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The Passing of Papa Pinot (David Lett, 1939-2008)

Vinted on October 14, 2008 binned in commentary

I was sad to hear of the passing of David Lett last week, at the young age of 69.

David wasn’t as much of a household name as Robert Mondavi or Rodney Strong, but he was every bit as influential in putting U.S. wine on the map as his more visible peers. What Mondavi did for Napa, and Strong did for Sonoma, Lett did for Oregon wine.

In 1965, Lett came to the Willamette Valley looking for U.S. conditions that closely matched those of Burgundy, in order to make exceptional Pinot Noir. It didn’t bother him that the region had been widely dismissed as being too cold to make decent wine.

After selling textbooks to pay the bills, he created Eyrie Vineyards, and in 1979 entered his `75 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir into a French wine competition. It came in 3rd, besting some notable Burgundies.

Because the French are, well, French, this pissed then off and they held the competition again the following year. Lett’s wine came in 2nd; Oregon was no longer in wine-making obscurity – “Papa Pinot” had put them on the map.

To this day, Eyrie is still a great producer of age-worthy Pinot Noir and stellar Pinot Gris – both of which have previously found their way to the Dude & Dudette wedding anniversary dinnner table, which is no simple feat because I am a picky bastard when it comes to my wedding anniversary wines. Oh, yeah – lots of other critics and wine lovers dig it, to.

So today we tip our virtual hats to Papa Pinot, in gratitude for what he’s done for U.S. wine (and for my dinner table experiences!).

Cheers! (images: latimes.com)

Has Anyone Ever Told You that You Look Exactly Like… a Drunk? (Dispatch from a Wine Tasting Room)

Vinted on October 6, 2008 binned in best of, commentary, wine tasting

I’m guessing that most of you out there have probably been to a wine tasting room in a winery before, and went there to sample that winery’s wines.

Which means that the same number of you have probably encountered at least one severely drunken patron acting in a totally obnoxious way.

Which also means that the same number of you understand the phrase “suppressed the urge to do bodily harm.”

Now, I am fully aware that wine tasting room etiquette is not a novel topic, and has been covered before by several sources, including wineries themselves. Most of these sources talk about how to prepare yourself for a tasting room visit (no perfume, chewing gum, etc.) and how to taste the wine while you’re there (swirl, sniff, sip, savor, etc.).

They don’t tend to touch on what I’m about to lay down about wine tasting room etiquette, however.

Knowing me, it will come off as a bit of a rant, but it’s not meant to be a rant (and it’s not directed at you, dear reader – it’s directed at the small minority of wine tasting room visitors who just still don’t seem to “get it”).

And it’s a simple plea, really…


If you plan to get totally hammered on wine, and you happen to also be an obnoxious drunk,
please don’t go to a winery tasting room.

By providing a tasting room, a winery is primarily trying to teach you about – and to sell you – their wine. They are not providing a place for you to drink yourself stupid, get loud, and ignore the winery staff. There are places where you can do that (within reason) – they’re called bars.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan to have a great time when visiting a winery tasting room, and I’m not even saying that you should stay sober when you visit a winery tasting room (assuming you have arranged transportation, of course).

I’m just saying that you need to stay sober enough – enough to retain adequate coherence so that you can take advantage of the winery staff’s knowledge, ask them questions and engage them in conversation about their wines, and remain civil and reasonably polite to your fellow patrons.

I am saying that if you plan to get smashed and act in any way that you want when you hop on a winery tasting tour or visit a winery tasting room, then you need to stay home instead – because you’re not respecting the wine, the winery, or the the winery’s patrons.

And I don’t think that’s asking for too much.

Thus endeth Dude’s diatribe.

Cheers!
(images: rockstarsmommy.blogspot.com, pleasanthillwinemerchants.com, woodbridgeliving.com)

Found in Translation (Wine Tidbits to Kick-off Your Weekend)

Vinted on October 3, 2008 binned in commentary, wine blogging


OK… I’ve been sitting on a few wine-related tidbits that, taken individually, I probably wouldn’t have written about; but taken together, they seemed kinda fun.

The first tidbit comes to us by way of Italian wine website Sommelier.it, and proves that anyone can be wittier than me without actually trying too hard!

