- 99 Royal Tokaji Mezes Maly 6 Puttonyos (Tokaji): Honey, quince, white tea, orange, sultana & a little slice of nearly pure heaven. $150 A #
- 01 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): A truly elegant (& fairly-priced) diamond in the purple-soaked, extracted rough of the NV $80 A #
- 07 Stony Hill Chardonnay (Napa Valley): Pretty, svelte & food-friendly; but just a little too rough around the edges goin’ down. $35 B #
- 07 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Like an artistic engineering feat; the real beauty is in the structure $135 A- #
- 08 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel (Calistoga): The lighter, spicier side of jammy Zin. Close access to grilled burgers required. $30 B+ #
- 09 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay (Napa Valley): If you like citrus & peaches, you’ve found your happy place (but the seats are pricey) $50 B+ #
- 09 Chateau Montelena Riesling (Potter Valley): Gotta give them props for getting lime and a nice citrusy zing from a warm spot. $24 B- #
- 03 Marcassin Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Savory, earthy but BIG. Hey, even famous statues look cracked from close up $180 B+ #
- 09 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Großes Gewächs (Nahe): The white flowers & apricot put it firmly into “Wow!” territory $60 A #
- 03 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac): Hot year gives enough pure, bombastic black cherry to keep the stinky funk menace in check. B+ $85 #
- NV Bollinger Special Cuvee (Champagne): The house’s hand is toasty, lush & full of green apple. And it’s definitely a winning hand. $65 B+ #
Ok, so after all my talk of Valentine’s Day and the unauthentic splurges it generates like so many embers from a fire of burning love letters after a bitter break-up, I thought I’d go the total hypocrite route and (finally) detail the samples I cracked open on V-Day. So sue me. Whatever.
NV Bollinger Brut Rosé Champagne ($100)
I’m going to ignore Bollinger’s PR push to promote their affiliation to the royal family in the UK (who have awarded Bollinger with the Royal Warrant since 1884, and which is now reached a fever-pitch of hype with the recent royal engagement), because I now find the whole thing too annoying, in stark contrast to this very sexy but possibly-overpriced sparkler. It’s predominantly Pinot Noir, with the Chardonnay and Pinot Munier playing more supporting roles, and the results are quite Pinot-ish as you’d expect, with the initial impressions being tart cherry fruit and a sizeable mouthfeel despite a relatively modest 12% abv. This might explain why it got low-90s scores from most of the established wine mags, who might have been too quick to pronounce judgment – it takes a good 45 minutes in the glass for the Bollinger Brut Rose to open up, but when it does you will get some incredible baked red apple coming at you, and a great match for appetizers of almost any stripe.
More after the jump…
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As most regular 1WD readers know, I’m not much for classic reporting-style articles.
In fact, to me the choice between writing a “such-and-such took place on Monday and so-and-so was honored with a whozy-whatsit for their work on the whatcha-ma-jigger” piece or a “let me tell you what I think about X…” piece – namely, between writing a USA Today style event report ,or interpreting an event through the prism of my unique but twisted perception – is sort of like having to choose between being brutally murdered or having amazing sex. In other words, there’s really no choice at all, is there?
So, you’ll hopefully understand why I’m having trouble trying to decide how best to bring you news of the Fifth Annual Vintners Hall of Fame event held earlier this week at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena (I was invited as part of the 2011 Pro Wine Writers Symposium, which in turn I’m attending as a speaker but more so as a learner as I gear up my efforts trying to make a living in the wine world). To further complicate the matter, I promised my friend W. Blake Gray (who chairs the VHF Electoral College) that I’d consider writing something about the event, and he’s really a very talented and nice guy so I’m gonna feel really bad about myself if I don’t at least give this the old college try.
See, even that tiny bit of exposition was painful to write. F*ck me, I need a drink already.
Anyway, rather than give you a litany of facts about this year’s thoroughly deserving inductees (you can read all about them at http://www.ciaprochef.com/winestudies/events/vhf_inductees.html), I want to share with you what those inductees – or, rather, the what the speeches that introduced those inductees – tells us about how California wine came of age. And it can be summed up in two words…
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I’ll be “slumming it” at the Meadowood in Napa Valley this week, taking part in the 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium as a panelist and generally trying to figure out how I got so lucky that I can have opportunity to eat foie gras five times in one week.
What’s that sound…? I think I hear my arteries clogging… graaaaeeeeeeekkkk…..
Anyway, among the attendees at last year’s Wine Writers Symposium were folks from the magazine Sommelier Journal, with which I’ve had a bit of a love affair (that’s a figurative love affair with the magazine, people, and not a literal love affair with any of the people producing the magazine…) for the past few years. I was contacted last week by Sommelier Journal’s Business Manager Phil Vogels (an all-around nice guy and semi-frequent commenter here on 1WD), who let me know that SJ was recently honored with some (well-deserved) Eddy Awards.
To celebrate, the Sommelier Journal folks are offering 1WD readers free on-line (HTML and PDF formats) access to their January 31, 2011 issue for a limited time. Just head over to http://www.sommelierjournal.com/view/view.aspx and start reading! Punch in username [email protected]and password sneakpeek if prompted for access.
If you like what you see, SJ now has an online-only subscription option available for $39 a year. Just sayin’…