Posts Filed Under on the road
One of the ancillary benefits of being hosted at Auction Napa Valley are the winery-sponsored dinners that take place during the evenings preceding the big auction event.The food is usually fantastic, the wine is flowing (often a bit too) freely, and it’s hard to beat the locations.
For example, when I attended a few weeks ago, I joined bidders on one evening at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville for dinner and wines provided by Ma(i)sonry and Blackbird Vineyards owner Michael Polenske (where I finally met Blackbird’s winemaker Aaron Pott, whose humorous personality matches exactly what’s been described in the media published about him over the last few years).
The dinners aren’t exactly my scene – the people, food, and beverages are all top-notch, don’t get me wrong, but I’m nowhere near fitting the ascot-wearing-rich-white-guy mold, and while most of the guests are affable, welcoming, and only fit that mold peripherally, I still feel mostly out of place at those things.
So when I showed up for the second dinner on my itinerary, at Nickel & Nickel in Rutherford, I expected to feel the odd-man-out (which I did) but to be welcomed warmly (which I was, by proprietress Beth Nickel), and to be served over-the-top steakhouse food, probably in the cellar (which we were).
What I didn’t expect, though, was to get a sort of masterclass in Napa Valley Cabernet terroir.
Which I did…
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I know what a lot of you geeky-geeks (I use that as a term of endearment, by the way!) are already thinking after reading the title:
Dude, WTF?!? What about Yarra Yering?
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.
Here’s the thing about Yarra Yering for me: that Chardonnay is the Moriarity to my Holmes; while I recognize it’s brilliance, I find it a deeply, funkily flawed wine. Yarra Yering posses a quality of greatness, for sure, but I simply cannot drink the stuff. I cannot get past the oddness of that combination (and this is coming from a guy who loves odd combinations). I feel as though I got into a (losing) fistfight with that wine.
And so maybe there’s too much personal bias coming to bear here, but Yarra Yering is not in the running for my vote on top Southern Hemisphere Chard. But on my recent sponsored jaunt to Western Australia, I did find a Chardonnay that has my current vote for top bragging rights in that department (for what hat’s worth), specifically south of Perth and a short hop inland from where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, at Leeuwin Estate…
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In this (the fiftieth!) episode of 1WineDude TV, I take a few hundred years of bizarre Rioja wine tradition head-on, and live to tell about it (though my clothes clearly get the worst of things), as part of my recent jaunt to the Rioja winemaking region with Vibrant Rioja.
Herein, you will witness a great deal of wine (don’t worry, it wasn’t Gran Reserva, trust me) being spilled on (probably drunken and/or quite hungover) Spaniards, a little bit of questionable behavior by said Spaniards (sorry, couldn’t resist including that moment, because I’m just not nice enough of a guy), and a whole lot of fun being had by all.
And yes, I know the video is crazy, shaky (it was a wine wartime correspondence, after all) and hazy (the camera was wrapped in a hotel shower cap for its protection – and yours, I think – for reasons that will become very obvious once you start watching). So… go easy on the camera-people, and enjoy!
1WineDude.com TV Episode 50: Haro Wine Battle 2012!