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Crowd Pleaser Wines | 1 Wine Dude - Page 8

Posts Filed Under crowd pleaser wines

Aging Potential: 3 To 5 Years, Give Or Take 10 (A 40 Year Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Retrospective)

Vinted on November 1, 2012 binned in crowd pleaser wines, wine review

2012 may very well be remembered as the year of 40 when it comes to California wine.

Aside from Kermit Lynch celebrating the 40th anniversary of his Berkley area wine shop this year (okay, no CA wine there really, but I know for a fact that Kermit has enjoyed some old Ridge from time to time), three venerable CA producers are also celebrating their 40th business birthdays (just as I did in 2012… notice the grey…): Silver Oak, Jordan and Dry Creek Vineyard.

The similarities between the all three of those wine operations is striking. Each has some aspect of generational family ownership with some personally very nice people behind the scenes, each employ fairly distinctive, recognizable winemaking styles, and all are (mostly) successfully navigating their brand waters to appeal to younger consumers (and not just their parents).

And while I’ve enjoyed wine from all three, given the choice on the QPR front I’d have to give the edge to Dry Creek Vineyard. It’s tough to argue with their pedigree (they claim to be the first to use the terms “Old vine Zinfandel” and “Meritage,” and they’re certainly the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Dry Creek area), their commitment to the Dry Creek Valley in general, and the consistent improvement in their wines, some of which are ridiculously low cost when you consider the quality of what you’re getting.

So it seems a bit stupid that I was surprised that DCV’s relatively pedestrian-priced Zinfandel could age well and still be tasty after 20 or so years. And yet, unlike DCV’s die-hard fans, I was surprised that I was enjoying one of their Zins that was bottled when I was about seven. But I can now tell you that while the current Heritage Zin price point (about $17) doesn’t suggest a long shelf-life, the crate of samples of DCV Heritage Zinfandel that they recently sent me as samples – with selections extending back through each decade of DCV’s existence – certainly did…

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From Bad Company To… A Wine Company? (Paul Cullen Wines Recent Releases)

Vinted on October 25, 2012 binned in crowd pleaser wines

For any number of reasons, former Bad Company touring bassist Paul Cullen’s wine endeavor ought to strike us as poised for abject failure.

For starters, enough rockers have their names attached to wine labels that I think we’d now be well within rights to cast this latest performer-turned-proprietor foray into the critical gaze of our our jaded, caustic, Sauron-like eye.

You can just hear the collective sigh of the wine cognoscenti now, can’t you?

Do we really need another one of these?

Couple that with the Cullen’s combining of his new (and decidedly un-Bad Co.-like) music, food pairing recipes (Cullen is an avid cook, having learned the craft from his Italian grandmother) and his offer for live Skype performances for wine club members, and throw in the tagline he’s been using – Unplugged & Uncorked – and you’ve seemingly got all the makings of post-heyday rocker desperation.

But to draw that conclusion would be to ignore a few of the more pertinent details behind Cullen’s wine brand, and behind Cullen himself. As I learned firsthand over lunch and sample tasting with him last week at Wilmington, DE dining institution Columbus Inn, Cullen is offering a lineup of wines that are as humble, approachable, friendly, food-obsessed, and full of interesting backstory as the purveyor himself.

A backstory that includes selling Italian wine, for example.

See. Told you it was interesting…

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Out From Napa’s Shadow (High End Wines Shine At Taste Of Sonoma 2012)

Message to Sonoma: you’re no longer in your neighbor Napa Valley’s shadow.

You’re not the uncool kid at the dance, the next-to-last picked for the two-hand-touch football game during recess, or the slightly-less-talented and almost-as-comely sister when compared to Napa, at least not on the high-end of the vinous spectrum.

That bit of news flash will come as no surprise whatsoever to those producing and enjoying the best that Sonoma has to offer, many of whom I suspect will email me with encouraging (read: angry) words to let me know just how late I am to that party, but it might make those less familiar with Sonoma’s best wines reconsider their options when next given the opportunity to sample them. And reconsider they should, because Sonoma has probably never produced high-end wines quite as good as those that they’re making now.

That was the main takeaway for me when I attended the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend festivities as a media guest, a multi-event held across the Labor Day weekend and culminating in an Indian-themed (yeah, I didn’t get it, either) auction (their 20th) that raised over $1.6 million for Sonoma-area non-profits. Auction highlights for me included chatting about wines of character with real character viticulturalist Phil Coturri, talking with screenwriter-turned-proprietor Robert Kamen about penning The Professional (because that flik is just awesome), and drinking a bit too much of Joel Peterson’s gorgeously spicy 1997 Ravenswood Belloni Vineyard Zinfandel blend (spookily, Joel had near-perfect-detail recollection of our first meeting back in 2008…).

But I found my highest highlight (if you will) before the auction event, at the “Club Reserve” area of the 33rd annual Taste of Sonoma event (held at MacMurray Ranch)… because that’s where I got properly schooled in real high-end Sonoma juice…

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1WineDude.com TV Episode 54: The Gina Gallo Interview (Tasting Through Gallo’s Signature Series Recent Releases)

Vinted on September 13, 2012 binned in 1WineDude TV, crowd pleaser wines, interviews, on the road, wine review

Wanna get inside the head of one of THE most powerful people in the entire wine world? Start watchin’ already – because that’s exactly what we do with Gina Gallo in today’s episode of 1WD TV.

1WineDude.com TV Episode 54: The Gina Gallo Interview

[ Editors note: For those not totally up on the current events in the love lives of the wine world’s richest-and-most-famous, part of the vid might get a bit confusing; Gina is married to Jean-Charles Boisset, scion to the largest negociant business in Burgundy and a man best described as a charming whirling dervish and with whom Gina has recently sired twin baby girls. Incidentally, JCB makes me look like I’m standing still, which those who know me will understand isn’t all that easy to do! ]

I caught up with Gina at the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s Taste of Sonoma event, and we talk about what it takes to get motivated to work when you’re so rich that you could have somebody killed and buried at the bottom of the Russian River and not have anyone ever know a thing about it.

If you’re interested in what that wine we were drinking in the video was like, by the way, read on

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