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Little Sister Is Serious (Wallis Family Estate’s New Parker-Friendly Cab Release)

Vinted on January 27, 2010 binned in California wine, wine review

This may be the first time that anyone has compared a high-end inaugural Napa Cabernet with a creepy video game. Probably because no one has been quite foolhardy cavalier enough to try it before, right?

The wine in question is a sample of Wallis Family Estate’s “Little Sister” Cabernet Sauvignon, which is seeing its first release with the bottling of the 2006 vintage; only 300 cases were made.  Wallis produces a (much) more expensive Diamond Mountain District Cab, hence the “Little Sister” moniker for the new release, a lower-priced (but still pretty expensive at $40) version that shares estate fruit with fruit from the wider Napa Valley.

And it was the “Little Sister” moniker that got me free-associating with the creepy video game.

The game in question is the award-winning Bioshock, which I stopped playing because, well, it’s creepy. The game is beautifully rendered, and the play is fantastic, but… it was just so damn serious.

Let’s see, for those unfamiliar with the plot of Bioshock, this ain’t gonna be easy…

Bioshock takes place in the 1960s in an enclosed underwater world called Rapture where society has completely broken down. The survivors of Rapture are genetically-enhanced, murderous psychopaths who are addicted to the substances that allow them to control their genetic powers.  Spooky school-aged girls called (wait for it…) Little Sisters (with sea slugs embedded in their stomachs – yeah, I know, just go with it) roam the halls of the underwater world, protected by huge, explosives-tossing zombies in antique dive suits, wielding large needles which they (this is the Little Sisters now, not the huge dive suit guys) use to extract the genetic super-substance from any dead psychopaths they come across.  Whew.

I told you it was creepy!

Anyway…

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Carrot-Top Elegance: The Inaugural Releases of Rossi-Wallace

Vinted on January 19, 2010 binned in California wine, wine review

I should just cut to the chase and tell you that the first releases from Rossi-Wallace border on beguiling, and that you should buy them now if you can, especially given their limited production.

But that’s just downright boring, right?  So, I feel obligated to kind of, you know, spruce it all up a bit.

I’ve been sitting on samples of the inaugural releases of Rossi-Wallace’s 2007 Napa Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for months – well, not literally sitting on them, of course, just quietly ignoring them in my cellar… ah, you get the idea…

I suppose that’s a sad commentary of just how behind I am in tasting samples.  A sadder commentary still is that I wasn’t already familiar with Rossi-Wallace’s winemaking team, despite the fact that  Ric Forman and Cheryl Emmolo have been involved in Napa wine in some way/shape/form for 40+ years.

Clearly, their time and experience have been very, very well-spent.

Rossi-Wallace’s namesake is a clever combination of the names of Forman’s and Emmolo’s red-headed mothers – just so you don’t confuse this post’s Carrot-top-reference in the title (we’re NOT talking about the comedian who seems hell-bent on trying to become a  Thundercats’ Liono look-alike wearing a tuxedo).

I could regurgitate the information on their website and press materials about the care and techniques they brought to bear on the first releases of their new label, but you’re smart folks and you can read all of that yourselves.  The bottom line is that if you like your Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to have the in-your-face, indelible stamp of modern, bombastic California winemaking, then these are NOT the wines for you…

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Wine Ratings on 1WineDude.com: The Aftermath

Vinted on January 14, 2010 binned in about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine review

I love you people – you sure have some intelligent opinions!

My open discussion on whether or not 1WineDude.com should implement a rating system for its wine reviews generated just a teeny bit of discussion… as in over 70 comments worth of discussion!

There was a poll as well, for those who prefer to have their say without commenting. 

The results?

The poll ended up over 60% favoring the addition of ratings (see the previous post for an explanation of how those ratings would work). 

The comments had a slight majority in favor, with the remaining roughly comments falling into the following groups (in descending order of responses):

  • It’s your blog, do whatever you want.
  • I don’t like ratings but I’ll forgive you if you use them.
  • Please, please, please do NOT do this.

Despite the fact that the majority of responses to the wine rating question were in favor, the mix of poll results and comments didn’t strike me as the type of majority that implies a Dick-Cheney-style voting “clear mandate of the people.”  I’m not sure it feels right.

So what am I gonna do?

Well… I’m gonna compromise

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Marlborough’s 2009 Vintage, The Artists’ Lounge, and a Chance to Win a Kiwi Vacation

Vinted on January 12, 2010 binned in giveaways, wine review

Given that the Southern Hemisphere, whose “reversed” seasons give their winemakers a leg up on vintage releases, already have 2009s hitting the wine store shelves, it’s not too early to call the 2009 vintage for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc a strong one.

I won’t go so far to protest 2009 as excellent for all of New Zealand, because I’ve simply not tasted enough ‘Kiwi’ wine (yet) to make a determination, but I can say that the `09 Marlborough SBs that have made their way into my sample bins have, for the most part, been very good and in some cases excellent.

Case in point is the 09 Drylands Sauvignon Blanc, which is absolutely screaming with passion fruit goodness and a quality finish that is much longer than I’d have expected at a price point under $15.  The QPR on that wine is just roof-busting.

Anyway, it seems that every big wine brand has some sort of social network initiative popping up these days, and New Zealand is no exception – Kim Crawford, who produce a few very good Marlborough wines, has recently jumped into the social networking game in a unique way with their Artists’ Lounge concept.  The interesting thing about the Artists’ Lounge is that Kim Crawford actually has four artists in residence as part of the community – a poet, a songwriter, a painter, and a photographer.  So if you’re into art and NZ wine, Artists’ Lounge might be a cool place for you.

If you’re into winning trips to NZ, then Artists’ Lounge might also be a cool place for you – from now through the week of January 18, members of the Lounge have a chance to win a trip to New Zealand by posting ideas for artistic inspiration in the member forums – the winning entries are chosen by the resident artists, who will create new art works based on the winning entries.

That seems like a pretty cool idea for a contest (and there are worse prizes than visiting the land where Lord of The Rings was filmed!).

More details available here: http://theartistslounge.clmclient.com/contest.php.

Got thoughts on the 2009 NZ wines, the land of Kiwi, or the Artists’ Lounge?  Let’s hear ‘em!

Cheers!

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