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Kick-ass Wines | 1 Wine Dude - Page 14

Posts Filed Under kick-ass wines

On Demand Reviews: Dashe Cellars Recent Releases

Vinted on January 12, 2012 binned in kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Today… well, today is all about downtown Oakland’s vinous urban success story, Dashe Cellars – because YOU demanded it.

Well, technically not YOU exactly, unless you’re Martin Dredmond. Martin was one of two winners of the 1WD ZAP 2012 Zinfandel Festival tickets giveaway, in which the ticket winners also determined which Zinfandels I would be reviewing next.

And if you are Martin Dredmond, I owe you a bit of an apology, because I was unable to get my hands on your exact Zin review choice, husband and wife winemaking team Michael and Anne Dashe’s Les Enfants Terribles McFadden Farm Zin. But I did manage to get my hands on samples of four of Dashe’s other (low-production) wines, two of them being (very, very good) Zins – which I am gonna consider close-enough-for-government-work and declare my review debt paid in full (and which I think is more than fair, since Martin picked a Zin made in quantities under 200 cases a year!).

Anyway, Dashe Cellars itself is an interesting case regardless of ZAP ticket connections: Michael Dashe cut his wine teeth at CA’s Ridge, Bordeaux’s Lafite-Rothschild and New Zeland’s Cloudy Bay (I wonder what his frequent flier miles totals look like…), and Brittany-native Anne studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux, going on to work at Chateau La Dominique and Chappellet. There’s something like forty years of wine-related experience between the two of them, which doesn’t explain why they settled to place a winery just off of Jack London Square in Oakland, but does help explain why their wines are so damn… tasty…

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Holiday Reservations (Putting Mondavi Reserves Under The Christmas Dinner Grindstone)

Vinted on January 5, 2012 binned in crowd pleaser wines, holidays, kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

For all of my talk about not digging big-ass wines, I sure do seem to end up talking about a lot of “good” big-ass wines.

Take this past Christmas, for example.

We host some of my wife’s family every third Christmas or so, as part of a rotation that has us visiting them in Florida and Washington on the other years. It’s a special time for me, because Mrs. Dudette has a great extended family, full of genuinely nice people who are kind enough to put up with me over the course of several days (primarily because they want to spend time with my daughter, I suspect… but I’m quite happy to settle for the delusion that they also enjoy my company). And when we host Christmas, Mrs. Dudette cooks a gourmet meat-and-potatoes feast in honor of her late grandmother, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s quite a few years ago but in her heyday apparently made a mean roast dinner.

The slow-roasted meat naturally gets me thinking about a big red, and for some reason, despite reservations, I find myself continually reaching for Mondavi Reserve wines for this holiday dinner thang. I mean, if Christmas dinner isn’t when you’re supposed to open up wines like these, then well the hell are you supposed to pop those corks?

I use the term “despite reservations” because, truth be told (don’t you hate that phrase, by the way? I mean, it’s not like I’ve been lying to you for years and am only now getting aroud to making statements with any veracity… ok, whatever…) I am always afraid that the Mondavi Reserve wines are going to burn me

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Reports Of Australian Wine’s Death Hath Been Greatly Exaggerated, My Lords

Vinted on December 15, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine books

Australian wine has become the red-headed stepchild of the fine wine world. But the ginger brat is still alive and kicking, people.

I can hear the Aussie wine biz calling out from the cart, like the old man in the “Bring Out Your Dead” skit of Monty Python’s Holy Grail: “I’m not dead!… I think I’ll go for a walk… I feel haaaapy!!!”

[ Editor's note: speaking of Python, anyone remember their old "Aussie Table Wine" bit, based on the idea that fine wine being made in a place like Australia was so laughable that it could be used as premise for a comedy skit? Who's laughing now? ]

The general zeitgeist of the wine cognoscenti (at least lately) is that Aussie wine (particularly the much-maligned Shiraz) consists of overly-dense, brutish, syrupy, overblown, Port-without-the-charm and generally overpriced vino on the high end, and sugary, soda-pop-wannabe plonk on the low end.

Like most myths, Aussie wine’s death is based in some semblance of truth – but I am growing increasingly convinced that it is exactly that: a myth. Why? Because increasingly I am running into Aussie wines that are anything but plonk, and are a far cry from charmless saccharine plum-sauce.

Sure, Australia pumps out plonky, low-end crap by the Brobdingnag-esque tank-load (literally) – but name me one major wine-producing country that doesn’t do that. As for the high-end, the gems – the wines that truly speak of place and do have charm to spare – well, they are there, you just have to know where to look for them (just as you have to do in every other wine-producing card-carrying U.N. member country).

So what happened? Why are consumers and critics alike turning away from Aussie wine faster than a wombat would turn away after catching a whiff of a stark-raving-mad and starving dingo on the hunt? According to some, the stigma for Aussie wine is mostly Robert Parker’s fault; or, rather, the culpability rests with an industry that got too greedy and built production – and prices – up too fast after Parker anointed a few heady styles of Aussie low-production reds with near-perfect scores while at the apex of his influence in the 1990s. That’s the premise behind Campbell Mattinson’s excellent Thin Skins: Why The French Hate Australian Wine

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Stag Party (A Deeper Dive Into SLD Cab)

Vinted on December 1, 2011 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

For all my travels to the greater Napa area, my experience with Napa’s venerable Stags Leap District hasn’t exactly been trophy-mounting-24-point-buck caliber. In fact, it’s been quite doe-like – I’ve tasted a good number of high-end wines from the area, and visited a few its producers, but aside from a stop at Chimney Rock earlier this year for some barrel sampling I’ve had few real in-depth experiences with SLD wines.

So, some of you will have noticed that the twitter mini-review feed has been… well… leaping with SLD reviews over the past several days, as I made my murky way through the sample pool and scoured the SLD samples I had on hand to share some of them with you (virtually, that is). While I am planning on visiting the area early in 2012 for potentially more in-depth, behind-the-barrels coverage, I thought it would be interesting to see how some of notable SLD wines stacked up against one another, and put to the test over a couple of days each (along with some dinner fare), and share the results with you.  And it should be fun, I think, provided that you don’t mind references to KISS albums, or pornographic tasting notes, that is (those will make more sense in a minute).

After the jump you’ll find some recommendations from said twitter feed, along with two kick-ass, badge-worthy SLD cabs from the bunch that particularly stood out for me.  And standing out was difficult among this bunch, but not exactly for all the right reasons…

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