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

Here Comes The Judge… Again… And Again… (Critics Challenge And SF International Wine Competitions 2014)

Vinted on June 10, 2014 binned in on the road, wine industry events
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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!

Over the next two insane weeks, I’ll be waving to the Midwesterners among you from 30,000 feet as I fly back and forth across our great country twice in order to lend my taste buds (and, no doubt, subsequently further increase not only my frequent flier mileage but also my dental hygiene and surgical fees) to two Left Coast wine competitions.

First, there’s my second stint at the venerable Critics Challenge wine comp., held in (stay classy) San Diego (San Diego is still there, right?), the 11th year for that event, which is unique in its assembly of judges who are pretty much exclusively in the wine journalism/critic biz.

This will be followed shortly (as in, a few days) by my first stint at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, as part of a group of seventeen newly-minted judges joining the cadre at SFIWC this year, its 34th (see inset pic on that as reported by SOMM Journal earlier this month).

The thing that tickles me Provence-rosé-pink about all of this is not so much that I am getting wined, dined and paid for doing something so cool (ok, that does, in fact, tickle me a bit Provence-rosé-pink now that I think about it), but that I know so many of the other judges, and am fortunate enough to call several of them friends. Technically, these are business trips for me, but they are hardly the kind of business trips about which one could complain, particularly when compared to some of the locales, efforts, and intensely driven personalities I frequented in my corporate life (ever been to Hackettstown, NJ; Slough, England; or Stupino, Russia? No? Well, take it from me, you don’t want to be in too much of a hurry to visit).

Let’s just say I’m not complaining!

More to come from all of that (if you’ve got requests on what you’d like to see in terms of coverage out of those comps., shout it out).

Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For June 9, 2014

Vinted on June 9, 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!

  • 10 Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz (Barossa): This is a quilt in vibrant colors; stitched together with mint, herbs, jam, spice, & value. $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 LangeTwins Centennial Zinfandel (Lodi): Smoked meat, picking nuclear blackberries and chomping on the end of a high-end stogie. $60 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cornerstone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Certainly not trying to be NZ, but giving a nice nod to the Bordelais in us all $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc (Wairau Valley): Like a well-maintained antique staircase; it hasn't lost a single pungent, piquant step $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Cousino-Macul Lota (Maipo Valley): Comes on all sweet-nothings, but look again, there's substance behind all that seductiveness. $77 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Aril Atlas Peak Syrah (Napa Valley): Atlas Peak shrugged, with large shoulder pads fashioned from earth, vanilla, & blackberries. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • NV Blandy's Ten Year Sercial Dry Madeira (Madeira): Enough salted, toasted almonds to complete with the charcuterie & cheese plate. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Loimer Gruner Veltliner (Kamptal): Tough to argue with success; painting the Danube green with herbal, spicy, exotic fruit envy. $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Truchard Cabernet Sauvignon (Carneros): I love fresh herbs as much as the next guy but next time let's wash them off before serving $38 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Truchard Pinot Noir (Carneros): Difficult vintage? Apparently, it wasn't anything a little bright cherry & vanilla couldn't cure. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Truchard Chardonnay (Carneros): The lees aren't going quietly, but they are offering an entertaining dance on their way out. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<

“David, The Wine4.Me App Is Here. Hello Jeanine.”

Vinted on June 6, 2014 binned in wine appreciation, wine news

Those not getting the title reference today need to hang their heads in total shame! No wine for you!!

Anyway… remember, about a year ago, when we talked about the data behind a new wine app, Wine4.me?

Well, I’m pleased to tell you that the Wine4.me app is (finally!) available for download in iTunes.

The full disclosure part of all of this is that I was paid to be one of the expert tasters on the panels that formed the basis of Wine4.me’s data, and I am an ongoing contributor to their consumer-facing blog.  But they’re not paying me to tell you about the app’s release; I’m doing that because I’m genuinely excited to see it go live. Finally.

The bottom line is that while the mobile wine app space is insanely crowded right now, no other wine app out there (that I know of, anyway) is so steeped in data and the scientific method (we already know how I feel about that stuff, right?), so consumer-focused with a for-real value proposition (using that data to significantly increase your chances of finding a similar wine you will enjoy), and actually pops the corks on bottles themselves to get there. There also happen to be some lovely human beings involved in this project, and working with them has been nothing short of a total pleasure (and hey, it’s better we highlight the work of nice people, instead of that of a bunch of douchebags, I suppose)…

Read the rest of this stuff »

There’s A Wild Man In My Head (Cayuse Recent Releases)

Vinted on June 5, 2014 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

“And I’m
Not sorry for
The things I’ve said
There’s a wild man in my head
There’s a wild man
In my head”

- Morrissey, “I’m Not Sorry”

Christophe Baron, the short, edgy, high-energy force behind Walla Walla’s controversial Cayuse, is sniffing dirt. And – in a very thick French accent that betrays his Charly-sur-Marne heritage and belies his nearly twenty-year stint in the Pacific Northwest – he’s imploring me to do the same.

“C’mon! You’ve come all this way to Cayuse! You’ve got to SMELL IT!!!”

Just moments before, a burly and beautiful Belgian draft horse was turning over this soil (in a vineyard named, for obvious reasons, “Horse Power”), so I am less than totally enthusiastic about the possibility of getting horse shit up my nostrils. But this guy’s energy is such that he makes me seem calm, so I acquiesce (as if I had a choice). These newer plantings were “designed for the horse,” Baron explains, with three-feet between the rows. “With the horse, you can’t rush it, you can’t force it. But the texture of the soil is like couscous… This is the reason why I’m here.”

Spend any appreciable time with Baron and you will not only sniff horse-powered dirt, you will hear impassioned proclamations such as “I am not a winemaker;” “Let’s all take off our clothes and get naked;” “There are a lot of things about Biodynamics you cannot quantify… you cannot quantify the smile on a beautiful woman;” “I’m like a dealer, I sell pleasure… liquid pleeeeeasuuuuuure;” and “no pictures on Facebook!” not all of which you might fully understand or be able to distinguish as serious or jovial.

But there’s one thing that is easy to understand: why Baron’s wines are controversial. Garnering stratospheric scores from The Wine Advocate and skyrocketing in secondary market prices after release, Cayuse offerings can be stunning, odd takes on Rhone-styled reds; often demanding, beguiling, and off-putting all at the same time. If you’ve ever watched a movie – or read a novel – that seems brilliant but has disturbing scenes in it, the kind of scenes that haunt you later but without which the central themes of the work wouldn’t be nearly as powerful, then you’ve got an idea of what it’s like to come face to face with Cayuse’s juice.

To understand these take-no-prisoners wines, you need to understand the background of the take-no-prisoners Baron, and Walla Walla’s take-no-prisoners geographical landscape…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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