The folks over at Sommelier.it were kind enough to mention me – the fun comes in the English translation of that mention (as provided by Google). Here’s the original website text, in Italian:

Un altro wine blog molto originale, nel linguaggio, nell’aspetto e nel modo, spiritoso, di trattare i temi, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker , ovvero discorsi seri sul vino per bevitori non poi così seri

And here is the Google translation, in English:

Another wine blog very original language, appearance and manner, witty, to deal with the issues, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker, or Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious

Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious“? Man, that is way better than my tagline! Dammit….

The next tidbit comes to us from global beverage news website Just-Drinks.com and was kindly pointed out to me by a friend / reader. I couldn’t make this story funnier if I tried so I’m just going to reproduce wholesale for your enjoyment:

FRANCE: “Vin de merde” wine producer sells out

24 September 2008 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

A French winemaker who named his latest vintage “Vin de Merde“, or “Shit Wine”, has sold almost his entire production in what is seen as a triumph over severe advertising restrictions.

[ Editor's Note: Told you I couldn't make this any funnier if I'd tried ]

Asked why he named his wine “Vin de Merde”, Jean-Marc Speziale, from the Languedoc region of France, said the area needed the attention.

“This draws attention to the fact that we make very good wines,” he told just-drinks yesterday (23 September), adding his 5,000 bottles were almost gone after the nationwide publicity they garnered.

The bottles labels are decorated with a fly on the corner of the label, and a tagline underneath the name reads: “The worst hides the best.”

Speziale’s success comes at a time when the internet remains an illegal medium for alcoholic drinks publicity. The wines, a red and a rosé, retail at EUR39 for a case of six bottles.


And here I thought it was sex that sells, and it’s actually shit that sells. Go figure…

And last but not least, fellow wine blogger Arthur over at Wine Sooth has launched an interesting experiment that involves YOU. He’s started another blog called Wine Surveys, which seeks to congregate input from the wine drinking populous on various wine topics.

The survey Arthur is currently running is gathering data on how you drink your wine and what serving temperatures you prefer for various wines. Check it out here, and add your voice.

Enjoy your weekend!

Whoops, one more thing ‘ere I go, I wanted to give a shout out to Beer Wine & Cigars, who recently featured 1WineDude.com as their wine site of the week. Thanks, guys! Don’t let the title fool you, they don’t necessarily think that you need to enjoy their namesake in that particular order, and wine lovers who don’t dig cigars will find plenty to like on their site.

Cheers!

His Own Legacy: Paul Newman (1925 – 2008)

Vinted on September 29, 2008 binned in best of, commentary

This is a post about wine. Sort of.

Actually, it’s more a celebration of all things Bad-Ass.

That’s because we just lost one of the most bad-ass individuals who has ever walked the face of the earth – Paul Newman.

Of Newman’s bad-ass status, there can be no doubt. Google “Baddass actors Paul Newman” and you will get about 11,000 hits. In his heyday, Newman was the Brad Pitt of his time, only without the annoyingly smug and self-possessed attitude, and with millions of dollars of world-enhancing charity goodness thrown in to seal the deal.

If Chuck Norris is bad-ass (and he is), there is no question that he is second generation bad-ass, having learned his key bad-assness traits from the master, Newman.

Newman was so bad-ass that he was able to make dog treats for very small yappy dogs, salad dressing, and even wine (ah-ha! finally, a tie-in!), and still remain a total bad-ass


How is the wine? I’ve never tried it myself, as it’s available only in restaurants I think, but the reviews suggest that his Chardonnay is a winner, and it pairs best with movie popcorn, which of course you need to have on hand when watching one of Newman’s bad-ass films (like Slapshot).

Nothing against Chardonnay, but let’s face it – outside of Burgundy it’s taken a hit in terms of bad-ass status because of the super-buttery treatment it received for the last few years by New World winemakers.

If your best wine is a white (not the typical pick of the bad-ass male), and it’s a Chardonnay, and you’re still a bad-ass, then you are a bad-ass indeed!

So this week, crack open a bottle of something bad-ass, fix yourself some popcorn, pop in one of Newman’s bad-ass flicks, and take a moment to celebrate the life of a true bad-ass: star, entertainer, family man, and philanthropist.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com)

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