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An Average Wine Dude vs. Chateau d’Yquem

Vinted on September 2, 2009 binned in wine review

“…like a Viennese waltz in my mouth…”

Thus read the words of CellarTracker.com member Kdawg, in his (her?) New Year’s Eve 2007 tasting note of a 1995 Château d’Yquem.  For those who don’t yet know about CellarTracker, it’s a veritable institution in the on-line wine world, offering on-line wine management and community tasting notes.  I mention this only because the community tasting notes on CellarTracker.com are widely regarded as being notoriously tough in their wine ratings (which are offered on the 100 point scoring scale). 

So it’s somewhat remarkable that the tasting notes available on CellarTracker.com for the `95 d’Yquem average a score of 94.45 (excepting an outlying blank anonymously submitted score of a 50 – including that would bring the average down to a 93).  The highest score offered was a 99/100.  Any way you slice the numbers, it amounts to praise of the highest order when it comes to the annals of CellarTracker.

At a Whole Foods wine bar in Virginia, I recently had an opportunity to try a glass of the `95 d’Yquem.  How was it?  Well, it was pretty f—king good.  More on that in a minute or two.  Or three.

Of course, it wouldn’t be 1WineDude article without a twist, and the sand-in-the-condom of this potential vintage d’Yquem advertisement is this:

If you paid $150 for a 375ml bottle, aren’t you predisposed to say that it’s great?  How much economic investment causes so much emotional investment that it clouds your judgment?  Could a hefty price tag perpetuate the hype of a wine’s awesomeness?…

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Southern Hospitality? (Sampling VA’s Loudoun County Wineries)

Vinted on August 24, 2009 binned in commentary, on the road, wine review

Virginia, as the marketing slogan goes, is for Lovers.

VA may soon be for wine lovers, especially if you’re fond of Old World style  Cabernet Franc.

VA is not necessarily for wine writers, however.

Those are the tidbits of knowledge that I came away with anyway, after touring a handful of Loudoun County wineries with a group of other bloggers, sponsored by Reston Limousine.

To be fair, before I start making pronouncements on the state of wine in D.C.’s wine country – and I will make pronouncements about D.C.’s wine country, of course – my tour visited only a handful of wineries in the Harmony Cluster.  While it’s situated in close proximity to D.C. and Reston, Loudoun County gets particularly rural particularly quickly, and if you’re planning on a tour of the area’s wineries you could hardly do better than to hire someone else to navigate the narrow, twisting, unpaved roads between wineries, which I imagine would be harrowing to navigate in poor weather, darkness, or when you’re hammered.  Not that you’d do that, right?  Right?!??

I did come away quite impressed with Reston Limo, who sponsored our trip and offer public tours of the area’s wine trail.  Our driver was big enough to have been on NFL offensive lineman, and thankfully was quite funny, approachable, and talented (he possesses a very good singing voice, and is able to create – I am not making this up – cursive renditions of your name created from a piece of twisted wire).  So I came away from the tour fairly impressed by Reston Limousine.

The Loudoun country wineries, on the other hand, did not all impress me…

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Do You Care About Wines You (Probably) Can’t Have?

Vinted on August 5, 2009 binned in twitter, wine products, wine review

Damn my over-processing brain.

I was going to write about two wines that I tasted last week while I was in in Napa & Sonoma for the Wine Bloggers Conference… technically I was actually (sweltering) in Tacoma when I tasted them, but I received the wines in Napa & Sonoma…

Anyway, I was going to write about these wines when my ever-processing, never-lets-me-rest brain decided to switch it up on me.  Now, it turns out I’m writing about not getting these wines. Or, writing about writing about not getting these wines.  This will all clear up in a minute or two.  I think.

The wines in question are C. Donatiello’s Rose, and the new 2006 release of Prime Cellars’s Cab.  Both of them are very, very good wines, the kind of wines that I want to get to know and want others to get to know – small production, interesting, made by up-and-coming, passionate winemakers who are tweaking things, trying to find the right balance and improving their wines early on with every vintage.

The thing is, I’ve been wondering if I should write about these wines.

Because chances are that you can’t get them…

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Ambiguously Gay Marketing, French Bocce, & a CA 2nd Label (Sampling Pétanque)

Vinted on June 18, 2009 binned in wine review

I liked Mike Brunson almost immediately.

When I met the Michel-Schlumberger winemaker, it was a brilliantly sunny and warm October day in Sonoma, and the Michel-Schlumberger estate was certainly living up to its reputation in terms of gorgeous places to visit in Dry Creek Valley.

Mike seemed pretty down to earth for someone who was making a go at creating ‘prestige cuvee’ style wines that retail for $50+ a bottle.  He certainly knew the estate property like the back of his hand, and was clearly committed to understanding every aspect of biodynamic wine grape cultivation.

What sealed the deal for me, though, was when we started chatting about the winery’s dog.

“You can learn a lot about somebody from how they treat dogs,” he said.  “That and whether or not they like Reggae.”

As far as I was concerned, truer words have rarely been spoken.

Of course, it helps that Michel-Schlumberger pumps out some really tasty (though pricey) wine, and that my visit will forever be etched into the ‘happy-place’ recesses of my memory, not because of the beauty of the grounds (which were stunning), but because lunch consisted of the tastiest portion of pork shoulder that has ever crossed my lips.  It was the kind of pork that I imagine would be served to carnivores in heaven.

So what does this have to do with French Bocce, or ambiguously gay marketing?

A lot, actually….

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