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Wine Review | 1 Wine Dude - Page 52

Posts Filed Under wine review

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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Have Bottle, Will Gag (Reviewing Etching Expressions Custom Wine Gifts)

Vinted on June 17, 2009 binned in wine products, wine review

UPDATE: Etching Expressions contacted me in the Summer of 2012 to indicate that they offer a lot more wine choices now than what was chosen to fill the sample bottle sent to me when I penned this review back in 2009. From the looks of those choices (and the pretty reasonable prices at which some are offered), it’s probably worth taking a second gander at the options.

A little while ago (ok, well, probably longer than that… I’ve been busy…) I took part in a promotion to sample a bottle from a company called Etching Expressions.

Etching Expressions offers an interesting gift idea: customized bottles of wine (prices starting around $65), where your customization is actually etched into the wine bottle glass itself, making for a possible conversation-starting keepsake after the vino inside is long gone.

Etching Expressions sent me a bottle of what I think is their house Cabernet, inside of a very cool bottle that sported an etched version of my “Wine Rules” T-shirt logo.  In terms of the bottle, I was mightily impressed – the etching job is top-notch (not that I’m a glassworks expert, but it wasn’t flawed in any noticeable way), and it looked very, very cool.  There’s no question that this sort of gift is going to get tongues flapping at a dinner party.

As for the wine itself… here’s how my sample was described on the Etching Expressions website:

California Blended Cabernet Sauvignon: A little tannin in the nose, along with plum and berry. A dash of vanilla? The taste is light for a Cab, but has a nice balance between fruit and tannin.

The wine wasn’t flawed in any noticeable way, unless you’d categorize being unbelievably bad to the point of undrinkable to be a flaw.  For me, there was no question that this sort of wine is going to get tongues flapping at a dinner party – as in gagging-flapping.

This was one of those rare moments when I actually hesitated after smelling the wine, uncertain as to whether or not I should even let it hit my palate. In terms of what I can tell you about the wine without using expletives, “thin & acerbic” comes to mind.  So unless you want to seriously piss off your friends, family, boss, etc., you’d do well to pick one of the brand name selections and avoid the house wine options if you’re considering going with an etched bottle of wine as a gift option.

Cheers!

(images: 1WineDude)

One Wino’s Inspiration (Wine Blogging Wednesday #57)

Vinted on May 13, 2009 binned in wine blogging wednesday, wine review

I need to go on record right now that I hate Jeff Lefevere*.

Why do I hate Jeff…  Well, for one, he has the best-looking wine blog in all of the blog-o-world.  If his blog design were a person, it would be Warren Beatty, and it would walk around with a smile and a demure but slightly aloof stance, confident that your wife would do him in a heartbeat and not even think twice about you or your kids, because he’s just that cool.

He (I mean Jeff, not the personified Beatty-esque incarnation of Jeff’s blog) is also a phenomenally talented writer; his prose puts the writing on the majority of wine blogs (including some of those penned by professional writers) to shame.

So, there’s jealousy,  That’s clearly one reason.

Also, I don’t understand at all his Vin de Napkin comics, and it pisses me off that I’m possibly too dumb to appreciate them.

I guess that’s also jealously?

Anyway, after today, Jeff pissed me off even more because he’s managed to host the only Wine Blogging Wednesday topic that has completely stumped me (I’m not usually at a loss for words… like, ever…).  The theme is “California Inspiration,” which Jeff intended to be a homage to the late and inspirational CA wine icon Robert Mondavi, as this week marks the first anniversary of Mondavi’s passing.

The idea is that we should recount a moment of inspiration, a story centering around a specific wine.

Jeff… you magnificent bastard… you have stumped me.  Why?  Because while capturing the essence of a fleeting inspirational moment in time might be a talented trained journalist’s idea of a writing warm-up exercise, it’s a bear of an activity for hacks like me.

Curse you, Lefevere!  May the fleas of one thousand camels infest your armpits!!!

* – Note: I don’t actually hate Jeff Lefevere.  In fact, he is an extremely nice guy with whom I had the pleasure of hanging out during the first Wine Bloggers Conference.  I’m just stalling because I don’t have a wittier intro.

Wait. I take that back.  I actually do have a story.  So, I need to go on record right now that I no longer hate Jeff Lefevere.

 

My Story

You know, if it weren’t for two winemakers, and two specific wines, I might not be writing to you right now. 

A few months ago (circa September 2008), I had contemplated giving up wine blogging entirely.  I loved writing, and I loved wine.  But I wasn’t sure that wine blogging was going to be viable for me.  I had a full-time career at a big CPG company.  My wife was pregnant.  I loved playing in the band, and didn’t see myself curtailing those activities or short-changing my family in the battle for my non-work time.  I was pretty sure that wine blogging was going to have to go (it wasn’t exactly paying the bills, either).

There were new wine blogs cropping up pretty much every week.  It was a crowded field, and while the majority of those that I’d met who were involved with wine were amazing people, there were enough ‘bad apples’ gunnin’ for me that I felt a little… battle weary.

Then, I got contacted by the staff at Opus One and Penns Woods wineries – two of the finest purveyors of red wine on both coasts – to tour their wineries.  Why did they ask me to do this?  Because of my writing on 1WineDude.  The results of those visits sparked something in my pea-sized, alcohol-wizened brain.  “I’m just some punk kid from Delaware – what the hell was I doing talking to these amazing winemaking teams?  Holy crap, I’d better take this thing more seriously.”

After getting uber-wine-geeky with Opus One’s Michael Silacci and Penns Woods’ Gino Razzi, I recounted the experiences in the virtual pages of 1WineDude, and put their wines head to head in a blind tasting.  Links to the resulting posts are below, and they remain some of my favorites, probably because they convinced me not to hang up the wine bloggin’ spurs:

Since that time, 1WineDude has seen steady and progressive modest success, whether you measure it in terms of income, traffic, subscribers, or – best of all – in the number of readers, bloggers, industry folk, and winemakers that I consider to be friends.  If I’d given up last year, I’d have missed out on a crazy amount of life-expanding and enriching experiences.  Finding the right balance between family, career, music, and wine is a constant struggle for me – but the rewards on all fronts are worth the effort.

So in my case, we have a sort of minor tragedy turned into a sort of minor victory.  Thanks to two wines.  Sort of.

Cheers!

(images: sacbee.com, 1WineDude)

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