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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 12

Old School Cool (Casa Nuestra Recent Releases)

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

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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Two Years Before The Masthead (Reflections On Becoming A Professional Wine Writer)

Vinted on April 22, 2014 binned in going pro

“You should write about being a professional wine writer.”

That’s the advice I got recently from a close friend, after we’d somehow gotten on the topic of picking writing topics. “Why the f*ck would anybody want to read that?” was my response, to which I added, “I’m not even a professional wine writer.”

My friend’s response: “oh, really? Say, what do you get paid to do nowadays?” (the “, dumbass” ending was, apparently, implied, and was further underscored by my realization that content about changing careers was exactly the sort of stuff I’d been finding such compelling reading on finance blogs lately.

To which my only (sheepish) answer was, “uhmm… writing and talking about wine…?” (you know you’re f*cked when you express a statement as a question).

The realization that I make my living (the bill-paying part, anyway) primarily by writing about wine – which by definition now makes me a professional wine writer – was apparently obvious to everyone else but me, presumably because I was too busy trying to make a living as a professional wine writer to notice (please feel free to insert the implied “, dumbass!”).

But facts are facts, and those are the facts. I’m officially two years into Going Pro in the wine biz, two years since I bid the Corporate America day job life adieu and finally took the leap into the freelance world (itself taking place a good two years or so after initially planned), Two Years Before The (1WineDude) Mast(head). And so… how has it been? What’s it like?

It’s pretty f*cking awesome!…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For April 21, 2014

Vinted on April 21, 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!

  • 11 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Like a china doll, it's almost too fragile too handle. $28 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alta Maria Vineyards Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Like a department store, there's perfume going for days $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alta Maria Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Barbara County): "Why am I so soft in the middle, the rest of my life is so… grassy." $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Truchard Cabernet Sauvignon (Carneros): Acting like a fitness trainer in the midst of an overweight California Cabs convention. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Truchard Pinot Noir (Carneros): Eschewing glamour, pomp & circumstance, instead focusing on over-delivering on tangent alone. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Truchard Roussanne (Carneros): Yes, it dresses rich, flashy, and opulent, but there's simply no escaping outs pithy upbringing. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Beatty Ranch Vineyard Howell Mountain Zinfandel (Napa Valley): If it's intense focus U want, then intense focus U shall get! $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie White Hawk vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County): Dark of fruit, but still bright of character, & almost overly fond of mint. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Las Madres Vineyard Los Carneros Syrah (Sonoma County): …And so I'll have to saaaay olive yoooou, in a sooooonnng… $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Melange Maison I House Blend (California): Hell bent, hell bent for leaatherrrrr…. and rustic, tasty, brambly fruit, too. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Vie Belle-Amie Rose (Santa Barbara County): Hey! Hey guys! Guys! Seriously, watch me do my Tavel impersonation, it's killer!!! $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Vie Roussanne (Lake County): Might be just a biiiiiiit too rich for your blood; but fakin' it this puppy most certainly is not. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<

Vying For Napa’s Best Reds, By Way Of Hungary… Oh, And Bordeaux, Too (Kapcsandy Family Winery Recent Releases)

Vinted on April 17, 2014 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review

“Our competition isn’t Napa Valley; it’s Bordeaux.”

That’s how Lou Kapcsandy sums up the goal of his 3,000 (ish) case production winery, a building that nestles up to about 15 acres of vineyard land that formerly went into Beringer’s `75 Private Reserve (“we purchased it in 2000 without them knowing anything about it,” he told me), and which might best be described as ‘polished-industrial.’

But that kind of upscale nondescript casing is fitting for the no-nonsense Kapcsandy, particularly when you consider that he’s a former chemical engineer and wine importer (not much use for flash in those endeavors).

But just wait until you get a load of what Hungarian-born Kapcsandy has going on in the vineyard and inside that Napa Valley production facility; you engineering types are gonna get a slice of geek heaven out of this.

Let’s start with the land: the Kapcsandy’s had 34 (!) pits dug into the vineyard for analysis, concluding that “literally within fifty yards, the growing conditions are different” on the heavy clay-ladden former riverbed. “At one point,” according to Kapcsandy, “it was 118.5F in the vineyard; the next morning, the same spot was 50F.” NASA-style satellite imagery was employed, convincing them to plant the vineyard along a magnetic north-south orientation, and dense plantings. Fruit is dropped, pesticides are avoided when possible, and generally Lou Kapcsandy frowns a lot when talking about “”what he calls “vineyard gymnastics.”

The results are mostly red blends that, in my experience, stand up to Napa’s best (and particularly shine come Premiere Napa Valley time – those tastings are what prompted my visit to the Kapcsandy’s in the first place). Expensive, for sure, but ludicrously good. Which is why I am waxing poetic about them here in the first place, of course.

So… yeah, let’s geek out on the in-winery stuff now…

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