Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For April 18, 2016

Vinted on April 18, 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 Botromagno Primitivo (Puglia): Rugged, dark, demanding, and is going to light this cigar & doesn't give a damn that you don't mind. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Marisa Cuomo Costa d'Amalfi Rosato (Campania): When in pink, they don't come a whole lot more floral – or a whole lot bigger. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Schola Sarmenti 'Masserei' Negroamaro Rose Salento (Puglia): Talented rRaspberry jam, wet rock, & lilac comedy improv troupe. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Bianco (Sicily): Because we needed yet another reason to prove how much Carricante totally rules. $21 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Marco De Bartoli Vignaverde Grillo Terre Siciliane (Sicily): Fun & fascinating, in a let's-watch-a-Terry-Gilliam-film kind of way. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 4 Librandi Ciro Bianco (Calabria): Enticing over exuberant, delicious over difficult, & priced for give-me-a-case-full purchases. $12 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Masseria Li Veli 'Askos' Verdeca Valle d'Itria (Puglia): Long, lemony, delightful; what are you waiting for, go buy some already. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino di Montefalco (Umbria): Dangerously delicious; you'll be inviting the devil in to dance with this one. $42 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Wakefield The Visionary Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Clare Valley): Like Lady Gaga; audacious, complicated, undeniably talented. $200 A >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Masut Vineyard and Winery Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Mendocino County): This big *and* this good? Are they allowed to do that? $45 A- >>find this wine<<



Pop Goes The… Something… (April 2016 Wine Product Round-up)

Vinted on April 14, 2016 binned in wine books, wine products

The April edition of the wine products round-up brings us two new items from the sample pool, both of which I can recommend with some reservations. How’s that for an endorsement?!?

First up is the Vinturi Champagne Opener. Yes, you read that correctly. Vinturi has branched out from their popular aerator, and now has a small armory of wine-related gadgets tempting the dollars from the confines of your wallet. Today’s victim of my in-house-testing is sold only via Williams-Sonoma, and will set you back about $35.

Vinturi Champagne Opener

Insert your own crude marital aid joke here

The first thing you notice about the Vinturi Champagne Opener, aside from its shininess, and its resemblance to marital aids… okay, the third thing that you notice about it is that it’s heavy. This is a solidly-constructed bit of wine gadgetry, and I wouldn’t want to have this item dropped onto my toes. I will rank its hardy construction as a plus.

Essentially, it’s a twist-off wine opener designed exclusively for sparkling wines; you remove the foil, cage, and cap from your bubbly, and while being careful to keep your fingers out of any of the openings, put the Vinturi on top of the bottle and twist until you hear a “pop” (trust me, you won’t miss the signal; it’s loud). The cork can then be extracted from the upper opening of the Vinturi.

The thing works, and works well. I’m a little concerned about the aggressiveness of its functionality, however; it’s often said that the opening of a sparkling wine should sound as delicate as “a nun’s fart,” and this certainly is not nun-flatulent-like. It’s a loud pop, and whenever I hear that sound, I envision extra bubbles – for which we usually pay extra! – escaping unnecessarily.

Personally, I’m find using a towel and my own hands to pop open my bubbly, so the Vinturi might be of limited use unless you a) plan on opening a lot of bubbly, or b) have a physical issue that makes the traditional method of opening bubbly difficult for you, or c) are a wuss.

Anyway… on to our next “with reservations” item…

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That *Other* Antidote To Bordeaux-Bashing

Vinted on April 12, 2016 binned in commentary

As reported by Dr. Vino (and elsewhere), much-celebrated (and almost-as-often-maligned) consultant winemaker Michel Rolland was recently asked if there was an antidote to “Bordeaux-bashing” (i.e., a backlash against the Bordeaux region in general – and its most storied houses, in particular – for producing wines that are increasingly too similar and increasingly too expensive).

You can read Rolland’s response in the original French, if that’s your motif; I offer the following English translation (as supplied automatically via Google):

“There is no antidote to stupidity. It is increasingly monumental. For me, 2015 is a great vintage. There are [those] too stupid to notice. We will notice in ten years, as usual. We are in a world without balls, we live with no balls. Full stop. There is not a journalist [who] will notice. Anyway, there is not a journalist who has weight in the world today. It has nothing to do with the market. They can say, write and think what they want, everyone cares at the fortieth year! When they know that, maybe they will start to become humble. Not to become smart, because it will be difficult, but to think differently.”

In other words, it’s not Bordeaux that is wrong, it’s all of the journalists covering Bordeaux that are wrong.

Hmmm.  Well.

Let’s discuss this little Rolland rant in a bit more detail…

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