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Posts Filed Under wine review

What We Drank With My Wine Searcher Signature Dish (Monteverro And Kracher Recent Releases)

Vinted on January 30, 2014 binned in about 1winedude blog, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

A few weeks ago, Wine Searcher asked to interview me for their “Signature Dish” series, in which wine personality type folks share a favorite meal along with potential wine pairings.

Now, I’m not the cook at 1WD HQ, at least not much past heating up dino nuggets for the little Dudelette. That role falls to the lovely Mrs. Dudette, who I described in the W-S interview as “a talented amateur chef” (which is basically the same thing as saying that she’s a very, very good cook, but isn’t trained or employed as a chef, but sounds much cooler; among her 700 or so cookbooks, she has one in which the author is described as “a Paris-based food creative,” which I guess sounds better than “unemployed author writing about food while living in France”).

Around here, I just pair things up on the wine front. So we have the dual blessings of often eating and drinking very, very well, to the point where it’s getting difficult for us to eat out and find food that Mrs. Dudette can’t rival on her own in our kitchen (yes, this is a great First World style problem to have, alright?).

You can read the recipe for her roast chicken – which I call “The Poor Man’s Feast” because, aside from the baguette and the whole chicken, you can grow almost all of the rest of the ingredients yourself in your garden – over at Wine-Searcher.com. I should note that W-S, at one point, gave my old Playboy.com gig a run for its money in the number of near-naked bodies they had on display next to or near photos of my ugly mug (see inset pic).

With a precocious and ludicrously active five year old around the house, we rarely have time for the slow-roasted version of that Poor Man’s Feast recipe, so I usually break out one of three options for that meal: a rich Chardonnay that also has acidic verve (though sometimes these don’t come cheap!); a cool-climate Syrah (such as…); or, most commonly, Cru Beaujolais (I really, really need more Cru Beauj. in my life, generally).

But with Snow-mageddon Janus bearing down on us when we (meaning, she) next cooked up our PMF, I decided to go big, just to see if the dish could hold up to something a bit more… powerful from the sample pool…

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Paving The Off-The-Beaten Southern California Wine Path (Four Brix Recent Releases)

Vinted on January 16, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

Depending on who you are, California’s Ventura County will spark up a number of mental images: beach stay-cations; Tony Stark’s mansion; a place to refill the gas tank en route to wine country in Northern California.

But there are a host of urban wineries (now numbering over a dozen) that are attempting to carve out a wine trail in Ventura, buoyed by the success of kosher powerhouse Herzog and critical darling The Ojai Vineyard, and sourcing grapes from their more famous Northern Cali cousin regions.

I’ll be talking more about all of this in a feature (I’ve yet to write…!) for PalatePress.com, based on press trip I took to the region last year. The short version of the tale is that I admired the gumption of those urban, bootstrapped wineries, most of which have been established by former hobbyists who went totally off the deep end and graduated their production into rented winemaking spaces, tasting rooms, and in some cases full-time gigs (can’t say they’re not courageous…).

Has Ventura arrived, wine-speaking? Not yet. Are they doing better than we ought to reasonably expect from such a ragtag group of independent upstarts? Yeah. Mini-reviews will be coming forthwith,  but a brief highlight of some of my faves is up now at Answers.com.  More of that trip will be put to light in the prospective Palate Press piece (only with less consonance… probably…).

Anyway, one of those upstart standouts is Four Brix Winery, a play on the U.S. grape ripeness measurement, and the number in the name represents four of the wine regions that got the founding partners (the Noonan, Simonsgaard and Stewart families) into this whole wine mess in the first place: Spain, Italy, France, and (naturally) California. If you find that a bit kitschy, just wait until you see how they name their wines…

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Remember That Time It Got *Really* Cold? And We Had That $500 Cognac? (Frapin Extra Grand Champagne Cognac)

Vinted on January 9, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

While you’re reading this, most of the U.S. will have just crawled out from under some of the most bitter winter cold to hit the country in over a decade. Not so much cold that gets into your bones so much as cold that gets into your soul, the kind of cold that embitters otherwise cheerful people towards life itself. This is Chill, With Extreme Prejudice.

I mention this “so frosty, this blows” scenario as contextual backdrop, because I couldn’t find a wine to match it in the sample pool. I had to turn to spirits to get my insides even close to a state resembling warmth.

Spirits are an appropriate choice, I think, for weather that cares not whether you live or die. And that’s because spirits aren’t drinks that care, either.

Really, if you try to imaginatively personify anything over 20% alcohol by volume, you come up with something that really doesn’t give a rat’s tookus what you think about it. When you get to 80-proof distilled spirits, you’re entering the honey-badger-don’t-give-a-f*ck territory of drinks.

“I’m not sure I like it,” my wife told me when we cracked open the most gaudily impressive sample of cognac that I had on hand, Frapin’s Extra Grande Champagne “Premier Cru” Cognac. “It makes me make ‘a face’,” she quipped, scrunching up her nose. “That’s okay,” I answered, “don’t feel bad, it doesn’t give a damn what you think about it…”

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Anatomy Of A Twitter Wine Tasting Homerun (2011 Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria)

Vinted on December 26, 2013 binned in sexy wines, wine review

Back on December 18th, 2013, a Sicilian dessert wine made from dried Zibibbo (aka Muscat of Alexandria) ruled the wine twitter world for an hour.

Think about that for a minute. A $40 half-bottle of sweet wine. Of Zibibbo. From Sicily.

I recently wrote up the top five most mentioned wines online in 2013, and Sicilian dessert wine was… uhm… not anywhere near that list… nor in the top twenty… I’m guessing it wasn’t in the top 600

As good as the wine is (and it’s great – more on that in a few minutes), I was skeptical after I received Donnafugata’s invitation to join their twitter tasting of the then newest Ben Ryé Passito release. First of all, after last week’s top ten Most Interesting Wines 2013 roundup (the 2008 Ben Ryé made the cut), how much more publicity did they need from me? And there was no structure whatsoever to the tasting, which isn’t typical of most simultaneous twitter tasting gatherings; usually, there are more than one wine to taste, someone sets the order, and those with the wine (mine was received as a sample for the event) are paced through the tasting by a leader, who fields questions snet via twitter to winery representatives, sometimes with video involved. This Donnafugata tasting had none of that. Until the day of the tasting, they hadn’t even announced a hashtag to use for summarizing all of the tweets involved.

But… I wanted to try the wine, had a free hour that evening, and it was being spearheaded by a friend of mine, Master of Wine candidate and indefatigable wine promoter Luiz Alberto. And so I figured, what the hell, let’s do it. I was unprepared for the outpouring of love that Ben Ryé received. Let’s take a look at the numbers, ‘cause they don’t lie…

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