?

If you’re me and Mrs. Dudette, you declare defeat, play holiday party hooky and instead grab three bottles from the samples stash and go out for a “date night” dinner alone to reconnect.  That’s what we decided to do last Friday evening (with apologies to anyone involved in the two holiday parties that we ditched – it’s nothing personal), and the time away from the holiday hustle & bustle allowed me to make a few reflective observations about the more recent ‘state of things.’

For instance: reconnecting with your spouse isn’t simply a matter of having great food and really good wines – though those two thing help immensely in the process.

But you’re not here for the Dude familial matters, you’re here for the wine, right?  Well, I made some reflections on that stuff, too:

  • Napa has gone almost ‘all-in’ when it comes to wine blogs, and is sending more and more stellar, low-production wines our way – another big change from 12 months ago.  I say “almost” because the cultiest of the cults are probably not going to divert any stock away from the allocation to the world’s yacht-owners to spare a bottle or two for me.
  • South-African wine has really, really impressed me lately, and this is the first year that I can remember not having any wines from South Africa that I didn’t like. Which, upon reflection after 12 months of tasting is really a bit remarkable.
  • From what I can discern, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator might have given 92 points to a flawed wine.

Let’s address each of these tidbits apiece, shall we?…

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Coppola Sues Vinocor In A Case of Screwed-Up Screwcaps

Vinted on December 10, 2009 binned in California wine, wine industry events, wine news

Here’s an interesting bit of wine news – it’s not everyday that you hear about a veritable Apocalypse Now of tens of thousands and thousands of bottles of wine, let alone have that wine related to movie icons, providing an opportunity to utilize puns related to kick-ass cinema in a wine context.

This week, Law.com and Courthouse News Service reported the news that Napa Valley producer Coppola (owned of course by famed producer and director Francis Ford Coppola) is suing cork and bottle manufacturer Vinocor USA, alleging that Vinocor is responsible for ruining 55,000 cases of the Coppola wines.

Yes, 55,000 cases (nearly 700K bottles of wine).  That’s a lot of vinegar!

Apparently Coppola’s company Francis Ford Coppola Presents paid Vinocor nearly $700K to produce some funky-looking bottles with over-sized screwcap enclosures to help promote their “Encyclopedia” line of wines.  But it looks likenot all went to plan, as Coppola is claiming the substandard quality of the Vinocor products resulted in the oxidation of all 55,000 cases bottled of Encyclopedia.

The Horror…

That’s certainly the largest amount of wine I’ve ever heard of being ruined by a screwcap enclosure.  The allegation is not against screwcaps in general, of course – it’s that the Vinocor screwcaps were allegedly flawed, having issues with their threading and didn’t create a proper seal to protect the wine.

Will this lawsuit cause a setback in the adoption of screwcaps?

I doubt it – certainly some top-notch wines are well bought into the stelvin enclosures, including New Zealand’s Kim Crawford and California’s Bonny Doon.  Properly-made screwcaps seem more than capable of properly aging a wine, at least when it comes to medium-term storage.  Whether they will help a wine last 20+ years is more debatable question, but theoretically there’s no reason why they couldn’t.

Got a stance on screwcaps, wine-related lawsuits, or Coppola movie quotes?  Shout `em out in the comments!

Cheers!

Sub-terroir Rhônesick Blues = Awesome

Vinted on November 30, 2009 binned in California wine, winemaking

The video embedded below, featuring Bonny Doon’s irrepressible Randall Grahm, is just… well, it’s just awesome.

Fans of Grahm’s style of humor and his approach to wine-making will no doubt find much to appreciate in this satirical homage to Dylan.  Those of you among our readers who are actually making wine may find some of this cuts so closely and deeply that the humor is bitter-sweet.  Knowing Randall, I’d guess that was partly the intention!

From the video comments:

“The reader may know or be able to infer that I live a somewhat convoluted, self-referential life; that is to say, many of my personal points of reference seem to exist in the realm of vinous and the arcane (generally both). Eliot footnoted The Wasteland; why not to footnote a Bob Dylan song parody about some of the more obscure aspects of winemaking chez Doon?.”

You’ve gotta love this guy; or at least, you’ve gotta respect his gumption.

Special thanks to Meg of MakersTable.com for bringing this one to my attention.  Enjoy!

Cheers!

Napa Cabs Need to Watch Their Backs (Washington Wine on the Rise While the Economy Tanks)

Vinted on September 30, 2009 binned in California wine, wine publications

Pssst.

Hey, Napa Cab.  Yeah, you. 

You better watch yer back!

That’s the underlying theme that I gleaned from a recent report by research group Wine Opinions.  The report was introduced at the last Wine Industry Financial Symposium in Napa.  There’s been a good amount of interesting discussion on the ‘Global Interwebs’ about the report’s list of top wine bloggers, measured by how frequently the blogs were visited by the wine industry respondents who contributed to the report survey.  I should note that the top 2 bloggers in the report (Eric Asimov and Eric Orange) aren’t technically bloggers… which probably says something about wine blogging but that’s fodder for another post (or another blogger)…

Anyway, the report, titled Tracking the Trends of the Wine Trade, collects the views of wine trade insiders (mostly male, and mostly Boomers) on the current state of affairs in the world of wine.  Outside of the report’s take on the movers & shakers of the wine blogging community, not much has been mentioned about the report’s implications on the wine industry itself, and on Napa wine in particular, or more specifically on Napa Cabernet

This is where it helps to know one of the report’s participants, because the report potentially says a lot about how the wine industry, and its customers (that’s you) are viewing Napa Cab right now.  The Wine Opinions report has a message for Napa Cab. 

And that message is… Watch your back… Washington is fast at your heels…

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