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Crowd Pleaser Wines | 1 Wine Dude

Posts Filed Under crowd pleaser wines

What We Drank For Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

Vinted on November 27, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, holidays, kick-ass wines, wine review

Quick, get ready to freak out; I am about to talk about a wine that was not a sample, but for which I paid using my very own hard-earned cash! The atom might destabilize!!

It’s true. About the wine being purchased, I mean, not about the atom (I think).

The short version of the story is that at 1WD HQ, we tend to do a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal, in which we indulge in Mrs. Dudette’s amazing cooking, and focus on healthier versions of the Turkey Day classics, paired up with lots of wines from the sample pool.

Only this time, I found myself in desperate need of more than the usual pick-me-up, and decided to break into a bottle that I’d picked up on my lonesome, and have been not-so-patiently waiting for an excuse to crack open and enjoy.

As you will see from the inset pic and details below, much of what we drank – including that self-procured vino – are slightly different takes on wine world staples…

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That Old, Old, Old, Old, Old Place In Lodi (A Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault Tasting)

Vinted on November 6, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Remember when we talked about that old Cinsault vineyard in Lodi?

I mean, that REALLY OLD Cinsault vineyard in Lodi?

The tiny, flat, rectangular Bechthold vineyard – all 25 acres of it, or just about 0.0025% of Lodi’s overall plantings – is an organic, own-rooted, sandy-soil patch of Cinsault in the Mokelumne River area, near the town of Lodi itself. Once just a holdover from a time when such vineyards were being ripped out and replanted in the rip=roaring 1990s, it now counts Turley and Bonny Doon among its clients, with a long waiting list for its fruit.

We can thank German settlers for Bechthold’s orerly layout, which is still owned and farmed by descendants of the family that broke vinous ground there in the late 1800s. Given that phylloxera hit the Cinsault plantings of Europe pretty hard, this little Lodi spot is as close as we’re likely to ever get to original, un-grafted Cinsault. In fact, it’s likely the world’s oldest Cinsault planting.

Farming there is a challenge not just in that the vines are still relatively productive, but also because their age (nearly 130 years) basically guarantees disease. As grape grower Craig Ledbetter told me (and a handful of other Right coast media types) at a recent tasting of Bechthold Cinsault wines held at Brooklyn Wine Exchange (I was a guest of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, which Ledbetter chairs): “at 128 years old, you have to assume that it has it, no matter what disease you’re talking about.”

The results of the wines crafted from this special plot of Earth? Well, I’m not going to say that they’re profound wines, because they’re not; at least, not in the way that we typically think of profundity in wine these days, which is basically in terms of complexity and harmony. But more authentic wines you are unlikely to ever taste. In that sense, they’re wonderful, geek-gasm treasures of juice…

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Lower Alcohol Wines Can Still Get You Sh*t-faced (What We Drank With The Greeks, Part III)

Vinted on August 7, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, wine review

If you are under any delusions about lower (under 14% abv) alcohol wines being inherently superior to higher (15% abv and above) alcohol wines, let my recent foray into the lonesome and loathsome territory of sweating profusely from dehydration and feeling nauseous in the middle of the night be a beacon of light guiding you to the truth.

That truth being the fact that wines that clock in at sub-14% abv can also be just as totally unbalanced as 15%+ monsters, and over-consumption of them in good company (followed by glasses of Ouzo) will still do a fine job at getting you sh*t-faced and hung-over. I mean like sweating sheets/buckets hung-over, folks.

Just sayin’. I meant it when I said that the wine alcohol debate was a total red herring that tells us nothing significant or predictive about overall wine quality, balance, potential longevity or getting-you-sh*t-faced potential.

Anyway…

I hereby submit to you three wines from the sample piles to you as evidence of the above, as each is well under 14% abv and delicious (and balanced) enough to promote abundant and quick over-consumption, particularly when imbibed in the presence of great friends like our Greek neighbors (for more on the drinking exploits with those fine folks, see Parts I and Part II)…

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Crowd Pleasers For The Grill, From Cretans (Highlights From Wines Of Crete 2014 Tastings)

Vinted on July 3, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, going pro, wine review

Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking about the native varieties of Crete at tastings in both NYC and D.C., organized by The Connected Table and Wines of Crete.

Minor pronunciation snafus aside, I had a blast introducing the trade to the grape varieties and wines on display at both events, and it’s exciting to see where Crete is taking things from a vinous quality perspective as they move out of their modern bulk wine phase, the irony of which is that Crete used to own the fine wine market in the Mediterranean for nearly 2000 years (much more on that when my feature on Crete hits the pages of the newly revamped SOMM Journal in the August issue; in the meantime, you can watch Nostos Wines’ Alexandra Manousakis – also in attendance at the tasting events – talk about Crete’s wine challenges).

Now that those gigs are behind us and the checks have been cashed (meaning I am off the payroll, so to speak, when it comes to Crete’s wines), I can give you a couple of quick-hit selections from those tastings, just in time for 4th of July outdoor grilling duty.

In this case, the recommendations are from bonna-fide Cretans, and not from a cretin (meaning me) as is usually the case here on 1WD (fine, whatever, I’ll cut it out); both hail from Heraklion, the center of winemaking on Crete (and just about the center of the island itself)…

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