Posts Filed Under wine review

Stop Hating On Pinotage, Already

Vinted on January 19, 2012 binned in best of, commentary, overachiever wines, wine review

Seriously. Stop hating on Pinotage.

Why? Because there’s nothing “wrong” with it.

I am here today to tell you that Pinotage is not bad; it is simply different. And if you don’t like this oft-maligned but more-oft-misunderstood South African cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut, that’s your prerogative. Just stop drinking it and shut about it, already, then. I mean, Pinotage has some high-profile wine critics who are haters right now – for Pete’s sake, Lettie Teague expresses disdain for it on her friggin’ homepage.

Yes, the worst of them (Pinotages, I mean, not wine critics) smell too much like overly-aged smoked meat wrapped in bananas and dipped into a vat of acetone that’s being bioled over a tire fire. I fully acknowledge that, okay?

But riddle me this, Wine Man: what bargain-basement version of any variety doesn’t have its fair share of sh*tty-tasting bottlings? Ever had really bad Cab? Terrible Pinot? Of course you have. Pinotage is no different than any other fine wine grape (yes, I meant to put the “fine” part in there), in that bad fruit in incapable winemaking hands results in a terrible wine, overemphasizing the worst qualities of any grape. It just so happens that Pinotage has more ammunition with which to work than most in the off-odors department.

That doesn’t mean that Pinotage cannot be beguiling when the right fruit gets into the right winemaking hands. It just means that there’s a little more of a deft balancing act to be attained when dealing with Pinotage.

But I know it can be done, and done well, because I’ve tasted some first-hand…

Read the rest of this stuff »




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

Read the rest of this stuff »




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…

Read the rest of this stuff »




The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com