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Posts Filed Under wine review

Of Spouses, Samples and 92-Point Flawed Wines

Vinted on December 14, 2009 under California wine, commentary, wine review

What do you do when you and your spouse / significant other /favorite pet / whatever find yourselves double-booked for holiday party engagements?

If you’re me and Mrs. Dudette, you declare defeat, play holiday party hooky and instead grab three bottles from the samples stash and go out for a “date night” dinner alone to reconnect.  That’s what we decided to do last Friday evening (with apologies to anyone involved in the two holiday parties that we ditched – it’s nothing personal), and the time away from the holiday hustle & bustle allowed me to make a few reflective observations about the more recent ‘state of things.’

For instance: reconnecting with your spouse isn’t simply a matter of having great food and really good wines – though those two thing help immensely in the process.

But you’re not here for the Dude familial matters, you’re here for the wine, right?  Well, I made some reflections on that stuff, too:

  • Napa has gone almost ‘all-in’ when it comes to wine blogs, and is sending more and more stellar, low-production wines our way – another big change from 12 months ago.  I say “almost” because the cultiest of the cults are probably not going to divert any stock away from the allocation to the world’s yacht-owners to spare a bottle or two for me.
  • South-African wine has really, really impressed me lately, and this is the first year that I can remember not having any wines from South Africa that I didn’t like. Which, upon reflection after 12 months of tasting is really a bit remarkable.
  • From what I can discern, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator might have given 92 points to a flawed wine.

Let’s address each of these tidbits apiece, shall we?…

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Taste NY: Finger Lakes Riesling Showdown and a Question of Price

Vinted on December 9, 2009 under wine review, wine tasting

Earlier this week, my wife and I had the pleasure of dining with fellow wine-geek and wine-blogger David McDuff and his wife at the center of my Asian-fusion culinary universe, Teikoku.

Aside from generally enjoying each other’s collective company, our get-together had another purpose, which was to (finally, yes, finally) sample some of the wines sent to us via fellow wine-geek and wine-blogger (and fellow currently-suffering-Steelers-fan) Lenn Thompson as part of the Taste NY program.  On deck were six NY Finger Lakes Rieslings, all from different producers, to be evaluated in the only real way that Rieslings can be truly evaluated – in the company of excellent food.  The wines:

David consistently offers up amazing tasting notes and wine evaluations on his blog, and this event was no exception – earlier this week he posted his thoughts on the six sample bottles that we tasted.  His notes are lucid and entertaining, and he nailed our collective perceptions of the wines that night (the only change I’d make to his observations would be in my personal order of preference, which would have put the Dr. Frank dead last because I’ve had previous vintages of this wine that were excellent, and thus my disappointment level on tasting the `07 was quite high).

What David didn’t mention in his write-up was that he’d kindly brought along a different Riesling for comparison.  Not from the Finger Lakes, at $18 that mystery wine was priced at the lower end of he spectrum of the NY wines on our evaluation list that evening, and it had me rethinking the entire QPR proposition of FLX Rieslings…

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First Things First (Inaugural Releases From Prime and Black Cloud)

Vinted on December 2, 2009 under wine review

One of the perks of wine blogging is that you have no editor.  Actually, you do have an editor, it’s just that the editor is often the same person as the principal writer, reporter, photographer, website designer, webmaster, and tech support person.  Of course, not having an editor is also a curse, but that’s fodder for another post (my editor just told me that I won’t have enough space in this article to cover the topic that he and I are actually the same person).

Anyway… the perk is that I get to chose the topics – and wines – about which I write.  Occasionally, things work out and the wines that you (more or less) randomly select from the stockpile of wine samples turn out to be especially enjoyable, or especially interesting, or especially positive portents of things to come.  Or,when you’re really lucky, all three.  [ Also, I get to go on a tirade about the term “brambly” if I want to (more on that later). ]

My first post-Thanksgiving raid of the sample shipments had me pair up two such promising triple-player wine ‘firsts’: Prime Cellars’ first Napa white wine offering, and the first-ever offering of any kind from Canada’s Black Cloud (in this case, Pinot Noir).

To be totally honest, those wines were actually serving triple-duty: 1) subjects for 1WineDude.com review, 2) food-friendly wine pairings for my wife’s herb-roasted chicken, and 3) lubrication to help me not completely lose my mind as I tried to assemble a wooden toy kitchen playset for my daughter.

Missions accomplished…

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What We Drank When I Got Fired

Vinted on November 19, 2009 under wine review

Technically, I wasn’t fired, I was laid off.  Also, it won’t happen for another 14 months. And I wanted to get laid off so that I could collect a really nice severance package and take a sabbatical for a few months after it was all over, de-stress, and pursue the wine angle full-time for a little bit.

The strange part about it is that if I’d agreed to relocate I would still have a very lucrative job at the same company – but after 13+ years, I’ve basically had enough of that high-stress corporate environment (making a very long story very short).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m having some doubts. Did I do the right thing?  Is the economy gonna pick back up?  Can I make any real money doing this wine stuff?

You know, the standard stuff: Man doesn’t like shore; Man leaves shore; Man loses sight of shore; Man practically pees himself for losing sight of the shore.

So, let’s just agree that the title was a total bait-and-switch deal and move on, ok?

As odd as it sounds, this was an occasion to celebrate, cholesterol numbers be damned.  So we celebrated at Dude Central, to the tune of six bottles of wine (we did not finish them), all of them from the sample pool with the exception of the first wine (which was one from Mrs. Dudette’s personal stash and predates our marriage).

At this point you probably (and understandably) care more about what we drank than about my future, so let’s get cracking…

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