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Posts Filed Under sexy wines

Holiday Reservations (Putting Mondavi Reserves Under The Christmas Dinner Grindstone)

Vinted on January 5, 2012 binned in crowd pleaser wines, holidays, kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

For all of my talk about not digging big-ass wines, I sure do seem to end up talking about a lot of “good” big-ass wines.

Take this past Christmas, for example.

We host some of my wife’s family every third Christmas or so, as part of a rotation that has us visiting them in Florida and Washington on the other years. It’s a special time for me, because Mrs. Dudette has a great extended family, full of genuinely nice people who are kind enough to put up with me over the course of several days (primarily because they want to spend time with my daughter, I suspect… but I’m quite happy to settle for the delusion that they also enjoy my company). And when we host Christmas, Mrs. Dudette cooks a gourmet meat-and-potatoes feast in honor of her late grandmother, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s quite a few years ago but in her heyday apparently made a mean roast dinner.

The slow-roasted meat naturally gets me thinking about a big red, and for some reason, despite reservations, I find myself continually reaching for Mondavi Reserve wines for this holiday dinner thang. I mean, if Christmas dinner isn’t when you’re supposed to open up wines like these, then well the hell are you supposed to pop those corks?

I use the term “despite reservations” because, truth be told (don’t you hate that phrase, by the way? I mean, it’s not like I’ve been lying to you for years and am only now getting aroud to making statements with any veracity… ok, whatever…) I am always afraid that the Mondavi Reserve wines are going to burn me

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Medieval Secrets: Ancient Walls, Modern Winemaking in Chianti’s Castello di Volpaia

Vinted on October 13, 2011 binned in on the road, sexy wines

When you’re dealing with the wine biz on a consistent basis, there’s one thing you get to see a whole lot of (besides wine, Styrofoam, and cardboard, I mean):

Stainless steel tanks.

Everybody who produces wine wants to show you their steel tanks.  Wine people are obsessed with their steel tanks; they basically have total hard-ons for their steel tanks.  There might actually be a support group for wine industry folk who have steel tank fetishes… I’m not sure, but I’m also not in any hurry to research that one. Anyway, they don’t just want to show you their steel tanks, they want to talk at length about their steel tanks – their capacity, how many they have, how big they are, and how they use them in special, careful, meticulous ways for separate vinifications of Wine X versus Wine Y. They want you to really understand their steel tanks. They want you to love their steel tanks.

The trouble with all this steel tank love is that there are only really two kinds of people that actually give a rat’s ass at all about steel tanks:

1) Wine producers who use steel tanks, and 2) Companies that manufacture steel tanks.

I’ve yet to meet anyone (anyone!) else in the Universe that cares about steel tanks – including me, and (very, very likely) including you who are reading me talking about the wine biz’s hard-on for steel tanks.

So when you find yourself in a situation where steel tanks are actually, truly, 100%-certified cool – like when they’re hidden in the bowels of churches from the Middle Ages in Chianti’s Volpaia, for example – well, let’s just say you get real interested, real fast. Which is exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago as I whiled away my time under the Tuscan sun in the heart of Italy’s ancient, beautiful and storied Chianti Classico region…

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Speak Low And Carry A Big Mourvèdre (The Boz Scaggs Interview)

Vinted on September 15, 2011 binned in best of, interviews, kick-ass wines, sexy wines

What do you do after you’ve more-or-less totally conquered the R&B/Pop and Jazz worlds, and have become so successful in the music biz that one of your backup bands goes on to become a multi-platinum-record-selling act?

In Boz Scaggs’s case, you start up a wine brand. Of course!

Many of you…, uhm… younglings reading this may not be intimately familiar with Boz’s tunes, or his soulful crooning, but chances are very, very good that your parents think he’s the shiz. In 2000, smooth-soul-rocker Boz and his wife Dominique released the first wines made under their Scaggs Vineyard label. Their plantings were started on a bit of a lark in the late 1990s, when a friend suggested they try growing grape vines on their Napa Valley property (and gave them some leftover Syrah he had on his truck). Turned out that friend was onto something – Scaggs Vineyard 2008 Mt. Veeder Montage is a stellar Mourvèdre / Grenache / Syrah blend that’s packing as much soul as any one of Boz’s numerous memorable grooves.

Judging by his responses to my interview questions, award-winning singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs may be a man of many infectious grooves but he’s also a man of relatively few words. When it comes to his wines, however, little embellishment is needed for those who have had the opportunity to taste them.  Boz might “Speak Low,” but his wines carry a pretty loud bang (for the buck).

A quick interview with Boz (who took some time out of a busy and active touring schedule to answer my questions) is below, along with some further thoughts on two recent Scaggs Vineyard releases (tasted as samples).  I suggest listening to the live version of Lowdown while reading it (if that song doesn’t get your booty moving at least a little bit, then you might not have a pulse…).  I’m not sure Boz “gets” my sense of humor (actually, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get my sense of humor), but I sure “get” his wines – of all of the rock-star-turned-wine-producers that I’ve interviewed, Boz’s releases are certainly among the best (if not the best).

Enjoy!…

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Benny And The Jetsetters: Tasting A 111 Year Old Wine

Vinted on July 21, 2011 binned in sexy wines, wine review

Until a little over a week ago, I’d never had a one hundred and eleven year old wine before.

And when heading out to dinner in downtown Chicago, I hadn’t expected to run into a wine that was celebrating it’s eleventy-first birthday; I mean, does anyone ever expect to run into anything celebrating 111 years on planet Earth, apart from Bilbo Baggins when you’re cracking open The Fellowship of the Ring for, like, the eightieth time? (C’mon closet LoTR geeks… you know you’ve done it…)

The scene of the crime (those words have probably started a lot of stories about Chicago…) was the new (by downtown Windy City standards) steak joint Benny’s Chop House, whose wine list is both extensive and, one could argue, extensively marked-up. My dinner-mates were not in the wine biz, but – luckily for me – had generosity and money to spare. Because I’d noticed, in Benny’s bar’s bountiful body of wines by the glass, a Madeira from 1900.

I’ve had Bordeaux of just about all stripes dating back to the `60s and even a classic from the `20s, and had the good fortune to taste German wines that pre-date my appearance on planet Earth from celebrated producers in celebrated vintages.  But over 100 years old?  That’s like the vinous equivalent of surfers chasing the 100-foot wave.

In what will come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever to wine geeks anywhere, much cajoling, begging and pleading to try the wine then ensued. Successfully, I should add!

While my past encounters with more storied wines of yore have never resulted in a formal review, my brush with this turn-of-the-century greatness – the 1900 D’Oliveiras Reserva Moscatel Madeira - is an experience available to you, since the wine can be found on the market without too much difficulty (though not for too little cash!), and so marks the first time I’m giving a formal review of a very, very old vinous soul…

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