Posts Filed Under wine review

Zen Wine: 1971 J.J. Prüm And The Greatest Of Wine’s Gifts Outside The Glass

Vinted on March 22, 2011 binned in german wine, wine review, zen wine

Doug Cook, founder of the amazing wine search engine AbleGrape, is smart guy. A really smart guy; as in, instantly-doubles-the-IQ-of-the-room-when-he-walks-in-no-matter-how-many-people-are-there smart.  His intelligence level is matched only by his largesse, especially when it comes to sharing wines from his extensive and impressive cellar.

That generosity was on full display at the recent Pro Wine Writers Symposium in Napa, when Doug busted-out some vinous gems at one of the post-post-prandial (PPP?), informal gatherings (a.k.a., after-after-parties), the most brilliant and multi-faceted of which was a wine whose existence on Earth slightly predates my own, a 1971 J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese from the Mosel.

The wine was, in a word, amazing: honey, flowers, orange rind, nuts, beeswax (yes, I actually know what that smells / tastes like, not because I’m a beekeeper – though I think beekeepers totally rock – but because I play didgeridoo, which uses beeswax as a mouthpiece); basically, a delicate and pure example of everything that Mosel Riesling stands for and to which the best examples should aspire. Alder Yarrow, who was with me at the PPP, summed up the sensory experience of that wine recently on Vinogrpahy.com so I won’t repeat it here.  By the way, it was fun to watch a normally poised Alder about lose his sh*t over some of those wines.

Anyway, what I do want to talk about here is why the wine was so glorious – and what was in the bottle is only partly responsible for that…

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Perspectives On The Vintage Perspective Tasting 2011 (or “My Skirmish With Napa Valley Pinot Noir”)

Vinted on March 1, 2011 binned in California wine, wine industry events, wine review

Into the valley of Napa
Rode the six hundred (ok, maybe a few less than that)
Pinot to right of them,
Pinot to left of them,
Pinot in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell…

- with sincere apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In case the title of today’s article lacks clarity for some of you (presumably the wildly hungover among you), I should note that Napa Valley Pinot Noir and I seem to have come to a… disagreement.

Which is a shame, really, because NV PN, though never svelte, has several qualities that make it potentially likable company. Velvety mouthfeel.  Bright red fruit.  Heft that can be attractive when balanced with the right levels of food-friendly acidity.

But make no mistake about it, NV PN has mistreated me.  My tongue might actually have bruises from the most recent fisticuffs between us.

Last week, the 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa Valley wrapped up with a blind perspective tasting of three vintages (2007 through 2009) of both Napa Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs at the Rudd Center of the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.  Since we had little over an hour to blind-taste our way through numbered beakers of samples of each of the three vintages from multiple wineries, I chose what I thought would be the more interesting route: skip the Cabs (ample samples of those back in the dancing waters of Philly, after all) and instead face off against the samples of Pinots (less of those anyway, 24 wines in all – 3 vintages from eight different wineries).  The wines were a finalist list culled down from 100+ submissions back in December by members of the Vintage Perspective Tasting jury.

Anyway – go for the Pinot, maybe learn something new. Expand the horizons.  Get out of the comfort zone. Can’t hurt, right?

Wrong.  Turns out blind-tasting those NV Pinots was, for me, the sensory equivalent of taking a knife to a gun fight.  I have since crawled shamefully back into the safety of my comfort zone, tending my wounds and muttering unintelligibly in pain.  You win, Napa Pinots.  Please don’t hurt me again

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Heavenly Cab, Kingly Nectar And Royal Bubbly

Vinted on February 24, 2011 binned in holidays, kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Ok, so after all my talk of Valentine’s Day and the unauthentic splurges it generates like so many embers from a fire of burning love letters after a bitter break-up, I thought I’d go the total hypocrite route and (finally) detail the samples I cracked open with Mrs. Dudette on V-Day.  So sue me.  Whatever.

NV Bollinger Brut Rosé Champagne ($100)

I’m going to ignore Bollinger’s PR push to promote their affiliation to the royal family in the UK (who have awarded Bollinger with the Royal Warrant since 1884, and which is now reached a fever-pitch of hype with the recent royal engagement), because I now find the whole thing too annoying, in stark contrast to this very sexy but possibly-overpriced sparkler. It’s predominantly Pinot Noir, with the Chardonnay and Pinot Munier playing more supporting roles, and the results are quite Pinot-ish as you’d expect, with the initial impressions being tart cherry fruit and a sizeable mouthfeel despite a relatively modest 12% abv. This might explain why it got low-90s scores from most of the established wine mags, who might have been too quick to pronounce judgment – it takes a good 45 minutes in the glass for the Bollinger Brut Rose to open up, but when it does you will get some incredible baked red apple coming at you, and a great match for appetizers of almost any stripe.

More after the jump…

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