Posts Filed Under wine review
Today marks the 67th (!) edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, and I’m honored to be hosting the event again.
For those playing along at home, the gist of WBW is that it brings together multiple people across the wine blog-o-world to review wines on the same date based on a unifying theme. For #67, we chose “Seeing Red For The First Time” as the clarion call of united wine geekiness (a.k.a., “the theme”). Here’s how this shin-dig goes down:
To participate, you’ll need to pick a red wine that you would use to introduce a white wine drinker to red wines for the first time. Think of a person that only ever drinks white wine, and answer the question: What Red Wine would I use to convince that white-wine-only person that they should also drink reds?
Include a review of the wine, and be sure to tell us why you chose that style of wine, or that wine in particular (or both).
A potentially challenging but fun theme, I hope – and I can’t wait to see what you’ve all come up with to try to tempt white-only drinkers over to the Darker Side, so to speak.
My choice, of course, was picked out quite some time ago since I had some advanced notice of the theme, but I had a trickier time than I’d expected in fulfilling my WBW duties. In fact, while I wouldn’t call my attempt a total failure, I’m pretty sure it ain’t a total success, either.
But before we get into the wine itself (which was not a media sample this time), let me unravel for you the tapestry of my logic on this puppy…
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At the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium (yeah, I know… that topic again?!??), the Napa Valley Vintners (a non-profit trade organization that promotes its members wines and the region as a wine powerhouse generally) hooked us (the attendees) up with wines produced by their various association members. A couple of random bottles of what-have-you in the SWAG bag, basically (I think mine contained a Cakebread Cab and Lieff Cab as well).
At one of the “Postprandial Hospitality” (read: “after-party”) tastings, a few attendees noticed a slew of goodie bags stacked in the corner of the room. They were, apparently, extras, and we were encouraged to grab wines out of them as samples if we liked.
I used it as an opportunity to rummage for labels that I hadn’t had opportunity to taste yet – which is becoming more difficult for me when it comes to California wine – and managed to find a few intriguing bottles. One of which was a wine named FOURTEEN from 13 Appellations.
Clever, I thought, probably mixes juice from all of the Napa AVAs. Then it was back to the madness of the Symposium and Premier Napa Valley. FOURTEEN was relegated to a bag, then a box, then to the OAK airport luggage system and the belly of at least two different Southwest airplanes before being shelved unscathed into my basement.
Of course, I’m late to the party (as usual) and it turns out that 13 Appellations has been doing this since 2002, dedicating the wine to the late husband of one of their partners, Kristi Seitz of Brookdale Vineyards. Leave it to me to casually bump into a budding Napa Valley institution, as it were.
Whatever, I was just lookin’ for some tasty juice, alright?!??
Anyway… After retrieving the bottle of FOURTEEN several days later from its temporary cellar banishment, I became much more intrigued about the concept of this wine. After all, this is something that could bring together some of the best aspects of Napa’s diverse soil and temperature profiles; or it could be something that tries so hard to be everything that it ends up being a nothing; instead of transmitting a sense of all Napa places, it might convey a sense of being from nowhere in particular.
So, which is it? How is this wine?…
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I recently took part in a fun experiment, in which a group of wine bloggers were sent four Austrian Gruner Veltliner wines to face-off against one another in a head-to-head tasting.
The event was billed The Grü V Olympics, the idea being that each blogger scored the wines according to a predefined system with points awarded for color, clarity, aroma, and so on. The culmination of all of the scoring across all of the wine blogger judges would then result in the declaration of a ‘gold medal’ winner.
I dig Gruner Veltliner, because it’s capable of startling complexity in its aromas and often includes spice, citrus and exotic vegetable notes. But I really dig Gruner because it pairs extremely well with the large and complicated salads that so many U.S. restaurants serve as entrees these days. Too bad most of those same establishments almost never carry Gruner on their wine lists…
Anyway, like all gold medal style competitions, the Grü V Olympics results should be taken with a grain of salt, because the field was limited in both the wine and judge selections. I should note that none of the wines in the Grü V Olympics really floated my palate boat, but my fave of the bunch did make ‘gold’ in this case. Having said that, there are definitely better Gruners to be had out there, though the gold medal winner here will treat you well enough and is a good introduction to what the variety has to offer.
You can check out the official Grü V Olympics results here.
Actually, let’s take those in reverse order.
Here’s the deal – I have a love/hate affair with organic wines. I love the fact that they’re organic and environmentally-friendly; I hate many of the wines because they’re not any good.
And I’m convinced that enough wine consumers have reached a similar conclusion that they actually avoid buying wines labeled as Organic, which is why many good wines that could be labeled as officially organic don’t bother to mention this on their labels (see Alder Yarrow’s take on the subject of Organic wine labeling).
It’s not all organic wines that suck, and there are many excellent, premium wines that farm organically or biodynamically. But the extreme cases have a loooooong way to go before they will appeal to the average consumer.
Take Stellar Organics for example. Amazing things they’re doing for the environment and their community. BUT… they make a line of ‘No Sulfites Added’ wines (essentially, the only sulfites in the wines are those produced naturally in the winemaking process), and the samples I tried of those wines just aren’t very good. To the mini-review tape:…
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