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1WineDude.com TV Episode 56: Portugal’s Best Wines? (With Master Wine Geek Doug Frost)

Vinted on February 7, 2013 under 1WineDude TV, interviews, wine industry events, wine review

Welcome to a rather long-overdue episode of 1WD TV, in which I get geeky with wine maven Doug Frost and give him crap about the wines he *didn’t* pick for his list of Portugal’s 50 Greatest Wines. We express communal love for Madeira, and then Doug sort of disses Napa, but generally shows why he’s one of the most well-regarded wine educators and tasters on the planet. To find out why Doug’s picks are so controversial, fire up the vid!

1WineDudeTV Episode 56: Portugal’s Best Wines? (With Master Wine Geek Doug Frost)

I was able to get a few minutes with Doug when I was a media guest of Wines of Portugal for a lunch event at NYC’s Harold Pratt House, during which Doug and fellow Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein discussed the Top 10 wines from Doug’s list of 50 – which we then tasted paired with various (mostly meat – in fine Portuguese tradition!) courses.  My thoughts/ratings/ramblings on those controversial top ten wine picks are below, after the jump…

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Of Griffins, Protoceratops And Sonoma Syrah (Qualia’s Pavo 2009)

Vinted on January 31, 2013 under crowd pleaser wines, wine review

While I cannot verify it via personal experience, I strongly suspect that apart from mining, graphic novels, porn (or maybe graphic novels about porn), the wine business is the only other industry in which you can start a story with the phrase “so I once met this guy in a cave…” without raising eyebrows in suspicion of your sanity.

It was, in fact, in a cave – during a dinner event at

Pine Ridge on Napa’s Silverado Trail – that I met San Franciscan Jordan Kivelstadt. Long-time 1WD readers might recall his name as the young winemaker behind Pavo Syrah, a wine that was featured here back in 2009 and one which I compared to the Balrog (but in a good way).

Jordan’s parents bought the vineyard in 2005, on ten acres of farmland at the intersection of three AVAs (Sonoma Valley, Bennett Valley and Sonoma Mountain), which for ten years provided fruit for Landmark’s Steel Plow, and now is the source of their Syrah and red blends. When sending some more recent incarnations of his family’s wines – now called Qualia (named after a sensory perception phenomenon that, interestingly, was also profiled in a post on wine ratings that caused a bit of a stir here last year) – Jordan included a letter to me in which he wrote “I have been busy playing with wine. I cannot wait to see… what mythical creature you associate with it.”

And so it’s in that spirit that I give you some thoughts on Sonoma Syrah, Grenache, the mythical Griffin, and the extinct-but-not-mythical Protoceratops. All of which will make sense in a minute or two. I hope…

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Hourglass Recent Releases (Or, “Reports Of Napa’s Vintage From Hell Might Be Overblown”)

Vinted on January 24, 2013 under crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

I, along with a small cadre of other wine media peeps, recently got invited to one of those on-line Q&A / sample tasting thangs highlighting recent releases from high-end Napa Valley producer Hourglass (so named due to the shape of their vineyard holdings, which form part of the narrowest spots in the North-South winegrowing continuum that makes up the Valley).

Hourglass founder and Napa native Jeff Smith is a bit of a friend, and it took me a lot of prodding over dinner last year to get him to talk for even brief periods about happenings at Hourglass (and spill the beans that he would be parting ways with longtime consulting winemaker Robert Foley, and bringing on Cade / Plumpjack alumnus Anthony Biagi).

I figured that I owed Jeff one from that dinner, and hadn’t done an on-line tasting in a while, so I thought, “what the hell, send me the half-bottle samples and let’s do this; also, Mrs. Dudette gets all googley-eyed when expensive reds show up at the door.” Of course, it’s always fun to watch winemakers and proprietors that you know personally grapple with the uncomfortable scenario of being left alone to fend for themselves live on camera (in this case, they fared pretty well, actually). And at the very least, I figured it would be a chance to see what Biagi did with the blends, and get a feel for how much negative impact the touted-as-epically-horrendous 2010 Napa vintage actually had.

If the 2010 Hourglass releases are any indication, turns out the answer to the question of how much gloom-and-doom is to be expected from Napa’s 2010 vintage is “not that much…”

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Still Yummy After All These Years (Marques de Riscal Crianza 1979)

Vinted on January 17, 2013 under elegant wines, wine review

In between bites of grilled chicken pita BLT at Four Dogs Tavern a few weeks ago, I looked up across the table at fellow PA wine educator Bob Trimble. Chew, chew, chew. Swallow. Lift of the glass, sip, gulp. Smile.

“The thing about this wine,” I said, “is that it probably tasted yummy when it was bottled… and it still tastes yummy… and it probably tasted yummy at every point along the way; that’s thirty-four years of yummy!”

Those of you who hate the descriptor “yummy” when it comes to describing a wine can bite me; this was was f*cking yummy.

Y-U-M-M-Y.

We were drinking what Bob called “Joan’s wine” – a thank you gift to him for helping a friend sort through some older items in her wine collection. Our yummy lunchtime still treat was pulled out of its original cardboard box (remember when bottled wines came in those?), and was “kept under the drapes!” and away from sunlight for a long time, according to Bob.

The most interesting thing about the wine, to me, was that our 1979 Marqués de Riscal probably had no right to be drinking as well as it did – this was a Crianza, the lowest man on the Rioja aging totem pole. But at our lunch, it was kicking the shiz out of several younger Reserva and Gran Reserva wines I had from other producers when I visited Rioja last year

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