Posts Filed Under on the road

Testicles, Terraces and Red Tape: The Trials of Port Production in the Douro (1WineDude TV Episode 24)

Vinted on December 23, 2010 binned in 1WineDude TV, best of, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines

“Lagare volume dimensions are naturally dictated by the lowest testicles of the shortest man.”

Lagares, of course, are the long, low vats in which Port grapes were once (and sometimes still, though rarely) crushed by foot. The quote above is from the straight-shooting Miles Edlemann, the straight-shooting viticulturist for some of the Symington Family estates in Portugal’s Douro region. It was during a visit to one of those stunning Douro properties – Quinta da Cavadinha – that I met Miles and where he demonstrated one of the more… uhm… intimate aspects of Port wine production by climbing into one of the Warre’s wine company empty lagares and imitating an exaggerated, wide stomping stomping motion with his feet (pants still on, of course!).

You see, the dimensions of the workers stomping grapes were quite important, because the shortest of them had to be able to walk somewhat freely through the volume of grapes in order to crush them efficiently without certain anatomical aspects being compromised… or compromising the crush, as it were, and so… errr… you get the idea. Today, most Port grapes are crushed via large machines that emulate quite effectively the pressure of the human foot (though the machines lack testicles – or, at least, if they have them I didn’t see them and I’m not in any hurry to do so)…

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1WineDude TV Episode 23: Sharing the Wine Love (Going Pro in Porto)

Vinted on December 15, 2010 binned in 1WineDude TV, going pro, on the road

I hope you’ll forgive the low production quality and complete lack of credits/intro/music in this vid – I’ve had a pretty difficult time trying to post this from Portugal (due in part to a busy schedule with few breaks, fewer Internet access points, and a rather massive laptop PC crash… the HORROR!).

Anyway, I felt it important in the Going Pro saga to report in from Portugal while I was still actually in Portugal – and especially since I was here in a “pro” context.  In the short vid, I talk about a few of the inspirational things that struck me during the conference (most of which consisted of me getting to hang with some seriously talented MW peeps).  As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments, so long as they’re not about my hair or the fact that I had to whisper since I was recording this vid early in the morning!).

Cheers!

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Postcard from Porto (Legends Edition)

Vinted on December 10, 2010 binned in on the road, wine review

Greetings from Porto, where I’m a guest of the Wines of Portugal international Conference 2010 speaking later today on the topic of the importance of the Internet in the promotion and future of Portuguese wines.

I’m quite happy to be here, and staying at what must be on the world’s most gorgeous hotels (The Yeatman – see inset slightly-blurry-low-light-morning-panoramic pics of the view from my room’s balcony) – which I’ll argue was at least somewhat deserved after the 24+ hour travel day I experienced to get here, in which a 90-minute-connection in Frankfurt turned into a near seven-hour-endurance-test-layover (apparently Germany – a northerly country that experiences frigid Winters – was unprepared for snow… in December…).  But the views (as you can see) are making up for it!

Highlights so far, aside from the mere act of successfully arriving, include meeting Jancis Robinson and watching her tweet during dinner, catching up with old friends, and sampling a bevy of the now-legendary 1994 vintage Ports, three of which were awarded 100-point scores from Wine Spectator (I know… but when a heavy-hitting pub awards heavy-hitting scores, it does merit some attention) – the real focus of the “legends” of this post’s title and one in which I found myself surprisingly in the minority…

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Turn Turn Turn: A Time For A Right Banker In Napa Valley?

Vinted on August 18, 2010 binned in California wine, on the road

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
The Byrds

Let’s play a little game of word association.  I say “Carneros” and you say… ___________.

Budding wine geeks and geekettes out there would likely answer “Pinot Noir” or “Chardonnay” or “Sparklers” or “Unimpressive-In-Recent-Vintages.”

But the answer we’re looking for today is… wait for it…

Cabernet Franc.

Yes, way.

Our story today not only involves Carneros, it also involves turns, banks, and several groan-worthy, near-pun plays-on-words.  Oh, yeah, and some very good wine as well (you didn’t think I leave that part out, did you?).

A couple of weeks back, I dragged my worn-out and slightly-hungover bones over to the fine Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena to meet up with former investment-banker turned wine brand owner (and first-class personality dynamo) Emily Richer.  Over a “light” lunch of amazingly fresh garden produce made into phenomenal but artery-clogging, buttery delights, Emily and I chatted (and chatted, and chatted – we’re both talkers) about her new wine venture, Virage Napa Valley.  Emily had come with a preview, label-less bottle of Virage’s inaugural release.

It’s from Carneros.  But it’s not a Chard, a Pinot, or a sparkler.

It’s a blend made primarily from Cabernet Franc.  And it’s pretty damn good.

Is Emily nuts for trying to establish a new brand in today’s hostile market – especially when she’s banking on a variety that still isn’t relatively well-known to most wine consumers (and even to some wine store employees)?  Her backers don’t seem to think so…

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