Posts Filed Under elegant wines

Wondrous Stories (Chris Carpenter Recent Releases)

Vinted on July 22, 2015 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review
Cardinale Tasting Room

The “office” (Cardinale Tasting Room, Napa Valley)

In no time at all he took me to the gate
In haste I quickly
Checked the time
If I was late
I had to leave, to hear your wondrous stories

-YES, Wondrous Stories

How does one tell a story (in this case, a fairly wondrous liquid story) when the primary architect of that story’s plot (the winemaker) isn’t a part of the experience?

The options, as I see them:

1) Don’t

2) Let the wine tell the story

3) Make a sock puppet of the winemaker and create a video with overdubbed quotes from said winemaker, using sock puppet as the stand-in.

We’re going with option #2, folks.

KJ Mountain vineyards

Get yer’ hikin’ boots on, peeps!

Because despite the fact that the winemaker in this case (the celebrated and much, much too tall Chris Carpenter) was on the other side of the planet (Australia) when I was able to visit and taste through his high-end Kendall Jackson-owned portfolio reds earlier this year, the wines in that portfolio that most excited me are well capable of telling us their own wondrous stories (so option 1 is out).

And also because I lack any socks long enough to accurately represent how tall Chris Carpenter is (eliminating option 3).

The least expensive of these featured Napa Valley beauties is… $75. So, a budget-picks cheat sheet this article is not. While these ges are pricey, they spin hedonistic yarns that are all but impossible to ignore…

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Surface Tension (Galerie Wines Recent Releases)

Vinted on July 9, 2015 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review
Laura Díaz Muñoz

Galerie’s Laura Díaz Muñoz

There seems to be a bit more going on underneath the surface of Laura Díaz Muñoz than you might at first suspect from her somewhat reserved demeanor. And if winemaking has any potential of being a window into the personality of a winemaker, her Galerie wines have enough intriguing tension under the surface to suggest Muñoz has more complexity than she at first reveals.

Currently, she’s one of the winemakers with Jackson Family Wines, working with Chris Carpenter on brands such as Cardinale, Lokoya, and Mt. Brave since she arrived in the U.S. from Spain about seven years ago. Befitting our little theme here, that last statement is a deceptively simple version of a circuitous wine career than Muñoz began in Madrid, continued in La Mancha, then extended with stints in Marlborough and Chile before settling down – sort of – in the States.

“I wanted to go to Argentina,” she told me while driving to one of the Knights Valley vineyard sources for Galerie, “but Chris convinced me to stay.” [ editor’s note: I’ve met Chris a few times; at well over six feet tall, he looks every bit like he’s just magically stepped off the artwork on the Brawny Towel packaging; I probably wouldn’t challenge him, either… ]

Of course, you’d expect a Spaniard to be crafting wines from Bordeaux varieties in the greater Napa Valley area, right? Or not…

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Tenderness Among The Tuff Luv (Tasting The 2012 Jadot Les Demoiselles Montrachet)

Vinted on June 10, 2015 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review
Tuff Luv at Wine Conversations 2015

Tuff Luv at Wine Conversations 2015

As I write this, I am dutifully heads down in the process of remaining woefully behind on the coverage I have planned for these virtual pages (a deep dive into some high-end Knights Valley action is currently simmering on that back-burner). Which I suppose will come as a surprise to exactly zero of the long-time readers here.

I am also, as I type this, fresh from delivering a talk at the 2015 DIAM Wine Conversations sessions in Petaluma and Portland, in the form of a presentation outlining why no one “needs” to buy the producer attendees’ wines (and how they might get some of their potential consumers interested anyway). That my talk was replete with “tuff luv” for the industry folks in the audience will also come as a total shocker to, I’m guessing, precisely none of those who are reading this.

Silver linings tempered the dark clouds of my tuff luv messages, however, in the form of the lineup of wines chosen by organizer Evan Goldstein for the blind tasting portion of the seminars. The common denominator (apart from them all consisting primarily of water, I mean) being that each of the chosen wines were closed with DIAM technical corks (also, given the event sponsorship, not a shocker).

Wine Conversations 2015 tasting lineupNow, I’m not stumping for DIAM here, but as I mentioned during the seminar, in general I’m a fan of DIAM, in that I’m a fan of anything that lights a fire under the ass of the natural cork industry. Look at it this way: if staples such as milk or peanut butter had similar failure/contamination rates as wines sealed with natural cork, there’d be Walmarts in the Midwest getting stormed by angry, pitchfork-wielding mobs and engulfed in flames. No one would accept failure rates that high in other food products.

Anyway… All of the wines were also pretty damn interesting, in my not-so-humble opinion, as Evan characteristically went with some geeky surprises (including Okanagan Pinot Noir, Rivesaltes, and a single-vineyard California Viognier). Much entertaining stumping of the crowd (this participant included) thus ensued, and I don’t think that, given the quality of what we were testing, any of us would’ve cared if those wines had been sealed with natural cork, technical cork, or mud and cow dung.

One of the wines in the blind tasting lineup stood out as the clear ringer, however, and it’s the focus of our little virtual gathering of thirsty like minds today…

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