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On The Road | 1 Wine Dude - Page 26

Posts Filed Under on the road

The Long View Of Long Island Red (Tasting Through 20+ Years Of Peconic Bay Merlot)

Vinted on June 30, 2011 binned in elegant wines, on the road

“No one really gets to try older Long Island wine… because, well, there really isn’t any!”

James Silver, General Manager of Peconic Bay Winery, was telling me about the dearth of older vintages for LI wine, as we stood on a small deck last weekend, overlooking their Cutchogue, NY property near the eastern edge of Long Island’s North Fork.  The sun was just starting to gain the strength it would need to banish the cloud cover and make for great outdoor picnic-and-wine-tasting weather (it would eventually prove triumphant), and the Peconic Bay staff was below us, a cadre of young, energetic mostly-twenty-somethings in PB t-shirts, bustling about like honeybees and getting the property ready for the days’ event – which happened to be, in an odd collision of personal worlds, my band’s trio performance under the “porch tent” for the afternoon.

James grew up in Chester County, PA, which my band calls home, and after discovering that a) I had a band and b) we were from Chester County, the urge to conjure up a Chester Co. Connection proved too great for him to pass up. Either that, or it helped him forget about the fact that taxes in LI were about a billion times higher than they were in his hometown.

I was serving double-duty, of course – no self-respecting wine geek shows up in LI on the same day that 20+ years of local Merlot are being poured and doesn’t try to crash that tasting. As James pointed out, it doesn’t happen everyday in an emerging wine region where the oldest vines generally tend to date back, at most, to the mid-eighties. My band was due to start playing only about an hour after the tasting would end, but there was no way I was going to miss this – screw ‘em, they’d have to settle for me setting up my bass gear in manic-mode just before soundcheck.  Twelve vintages of Peconic Bay Merlot dating back to `89 were being poured that morning, with all but three of them being made by Peconic Bay winemaker Greg Gove (the `89, `95 and `97 were products of the late Ray Blum who helped to found the winery)…

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WMG, NYC And TBA (Dining With The Wine Media Guild In New York)

Vinted on June 20, 2011 binned in on the road, wine industry events

 

I’m a member of the Wine Media Guild of New York, which probably makes little sense to many of you reading this considering that a) I don’t live in New York, b) I’m not formally in the media trade and c) I posses (maybe) one tenth the talent of WMG members like Kevin Zraly.  Members are required to attend a minimum of one WMG event per year, and so I carted Mrs. Dudette up to the Big Apple last week to attend the annual Hall of Fame dinner at the Four Seasons.

This year saw four people elected as Hall of Fame Inductees, none of whom, puzzlingly, were actually present to accept their honors (though in the case of Leon Adams, whose induction was posthumous, the absence was understandable!).

While it’s nice to rub elbows with the Right Coast’s wine media heavy-hitters, one of the biggest draws of the WMG annual HoF dinners are the wines brought by the members – many of whom pull out interesting/special/older bottles from their personal cellars, and I’m not above mooching off of the vinous bounty of my fellow members (not by a long way, in fact).

I guessed (correctly, it turned out) that most of the Right Coasters were going to go French (and older) with their selections, so I went a bit rogue with my choices…

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On The Road, Off The Beaten Path (A South American Wine Wrap-Up At PalatePress.com)

Vinted on June 17, 2011 binned in on the road, wine publications, wine review

 

I know I’m risking turning this blog into a South American wine coverage outlet recently (and there are at least two more posts yet to come from my recent jaunt there).  BUT…

Just in case you’re not yet sick of hearing about the wines and wine-related stories I encountered in Chile and Argentina (or if you’re looking for a sort-of Cliff Notes version), I’ve got a featured article running up at PalatePress.com (with corresponding wine reviews) focusing on the off-the-beaten-path, outside-of-the-bargain-bin gems I found during my S. American travels (and travails).

The article also makes me feel good, mostly because it (hopefully?) resets the counter on keeping the “contributing” part of my “contributing editor” title at Palate Press.  Anyway… here’s a run-down of the vinous S. American gems reviewed at PalatePress.com as part of the article:

Cheers!

Is Great Malbec Born, Or Made? (Taste Testing – And Being Tested – At Argentina’s Familia Zuccardi)

Vinted on May 26, 2011 binned in on the road, overachiever wines

Visit Familia Zuccardi, in the Maipú region of Mendoza in Argentina, and any (or all) of three things are likely to happen:

  1. You get stuffed like a veal calf, mostly on splayed goat, beef, and half-a-dozen different preparations of sausages, all done up Argentine Barbeque style.
  2. You fall somewhat under the kind-old-uncle spell of Director José Alberto Zuccardi, or are simply worn down by his seemingly endless wellspring of good cheer and all-around positive vibes.
  3. You realize that there’s good reason why books like Opus Vino call Zuccardi’s “Q” line “the portfolio stand-out.”  If you’re not too stuffed on splayed goat and sausage to pay attention, that is.

Also, you might get tested on your Malbec blending skills (more info. on that – and on whether or not I passed – after the jump).

Despite a 2 million case / year production, Zuccardi still lives up to the “Familia” tag, particularly when they’re stuffing you at lunch and educating you on the proper method of sharing Yerba Mate tea Argentina style. And it’s still a family-run outfit: José’s father planted their first vines in 1963, mostly to show off an alternative use for the construction irrigation system he designed, but he “fell in love with winemaking” (funny how that happens), as José explained it to me (José’s been on board since `76, and his children are now involved in various aspects of the business).

Family ties do not a great wine guarantee, however.  Defining Zuccardi’s “Q” as a “great” Malbec is, of course, a debatable matter, but after tasting through a not-insubstantial amount of Malbecs during my March jaunt through South America, let’s just say that I’m pretty confident telling you that it’s unlikely the “Q” would be considered anything other than at least “damn good” even by those who find Argentina’s signature dark Malbec wines to be a bit too… brutish for their personal tastes.

To understand what I mean by that, I need to take you behind the scenes at Zuccardi, where I got a crash-course (before the barbeque-stuffing) in whether or not Malbec really can show terroir…

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