Posts Filed Under wine review

Blast From A Cult Winemaker’s Past: Buehler Vineyards 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon

Vinted on January 16, 2012 binned in California wine, wine review

In the world of winemakers, Heidi Peterson Barrett is a household name, and not just because she shares a last name with her husband, who founded the only winery that can rightfully claim to be a full-fledged movie star.

That Heidi Barrett is a household name, a winemaker’s winemaker, can be attributed to two words: Screaming Eagle – Napa’s Cult Cab among Cult Cabs, manifest in concentrated style, produced in small quantities and regularly fetching over $1000 per bottle.

Those slugging back bottles of SE in the comfort of the temperature-controlled cellars inside their custom yachts probably don’t know that Heidi Barrett landed her first head winemaking job back in 1983, when at the young age of 25 (now that I’m nearly forty, I can call 25-year-olds “young”) she was hired by St Helena’s Buehler Vineyards (for more on Buehler, check out my interview with owner John Buehler’s daughter Helen, who now looks after their Social Media and Sales).

So when I was invited to talk shop over lunch by long-time wine biz veteran (and very nice guy) Bob Trimble, I was intrigued by the selection he picked to help us wash down our meal – Buehler’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from 1985 – since it was not only a glimpse into Napa Cab’s past, and into Buehler’s past, but also an opportunity to turn back the clock on Barrett’s (now storied, but then just promising) career

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On Demand Reviews: Dashe Cellars Recent Releases

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

Today… well, today is all about downtown Oakland’s vinous urban success story, Dashe Cellars – because YOU demanded it.

Well, technically not YOU exactly, unless you’re Martin Dredmond. Martin was one of two winners of the 1WD ZAP 2012 Zinfandel Festival tickets giveaway, in which the ticket winners also determined which Zinfandels I would be reviewing next.

And if you are Martin Dredmond, I owe you a bit of an apology, because I was unable to get my hands on your exact Zin review choice, husband and wife winemaking team Michael and Anne Dashe’s Les Enfants Terribles McFadden Farm Zin. But I did manage to get my hands on samples of four of Dashe’s other (low-production) wines, two of them being (very, very good) Zins – which I am gonna consider close-enough-for-government-work and declare my review debt paid in full (and which I think is more than fair, since Martin picked a Zin made in quantities under 200 cases a year!).

Anyway, Dashe Cellars itself is an interesting case regardless of ZAP ticket connections: Michael Dashe cut his wine teeth at CA’s Ridge, Bordeaux’s Lafite-Rothschild and New Zeland’s Cloudy Bay (I wonder what his frequent flier miles totals look like…), and Brittany-native Anne studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux, going on to work at Chateau La Dominique and Chappellet. There’s something like forty years of wine-related experience between the two of them, which doesn’t explain why they settled to place a winery just off of Jack London Square in Oakland, but does help explain why their wines are so damn… tasty…

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A Tawny Bargain And A Tawdry Pecan Pie

Vinted on January 9, 2012 binned in overachiever wines, wine review

Occasionally, I actually agree with Robert Parker’s reviews.

Yes, really.

Such as in this case, when it comes to a 10 Year Tawny Port to which RMP Jr. dolled out 94 points, in sharp contrast to many other long-established critical voices who deigned to bestow it a high-80s score, probably because it retails for $33 (and usually less) for a 500 ml bottle.

And at over $25 a bottle, it’s a total bargain.

Yes, really.

This is a Tawny to which you need to devote some time, because it takes a good long while for it to totally unfurl (disrobe?) in your glass, after which it’s gorgeous to behold; gorgeous enough that it’s nearly as good as 30 Year Tawnies I’ve had which cost nearly three time as much.

So, yeah, I’d call that a bargain, even at a price tag over $25.

In another example of extreme positive wine pairing serendipity, I reached into the sample pool and grabbed the Churchills 10 Year Tawny Port on a whim over the holidays, in the hopes that it would match well with pecan pie.

This wine rocked the shizz out of that pecan pie. This wine owned the pecan pie. Hell, this wine is a pecan pie – toasted nuts, sweet dried fruits, spices, a slight sherried note and beautiful balance…

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