Posts Filed Under kick-ass wines

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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In the Shadow of the Gods (Tasting Sicily’s Diodoros Nero d’Avola)

Vinted on March 18, 2020 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review
Diodoros Icarus

“Flyyyyyy on your waaaaayyyy, like an eeeeagle, flyyy as hiiiigh as the suuuuuuunnnnn…”

It’s not often that you get to drink wine made from a vineyard that sits in a proper tourist attraction. But that’s how we roll here on 1WD when we’re touring Sicily. And while it’s always my pleasure to talk Sicily to people, I figured that Italy could use the extra love these days in the time of COVID-19.

Diodoros vineyard viewMy Sicilian media trek last year afforded me the opportunity to visit the somewhat inappropriately named Valle dei Templi, a striking UNESCO site that sits on a hilltop in Agrigento, and is home to some of the most magnificently preserved examples of ancient Greek temples and archeological findings in all of Europe. The fact that they grow wine grapes there is kind of a bonus (head over to the Napa Valley Wine Academy website for more vinous findings from that Sicily jaunt).

The particular wine made from said grapes is CVA Canicattì’s “Diodoros” Nero d’Avola-based red, named after ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus. Unlike the temples, the vines that source Diodoros actually do grow in the valley, right in the shadows of the temple of Giunone and within an Olympic discus-toss of the rest of Agrigento’s most famous tourist attraction…

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Past Masters (Aging High-end Austrian Grüner Veltliner)

Vinted on February 27, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Danube 1

Good old Austria… a land with white wines as steely, reserved, and imposingly austere as the (often slightly oversized) architectural wonders that grace its cities and towns.

Let’s wrap up the coverage of my Austrian media jaunt (yes, from back in May 2019… screw you, punky, I’ve been busy!) with a look back in time at how those steely, reserved, and imposingly austere wines get a little bit less steely, reserved, and imposingly austere given some time of repose in the botltle.

Austria lion

Austrian white wine spirit animal

C’mon, don’t you want to know what happens to high-end examples of Austria’s signature Grüner Veltliner over time? Don’t you want to know if they’re worth the time, expense, and patience? Don’t you want to read several extremely similar tasting notes about a single grape variety?

Of course you do, you wine nerd!…

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Once More, with Precision (Château Lilian Ladouys Gets Serious)

Château Lilian Ladouys vintages

“I think… we’re now more precise.”

According to manager Vincent Bache-Gabrielsen, that’s the secret behind the revitalization of Saint-Estèphe’s Château Lilian Ladouys.

If Bache-Gabrielsen’s name feels familiar, it’s because he also manages Château Pédesclaux, the Pauillac property that the Lorenzetti family purchased just one year after picking up Lilian Ladouys, and which their team also revitalized. If you’re sensing a theme here, don’t congratulate yourself, because, bluntly stated, the theme is pretty friggin’ obvious. And – spoiler alert! – the results are basically the same: an ailing Bordeaux producer weaned off of life support, and now celebrated as doing the rarest of all Bordeaux wine tricks: over-delivering for its price point (you can find their main red for well under $40/bottle).

Backtracking for a bit of history: the Château Lilian Ladouys property dats back to the 1560s, and was revitalized once before in the late 1980s. Like skinny ties and jams shorts, that `80s endeavor was ill-fated, as Ladouys found few buyers for its at-the-time much-elevated prices. Periods of what Bache-Gabrielsen called “irregular quality” followed, until the Lorenzettis saw potential in Ladouys’ Saint-Estèphe terroir and decided to buy it, with the understanding that to turn things around “we have to work!”

While 2009 saw immediate improvements that Bache-Gabrielsen termed “interesting,” it wasn’t until the soils began to really improve in 2010 that the team felt that Ladouys was turning the corner. They’ve since been engaged in the selling an acquisition of various plots in the region, replanting to maximize proper rootstock usage, and favoring gravelly soils over limestone in an effort to significantly up the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in their blend. About 2/3 of their property has since been exchanged in some form or another, and as of 2018 they now have about 80 hectares of vineyards from which to draw, with half of it devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon (the rest being Merlot, Petit Verdot, and a tiny portion of Cabernet Franc), and 80% of it on gravelly soils.

“It’s really different from Pauillac,” Bache-Gabrielsen told me during a live video tasting, “the subsoil is the same, but you have more clay here, and the limestone is much deeper in Pauillac.” This suits their new house style, which is focused on taming extraction and emphasizing aging potential. “We tend to make epicurean wines,” he explained, ” approachable young but that cab age well. We try to balance the power of Saint-Estèphe with freshness….”

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