Posts Filed Under elegant wines

Wine in the Time of Coronavirus, Part Three (Through the Wayback Machine with Hesperian Wines)

Vinted on May 21, 2020 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Hesperian Cabernet 2007

In this edition of our sipping during the time of SIP (Samples In Progress, during Shelter In Place), we’re setting the Wayback machine for 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2016, as we go back in time and into the samples pool with Napa Valley’s perennially misunderstood Hesperian Wines.

I was provided this in-home vertical tasting opportunity because Hesperian had been following my lockdown advice for wineries even before I made it, offering specials/discounts on direct sales of their library wines to loyal customers.

Hesperian is the labor of love of Philippe Langner, who turned his love of wine into a stint at Château Clarke in Bordeaux, and then turned that experience towards winegrowing primarily in the Kitoko Vineyard on Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak. For just over fifteen years, Langner has been gaining some devoted fans while simultaneously sometimes pissing off wine critics with his small-batch (typically under 300 cases) production of premium Cab.

Did he piss off this critic? Well… read on…

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Two From the Road (Sicily Wrap-up)

Vinted on April 23, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

Things move a bit more on rilassato side when you’re dealing with Sicily.

Which is the excuse that I’m employing to justify only now (a mere six months later) getting around to finishing up my disparate coverage from my last media tour there. While I don’t exactly miss the act of traveling itself during this bizarre time of being in The Great Lock Down, I pretty much always miss being in Sicily.

It’s in that spirit of wistful nostalgia that I offer up two distinctly and uniquely different, but also distinctly and uniquely Sicilian, wines of note, in the hopes that you might find yourselves able to sip them somehow to ease the pain of not being able to currently get your butts over to Sicily yourselves at the moment…

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Wine in the Time of Coronavirus (What We Drank on My Sequestered Birthday)

Vinted on April 2, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Well, folks… sh*t is definitely real right now.

Unusually for this extrovert, I had to celebrate my birthday in self-imposed sequestered fashion, a precaution taken to help practice social distancing and hopefully do a small part in flattening the curve of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, due to the ever-expanding wine sample pool (yes, I’m still getting deliveries during the pandemic), I’m in no danger of running out of wine any time soon. Toilet paper and soy milk, maybe; but wine, no way, not by a long shot.

Sometimes that sample pool is good to me. Occasionally, it’s very good to me. And in rare cases, it’s exceptionally good to me, as was the case for my (at home!) birthday dinner wine selections, both of which will cost you a pretty penny but neither of which will give you an iota of buyer’s remorse (and may even dull the sting of your encroaching cabin fever)…

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“Good Evening, Clarice” (Facing Off with Clarice Wine Company Pinot Noir and Adam Lee)

Vinted on March 12, 2020 binned in elegant wines, wine publications, wine review
Adam Lee Gary's

Adam Lee at Gary’s Vineyard (image: Adam Lee)

Recently, I caught up with iconoclastic winemaker Adam Lee, to see what he’s been up to since transitioning his well-regarded Siduri brand to Jackson Family Wines, for an interview published on the Napa Valley Wine Academy website.

Adam is a great sport and an equally great interviewee, as you’ll no doubt be able to quickly discern when reading the interview. What we didn’t get into in the NVWA piece are the gritty details on one of his new projects, Clarice Wine Company, a brand he named after his grandmother, Clarice H. Phears. Interestingly, Lee’s Clarice project is a wine club of sorts for the brand’s wines, but also an online community capped off at 625 members.

After Adam and I reconnected for the interview, he sent along samples of the Clarice offerings, and I’m now able to tell you that he’s created something L-E-G-I-T

elegantClarice Wine Co. Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands, $90)

Clarice Wine Co Gary's Vienyard 2018Lee has been sourcing from Gary’s Vineyard (located just about smack-dab in the middle of the Santa Lucia Highlands) since its inception in the late 1990s. This is a vineyard source that has no shortage of accolades already, but might just be hitting its adulthood stride in full force only now, based on this beauty.

There is sooooooooooooooooooo much going on here. Dark fruit, red berries, bramble, tea leaf, truffle, cedar, and various baking spices to start the nose, with incredibly deep, dark, plummy fruitiness and black raspberry freshness all over the palate. The acidity and tannin are really neck-and-neck here, balancing one another out just as one seems to be slightly overtaking the other at any given moment. Somehow, there’s a harmonious interplay of bramble (and, I mean, a metric ton of different wild herbs) and elegance throughout. It’s a red that has more personality than the entire cast of most TV sitcoms. Yeah, it’s expensive. But it’s worth it. Every. F*cking. Penny.





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