Posts Filed Under wine review

Nickel & Nickel Provides More Than A Dime’s Worth In Unexpected Napa Valley Cabernet Terroir Masterclass

Vinted on July 17, 2012 binned in on the road, wine appreciation, wine review

One of the ancillary benefits of being hosted at Auction Napa Valley are the winery-sponsored dinners that take place during the evenings preceding the big auction event.The food is usually fantastic, the wine is flowing (often a bit too) freely, and it’s hard to beat the locations.

For example, when I attended a few weeks ago, I joined bidders on one evening at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville for dinner and wines provided by Ma(i)sonry and Blackbird Vineyards owner Michael Polenske (where I finally met Blackbird’s winemaker Aaron Pott, whose humorous personality matches exactly what’s been described in the media published about him over the last few years).

The dinners aren’t exactly my scene – the people, food, and beverages are all top-notch, don’t get me wrong, but I’m nowhere near fitting the ascot-wearing-rich-white-guy mold, and while most of the guests are affable, welcoming, and only fit that mold peripherally, I still feel mostly out of place at those things.

So when I showed up for the second dinner on my itinerary, at Nickel & Nickel in Rutherford, I expected to feel the odd-man-out (which I did) but to be welcomed warmly (which I was, by proprietress Beth Nickel), and to be served over-the-top steakhouse food, probably in the cellar (which we were).

What I didn’t expect, though, was to get a sort of masterclass in Napa Valley Cabernet terroir.

Which I did

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The Southern Hemisphere’s Best Chardonnay? (Tasting Leeuwin Art Series 2005)

Vinted on July 12, 2012 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

I know what a lot of you geeky-geeks (I use that as a term of endearment, by the way!) are already thinking after reading the title:

Dude, WTF?!? What about Yarra Yering?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.

Here’s the thing about Yarra Yering for me: that Chardonnay is the Moriarity to my Holmes; while I recognize it’s brilliance, I find it a deeply, funkily flawed wine. Yarra Yering posses a quality of greatness, for sure, but I simply cannot drink the stuff. I cannot get past the oddness of that combination (and this is coming from a guy who loves odd combinations). I feel as though I got into a (losing) fistfight with that wine.

And so maybe there’s too much personal bias coming to bear here, but Yarra Yering is not in the running for my vote on top Southern Hemisphere Chard. But on my recent sponsored jaunt to Western Australia, I did find a Chardonnay that has my current vote for top bragging rights in that department (for what hat’s worth), specifically south of Perth and a short hop inland from where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, at Leeuwin Estate

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Summer In The Bag: Putting Alternative Wine Packaging To The Cooler Test

Vinted on July 4, 2012 binned in holidays, wine review

In what has become an annual tradition within a tradition (which I suppose makes it some sort of Postmodern meta-tradition?), I’ve once again used my band’s appearance at the annual Summer Solstice music festival as an excuse to sneak in some “work.”

The work, such as it is, involves grabbing samples of wine in alternative packaging (bag-in-box, pouches, tetra-pack cartons, etc.), throwing them in a cooler, and sampling them the way that normal people do for wines built for on-the-go drinking; namely, drinking those wines under the bright sun, straight out of the cooler and poured into plastic cups and glasses, on the lawn, with picnic fare.

Seemed a perfect match for the 4th of July, anyway! Wish I could scream “queue the fireworks!” but by-and-large the wines I tried are best described as more capable than cause for celebration. The look on my face in the inset pic (taken by our singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Liberace) can be used as a short-hand version of how I felt overall about this year’s alt packaging round up…

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