Posts Filed Under interviews

Young Guns (Interviewing Envolve’s Bachelor For

Vinted on April 4, 2012 binned in interviews, on the road, Wined Down (

Ok, so, let’s get one thing out of the way right now: NO we did NOT talk about that Courtney chick, okay?

During my recent jaunt to Napa Land, I stopped at the (gorgeous) Puma Springs vineyard for a quick lunch-and-tasting interview with two of the young gun winemakers behind the Envolve wine, the most famous of which is Ben Flajnik, who everyone and their sister now knows was the star of the most recent run of ABC’s The Bachelor.

Which everyone calls “ABC’s The Bachelor” as if it competes with another The Bachelor reality somewhere. Which I think is totally odd. But not as odd for me – or, more accurately, not as surreal for me! – as Playboy Playmates telling me over social media that they loved my wine article (and yet, it happened).  Anyway

What’s gotten lost in all of the Bachelor-mania (which is a lot like Beatle-mania only over just one guy) is that Ben and his partners (Danny Fay and Mike Benziger, the latter of whom has some serious CA wine street cred running through his family tree) are making some seriously good wines, which I learned when interviewing them for the new column on (the title of which is “Wined Down,” in case you were playing along on the title suggestions thrown in by readers)…

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Will Bordeaux Be Fine Wine’s Benchmark In 100 Years? (A Candid Conversation With Eric Asimov)

Vinted on March 20, 2012 binned in commentary, interviews, wine news

Ah, Bordeaux… can’t live with its inflated prices… pass the peanuts!

The wine biz has been in a serious tizzy since Robert Parker released his scores for the 2009 Bordeaux offerings – and he was in a generous mood, with damn-near twenty wines garnering “perfect” 100 point scores, including the likes of Bellevue Mondotte, and Clos Fourtet, along with stalwarts such as Le Pin, Petrus, and Montrose. If the hubbub strikes you as much ado about little, you need to bear in mind that the Bordeaux wine market hardly seems able to wipe its own ass without a report on whether or not Parker used two-ply when evacuating.

Apparently, Parker’s website got so much attention when the scores were released that the site crashed (for which Parker apologized to his subscribers). Other long-time Bordeaux critics have been just as effusive (for example: James Suckling hailed 2009 as potentially Bordeaux’s best vintage, ever).

So, if you are under the delusion that the wine world still isn’t Bordeaux-crazy, then you are probably crazy. This is despite Bordeaux’s quality pyramid being almost totally inverted, and is despite the fact that wines from most of the top Bordeaux houses are now priced out the reach of what we would commonly call mortal human beings (I can remember when Chateau Margaux’s second wine, Pavillon Rouge de Chateau Margaux, was an excellent value at around $50 a bottle – the last ten years or so have seen about a 350% increase in that price).

But then again… as The Tick once said, maybe “you’re not going crazy… you’re going SANE in a CRAZY WOLD!” Has Bordeaux out-priced itself, and increased production so much that greed has overtaken good-old-fashioned capitalism? Are we in a Bordeaux backlash?  And will that backlash cause Bordeaux to lose its place as the benchmark for fine wine the world over?

To answer questions such as these, I like to turn to people who are much smarter than I am, and so I rang up the NY Times food and wine writer (and generally nice human) Eric Asimov to pick his noggin on all of this. If you want a cogent, educated, and measured take on the future of all of this Bordeaux madness, read on…

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What Goes Around, Comes Around: The Kermit Lynch Interview!

Vinted on March 6, 2012 binned in 1WineDude TV, interviews, on the road

While I’m celebrating the 5th anniversary of this year, there’s a true living legend who is marking a much more meaningful – and impressive – milestone in 2012.

Importer, author, musician and iconoclast Kermit Lynch has been working in the wine biz for forty years (as long as I’ve been alive). And he’s managed to keep doing it successfully despite the big wine mags mostly labeling his wines “uncool” in favor of more bombastic, oak-infused, pedal-to-the-metal powerhouses.

Well, what goes around, comes around: wines of place, vibrancy, and context are cool again, and no one is cooler in the world of those wine than Kermit himself.

I caught up Kermit him in his Berkley, CA shop in February and geeked out with him over some delicious Corsican wine from Yves Leccia; the kind of wine that hits your palate like a life-force-giving tazer gun, inciting you with an immediate desire to finish the bottle (preferably over dinner and with friends). Kermit kindly agreed to a video interview – a rarity for this guy – which is posted below after the jump.

What does someone with forty years of against-the-grain vinous fortitude have to say about the most transformative moments in nearly half a century in the wine biz? What about the future of the wine world excites someone with that kind of perspective? And more importantly, will he let me play bass on his next album? Watch to find out!…

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