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Posts Filed Under kick-ass wines

A Few Hundred Bucks Worth Of Cult California Cab, Definitely Not Made By Metallica Roadies (Tanner Dafoe Recent Releases)

Vinted on September 25, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Question: What do you get when you cross a law-school trained producer of films and commercials with a former professional mountain snowboarder?

Anyone???

In the case of Tanner Dafoe (named after Jeff Tanner and Rob DaFoe, the producer and snowboarder, respectively), you get some fairly complete and substantial Cabernet Sauvignon priced like the California cult red that it is, only (blessedly) with more acid.

What, you didn’t see that one coming?

That Tanner Dafoe can price their (very) small production wines (less than 200 cases for the most part) the way that they do (over $100 per bottle), and yet produce Santa Ynez Valley Cab so complex that the lofty price tag seems justified, is a bit of a minor miracle in the high-end CA wine world. Based on the uncorked contents of a large wooden box full of samples that I received recently from this duo, the hype surrounding their mini-cult endeavor ought to be entertained seriously, if not believed outright.

Even if the guys look like a pair of Metallica or Rolling Stones roadies (sorry, somebody had to say it… c’mon, just look at that picture!)…

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Turn Up The Piiiiiinot (IPNC 2014 Alfresco Tasting Highlights)

Vinted on September 18, 2014 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

As you read this, I’ll be in Hungary, a trip of which half is a curated media tour, and half a working stint doing video interview stuff that I will discuss later, but about which I am particularly excited (not just because it’s a paying gig, but also because it involves one of my personal fave white wine grapes, one that is seriously underrated and underrepresented in the U.S. market at the moment; much more to come on all of that soon).

Today, I’m going to be talking about a different paying gig that I recently took on, and a previous media jaunt.

The gig is a monthly run over at Snooth.com, and in the first installment (for the September “edition”) I dish on some of my favorite wines from the the IPNC 2014 alfresco tasting, held in the pre-dinner hours on both days of that event (the next installment will be on Chablis… I know, life is hard, right?). I also photo-bomb Sokol Blosser’s vineyard view in that piece (sorry, guys!).

Now, the Snooth article is only so long, and I found myself with a smattering of other fine Pinots about which I wanted to pontificate, but for which we just didn’t have enough room in that first article. And since this is my blog and I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want here, today we’ll be pontificating on those leftovers, which are themselves totally capable of making a superb, captivating meal. Think of them as the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich lunch of IPNC 2014 Pinots…

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Siduri Single Vineyard Recent Releases

Vinted on September 11, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Earlier this week, we got into the head of the rabble-rousing guy behind the Siduri label, Adam Lee.

That interview turned out to be too interesting for me to edit significantly, and so I decided to take advantage of the online format’s theoretically limitless space and publish as much of it as I could. But even I have limits on the length of the posts I’m willing to publish here, and unfortunately that decision left no room for exploring Lee’s wines.

I’m making up for that today, and below you’ll find highlights from a much larger pool of Pinot Noir samples that Lee sent over to me for consideration.

Before the tasting notes fun begins, I feel compelled to point out a couple of things:

- All of the highlighted wines below are small-production, single-vineyard takes on California Pinot. Some won’t be terribly easy to locate, as they’re made in quantities of only a few hundred cases each.

- Each of the wines clocks in somewhere between 14.1% and 14.5% abv, and as such are all fairly powerfully-built Pinots.

- Having said that, there is something that drew me in about each of the four wines you’ll read about (I swear I will get to that eventually) here: each one is balanced. You will feel the power in these Pinots, for sure, but you won’t really be feeling the heat of the alcoholic fire…

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Same Old Song (Ridge Lytton Springs Recent Releases)

“We sing the same old song
Just like a vintage car,
You can look, but you won’t ever drive it.
We drink the same old wine
From a brand new jar,
We get hung-over, but we always survive it.”
- “New Song” by The Who

Some tasks are just… unenviable.

Take, for example, trying to say something new about iconic California producer Ridge that’s not already been said. Go ahead, give it a shot; it’s not easy, folks. Some people are adept at taking the same few chords or themes and churning out something that sounds totally new; The Kinks, The Who, John Grisham (okay, maybe not Grisham). I am not one of those people. The Ridge story has been told several times in print, and from a wine perspective equates to something like “these are excellent, potentially long-lived reds, go buy some; the end… why are you still here?”

And so in recapping my visit to Ridge Lytton Springs in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, I find myself entertaining a sense of dread that I’ve not felt since I’ve had to turn in a term paper in undergrad, the kind that you avoid for as long as possible because you know it’s going to be a bitch to write. I can offer at least one take on Ridge that is original, though, since it happened to me personally; so I suppose I’ll start there.

A couple of years ago, when interviewing the equally iconic California stalwart Kermit Lynch at his Berkley area shop, I noticed a shelf of old empty bottles on a wall in his office. I pointed out to him that only one of those bottles was from an American producer: Ridge. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, “and check this out!” taking the bottle from its display and showing me the back label, pointing to the small text that proclaimed its sub-14% alcohol by volume. I then tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to convince him that Ridge was still making elegant, long-lived, balanced wines that despite an uptick in abv, and that I’d had several aged examples over the years to prove it.

Interestingly, my host at Ridge’s DCV winery was winemaker John Olney (onboard at Lytton Springs since the 2003 vintage), who once worked for Lynch… see, I knew if I tried hard enough there’d be something new there…

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