Posts Filed Under wine review

Golden Years (Tasting Fifty Harvests Of Mondavi Reserve Cabernet)

Vinted on July 6, 2016 binned in California wine, on the road, wine review

Robert Mondavi Winery

Know how to get a cavalcade of seasoned (read: potentially jaded) wine writers, winemakers, wine growers, and wine industry insiders to go as quiet as mice (I’m talking pin-drop-sounds-like-a-jet-engine-on-fire quiet), and as stupefied as deer in the headlights?

I do.

I saw Robert Mondavi Winery pull it off a few weeks ago in Napa Valley.

You tell the crowd that you’ve just tapped the keg on the remaining bottles of the winery’s inaugural Reserve-level Cabernet Sauvignon bottling (in this case, the 1966), and that wine is now in everyone’s glasses. Oh, yeah, then you have the creator of that wine stand up and say “I’m Warren Winiarski, and I made this wine.”

As once-in-a-lifetime wine tasting events go, that one ranks pretty highly, even for those of us who have already had outsized amounts of once-in-a-lifetime wine tasting event opportunities (this was helped by the genuine combination of pride, awe, and shock in Winarski’s voice as he described that he never expected to be speaking about the 1966 Cab fifty years later).

During the course of the multi-day Mondavi event at the Napa Valley winery (which I attended as a media guest), we ended up going through a sizeable portion of the last fifty vintages of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

What became clear as we were lead through the various tasting proceedings and events by RMW educator Mark de Vere, and winemaking team Genevieve Janssens, Joe Harden, and Megan Schofield, was that this iconic wine is impossible to separate from its equally iconic winery, and its arguably much more iconic namesake.

I half expected the ghost of Robert Mondavi to waltz in on us like a whirling dervish at some point during our tastings, and I don’t at all mean that flippantly; at this point, his presence and influence is as firmly embedded in the superstructure of RMW as the material in its literal foundation…

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Working Hard To Change Nothing (Williams Selyem Recent Releases)

William Seylem old typeface

There was so much that I didn’t want to like about Sonoma’s storied Williams Selyem.

  • The too-cool-for-school exclusivity of their mailing list.
  • The imposing fortress-like facade of their “barrel-evoking” tasting room and its “wall of bottles.”
  • The fact that they used terms like “barrel-evoking.”
  • That current owners John and Kathe Dyson were former mailing list members (how cute!).
  • That the label typeface they use was so old that it had to be recreated from scratch when their printing went digital.
  • The way that their wines get collectors all google-eyed, shooting prices up on the secondary market.
  • The friggin’ goats.

The problem with trying to be a Williams Selyem hater, though, is that when it comes to their affable, knowledgeable staff, and their consistently excellent wines, there’s just not enough bad there to hate…

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And You Were Expecting What, Exactly? (Lugana Highlights From L’Anteprima Lazise 2016)

Vinted on May 26, 2016 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Lake Garda

Nonplussed on Lake Garda (I think this is swan for “F*ck off”)

Back in March (yeah, yeah, I know…) I attended, as a media guest, the 2016 edition of the well-executed but unfortunately-named L’Anteprima Lazise (seriously… how many of you knew that was a town near Lake Garda in N. Italy?).  The event marked the first time that the nearby winemaking regions of Chiaretto, Lugana, and Bardolino all shared a single en premier style event, with an early showcase of what the 2015 vintage for each had to offer.

You might expect, then, that I’d discuss the vagaries of the vintage, with an extensive run-down of what wines fared best in 2015 for those regions. Along with an exposé on the amazing food and beauty of the area (the two exist, for sure, and in abundance). To wit:

And you’d be very wrong, because this is me, and this is 1WD; if you came here expecting what everyone else is doing, then you’re almost as crazy as I am.

And while I can certainly recommend some 2015s for you (during blind tastings, I particularly enjoyed the Luganas from Avanzi, Bolla, Citari, Le Morette, and Olivini), and tell you that I like where the drier style of Chiaretto rosés are headed in general, I am instead going to focus exclusively on Lugana, and only on three wines.

Cue the quote from Airplane

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DRC 2010, Revisited

Vinted on May 6, 2016 binned in wine review, Wined Down (

DRC 2010 tasting

So… remember when I did that whole Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2010 tasting that I attended? You know, back in the day?

DRC 2010 NYC tasting anti-counterfeit measures

Anti-counterfeit measures at the DRC 2010 NYC tasting

I know… you still hate me for that one, right?


Well, if you makes you feel any better, I’ve not tasted a recent vintage of the fabled DRC since that NYC gathering. I did, however, pen a take on the tasting for my old gig, the result of which was purchased, but never aired (similar to the piece I wrote about a visit to O. Fournier in Argentina).

Today, since I am in the middle of recovering from my second gum graft (combating gum recession due to a combination of genetic predisposition and occupational hazard), I decided to scour the archives, throw some caution to the wind, and share that never-released take on the 2010 DRC.

I suppose that this is, in fact, a bit of laziness on my part, but gum grafts hurt like a motherf*cker, people (and let’s not forget, no wine until this stuff is at least halfway healed up). Putting on some slightly-tinted rosé-colored glasses for a moment, one could (charitably) think of the following article as an alternate take bonus track, 1WD style (fair warning: “1WD style” means that this article contains references to superheroes, ass-licking, despair, and urine).


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