Posts Filed Under wine review

#ChampagneDay And… Cookies?? (A Tale Of One Not-So-Epic Pairing)

Vinted on November 3, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, wine products, wine review

I need to preface this tale of a (somewhat-failed) experiment by telling you (aside from the normal disclosure that I received all of the products as samples for possible review) that I have nothing against massive on-line tasting events like the recent #ChampagneDay (or its also recent big-brother #CabernetDay).

I’ve got a long history (since Day One, actually) with, who kind of started the whole kumbaya-peace-love-and-Marsha-Brady-let’s-all-taste-together-on-line thang in the first place, after all.  And I love the communal aspect, and the conviviality, that are at the heart of those tasting events.

It’s just that it doesn’t feel as though Champagne or Cabernet Sauvignon need their own tasting days. I mean, from a brand-recognition standpoint, these wines are like Pepsi or the Chicago Bulls.  It’s not like no one’s ever heard of them, or never drinks the stuff, or that they have pricing issues on the high end.

So I’m kind of waiting for the underdog wine tasting day on twitter, myself (#BonardaDay, anyone?) before I get too excited about these grape-themed events.

But the twitter peeps were a persistent bunch, asking me (many times) about participating in #ChampagneDay last week, so eventually I caved into the pressure… of wanting Champagne to pair with take-out sushi for dinner that night (which is a f*cking EPIC food-and-wine pairing, by the way). Because I am a slave to the evil twin drives of surprise and novelty, and because I know my place in the Roberts household (lower on the totem pole than my daughter, but slightly higher than my dog… I think), I decided to to pop open the bubbly and pair it with… samples of cookies specifically designed (or, at least, specifically marketed!) to pair with Sparkling wine.

The results? Not-so-Epic…

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Reverse Cowboy Psychology: Christian Tietje Cracks The Mourvedre Code At Paso’s Cypher Winery

Vinted on October 27, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

Spending an hour of so over lunch with Cypher Winery’s self-proclaimed “Winemaker, Troublemaker, and Firestarter” Christian Tietje is a bit like experiencing a small vinous indoor dust devil. In the wake of this whirling dervish of a man, you are left with remnants of well-crafted comfort food, open bottles and empty, stained glasses strewn about, and a lingering sense of bewilderment at the bold (some might say egotistical) pronouncements such as “yeah man, this is totally gonna be a 95, 96-point wine when the press gets a hold of it.”

Yeah, man – and this article is totally gonna win me some James Beard awards, you know, after they judges all wise up and stuff.

My whirlwind tour through Christian’s wines took place last week at Paso Robles’ Farmstand 46, a restaurant partnership between Tom Fundaro and the owners of Four Vines WineryChristian is probably best-known as the principal winemaker behind Four Vines’ high-octane, high-scoring releases. But his new venture, Cypher, has Tietje stretching out a bit and – dare we say it – maturing.  Certainly the single varietal Cypher bottlings have a lot of promise, which you’d probably expect from a talented winemaking team – but what you might not expect is that they also display a good deal of craftsmanship and… restraint

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High And Dry: Making Sweet Vin Santo (Wine) Love In Chianti

Vinted on October 20, 2011 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

So… remember that little bottle of Vin Santo that I lugged back from Castello di Volpaia (with a not-insignificant amount of help from the VinniBag) during my post-Summer vacation in Tuscany?

Well, it remembers you.

Ok, not really – that would be pretty spooky, wouldn’t it?  Like that goldfish in the bowl that was tormenting the kid in that South Park episode.

Anyway, as the weather in the Mid-Atlantic turns towards the cooler side, my vinous thoughts start to move away from Soaves of the world and towards the luscious, viscous, warming spectrum of dessert-style wines. And so I thought that a quick review of the wine that accompanied my long journey back to the States – and a recap of its production from my tour at Volpaia – might serve as an interesting introduction into how the (usually) sweet Tuscan wine Vin Santo is made.

Hang onto your sweet teeth, and let’s take a peek inside this Tuscan attic…

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