Posts Filed Under sexy wines

Seaside Rendezvous, Part Deux (Highlights From Riesling Rendezvous 2016)

Riesling Rendezvous seaside

Seaside rendezvous, anyone?

I, along with three or four other people (ok, it’s not that bad, it just feels that bad), profess to love Riesling, so much so that I actually purchase it with my own hard-earned cash. So I’m not the kind of wine writer to turn down a media invite to the Seattle-hosted Riesling Rendezvous event when it rotates back stateside (alternating in other years with Europe and Australia).

This is my second stint attending RR, and between the 2013 incarnation and this one, held in mid-July 2016, I can give you a rough idea of what positive and negative trends have emerged in Riesling-world.

Winners:

  1. The state of Riesling, in general. The quality of Riesling fine wines, overall, has rarely been as high as it is right now. Emerging Riesling regions, such as Canada and the U.S. Midwest, are really starting to hold their own with the likes Austria, the Finger Lakes, and even Germany.
  2. The standard-bearers. Alsace, Germany, and Austria – probably the holy trinity of Riesling in terms of what we consider as fine wine standards – showed up and showed off big time at RR 2016. More to come on Alsace in particular in a separate post.

Losers:

  1. Terroir. Seriously. RR 2016 repeated the panel format of RR 2013, when several dry Rieslings were tasted blind by a panel of experts, as well as a room full of wine media, producers, industry folk, and avid consumers. This format was then repeated for off-dry/sweet Rieslings from around the globe. There were many excellent wines in the lineups, but the trouble came whenever the expert panelists (and the the very knowledgeable audience members) attempted to guess where each wine originated.Our success rates? Maybe 30%. And that’s being generous. The majority of the time, winemakers couldn’t successfully identify their own wines.To me, that suggests that a) several dozen people who do wine (and in some cases, Riesling) for a living don’t know what they’re doing, which seems incredibly unlikely, or b) the quality of Riesling winemaking in general is one the rise, causing a bit of non-threatening conformity, which does seem extremely likely, and c) the common notion among wine peeps that Riesling is a lightning rod grape for the expression of terroir has been significantly overstated. Discuss among yourselves…

Following are what I considered several highlights (about 15 wines, if I’m still able to count correctly) from those panel tastings, so start paying close attention, you Riesling warrior acid-freaks…

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Working Hard To Change Nothing (Williams Selyem Recent Releases)

William Seylem old typeface

There was so much that I didn’t want to like about Sonoma’s storied Williams Selyem.

  • The too-cool-for-school exclusivity of their mailing list.
  • The imposing fortress-like facade of their “barrel-evoking” tasting room and its “wall of bottles.”
  • The fact that they used terms like “barrel-evoking.”
  • That current owners John and Kathe Dyson were former mailing list members (how cute!).
  • That the label typeface they use was so old that it had to be recreated from scratch when their printing went digital.
  • The way that their wines get collectors all google-eyed, shooting prices up on the secondary market.
  • The friggin’ goats.

The problem with trying to be a Williams Selyem hater, though, is that when it comes to their affable, knowledgeable staff, and their consistently excellent wines, there’s just not enough bad there to hate…

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And You Were Expecting What, Exactly? (Lugana Highlights From L’Anteprima Lazise 2016)

Vinted on May 26, 2016 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Lake Garda

Nonplussed on Lake Garda (I think this is swan for “F*ck off”)

Back in March (yeah, yeah, I know…) I attended, as a media guest, the 2016 edition of the well-executed but unfortunately-named L’Anteprima Lazise (seriously… how many of you knew that was a town near Lake Garda in N. Italy?).  The event marked the first time that the nearby winemaking regions of Chiaretto, Lugana, and Bardolino all shared a single en premier style event, with an early showcase of what the 2015 vintage for each had to offer.

You might expect, then, that I’d discuss the vagaries of the vintage, with an extensive run-down of what wines fared best in 2015 for those regions. Along with an exposé on the amazing food and beauty of the area (the two exist, for sure, and in abundance). To wit:

And you’d be very wrong, because this is me, and this is 1WD; if you came here expecting what everyone else is doing, then you’re almost as crazy as I am.

And while I can certainly recommend some 2015s for you (during blind tastings, I particularly enjoyed the Luganas from Avanzi, Bolla, Citari, Le Morette, and Olivini), and tell you that I like where the drier style of Chiaretto rosés are headed in general, I am instead going to focus exclusively on Lugana, and only on three wines.

Cue the quote from Airplane

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