I haven’t always been kind to Bordeaux. Okay, actually I’ve pretty much never been kind to Bordeaux.
But that’s because Bordeaux’s most visible stand-bearers – the classified growths at the high-end of the production spectrum, making wines that most of us 99%-ers cannot afford – hasn’t really been all that kind itself to the general wine marketplace, pricing its wines more in-line with rampant consumerist greed than with real value for money.
But that’s not the only Bordeaux story – it just happens to be the most prevalent one. There’s another side of Bordeaux, the side that produces something like ninety percent of its wine, priced in the budget ranges and made in volumes that make California look small-time. Put another way, in the words of Chateau Rauzan Despagne’s Thibault Despagne (who I met while touring Bordeaux in September as a media guest of Planet Bordeaux):
“We always hear that Bordeaux is arrogant and too expensive. And yes, I agree – but that isn’t the only story. The journalists are the problem.”
And I came to realize during my Bordeaux jaunt that Thibault isn’t wrong – we do spend an inordinate amount of time complaining talking about the upper-echelons of Bordeaux, and often don’t recognize the lower-end – the 99%-ers – of Bordeaux at all. But it’s not without some justification; there’s still a lot of bad low-end wine being made there.
But… having said that… I did get a bit of a crash course in non-sucky Bordelaise wine, and I can’t actually review it (at least, not conventionally – more on that in a minute), because I got that crash-course Bordelaise style…
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Last week, I wondered aloud (on twitter) whether or not anyone out there cares if a winery uses cultured yeasts instead of wild yeasts.
The feedback from the twitterati is included below after the jump (if you chimed in already via twitter, your response may be listed for all of the 1WD faithful to see – don’t say I didn’t warn ya!).
The short (and grossly oversimplified) answers to the question, by the way, seem to be "Yes!" for wine geeks and "No, who cares as long as the juice tastes good!" for the majority of people, based on the twitter responses that I received.
The topic of wine yeasts, and why they seem to touch off a hot-button reaction among wine pros and the geekier of wine aficionados, requires a bit of a primer, because to most wine drinkers, this is gonna be some pretty esoteric shiz.
During my last trip to Napa, I stopped into Chimney Rock for some barrel samples tasting (that’s samples of wines from barrels, not tasting samples of barrels) and spent a few hours geeking out over all things wine-related with the affable Elizabeth Vianna (CM’s winemaker who last week was promoted to GM). Elizabeth is open, honest, and easy to get along with, and she’s not shy when it comes to expressing her opinions. And yet, when she was explaining the winemaking process behind each of Chimney Rock’s wines, she became almost apologetic when she mentioned that they – gasp! – inoculate their wines with cultured yeasts!
Imagine, the audacity! The HORROR!!!…
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Many moons ago, a very nice young lady by the name of Alana Riley, who had friended me up on twitter, contacted me to see if I was interested in a customized twitter background for my twitter landing page. You know, so I can keep up the appearance of professionalism and all that.
Was I interested? Well… Duh.
I was amazed at the finished product that Alana produced for me, which you can see below (click to embiggen), for those of you who are tweetdeck fanatics and never visit anyone’s twitter pages directly.
I’ve been thinking about giving Alana’s biz a plug on here for a few months, and never really got around to it because I suck and should be destroyed, and probably should mow Alana’s lawn and then pay her $2 when I’m done. Anyway, better late than never!
Here’s how Alana describes her new biz:
“I create custom websites and logos for individuals / small companies, offer graphic design & logo services, as well as social media services (from setting up an account for someone to running an account should the individual want to outsource that).”
You can check out her wares at www.sixtwentymedia.com which should be going live soon, or email Alana if you’re interested in a kick-ass twitter background.
And yeah, I know this has nothing to do with wine but you’ll get over it because you’re cool like that.
Wines of Germany will be launching their very own TasteLive.com events page, and to celebrate they will be kicking it off with a redux of the on-line live tasting that we’d originally scheduled for the end of October.
I’ll be your blogger co-host for the on-line tasting, which will take place at 8PM ET / 5PM PT on December 3rd. This event is gonna be good – both upstate New York’s House of Bacchus and Manhattan’s Roger Smith Hotel will be hosting tweet ups for the event, and the wines are all kick-ass Rieslings from four of Germany’s premier Riesling-producing regions.
These wines all do a great job of representing their place of origin and how the terroir of those areas impact the final flavors of the wine produced there (they’re probably the next best thing to being there yourself):
Selbach-Oster, Riesling, Kabinett, Mosel, 2007/2008
Leitz, Riesling, "Eins Zwei Dry," Rheingau, 2008
Dönnhoff, Riesling, Nahe, 2008
Darting, Riesling, Durkheimer Nonnengarten, Kabinett, Pfalz, 2008
Join me on Dec 3rd, get the word out, and don’t forget to RSVP at TasteLive.com.