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Posts Filed Under wine review

A Post From Under The Floorboards (Two Grenache Blancs As Winter Warmers)

Vinted on December 5, 2014 binned in overachiever wines, wine review

As a general rule, I am not a fan of “phoning it in.” Not in anything, particularly in writing here on 1WD.

I’d love to tell you all that the demands of holiday planning with a first-grader around, hosting Christmas for out of town visitors, and various writing gigs are keeping me from writing up for you my thoughts on some of the recent visits to stellar producers that I have had, but it’s not the complete picture. I have all of that and  other shizz going down right now, and I am finding it difficult to do anything requiring focus and producing interesting thoughts with regularity.

I’m not fishing for sympathy here (though I wouldn’t turn it down), but I thought that the collective 1WD readership ought to know that in the near term, I might not be getting to the things I want to get to within the time-frames that you or I might want.

And so, the producer deep dives are going to have to wait a bit, but I did manage to get stoked enough about two recent white wine samples, the kind that delivered a brief, warming respite during the Winter of my discontent, and overachieved at their price points, to boot. So consider this a post made from under the holiday-decorated emotional floorboards, with the hopes that I will be reconnecting with regular 1WD drinking and merriment sooner than later…

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What We Drank For Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

Vinted on November 27, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, holidays, kick-ass wines, wine review

Quick, get ready to freak out; I am about to talk about a wine that was not a sample, but for which I paid using my very own hard-earned cash! The atom might destabilize!!

It’s true. About the wine being purchased, I mean, not about the atom (I think).

The short version of the story is that at 1WD HQ, we tend to do a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving meal, in which we indulge in Mrs. Dudette’s amazing cooking, and focus on healthier versions of the Turkey Day classics, paired up with lots of wines from the sample pool.

Only this time, I found myself in desperate need of more than the usual pick-me-up, and decided to break into a bottle that I’d picked up on my lonesome, and have been not-so-patiently waiting for an excuse to crack open and enjoy.

As you will see from the inset pic and details below, much of what we drank – including that self-procured vino – are slightly different takes on wine world staples…

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Burdened With Glorious Purpose (Livio Felluga Terre Alte 2011)

Vinted on November 20, 2014 binned in elegant wines, wine review

It’s been a while since I bitched and moaned about tasting (okay, and drinking) wines long before “their time.” So I think we can both agree that I am due for a repeat.

The trouble is, in the words of Loki, “I am burdened with glorious purpose!” when it comes to wine criticism. Generally, I’m supposed to taste vino, ascertain where it sits on the quality spectrum from worst to best in the world, taking into account where it’s from, what it’s made of, and when it was crafted, and guessing at the intentions of those who made it, then make a determination of a recommendation (or not), including guessing when it will likely be drinking at its best, even though that last part is almost entirely subjective.

Easy, right?

It also makes the “job” bittersweet, in that occasionally I run into a bottle from the sample pool that is excellent and downright stunning, enjoyable now but teasing at how, given X amount years of further bottle repose, the constituent elements might come together to offer something even more compelling.

It’s the “f*ck!-this-tastes-great-now-dammit-why-couldn’t-I–have-waited?!??” syndrome. First World problem, yes. But doesn’t make the tinge of regret any easier to bear, probably because I am a weakling.

Anyway, before I flagellate myself over this and you start playing sad songs on the world’s smallest violin, let’s talk about the stunner…

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Northbound Pachyderm (Tasting Claypool Cellars, Cobb, And LaRue 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinots)

Vinted on November 13, 2014 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

A note to musically-inclined wine people: if you help the nice folks at Claypool Cellars folks pick their consulting winemaker, eventually you’ll get to hang backstage at kick-ass Primus concerts.

And while that might at first sound like a raging conflict of interest, I suppose it’s worth noting that a) that hasn’t stopped me from telling them how I think the wines could be improved, and b) I didn’t charge them any consulting fees (so maybe we’re just about even, actually).

Anyway, long-time 1WD faithful will know that we’ve been following the career of Claypool Cellars (founded by Primus front-man Les Claypool and his wife Chaney, both Sonoma-area residents) with great interest over the years.

And while it might seem strange that a rocker who is performing trippy, virtuosic renditions of music from the 1971 Willy Wonka movie would be attempting to make world-class California Pinot Noir, I can offer this tidbit from Les: “We want it to be like Primus; I mean, we’re goofy, but underneath, it’s pretty serious. We can play.”

[ Editor’s note: for what it’s worth, Les has also told me things such as “have you ever had cannabis wine?” and “hey man, where’s the fanceé booze?!???” ]

I am happy to report that, since picking up Ross Cobb as their consulting winemaker, Claypool Cellars has come closer to achieving their goofy-meets-serious goal, and have in their 2012 releases produced the best wines I’ve yet to taste from them. I recently caught up with Chaney, Ross, and Ross’s winemaker partner Katy Wilson to eat some viddles in Sonoma, and taste through some of their single-vineyard 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinots (yeah, I know, tough life I’ve got here)…

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