Posts Filed Under wine review

Wine in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 5 (“Courage of Convictions” with Smith-Madrone)

Vinted on July 1, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Smith-Madrone Cabs

The latest in the steady stream of sipping during SIP virtual tastings brings up back to longtime friend of 1WD Stu Smith, one of the masterminds behind Napa Valley’s well-regarded Smith-Madrone.

If you’ve spent any appreciable time perusing this little website, then you know that Smith is smart, verbose, and opinionated – all of which are a wine writer’s wet dream (ok, that came out totally wrong, but you get the idea), and all of which were on typically intriguing display when I (and a handful of fellow wine-media-critic-types) recently tasted through some of the recent Smith-Madrone releases with Stu via Zoom meeting.

Speaking of intriguing, that’s a fitting descriptor for Smith’s wines in general…

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Wine in the Time of Coronavirus, Part 4 (Legendary Zinfandel Vineyards)

Vinted on June 25, 2020 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, sexy wines, wine review

Zinfandel 2020 tasting

Virtual (a.k.a., remote) tastings have been a thing for several years (hell, I was involved in some of the very first… daaaaannnng, remember those?!?), but they’ve positively (and virtually/figuratively) exploded during this time of SIP sipping.

This has been a welcome surprise and a needed respite, since some of us (myself included) are unable to hit the road at the moment, due to a combination of factors (one of which, of course, is not wanting to unnecessarily tussle with a global pandemic when one has regular contact with high-risk loved ones).

This latest dip into SIP (Sipping In Place?) comes courtesy of my friend Robert Larsen, who organized a tasting themed on some of legendary Zinfandel vineyards of California. My thoughts on each liquid entrant are below. As always, Robert provided an educational, entertaining, and high-octane good time, even if we all couldn’t actually clink glasses together IRL (where possible, I have included the words of the folks representing each brand to provide some context on why the vineyards are special)…

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Alentejo Postcard, Part 2 (Herdade de Coelheiros Recent Releases)

Coelheiros vineyard 1

Among the 800 hectares of property upon which Alentejo’s Herdade de Coelheiros grows walnuts and cork trees sits about 50 hectares of vines. Though their history date back to the mid-1400s (as a hunting estate), those vines that source Coelheiros’ modern wines were replanted over 500 years later, in 1981.

That’s because under Portugal’s dictatorship, the region was designated to grow grain, rather than to adhere to its ancient tradition of the vine.

Luís Patrão

Coelheiros’ Luís Patrão

Winemaking in Alentejo has a rich history, of course, but interestingly for this formerly remote area in Alentejo, wine consumption was local; after all, its residents weren’t likely to get vino from anywhere else for the better part of 400 or so years.

Colheiros has a head start on much of Alentejo when it comes to the region’s modern New Renaissance: along with Esporão, they were one of the first wine companies to reinvest in the region after the fall of the Estado Novo. And, apparently, the time has come to reinvent themselves yet again…

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Alentejo Postcard, Part 1 (Cartuxa Recent Releases)

Vinted on June 4, 2020 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

Cartuxa vines

Portugal’s Cartuxa is fairly well-known for being one of two wineries run by a wide-ranging non-profit foundation (focusing on developing the Évora region culturally). It’s equally well-known for being named after a monastery and having roots going back to 15th Century Jesuit monks, and still employing amphora from the 1800s.

CartuxaBut Cartuxa is most famous for producing one of Portugal’s most sought-after and historically expensive dry wines: the (arguably overpriced) Pêra-Manca Tinto, a wine that I’m not even going to discuss here, since during my media visit to Cartuxa back in December it wasn’t even poured.

Despite getting Heismaned pretty hard on the PM Tinto pour, I can’t help but have a great deal of respect for Cartuxa, and not just because of their foundation’s mission of community development; their more affordable wines are, simply put, damned good ones…

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