Posts Filed Under wine review

Ma(i)n Of La Mancha (Airén It Out With The World’s Most-Planted Grape)

Vinted on April 17, 2012 binned in overachiever wines, wine review

In Spain’s La Mancha winegrowing region, there is a saying (and no, it’s not “Don Quixote slept here,” though that’s a reasonable guess):

“Nueve meses de invierno y tres meses de infierno.”

Which means, “nine months of Winter, and three months of hell.”

This is how the locals describe the climate of La Mancha, where it can go as low as 10F in the coldest months, and in the low 100sF in the hottest. Rainfall is ridiculously scant in the region (about 14 inches per year), and so vines are planted on average about eight feet from one another in order to maximize the amount of that scarce resource that does manage to hit the ground.

The result of such low planting density is that La Mancha has nearly half a million hectares under vine, making it not just the largest winegrowing area in Spain, but the largest winegrowing area worldwide.

And the grape that lays claim to the majority of that space?

Meet the lowly Airén – a white wine grape that most folks know nothing about, but which, by far, dominates the statistic (trivia alert!) of most-planted grape (in terms of  area under vine) in the world

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A Champion Is Crowned: The 2012 1WD Petite Sirah Taste-Off Finals

Vinted on April 12, 2012 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

In a thrilling, tightly-fought contest, the 2009 Frank Family Vineyards SJ Vineyard Reserve Petite Sirah was crowned Champion of the 2012 1WineDude.com Petite Sirah Taste-Off tournament, edging out its Napa neighbor rival in the finals, the 2007 Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah.

The contest was widely dubbed “The Slapper Down In Napa” by the press, since both finalists hailed from California’s Napa Valley winemaking region.

“Wow… just… wow!” Frank Family’s violet aromas told reporters when asked about its game MVP award-winning performance during the bought. “You know, we were favored, but a lot of people maybe thought that we were too big, that the tannins and alcohol would hog the ball… but we played like a team today!” the MVP remarked as it choked back tears of joy.

Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah had been a meaty, deep and demanding wine throughout the tournament, widely agreed that it lived up to its $40 SRP ranking, and garnering a reputation as the “George Foreman” of the field of sixteen: stocky, focused and powerful.

But it wasn’t enough against the highly-ranked, slightly-favored Frank Family Vineyards PS. Punishing and also powerful – and, at times, criticized as being too flamboyant for its own good – the 2009 Frank Family displayed depth and poise and prettiness in the final round, to augment its power-forward tannin-and-grip game. Like Ali or Michael Jordan, it was just fun to watch it do its thing – and see it win it all.

Both wines insisted that that they’d be going right back to work on the current vintage.

“Win or now win, vines gotta be pruned, and eventually grapes gotta get picked – and crushed,” Frank Family Vineyards PS told reporters at the close of their post-championship press conference.

No stops in Disneyland for these two stalwarts; only a momentary pause to contemplate and appreciate a fleeting moment (or two) of glory…

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The 2012 1WD CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off, Part Deux

Vinted on April 11, 2012 binned in wine review

Today continues the focus this week on The 2012 1WineDude.com CA Petite Sirah Taste-Off, reporting on the results of the second and third rounds of the single-elimination, sixteen-bottle tourney. Click here for background on the bizarre genesis of this thing, and the results of the first round (if you missed it, please read it, because the rest of this isn’t gonna make a whole lot of sense until you do).

I’m not going to lie, after round one I was starting to regret picking Petite Sirah as the variety of choice for this tasting experiment. Mostly because I looked like something from The Black Lagoon, with purple hands, purple fingernails, purple lips, purple tongue, purple teeth.

On second thought, make that The Purple Lagoon… Anyway…

If we take price-point as a rough equivalent of potential “ranking”  (in terms of being a hint of a wine’s complexity and overall quality, which we all know it isn’t but ought to be, in Perfect World) then the first round of our tourney provided no real upsets, though did produce some close battles that wouldn’t have been suggested by the differences in SRPs between the contenders.

I found that surprising, because I was convinced there would be an upset at some point. And the second round of bouts, thankfully, didn’t let me down. Following are the results of Rounds Two and Three…

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