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Working At Too Perfect? (Michael Mondavi Recent – And Not So Recent – Releases)

Vinted on May 1, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

“See, this pisses me off…”

Rob Mondavi, Jr. is upset. Moderately. It’s almost difficult to imagine why, given the sunny day, and the subsequently stunning Napa Valley view from his family’s Animo vineyard on Atlas Peak. But moderately upset he is.

The trigger for Mondavi’s small bit of angst? The spacing of the pruning cuts on some of the vines isn’t uniform. One is reminded of the scene in The Aviator, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Howard Hughes is running his hand down the side of an airplane hull, testing to see if all of the rivets are totally smooth.

Rob Mondavi, Jr. is, it seems, a bit of a perfectionist, particularly when it comes to viticulture (as he remarked to me during our vineyard lunch, “the biggest challenge in Napa is that we’ve become complacent in farming”). An amiable perfectionist, with the Mondavi flair for gab and working the crowd, but a perfectionist nonetheless.

As it turns out, Rob’s excellent high-end wines can almost be too perfect, polished smooth to a such an glistening, art deco metallic sheen that one might start to pine for a blemish of any kind; not that the wines lack soul, it’s just that you want to see and feel more of that soul.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Back to the vineyard, where the view is lovely and the scenery, apart from vines, is of liberally strewn about rocks, rocks, and more rocks on this volcanic soil…

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More Fool Me (April 2014 Wine.Answers.com Article Roundup)

Vinted on April 29, 2014 binned in going pro

Just as I didn’t give in to temptation last month, in April I resisted the siren-song lure of creating a forced holiday wine pairing (in this case, for April Fools Day – I thought about suggesting actual terrible wines to use to fool dinner party guests, but it seemed… mean…). There was also Easter, of course, but I spend much less time drinking on Easter than I do hiding Easter eggs these days.  Anyway, I opted instead to try my humble hand at wine industry parody at the expense of The Wine Advocate. I figured a few people would chuckle over it .

More fool me, apparently.

Seems (a lot of) you (really) liked it, based on the website numbers, which suggest that about two-thirds of the entire U.S. wine biz tuned in for that joke. Seriously, don’t you people have better things to do with your time? And aren’t we sick and tired of putting Parker at the butt end of our jokes?

The answers, apparently, are No, and No, respectively.

No parodies today (unless you happen to think that my normal writing style is a parody of good wine writing), but since April is drawing to a close it’s time to wrap up the Wine.Answers.com articles from the last few weeks…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For April 28, 2014

Vinted on April 28, 2014 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!

  • 12 Joseph Drouhin Drouhin Vaudon Reserve de Vaudon Chablis (Chablis): Peaches with rapier-like wit, and whip-like tongues. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Joseph Drouhin Drouhin Vaudon Chablis (Chablis): You'll need to employ geometry for all of the angles that this one is presenting. $21 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vinedos Calcu Cabernet Franc Reserva (Colchagua Valley): Rough, ready, determined; also determined not to be rough on the wallet. $13 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley): Strutting her guilty pleasure stuff, & busting at the seams $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Macchia Mischievous Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi): For the love of Pete, someone get me a huge plate of sticky ribs, this is urgent! $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 2013 Finca Museum Vinea Rosado (Cigales): Cherries usually only taste this good and bright when they're fresh and right of the tree $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 McCay Cellars Trulux Zinfandel (Lodi): Like somehow training a hippopotamus to dance gracefully, subtly, and even artistically. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Malk Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Oak Knoll District): Fond of its own spirited game, but then, you'll be fond if it, too. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Reichsrat von Buhl Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Spatlese (Pfalz): And you will know us by the trail of pears and vibrancy… $46 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Malk Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District): Chewing mint, strutting stuff, & not at all messing around. $72 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Alpha Estate S.M.X. (Florina): Something familiar, something odd; prepare your brain – & your tastebuds – to be challenged. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<

Old School Cool (Casa Nuestra Recent Releases)

Vinted on April 24, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, overachiever wines, wine review

A conversation I had at the tail end of the 2014 Premiere Napa Valley Auction:

Alder Yarrow: “So, where are you visiting when you’re in town?”

Me: “I’ve got appointments at Stony Hill, Kapcsandy, Casa Nuestra…”

Alder: “Casa Nuestra! Oh, yeeeah!”

Me: “Did you just squeal?”

And so there you have it, one of the best ways to summarize the Old School coolness of Casa Nuestra: they made the grand-pappy of wine blogging, Alder Yarrow, squeal happily like an eight-year-old girl at a princess party.

And they are, for sure, Old School cool: funky tasting room, tiny production, “unhip” grape varieties (Chenin Blanc was planted on their Silverado trail vineyards in 1979), and a winery website straight out of 1999. The only way that owner Gene Kirkham could further transcend the trappings of the modern Napa Valley would be by physically teleporting his entire operation to some other part of the globe entirely.

And the wines? Well, they’re straight out of 1979 or 1989. And in this case, that’s a very, very good thing…

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