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

Vinted on December 2, 2009 binned in 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 binned in 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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Change Agents: More Wines You (Probably) Can’t Have

Vinted on November 5, 2009 binned in wine review

Today, we’re going to talk about more wines that you (probably) can’t get your wine-lovin’ hands on.  And I know that you want to hear about them, because you told me so.

I’m going to start by saying that I wasn’t totally blown away by these wines (received as samples), but I love, love the concept behind them.  I also love that their website includes streaming reggae music, and liberal use of the word “surfeit .”  But, as will come as no surprise to frequent 1WineDude.com readers, I digress…

The first, and the more impressive, of the wines hails from the sandy loam Margarita vineyard site in Paso Robles’ southwest – Martellotto’s 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s pleasant, with decent balance, clocks in at a relatively restrained 13.5% abv, is farmed sustainably, and is spot-on priced at $18.  Interestingly, it’s the 5% Syrah component that really stands out for me on this wine (there’s 10% Merlot as well), which rounds out the finish with red fruit and peppery, dried herbs.

So why can’t you have any?  Well, you can, but only if you buy through Big Hammer Wines.  Oh, yeah, and there were only 34 barrels made of the stuff.

Although not quite as interesting as the Martellotto Cab, the next wine (also selling for about $18) definitely has a more interesting story

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Turkey Talk: A Run-In with Pavo Wines

Vinted on September 17, 2009 binned in California wine, wine review

I know what you’re thinking:

Man, I really hope that today’s 1WineDude post somehow combines the Acura Integra, InfoTech department payroll practices, farm animals, Lord of the Rings, marijuana, and estate-grown California Syrah!

What can I say? Who loves ya, baby?!?

On second thought, I might have painted myself into a serious blogging corner here… let’s just push on and see how all of this pans out, shall we?

You see, Pavo Wines Syrah is not my first run-in with a wild turkey (though this wine is no “turkey” – more on that in a minute or two; or three).  No, not that Wild Turkey, either.  No, what I’m talking about are the large and sometimes colorful birds that tend to roam on farmland across much of North America.

A little over 10 years ago, I was speeding through the backroads of southeastern PA on my way to work, just after dawn on a gorgeous morning, zipping through twisting, winding roads that bisected local farms.  When I say “speeding” I mean speeding.  As in, the kind of speeding that not only breaks local traffic laws, it borders on violating county moral and ethical standards as well.  I was flirting with being late for work, and at that time my InfoTech day job had a punch-card policy – we ‘clocked-in’ for work just like anyone else on the site (which consisted mostly of factory floor workers). This policy managed to promote a few interesting behaviors, like creating a feeling of equity among the entire site staff, and also allowed the company to offer a ‘punctuality bonus’ if you showed up on time (which is a nice way of saying that if you are late, you’ll be docked a percentage of that day’s pay).  In my case, it helped create unsafe roadways, since I was hell-bent that day on not missing out on some pay, if you catch my drift.

Hugging the road, I had but one stretch of farmland to cross before I’d be out of the woods (literally and figuratively).  I took the final turn (blind, of course, as most of these turns are in PA) on the bisecting lane at ridiculous speed, steering for the apex and finding directly in front of me, just as I cleared the corner, two very large and very unsuspecting wild turkeys, making their leisurely way across the road.  They couldn’t have been more directly in front of my oncoming road hazard.

SCREEEEEECH went the brakes.  The car stopped so suddenly, and jerked forward so roughly, that I wasn’t sure if I’d hit anything or not.  I peeked over the steering wheel.  Nothing.  A pregnant moment passed that couldn’t have been more than a few seconds but felt like a lifetime.  A head appeared above the windshield.  A turkey head.  It was bobbing, clearly perturbed, offering up a “Beeatch – I’m gonna f—k you UP!” look, but it was a head that was otherwise unharmed.  I leaned forward and saw its mate follow suit, but she appeared less agitated at the whole affair.  They couldn’t have been more than 16 inches in front of my car.

To recap: that’s the Acura, IT payroll, and farm animals. Now, it’s time to talk about the wine (yeah, yeah, and Lord of the Rings – I didn’t forget); a wine that takes its logo from a wild turkey, and like a turkey is tasty, colorful, and dense (just not that meaning of dense)…

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