The Single Most Important Piece Of Wine News In Decades Is…

Vinted on December 5, 2011 binned in wine news

This.

No, I’m not kidding.

The fact that the Australian Wine Research Institute researches have sequenced the Brettanomyces genome is, potentially, the single most important piece of news to hit the wine world since it was discovered that malolactic fermentation could be controlled. In terms of newsworthy impact, it makes Scarecrow’s busting of the Premiere Napa Valley auction record look like the equivalent of your regional free paper running a headline like “Local Youth Paves Driveways.” And for me, it makes the recent Pancho Campo/JayMiller/Wine Advocate pay-for-play tasting controversy taste like small beer.

For those wondering what the hell I’m on about here, last week I was sent a link to a Decanter.com article titled “‘The enemy’ at bay: scientists crack brett gene code” by a fiend via email (the subject line: “Finally, some good news! What will Bobby P. do??”).

The story, in a nutshell, is that Brettanomyces – the spoilage yeast responsible for creating aromas in wine that range from a hint of smoky meat to horse sweat to downright pungent, mousy-barnyard-droppings-wrapped-in-Band-Aids – has had its genetic code cracked by a team of intrepid Aussie-based scientists.

Why the big deal? Because it means the wine world is closer than ever to finding a way to control Brett yeasts – and until that day comes, I stand fast in my resolve when I tell you that Brett is not terroir, and is not really an element of added complexity; it is a flaw (and if someone’s wine happens to have the relatively inoffensive meaty kind of Brett, they’re not necessarily uber-talented winemakers or viticulturists adding a dash of complexity to their final product; odds are they’re just lucky)…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For December 3, 2011

Vinted on December 3, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews

Uhm, like what is this stuff?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine sample tasting notes via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be fun, quickly-and-easily-digestible reviews. Below is a wrap-up of the twitter reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find them so you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 10 Keuka Lake Vineyards Dry Riesling Falling Man Vineyard (Finger Lakes): Spiced pear & lime lay down together on a crystal clear bed $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Broadway musicals beware, this SB finishes just as big – and indulgently – as you do. $23 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District (Napa Valley): Inviting as brambly wild blackberries, complete with boozy thorns $60 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District (Napa Valley): Like a revolver; it has a dark & slightly rubberized grip. $75 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Suavia Monte Carbonare Soave (Soave Classico): Just like picking at the orchard; you’ll smell the tart apples, wooden crates & all. $33 B >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau (Beaujolais-Villages): Yeah it’s got banana but you won’t be a monkey’s uncle w/ this. $11 C+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Blue Plate Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg): A curvy, energetic & most importantly, *cheap* date; she’s promising you a *very* nice time $9 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Cuma Torrontes (Cafayate Valley): Like most politicians, full of verve & promise that all goes somewhat unfulfilled in the end. $13 C+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Cliff Lede Lonely Wizard (Stags Leap District): Like KISS’ Destroyer album; big, brash, a bit too loud, & just utterly satisfying. $90 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Lindstrom Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): About as beautifully dense (ahh, but not as complex!) as a quantum singularity. $119 A- >>find this wine>>
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Stag Party (A Deeper Dive Into SLD Cab)

Vinted on December 1, 2011 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

For all my travels to the greater Napa area, my experience with Napa’s venerable Stags Leap District hasn’t exactly been trophy-mounting-24-point-buck caliber. In fact, it’s been quite doe-like – I’ve tasted a good number of high-end wines from the area, and visited a few its producers, but aside from a stop at Chimney Rock earlier this year for some barrel sampling I’ve had few real in-depth experiences with SLD wines.

So, some of you will have noticed that the twitter mini-review feed has been… well… leaping with SLD reviews over the past several days, as I made my murky way through the sample pool and scoured the SLD samples I had on hand to share some of them with you (virtually, that is). While I am planning on visiting the area early in 2012 for potentially more in-depth, behind-the-barrels coverage, I thought it would be interesting to see how some of notable SLD wines stacked up against one another, and put to the test over a couple of days each (along with some dinner fare), and share the results with you.  And it should be fun, I think, provided that you don’t mind references to KISS albums, or pornographic tasting notes, that is (those will make more sense in a minute).

After the jump you’ll find some recommendations from said twitter feed, along with two kick-ass, badge-worthy SLD cabs from the bunch that particularly stood out for me.  And standing out was difficult among this bunch, but not exactly for all the right reasons…

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