Posts Filed Under wine review

You Will *Learn* Patience (Tasting The 2016 Port Vintage)

Vinted on May 30, 2018 binned in on the road, wine review

2016 Vintage Port NYC

I recently received the kind of media invite that one doesn’t turn down, unless one doesn’t have a choice: join a bunch of wine peeps in NYC to taste through a preview of the new 2016 Port vintage, led by representatives from several of the major Port houses. Uhm… yeah, we are definitely going to that. We also tasted some quite older vintages of Port, about which I plan to tell you later, in the hopes that – like all good Port lovers – you can learnt o exercise a wee bit of patience. Also, I’m kind of a dick sometimes.

Regarding the 2016 vintage in Porto: after a seemingly endless string of vintage Port declarations in the 2000s, 2016 marks the first time in a handful of years (since 2011) that a vintage there was deemed worthy enough for a vintage to be declared. The theme, as you will see from my tasting notes of about fifteen (!) of the upcoming releases, is a sense of balance, in which both power and finesse are on display. The vintage was marked by a wet Spring, which was actually needed due to drought conditions from 2015, followed by a hot Summer. The result was a year marked by low yields; in other words, allocations are gonna be tight.

To get a deeper sense of the 2016 vintage, I also include for your listening enjoyment a brief interview that I did with Rupert Symington (part of the family that makes/owns revered Port brands Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s, Warre’s, and Quinta do Vesúvio), who gave me his thoughts on the first Port vintage in five-or-so years, why we mere mortals need to be both patient and maybe even a little selfless when it comes to buying a wine that takes decades to fully develop, and what he imbibes when he’s not drinking Port.

It’ll make for decent listening as you peruse the (rather longish) list of my foray into 2016 Port land…

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An “Unplugged” Spanish Quartet (Acustic Cellar Recent Releases)

Vinted on May 16, 2018 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, sexy wines, wine review

Acústic old vines 1

Albert Jané knows how to work a wine media crowd.

Albert Jané

Acústic’s Albert Jané, who is *not* actually pretending to play bongos on an old barrel

If you want to quickly win over such a group of wine geeks and influencers, you would have had access to a minor clinic in such powers of persuasion had you tagged along during my recent media tour visit to Jané’s Acústic Cellar, in the Montsant town of Marçà.

The script went something like this:

Take them to your gorgeous vineyard, replete with panoramic views of the mountainous Catalan countryside; show off your small two hectare lot of 40- to 80-year-old bush-trained Garnatxa and Samsó (a.k.a. Carignan) vines; say things like “the best barrel is the one you don’t taste,” and “the best winemakers here are the vineyards;” and gleefully pour your vinous wares, which happen to be excellent. Oh, and also serve delicious Spanish cheese.

Anyway…

Jané describes his wines as “unplugged” (hence the yeah-yeah-I-get-it cleverness of his company moniker), and it’s a fitting term for a winemaking style that seeks to showcase the concentrated, small clusters/berries of the organic fruit that Acústic’s old vines produce. Jané’s approach is relatively old school, favoring hand-harvesting and minimal oak treatment; which seems fitting, considering that his grandfather was a winemaker, his cellar is an old textile factory, and much of the exclusively indigenous vines in his vineyard were planted in the 1930s. Here’s a look at the latest quartet playing the Acústic Cellars tune…

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The Almost-Full Monty (Montefalco Sagrantino Anteprima 2014)

Vinted on May 9, 2018 binned in Italian Wine, on the road, wine review
Sagrantino anteprima 2014

Another day at the “office”

Back in February, I spent a handful of days in the charmingly-imposing Italian town of Montefalco, as the U.S. media guest attending the anteprima showing of Sagrantino’s somewhat-troubled 2014 vintage.

Sagrantino anteprima 2014 2Generally, the way that these things work is that we press-types get to sit around in beautiful locales tasting (and pontificating upon) the latest – and usually not-so-latest – vintages of a region, when we’re not attending dinners or visiting nearby producers, I mean. Just another day at the office…

After highlighting a handful of producers from that visit, I thought that I would wrap up the Sagrantino-related coverage here by sharing some of what I found to be among the more interesting wines that I encountered on that anteprima trip. Some of these wines will, in true 1WD form, be nigh-impossible to find, though most won’t; but think of this less as the brain-dump of tasting notes that it is, and more of an enthusiastic recommendation of some of Montefalco’s best producers.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have what feels like ten billion wines to tell you about; and so, let’s get it started in here while the base keep runnin’ runnin’, and runnin’ runnin’…

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What We Drank When My Kid Hit Double Digits (Tasting 2008 Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling)

Vinted on April 18, 2018 binned in elegant wines, wine review

LKR Spiderman bday

NV Piper-Heidsieck Brut Oscars ChampagneFor my daughter’s birthday, generally I host a fairly large party; while there is a theme (Spider-Man this year – see inset pic – because my kiddo is awesome), and while there are plenty of kids (usually about a third of the 20-30 guests), it’s not a kiddo party per se. It’s just an old-school neighborhood gathering that happens to be hosting a good number of children.

There are some fun things for the kids, but the adults get treats, too; in this case, usually wine from whatever magnums I have lying around the sample pool (the last few years, including this one, have featured the special Oscars magnum release of the perennially delicious NV Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne). So usually the adults are in good spirits at this shindig, despite the fact that there might be ten or so kids throwing foam airplane party favors at their heads. And, No, the kiddos don’t get to have any of the wine (I’m selfish that way).

Anyway, I also often (but not always) break out a birth year wine (my daughter’s birth year, mind you, not mine) if I happen to have one on hand. And this year’s selection happened to tick both the Magnum and Birth Year boxes…

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