Posts Filed Under wine review

Wine in the Time of Coronavirus (What We Drank on My Sequestered Birthday)

Vinted on April 2, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Well, folks… sh*t is definitely real right now.

Unusually for this extrovert, I had to celebrate my birthday in self-imposed sequestered fashion, a precaution taken to help practice social distancing and hopefully do a small part in flattening the curve of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, due to the ever-expanding wine sample pool (yes, I’m still getting deliveries during the pandemic), I’m in no danger of running out of wine any time soon. Toilet paper and soy milk, maybe; but wine, no way, not by a long shot.

Sometimes that sample pool is good to me. Occasionally, it’s very good to me. And in rare cases, it’s exceptionally good to me, as was the case for my (at home!) birthday dinner wine selections, both of which will cost you a pretty penny but neither of which will give you an iota of buyer’s remorse (and may even dull the sting of your encroaching cabin fever)…

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In the Shadow of the Gods (Tasting Sicily’s Diodoros Nero d’Avola)

Vinted on March 18, 2020 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review
Diodoros Icarus

“Flyyyyyy on your waaaaayyyy, like an eeeeagle, flyyy as hiiiigh as the suuuuuuunnnnn…”

It’s not often that you get to drink wine made from a vineyard that sits in a proper tourist attraction. But that’s how we roll here on 1WD when we’re touring Sicily. And while it’s always my pleasure to talk Sicily to people, I figured that Italy could use the extra love these days in the time of COVID-19.

Diodoros vineyard viewMy Sicilian media trek last year afforded me the opportunity to visit the somewhat inappropriately named Valle dei Templi, a striking UNESCO site that sits on a hilltop in Agrigento, and is home to some of the most magnificently preserved examples of ancient Greek temples and archeological findings in all of Europe. The fact that they grow wine grapes there is kind of a bonus (head over to the Napa Valley Wine Academy website for more vinous findings from that Sicily jaunt).

The particular wine made from said grapes is CVA Canicattì’s “Diodoros” Nero d’Avola-based red, named after ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus. Unlike the temples, the vines that source Diodoros actually do grow in the valley, right in the shadows of the temple of Giunone and within an Olympic discus-toss of the rest of Agrigento’s most famous tourist attraction…

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“Good Evening, Clarice” (Facing Off with Clarice Wine Company Pinot Noir and Adam Lee)

Vinted on March 12, 2020 binned in elegant wines, wine publications, wine review
Adam Lee Gary's

Adam Lee at Gary’s Vineyard (image: Adam Lee)

Recently, I caught up with iconoclastic winemaker Adam Lee, to see what he’s been up to since transitioning his well-regarded Siduri brand to Jackson Family Wines, for an interview published on the Napa Valley Wine Academy website.

Adam is a great sport and an equally great interviewee, as you’ll no doubt be able to quickly discern when reading the interview. What we didn’t get into in the NVWA piece are the gritty details on one of his new projects, Clarice Wine Company, a brand he named after his grandmother, Clarice H. Phears. Interestingly, Lee’s Clarice project is a wine club of sorts for the brand’s wines, but also an online community capped off at 625 members.

After Adam and I reconnected for the interview, he sent along samples of the Clarice offerings, and I’m now able to tell you that he’s created something L-E-G-I-T

elegantClarice Wine Co. Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands, $90)

Clarice Wine Co Gary's Vienyard 2018Lee has been sourcing from Gary’s Vineyard (located just about smack-dab in the middle of the Santa Lucia Highlands) since its inception in the late 1990s. This is a vineyard source that has no shortage of accolades already, but might just be hitting its adulthood stride in full force only now, based on this beauty.

There is sooooooooooooooooooo much going on here. Dark fruit, red berries, bramble, tea leaf, truffle, cedar, and various baking spices to start the nose, with incredibly deep, dark, plummy fruitiness and black raspberry freshness all over the palate. The acidity and tannin are really neck-and-neck here, balancing one another out just as one seems to be slightly overtaking the other at any given moment. Somehow, there’s a harmonious interplay of bramble (and, I mean, a metric ton of different wild herbs) and elegance throughout. It’s a red that has more personality than the entire cast of most TV sitcoms. Yeah, it’s expensive. But it’s worth it. Every. F*cking. Penny.





Past Masters (Aging High-end Austrian Grüner Veltliner)

Vinted on February 27, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Danube 1

Good old Austria… a land with white wines as steely, reserved, and imposingly austere as the (often slightly oversized) architectural wonders that grace its cities and towns.

Let’s wrap up the coverage of my Austrian media jaunt (yes, from back in May 2019… screw you, punky, I’ve been busy!) with a look back in time at how those steely, reserved, and imposingly austere wines get a little bit less steely, reserved, and imposingly austere given some time of repose in the botltle.

Austria lion

Austrian white wine spirit animal

C’mon, don’t you want to know what happens to high-end examples of Austria’s signature Grüner Veltliner over time? Don’t you want to know if they’re worth the time, expense, and patience? Don’t you want to read several extremely similar tasting notes about a single grape variety?

Of course you do, you wine nerd!…

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