Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 22, 2016

Vinted on August 22, 2016 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 14 Ernest The Settler Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Only thing you're "settling" for here is low abv; basically, you're in great shape. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • NV H.M Borges 5 Years Old Reserve Medium Dry Madeira (Madeira): Dried fruits, but not dry humor; in fact, this guy's overtly friendly $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV H.M Borges 15 Years Old Verdelho Madeira (Madeira): Fresh, long, & with more tension than the Reservoir Dogs finale, pre-shooting $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 57 Henriques & Henriques Bual Vintage Madeira (Madeira): The dual-purpose wood polish & bravery-inducing war elixir of the Old Gods. $310 A >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Priest Ranch Grenache Blanc (Napa Valley): Some oddities just ought to be – and thankfully for us, are – diligently pursued. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Quinta de la Rosa L Rosa Reserva (Douro): That juicy dark fruit front? It's disguising the kick-ass, complex battlements behind. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc (Loire Valley): Woman wearing elegant perfume & a wool coat, eating white peaches in the rain. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Spice and Earth royalty, preceded by boisterous red fruited fanfare. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Bella Grace Vineyards Vermentino (Shenandoah Valley of California): It's Italy, by way of a clever Shenandoah culinary short-cut $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Spell Wines Nichole's Blend Pinot Noir (Sonoma County): Consider Nichole a tour guide for Sonoma County's vibrant PN bounty. $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
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Rocks & Riesling Proves That Rangen Riesling Rocks

Vinted on August 17, 2016 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine industry events, wine review

Rocks & Riesling 2016

So… we were talking about Riesling Rendezvous 2016, before we were so rudely interrupted by about a week of “real life.”

RR 2016 provides some concurrent sessions, during which you can listen about and, usually, taste wines from particular Riesling-producing regions. I happened to get signed up for what was called “Rocks & Riesling: Exploring Alsace’s Diverse Terroirs” with the entertaining and informative Thierry Fritsch, head oenologist and chief wine educator with Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vines d’Alsace (or CIVA).

Rocks & riesling slide

Courtesy of Wines of Alsace

Fritsch walked us through twelve wines from across most of the narrow expanse of Alsace, and did so expertly and humorously. I found his slide attempting to match Riesling wine attributes with particular Alsatian soils quite useful (see inset pic).

But I’m not here to talk about any of that, because this is, well, me. I’m only going to focus on one of Alsace’s Grand Cru terroirs, and only two wines. Because those two wines convinced me that when it comes to Alsatian Riesling, I don’t know what the hell I am doing; I am a mere babe crawling his way out of Rangen Riesling-soaked diapers, my friends…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 15, 2016

Vinted on August 15, 2016 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • NV Zonin Black Edition Prosecco (Veneto): What does a smidgen of Pinot Noir give you? The little black dress of budget-minded bubbles $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Zonin White Edition Prosecco (Veneto): Fragrant as a white flower, crisp as an apple, and chock full of some simple pleasures. $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • NV Zonin Grey Edition Prosecco (Veneto): If you're grey, you won't be so for long, provided you've got cheese & this smooth character. $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay (Napa Valley): Sports car action; power, smooth handling, sleek looks, and indulgence. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Domaine Latour-Giraud Meursault Les Narvaux (Cote de Beaune): Undecided, compelling wrestling match between verve and richness. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Edge Hill Bacigalupi Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Somebody's channeling Burgundy. Sucessfully $100 A >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley): The plum, wood spice & earth certainly aren't being buried in this boisterous one $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Vrignaud Fourchaume Chablis Premier Cru (Chablis): Complexity takes a break; vivacity & drinkability, however, do not. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Nicholas Jay Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): A Grammy-Award-nomination-caliber debut performance, & you'll want to dance to it. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Reserve (Carneros): A tense, cheeky, polite intellectual discussion between pear and brioche. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
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Seaside Rendezvous, Part Deux (Highlights From Riesling Rendezvous 2016)

Riesling Rendezvous seaside

Seaside rendezvous, anyone?

I, along with three or four other people (ok, it’s not that bad, it just feels that bad), profess to love Riesling, so much so that I actually purchase it with my own hard-earned cash. So I’m not the kind of wine writer to turn down a media invite to the Seattle-hosted Riesling Rendezvous event when it rotates back stateside (alternating in other years with Europe and Australia).

This is my second stint attending RR, and between the 2013 incarnation and this one, held in mid-July 2016, I can give you a rough idea of what positive and negative trends have emerged in Riesling-world.

Winners:

  1. The state of Riesling, in general. The quality of Riesling fine wines, overall, has rarely been as high as it is right now. Emerging Riesling regions, such as Canada and the U.S. Midwest, are really starting to hold their own with the likes Austria, the Finger Lakes, and even Germany.
  2. The standard-bearers. Alsace, Germany, and Austria – probably the holy trinity of Riesling in terms of what we consider as fine wine standards – showed up and showed off big time at RR 2016. More to come on Alsace in particular in a separate post.

Losers:

  1. Terroir. Seriously. RR 2016 repeated the panel format of RR 2013, when several dry Rieslings were tasted blind by a panel of experts, as well as a room full of wine media, producers, industry folk, and avid consumers. This format was then repeated for off-dry/sweet Rieslings from around the globe. There were many excellent wines in the lineups, but the trouble came whenever the expert panelists (and the the very knowledgeable audience members) attempted to guess where each wine originated.Our success rates? Maybe 30%. And that’s being generous. The majority of the time, winemakers couldn’t successfully identify their own wines.To me, that suggests that a) several dozen people who do wine (and in some cases, Riesling) for a living don’t know what they’re doing, which seems incredibly unlikely, or b) the quality of Riesling winemaking in general is one the rise, causing a bit of non-threatening conformity, which does seem extremely likely, and c) the common notion among wine peeps that Riesling is a lightning rod grape for the expression of terroir has been significantly overstated. Discuss among yourselves…

Following are what I considered several highlights (about 15 wines, if I’m still able to count correctly) from those panel tastings, so start paying close attention, you Riesling warrior acid-freaks…

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