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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For April 7, 2014

Vinted on April 7, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews
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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!

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!

  • 08 Carpineto Brunello di Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino): Still a youngster, playing in the dirt and skipping graphite stones. $55 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Brooks Riesling (Willamette Valley): Grapefruit pith, toast and chalk that are patiently discussing stern austerity measures. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cliff Lee Moondance Dream (Stags Leap District): For those who want their Bord'x blend turned up full throttle, with afterburners. $95 A >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Brawny; like it stepped thirsty right off the paper towel roll. $70 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Cliff Lede Vineyards Songbook Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): A tune that's more Wagnerian cycle than quickly-digested pop song $190 A >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Argyle Riesling (Eola-Amity Hills): Fresh, mineral-driven mountain spring water, with twists of limes added for good measure. $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Grey Stack Rosemary's Block Dry Stack Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Bennett Valley): SB as hazy, thought-provoking art house flick. $33 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Villa Sandi Vigna la Rivetta, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze (Prosecco): Chalk-lined paths leading to elegant secret gardens. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Wakefield The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon (Clare Valley): Arrives tossing out gifts generously; turns around & leaves too soon. $120 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Wakefield St Andrews Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Clare Valley): Soft earth & eucalyptus leaves clinging to obsidian blocks $60 A- >>find this wine<<

Yesterday’s Wines, Tomorrow (Stony Hill Recent Releases)

Vinted on April 3, 2014 binned in elegant wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Peabody’s Wayback Machine has got nothing on the steep, two mile drive from Napa Valley’s Bale Grist Mill State Park up to Stony Hill Vineyard. Brave that vertical, moss-covered tree-lined climb between St. Helena and Calistoga, and in many ways you’re transported at least forty years back in Napa time, and to what seems an entire world away from the Disney-fied scene of the opulent temples of vino-ness that pervade Route 29.

Feel free to insert your own clichés about technology being the only indication we’re living in a modern age when touring this winery’s weathered but functional buildings and it’s gnarled old Riesling vines. They’re pabulum, sure, but in this case also apt (I was warned to plan on no cell phone coverage when I reached the top of their road; the Wayback machine renders that inoperative, I suppose).

“This is the land that Napa Valley Time forgot,” mused Sarah McCrea, the former corporate marketing brand director who, in 2012, stopped fighting the inevitably baladromic call of becoming Stony Hill’s third generation proprietor. “And we like it that way.”

McCrea’s grandparents, Fred and Eleanor McCrea, bought this little chunk of Spring Mountain in 1943, when it was a former goat ranch that “nobody seemed to want.” The first plantings happened “in `48, `49, after the war,” according to McCrea. Some Riesling vines from that era still remain on the property. A small winery was completed in 1953, and trust me when I tell you that, while charming and unquestionably setup in a beautiful place with a beautiful valley view, it would hardly qualify as garage-sized for some of the polished-with-gobs-of-cash winery façades just a few miles farther south on Route 29. Since that time in the fifties, almost nothing (thankfully, blessedly, miraculously) seems to have changed here. Case in point: in sixty years, Stony Hill has employed fewer winemakers than the venerable Pittsburgh Steelers have head coaches.

To put Stony Hill in perspective, one has to understand that when they started in the wine business in Napa, there was no perspective. There wasn’t even much of a Napa fine wine business. There’s is a tale that, as Morrissey sang, starts “from before the beginning…”

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Robert Parker, Wine Advocate Apologize For “Boorish, Bullying” Behavior

Vinted on April 1, 2014 binned in Inebriated Press

Inebriated Press

In a stunning reversal of unwritten policy, the wine industry’s most powerful critic, Robert M. Parker, Jr.  and his fellow staff members at the publication he founded, The Wine Advocate, held a press conference earlier today to “apologize for our recent boorish, bullying behavior.”

“We at The Wine Advocate have, in short, been terribly, terribly wrong in our actions,” admitted Parker to a packed crowd of seven wine industry veterans gathered near his home in Monkton, Maryland. “My god, our behavior has been so infantile and vile that I don’t even know where to start, quite frankly. Oh, are those cookies over there? Could someone pass those?”

Parker began by extending a virtual vinous olive branch to Jon Bonne and Eric Asimov, wine writers for the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times, respectively. Both men were publicly derided by Parker as unprofessional in a post in the online bulletin board of Parker’s website. “Really, that was totally uncalled for, and bitingly ironic considering that only a few days before I had, in their presence, publicly called for more civility among wine writers. I mean, dang, I’m making the whole profession look like a bunch of douchebags when I do things like that!” He then slammed his open right palm into his forehead, temporarily shaking the stage and causing microphone feedback that delayed the remainder of the press conference for several minutes. The normally recalcitrant Parker had been referring to statements he made as the keynote speaker at a wine writers conference, given only a short time before his remarks about Bonne and Asimov, both of whom were in the audience during Parker’s keynote address.

Parker was followed by several The Wine Advocate staff writers and critics in offering public apologies, including Master of Wine Lisa Perrotti-Brown, who referred to her mis-identification and lambasting of Bonne’s and Asimov’s “new California wines” session at the 2014 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa, California (in which she mistakenly referred to wines that weren’t actually poured during the session) a “real fuck-up.” On the bulletin board, Perrotti-Brown called the wines “vaguely interesting,” “neutral,” “dilute,” and “flavorless, without vibrancy and texture, not unlike most of wine writing itself these days.”

“Well, what can I say, I just balled that up big time,” she told reporters and industry insiders…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For March 31, 2014

Vinted on March 31, 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!

  • 09 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Ever hit a home run 2 win a game for the team? It kinda feels like that $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Azienda Agricola Sant'Elena Pinot Grigio (Venezia Giulia): After 5 year courtship, it's finally letting you near its perky melons. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 FEL Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): Herb gardening w/ stylish, pretty black-cherry gloves; & packing snacks of licorice & cola, too. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 FEL Chardonnay (Anderson Valley): A lemony, tropical & complex steal of a wine; cue the bargain hunters' Pavlovian salivation. $28 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Domaine Carneros Le Reve Blanc de Blancs (Carneros): A long elegant dress, fine pearls, & a longing, contemplative, poignant stare $99 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Gracianna Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Today we give thanks for sweet, ripe, juicy, generous fruitiness. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 05 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne Gold Top Brut (Champagne): Ready now, but sometimes it's ok that guilty pleasures can't wait. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose (Champagne): Can a red berry, clay & flowers mash-up be lovely? This makes a decent affirmative case. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 05 Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar (Bekaa Valley): Lovely in many ways, but the shoes are covered with as much funk as they are leather. $46 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Vina Quebrada de Macul Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley): Showy? Not even remotely. Serious & stately? Most certainly. $55 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Paolo Manzone Langhe Rosso Ardi (Langhe): Dolcetto strutting its chewy, fruity stuff, alternating steps both rustic and refined. $18 B >>find this wine<<

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