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Putting the OLD in Old Vine Zinfandel (Tasting Wellington Vineyards)

Vinted on February 22, 2010 binned in wine review

When it’s cold outside, as it has been the last few weeks in the Mid-Atlantic, one craves a wine that is… warming, big, bold.  When there’s a blizzard, as there was in the Mid-Atlantic not too long ago, one doesn’t reach for Orvieto; one reaches for something, well, just… obnoxious.

Bone-warming wine calls for dark color, big fruit, and – most of all – hot toddy levels of booze (at least).  So naturally, one raids the zinfandel area of the sample bin. At least, that’s what one does when one is 1WineDude and one has my sample bins.

What came out, though, was actually not a sample but a bottle of 2004 Zinfandel wine I’d purchased myself for $50 in Sonoma a couple of years ago, from Wellington Vineyards.

At 15.5% abv, it certainly fit the bill for “potentially obnoxious” but what really pulled me in was the fact that when the vines whose fruit eventually produced this wine were planted, St. John’s in Newfoundland was on fire, St. Petersburg was incorporated in Florida, Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States, and a new small company called General Electric was founded.

The year was 1892.

Now that is some old vine ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel…

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Men Should Not Wear Cowboy Hats, and A Vision of Thomas Keller as A Psychopath (Tasting Rocca Vineyards Cab)

Vinted on February 9, 2010 binned in California wine, wine review

I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.

Men should not wear cowboy hats.  Well, most men shouldn’t wear cowboy hats.

They’re not cool.  Cowboy hats look cool on approximately 0.002% of the U.S. population, and most of those are women, so sorry guys – chances are you are not in that population subset.

As evidence, I submit two photos from the Rocca Family Vineyards website.  As is evident in the following examples, Patrick Swayze-style hair appears infinitely cooler than covering that same hair underneath a cowboy hat:

There is wine involved in this, of course – happily, Rocca Cabernet, from Napa’s Yountville area, is a darn sight tastier than Rocca’s cowboy hat-sportin’ fashion sense…

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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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