February 2016 Wine Product Roundup (Also… Late…)

Vinted on March 2, 2016 binned in wine products

In the words of the Violent Femmes, “it’s just a habit.”

Seriously, this late-monthly-product-review thing is becoming a bit embarrassing. But late again I am, because, well, my life is kind of bonkers. Awesome, but bonkers.

Anyway, today I present my take on another wine product sample, a take that was technically meant to be published last month, but technically I got all, like, too busy an’ stuff.

TribellaThis last month, I gave a sample of the Tribella wine aerator (about $40) the once-over. Tribella is the brain-child of Skip Lei, who wrote to me that the product is an attempt to “complete the circuit of beauty from the bottle to the glass; My simple goal was to make the wine the hero, not some device.”

Simple, maybe, but loftily stated.

At this point, you might be almost as sick of wine aerator products as I am, but the Tribella actually has quite a bit going for it. First and foremost, this portable little ditty meets Lei’s primary aim, which he expressed was to create an aerator that “allows the existing wine to naturally catch a breath.” The product does a very good job of aerating wine without subsequently beating the living hell out of the juice.

Tribella 2While in its case it looks like a medical blood-drawing instrument from straight out of from the Alien movies, once inserted into the neck of a wine bottle the petite Tribella takes on a much more aesthetically-pleasing air. It’s separation of the wine being poured into three streams is relatively quiet, effective, and almost hypnotic in appearance (think picturesque fountain waterfall). Even your kids will think it’s cool. It’s also sturdy, and the non-drip pouring action is a nice bonus.

The best thing about it? It might be the dead-easiest wine aerator to clean. Rinse it in tap water, and you’re done.

The bad news? It costs forty bucks. To me, that seems a bit too steep for this nifty little gadget, as much as I’ve come to enjoy using it. But the bottom line? The Tribella delivers, even if expensively.

Cheers!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 29, 2016

Vinted on February 29, 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 Stinson Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Monticello): Virginia scores a vibrant goal, proudly displaying the grass stains of its victory $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Lieb cellars Reserve Cabernet Franc (North Fork of Long Island): Such a dark, earthy, peppery – but a shade too woody – delight. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Barton & Guestier Thomas Barton Reserve Saint-Emilion (Saint-Emilion): Probably should be wearing a sign reading Robust Or Bust. $21 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Parducci True Grit Reserve Chardonnay (Mendocino County): Nothing gritty about this spicy, fruity, creamy, & floral crowd-pleaser. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Howell Mountain Vineyards Beatty Ranch Zinfandel (Howell Mountain): Doesn't mean to be this hedonistic; ok, actually, yes it does. $55 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 J. McClelland Charbono (Napa Valley): Like the revitalized Dr. Who, this is a pure revenge of the nerds at its most compelling. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 EOS Estate Tears of Dew Late Harvest Moscato (Paso Robles): Paso goes all apricot sweetness on us, and we end up liking it. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Kramer Vineyards Celebrate Muller-Thurgau (Yamhill-Carlton District): Well there's a paaaarty goin' on riiiiiiight heeeeere… $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Paul Dolan Vineyards Pinot Noir (Mendocino County): Might not peg the meter on complexity, but authenticity carries the day here. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Grandes Vinos y Vinedos Monasterio de las Vinas Gran Reserva (Carinena): This fresh stuff is *how* old? Could have fooled me, bro. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
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Lights, Camera, Non-Douchebaggery (Ehlers Estate Recent Releases)

Vinted on February 25, 2016 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

“I was delayed, I was way-laid
An emergency stop
I smelt the last ten seconds of life…”

– The Smiths, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Sometimes getting a late start can be a good thing.

At least, that’s the kind of thing that I like to tell myself when I finally get around to writing up a tasting almost five months after it happened.

Take Ehlers Estate winemaker Kevin Morrisey’s foray into Napa Valley viticulture as an example.

Originally from Media, PA, he began his winemaking career at the age of thirty-five, when he enrolled at UC Davis to study oenology. Prior to that, Morrisey was a junior Hollywood cameraman, slugging out a living behind the lens in Paris and Los Angeles.

Kevin Morrisey

Kevin Morrisey (image: ehlersestate.com)

When I met him for a tasting lunch in NYC late in 2015, he struck me as the kind of Napa Valley personality that isn’t attempting to hide any douchebaggery, simply because he doesn’t seem to have any douchebaggery to hide. That might come from his Media childhood, or the fact that he’s now making wine with “relative autonomy” (though Ehler’s owners, Leducq Foundation, does require them to “be profitable”), or that he’s still just tickled pink to work for a winery in the Valley that has a real backstory to it (Sacremento grocer Bernard Ehlers founded the winery in 1886, after paying for its 42 acres in gold coin).

“It’s nice in Napa to have a stone barn that’s actually, you know, real stone!” he told me.

And that, to me, kind of sums up the sense of genuine pride and confidence and non-douchey-moxie with which Morrisey presents himself; it’s a sense that also permeates the Ehlers wines that he has made since coming on board in 2009.

To wit…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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