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Turn Up The Piiiiiinot (IPNC 2014 Alfresco Tasting Highlights)

Vinted on September 18, 2014 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

As you read this, I’ll be in Hungary, a trip of which half is a curated media tour, and half a working stint doing video interview stuff that I will discuss later, but about which I am particularly excited (not just because it’s a paying gig, but also because it involves one of my personal fave white wine grapes, one that is seriously underrated and underrepresented in the U.S. market at the moment; much more to come on all of that soon).

Today, I’m going to be talking about a different paying gig that I recently took on, and a previous media jaunt.

The gig is a monthly run over at Snooth.com, and in the first installment (for the September “edition”) I dish on some of my favorite wines from the the IPNC 2014 alfresco tasting, held in the pre-dinner hours on both days of that event (the next installment will be on Chablis… I know, life is hard, right?). I also photo-bomb Sokol Blosser’s vineyard view in that piece (sorry, guys!).

Now, the Snooth article is only so long, and I found myself with a smattering of other fine Pinots about which I wanted to pontificate, but for which we just didn’t have enough room in that first article. And since this is my blog and I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want here, today we’ll be pontificating on those leftovers, which are themselves totally capable of making a superb, captivating meal. Think of them as the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich lunch of IPNC 2014 Pinots…

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Siduri Single Vineyard Recent Releases

Vinted on September 11, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Earlier this week, we got into the head of the rabble-rousing guy behind the Siduri label, Adam Lee.

That interview turned out to be too interesting for me to edit significantly, and so I decided to take advantage of the online format’s theoretically limitless space and publish as much of it as I could. But even I have limits on the length of the posts I’m willing to publish here, and unfortunately that decision left no room for exploring Lee’s wines.

I’m making up for that today, and below you’ll find highlights from a much larger pool of Pinot Noir samples that Lee sent over to me for consideration.

Before the tasting notes fun begins, I feel compelled to point out a couple of things:

- All of the highlighted wines below are small-production, single-vineyard takes on California Pinot. Some won’t be terribly easy to locate, as they’re made in quantities of only a few hundred cases each.

- Each of the wines clocks in somewhere between 14.1% and 14.5% abv, and as such are all fairly powerfully-built Pinots.

- Having said that, there is something that drew me in about each of the four wines you’ll read about (I swear I will get to that eventually) here: each one is balanced. You will feel the power in these Pinots, for sure, but you won’t really be feeling the heat of the alcoholic fire…

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Day For Night (Two Bright Stars From The High End Of The Sample Pool)

Vinted on September 4, 2014 binned in elegant wines, sexy wines, wine review

“Why you want to keep trying?
You never get it right
When you could be living day for night

Live my dream
There’s no dancing in between
Why not let it go?”

- “Day for Night” by Spock’s Beard

Quite often, I find myself delving into the wine sample pool and coming up empty. Not in terms of empty hands, but empty fulfillment. While I’m not shortchanging this wine thang – because I love it – the sample volume is such that I can sometimes open a dozen bottles for tasting and not find one that I personally want to drink over the course of three days, savoring its development, seeing how it reacts with different cuisine, etc., etc., etc.

More often, I give up, pour a glass of whatever I happened to like best, and go back to things like trying to figure out how to use the word “demiurge” in a wine review (go ahead, try it…).

Anyway, sometimes the fates smile, and offer wines that are so brilliant in their presentation that I have to don metaphorical shades, and then I sort of fall in love with them a little bit. Today is about two such wines, as different as a breezy, sunny Spring day and a sultry, moon-lit Summer night, but both shining with equal wine geek-rapture-inducing brightness. Like the addict who constantly chases after the elation of the first fix, I live day-for-night (also the name of a kick-ass prog rock album, by the way) for these moments. Damn, that looks sadder in print than it is supposed to sound when someone says it.

Best to get on with these recommendations, before I mangle any more mashed up similes (or spend any more time on the virtual psychoanalyst couch). The only remaining preamble is a word of caution, as we’re about to enter some serious high-price-point territory (I know you’re up for it, though!)…

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A Quiet Resistance (Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Pinot Noir, In Retrospect)

Vinted on August 21, 2014 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

Generally speaking, when you’re attending a Pinot Noir masterclass-style tasting hosted by one of a wine region’s most historically significant properties, it’s not considered good form to giggle like an eight year-old girl.

Which, of course, didn’t stop me from doing it.

The trouble was, I just found the irony so damned funny, it was like being back in my Oblate grade school church, the nuns patrolling the church aisles, my buddies and I joking around and trying hard to suppress laughter that would most certainly get us into major trouble. Which just makes it funnier

Here’s the thing: when you’re tasting through a retrospective of the Pinots representing those produced by our host – The Eyrie Vineyard’s Original Vines Reserve Pinot Noir – in a masterclass session that’s supposed to highlight vintage variation, it’s just freakin’ funny.

Not that there isn’t vintage variation – there is, for sure, vintage variation in Eyrie’s Pinot. It’s just that when the style is (thankfully) one of the entire wine world’s most consistent, the irony of trying to highlight that variation is… well, it’s freakin’ funny.

So, I was giggling. Don’t judge me (I know, it’s probably already too late; fine, whatever).

Anyway, I now probably owe one to second generation vintner Jason Lett (who hosted that masterclass), so let’s talk about how freakin’ interesting these Pinots were, already…

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