Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For October 2, 2017

Vinted on October 2, 2017 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!

  • 16 De Martino Gallardia Old Vine White (Itata Valley): Flowers, lychee, energy, and a deeply grounded and humble sense of soul. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Addendum Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah (Atlas Peak): Pls wait for all of that silk to wrap around all of that wood. $80 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Stewart Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): In this case, the Sonoma Coast is a bit more like the Sultry Coast, but it works. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs (North Coast): This is begging – BEGGING – to be the tag-along for your next Thai dinner outing. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Ridgeview Fitzrovia Brut Rose (England): Mellow wild berries that pretty up well, with nary an ounce of pretension to be found. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Prosper Maufoux Chablis (Chablis): Steel, flint, and lemons, all cuddled up together as cozy and familiar bedfellows. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Zuccardi Jose Zuccardi Malbec (Valle de Uco): Almost as amiable, focused, convincing, and full of character as its namesake. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Enate UNO Tinto (Somontano): Black licorice to start, then but this Cab/Merlot blend starts to sing a lot more than just one note. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Enate UNO Chardonnay (Somontano): Peachy, pretty, perfumed, and powerfully sexy; and glowing gold like handfuls of bling. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Sommos Colleccion Gewurztraminer (Somontano): Flowers angling their way towards sunlight with clear, precise determination. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
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Cheap Tricks (Domaines Schlumberger Recent Releases)

Domaines Schlumberger crand cru vineyards 1

“We are very cheap for a Grand Cru!”

Thomas Schlumberger

Thomas Schlumberger

It could be said that Domaines Schlumberger‘s Thomas Schlumberger doesn’t fully understand the negative connotations of the word “cheap” in the English language. I write that because, as he told me the above quote during a media visit to the Guebwiller property that has been in his family for about 200 years, he phrased it in a tone that was at once proud and matter-of-fact.

The bottom line is that no one really offers a smoother glide path into the vinous world of Alsatian Grand Cru that Schlumberger. First, they have the typical history portion covered: Domaines Schlumberger is still a family business (7th generation export manager Thomas lives across the street from the winery, “where I grew up,” having come back to the family business after a stint in the perfume industry at the behest of his uncle), and still operates out of the area in which the family settled from Germany (choosing the site because of its access to water, needed for their textiles business). From a desire to make wine for their own consumption, they gradually expanded and replanted their plantings in the area to about 70 hectares (this took the purchase of 2500 plots in a single decade, along with ten years of replanting, much of it on terraced slopes so steep that a special breed of horses that don’t experience vertigo were needed to work the vineyards).

Domaines Schlumberger winery dog

obligatory winery dog photo…

From a Grand Cru perspective, Domaines Schlumberger has the raw material to offer inexpensive Grand Cru action: about ten percent of all Alsace Grand Cru wines are sold by them, and they are the largest independent winery in the area, exporting 2/3 of their production to 50 countries (so chances are good that you can find some of their wares).

Maybe most importantly for an ultra-competitive, information-saturated wine market, they have what might be the simplest Alsatian SKU category formula: you can try “classic” versions of Alsace’s principal grape varieties in their Les Princes Abbés line, or the Grand Cru single-site versions, and that’s basically it…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 25, 2017

Vinted on September 25, 2017 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 Dutton Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): A love affair between Restraint & Banging Ripeness. $62 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Pieropan Soave Classico (Soave Classico): 50th vintage, & they show no signs of slowing down this zesty, piquant, delicious train. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Alessandro Rivetto Leonilde Barbera d'Alba (Piedmont): So supple & generous, it's theme song would be Prince's "Sexy Motherf*cker" $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Alessandro Rivetto Nascetta (Langhe): Secretly pour it for your besties who only drink Chardonnay; watch as they lose their minds. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Miner Family Winery Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot (Napa Valley): A smattering of Cab Franc here helps bring the serious to the sexy. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Miner Family Winery Wild Yeast Chardonnay (Napa Valley): As gussied up as you'd expect, but it still looks good with its hair down $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 16 Miner Family Winery Viognier (California): Some stone fruits, it seems, are fully capable of running on 240 volt AC power… $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Christophe Pacalet Chenas (Beaujolais): Sometimes, even pretty Cru Beauj feels like putting its sh*t-kickers on & getting gritty. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris (North Canterbury): Should make the Tre Venezie and Alsace start sweating, at least just a little bit. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Odfjell Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley): People dressed this elegantly probably shouldn't try dance moves that funky. $21 B >>find this wine<<
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Spit Shine (Domaine Marcel Deiss Recent Releases)

Vinted on September 20, 2017 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines
Jean-Michel Deiss

Jean-Michel Deiss, talking spit

Jean-Michel Deiss likes to talk spit.

That his family, winegrowers since 1744, are established as the Alsatian version of winemaking royalty probably helps him to get away with it.

“Wine today is an industrial project,” he told me (through interpretation) during a media tour visit to Domaine Marcel Deiss‘ Bergheim winery. “But great wine is not a question of taste. Great wine is like a [good] book; as soon as you finish reading, you look for someone you love [to share it with].”

Or, in my case, you put it on the Internet to share it with total strangers. But the point is a solid one. Anyway, we were talking about spit.

Busker Du Alsace

Busker Du on the streets of Alsace…

“Salivation is how you measure a wine’s energy,” Deiss continued. “You don’t need to be an expert for that. And there’s no salivation without terroir. It’s like geography in the mouth. Where you get salivation, you get terroir.”

“It’s not an efficient concept,” he added, at which point he showed multiple rips in his pants, presumably the result of his efforts in the vineyard and the cellar.

Domaine Marcel Deiss is still a family-run outfit, utilizing about 20 people and overseeing about 30 hectares of vineyards, many of which are old vine field blends (or, as they like to call them “companion planted” vines) of Alsace’s key grape varieties, with roots deep enough that the different varieties essentially ripen around the same time. Deiss’ focus is now solely on vineyard site (rather than on variety), as well as on biodiversity, minimal sulfur additions, and no filtration. Lest you think that this ostensibly hands-off approach should make life at Deiss easier, Jean-Michel’s son Mathieu echoed his father’s sentiment regarding the amount of extra work required by their approach; “with ‘natural’ wine, you have to be more precise in the cellar, not less.” At which point, he offered up the next generation’s version of dad’s ripped pants: according to his cell phone, he had logged the equivalent of 100 kilometers of walking in the last four days alone…

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