Posts Filed Under wine review

Get Lucky On Valentine’s Day With… Chianti? (Vigne delle Conchiglie Riserva 2008)

Vinted on February 14, 2013 binned in holidays, sexy wines, wine review

So… it’s Valentine’s Day… 8AM ET on that day, when this post will first hit the virtual airwaves…

Are you sick enough of all of the bubbly and pink wine recommendations to want to rip off your own skull yet? My strong suspicion is “Yes” [ Editor’s Note: please do NOT rip off your own skull ].

Around this time every year, we get bombarded with coverage of V-Day wine picks, mostly spurred on by PR types pushing sparkling and pink (and, preferably to them, sparkling-that-is-pink) wine recommendations for their clients. I love pink, and I love bubbly, and I love pink bubbly – but right now, I don’t even want to look at a bottle of pink sparkling wine. Hey, it’s okay to call me a contrarian, because I am, in fact, a contrarian.

And so it’s with a nod to my contrarian streak that I offer you a wine recommendation based not on the pink-or-bubbly-or-better-yet-pink-and-bubbly annual publicity onslaught, but rather based on evidence suggested by statistical data. My guess is that my take stands a better chance of actually getting you a happy ending to your romantic evening, given the following deemed-important-by-no-one-but-me tidbits:

a) It’s based on real world evidence and not a press release liberally sprinkled with the words “romantic,” “special,” and “pink,”

b) I write for Playboy.com, which superficially links me to sexiness and so maybe makes me slightly more qualified to pronounce upon a wine’s sexiness (okay, that’s a stretch…), and

So if you at least agree that statistical data is potentially better than press releases, you can safely ignore the tongue in cheek b) justification above, and read on about increasing the chances of getting your tongue in someone else’s cheek tonight…

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

Vinted on February 7, 2013 binned in 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 binned in 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 binned in 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.” 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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