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Posts Filed Under wine review

Reverse Cowboy Psychology: Christian Tietje Cracks The Mourvedre Code At Paso’s Cypher Winery

Vinted on October 27, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

Spending an hour of so over lunch with Cypher Winery’s self-proclaimed “Winemaker, Troublemaker, and Firestarter” Christian Tietje is a bit like experiencing a small vinous indoor dust devil. In the wake of this whirling dervish of a man, you are left with remnants of well-crafted comfort food, open bottles and empty, stained glasses strewn about, and a lingering sense of bewilderment at the bold (some might say egotistical) pronouncements such as “yeah man, this is totally gonna be a 95, 96-point wine when the press gets a hold of it.”

Yeah, man – and this article is totally gonna win me some James Beard awards, you know, after they judges all wise up and stuff.

My whirlwind tour through Christian’s wines took place last week at Paso Robles’ Farmstand 46, a restaurant partnership between Tom Fundaro and the owners of Four Vines WineryChristian is probably best-known as the principal winemaker behind Four Vines’ high-octane, high-scoring releases. But his new venture, Cypher, has Tietje stretching out a bit and – dare we say it – maturing.  Certainly the single varietal Cypher bottlings have a lot of promise, which you’d probably expect from a talented winemaking team – but what you might not expect is that they also display a good deal of craftsmanship and… restraint

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High And Dry: Making Sweet Vin Santo (Wine) Love In Chianti

Vinted on October 20, 2011 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

So… remember that little bottle of Vin Santo that I lugged back from Castello di Volpaia (with a not-insignificant amount of help from the VinniBag) during my post-Summer vacation in Tuscany?

Well, it remembers you.

Ok, not really – that would be pretty spooky, wouldn’t it?  Like that goldfish in the bowl that was tormenting the kid in that South Park episode.

Anyway, as the weather in the Mid-Atlantic turns towards the cooler side, my vinous thoughts start to move away from Soaves of the world and towards the luscious, viscous, warming spectrum of dessert-style wines. And so I thought that a quick review of the wine that accompanied my long journey back to the States – and a recap of its production from my tour at Volpaia – might serve as an interesting introduction into how the (usually) sweet Tuscan wine Vin Santo is made.

Hang onto your sweet teeth, and let’s take a peek inside this Tuscan attic…

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Wine As Bottled Poetry, Poetry As (Really Expensive) Bottled Wine

Vinted on October 6, 2011 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

Wine has often inspired poetry (and still does – check out this example reviewed here a few short years ago), and in today’s case, waxing poetic about the most expensive wines that all of you out there have imbibed in turn inspired me to pull out some of the more expensive sample bottles calling to me in siren song from the bowels of their cardboard box prisons in my basement.

Actually, the first of these isn’t all that expensive, but at over $30 bucks isn’t (at least not by any real-world-with-real-people-spending-real-money-in-it measure) cheap. But it sure drinks like it’s high-end and well-worth the cash.

The second is a famously expensive, high-scoring Napa Cab blend from a producer that got on my good side by quoting Spinal Tap on its website [Editor’s note: quoting Spinal Tap is always welcome, and will get you a smile, but not necessarily a high rating!].

Anyway, to quote Spinal Tap myself, enough of my yappin’ – let’s boogie!

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A Malbec Three-Way (Or “This Bud’s No Longer For You!”)

Vinted on September 22, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, wine review

Ok, It’s (probably) not what you’re thinking.

What I wanted to do today was highlight the versatility of Argentine Malbec – not just because it’s capable of delivering more than the tongue-coating, savory inkiness of a dry red that we’re used to, but also because I’m kind of all-Malbeced-out from my South American jaunt, and so if I’m gonna cover Malbec it’s gonna need to be a little creative.

Not that creative… look, you really need to get your mind out of the gutter, alright? It’s not even the weekend for krissakes!

So… I grabbed three Argentine Malbecs made in three totally different styles from the ever-expanding and totally-over-run-with-cardboard-boxes sample pool known as my basement, and we hit the grill for some BQ goodness to match up with it all.

My tasting experiment wasn’t without its slight disappointments, but it did yield a crowd-pleasing “sleeper” of a dessert wine – one that happens to deliver a serious amount of bang-for-the-buck, and also even more serious amounts of the “gee-I didn’t-know-they-made-this-kind-of-stuff” factor.  More on that in a minute (or two).

As I suspect is the case with many three-ways, ours started with imbibing some bubbly

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