Posts Filed Under wine review

Wine Blogging Wednesday 75: The “Single’s Night” Wrap-Up!

Vinted on April 5, 2012 binned in wine blogging, wine blogging wednesday, wine review

And you’d thought I’d forgotten all about wrapping up WBW75, didn’t you?

By all accounts Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, the theme of which was “Single’s Night” and focused on the wine blog-o-world choosing and reviewing (on the same day) single vineyard designate wines, was a big success and I want to personally thank everyone who contributed their time, thoughts, energy and wines into making it such a fun time!

Special thanks also to WBW organizers Tim Elliott and Lenn Thompson for letting me unleash on WBW yet again. I think I had them a little nervous when I “crowd-sourced” the theme ahead of time, but we all survived.

After the jump you’ll find a list of all of the WBW75 entries that appeared in comments here, or over at the main WBW website, or on twitter or Facebook the day of the event.

I’m not not reviewing wines this week with badges, etc., in lieu of showcasing all of the other reviews that were a part of this great event. Here’s to the WBW75 contributors, and to many, many more WBW events to come!…

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The Greatest California Vineyard You Don’t Know About (Communing – And Drinking! – With Old Souls In Lodi)

Vinted on March 27, 2012 binned in elegant wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Well, you may actually know about it, but that would certainly put you in better shape than I was when my friend and sommelier legend Randy Caparoso kidnapped me from Premiere Napa Valley in February, insisting that I spend some time in Lodi to see some down-home, old school wine farming.

What I wasn’t entirely prepared for was just how old that old school was going to be.

As in, going on 126 years old, old. Think about that the next time you read the words “old vines” printed on a wine label; you know, right before you think “well, hell, I know some really old vines, suckah!.

What Randy insisted on showing me first was Lodi’s Bechthold Vineyard, nestled in the Mokelumne River area and home of Cinsault vines planted in 1886 on their own roots (on which they remain, thanks to sandy soils and a deep root system preventing the vine-killer phylloxera from picking them off) by German immigrant Joseph Spenker; the place has been continuously dry-farmed – and family-owned – ever since.

And the place is nothing short of magical, if you’re a real wine geek. Because older souls you are not likely to encounter in California, unless your house is haunted or you live among the redwoods. And when you’re done reading this, you hopefully won’t wonder why I went ga-ga over the Single Vineyard concept for WBW75 (and be thirsting for some Cinsault, or Lodi wine, at least)…

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Out Of Time: Peeling Back The Layers On Corison The Wine, And Corison The Matriarch

Vinted on March 22, 2012 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

The best way to introduce you to Cathy Corison, I think, is by telling you what happened when I said goodbye to her.

I was making my way out of her Route 29 winery building in St. Helena, having just wrapped up a short bit of video for Wines.com with the diminutive (even by my modest vertical viewpoint), soft-spoken, but not-to-be-trifled with winemaker (example: during a retrospective tasting over lunch, one of the things she told me was “the word ‘No’ is, in fact, a complete sentence”). We seemed to be waiting for the least-awkward moment, an opening for my exit (if that makes sense), when Cathy began… gardening.

She semi-nervously began picking out dead plants from a colorful bunch of small flowers planted atop barrels in the entranceway to the winery. I am familiar with this sort of habitual behavior, tidying up, constantly feeling as though you have to do something; she didn’t know it but I silently bonded with a small part of her psyche at that moment. Since I can’t stand even nanoseconds of silence, I stoked up a lead-in to a goodbye conversation.

“See you tomorrow at Premiere?” I asked.

“No, I won’t be pouring,” she answered, then stopped tending the flowers and looked up at me, squinting in the sun through her schoolmarm glasses. “Galloni is coming to taste tomorrow.”

That’s Antonio Galloni, who has taken over the CA wine reviewing beat from Robert Parker at The Wine Advocate. To briefly summarize why that might have gotten Cathy into flower-weeding mode, I’ll refer you to this statement from NYC’s California Wine Merchants: “Robert Parker has not published ratings on [Corison’s] wines since 1995, and really never awarded them with scores above the low 90s anyway.”

“Oh,” I said. “Does that make you nervous?”

“Do you know my history with Robert Parker scores?” she countered.

“Cathy… I don’t really know anybody’s history with anyone’s scores” I replied.

“Well, bless you for that!”

And so it goes with Corison, both a matriarch and a wine that, when you start peeling back some of the layers, reveal a series of contrasts: a winemaker not courting high scores but hosting critics and garnering a boatload of acclaim; an anachronistic woman making anachronistic wine, one that is produced in modern ways but with nods to the ancient past (the artistic busted-pottery artwork adorning the labels wasn’t put there without some forethought, I gathered); and someone who came into winemaking “old school” but now is totally killing it with her customers on twitter (more of that coming up soon on the Wines.com blog) and recently hired wine media maven Hardy Wallace

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