The Dreaded Thanksgiving Holiday Wine Pairing Article, Part CCXXII

Vinted on November 21, 2011 binned in holidays

I do this because… well, honestly because I feel obligated.

You know that feeling you get in undergrad where you have a term paper with about two days before it’s due and you haven’t started it yet but you have to do it? The same feeling that marked the advent of the first day of school after Sumer vacation, or harkens the impending ring of the Monday-morning alarm after a night of overdoing it while watching Sunday Night Football?

I have that feeling.

Because I need to do the annual Thanksgiving holiday wine pairing article.

It’s my belief that the standard holiday wine pairing article is hackneyed and has, for most intents and purposes, jumped the shark. Why? Because no wine critic or educator knows your personal taste preferences nor do they know the ingredients of your Aunt’s famous casserole, which, after all, is only famous within your family and her glee club. So you’re far, far, far better served by going to a wine shop that you trust, telling the folks there what you like (here’s some help on figuring that out) and what food your serving, and getting their recommendations.

Your personal preferences always trump all, but at holiday time we’re rarely buying just for ourselves – and there are indeed some food & wine matchups that do not, in fact, match up. So while I could never give you exact holiday wine recommendations (at least, not without an exact holiday food match to go with it!), I can provide two general pieces of advice that might serve you well in narrowing down your selections

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For November 19, 2011

Vinted on November 19, 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!

  • 08 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel (Sonoma County): Like a Carl Perkins riff, it’s got elegance, tastiness, twang & power. $17 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Just Joshin Tempranillo (Sierra Foothills): About as leathery, tangy & tasty a Temp as you’ll get in CA (& in the price range!). $15 B >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Tejada Reserve (Lake County): Red-blooded Spaniard hanging out in a Southern smokehouse. A *very* smokey smokehouse, that is. $25 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Dubost Tempranillo (Central Coast): Dark cherry is chewin’ tobacco & ridin’ that leather side-saddle (& a bit off-balance, too). $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Three Rivers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley): Here’s yer dark fruit &…whoa who slipped that tangy cranberry in there? $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • NV Sandeman 40 Year Tawny Port (Porto): The kind of after-dinner drink to hide from your guests & hoard totally for your greedy self. $129 A >>find this wine>>
  • NV Sandeman 30 Year Tawny Port (Porto): Brooding caramelized & walnut-filled loveliness, but it will only reward the truly patient. $75 A- >>find this wine>>
  • NV Sandeman 20 Year Tawny Port (Porto): Crowd-pleasing dried fruit & toasted nuts tailor-made for post-holiday-dinner fireside chats $46 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • NV Sandeman 10 Year Tawny Port (Porto): Toffee & lovely peppery spice kind of running into each other in moments of temporary panic. $29 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Fay (Napa Valley): Sporting as many complex elements as that label’s stag has points on its antlers. $70 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Four Brix Winery Temptress (CA): Juicy Tempranillo from CA that actually tastes like Tempranillo? Hell, sign me up for that pronto! $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Four Brix Winery Scosso (CA): Sangio’s racy cherry is there, but the sweet chocolate (& boozy power) might be too rich 4 your blood $35 B >>find this wine>>



Feeling The Heat In California: Are Paso Robles Wines Too High In Alcohol?

Vinted on November 17, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

There’s one thing you need to know about Paso Robles wine country.

It can get hot.

And I’m not talking about the Summertime temperatures, or even the Indian-Summertime temperatures, which had busted through the 100F mark not too long before my visit to Paso in October.

No, I’m talking about the wines.

After tasting through a small score of the vino on offer from several of Paso’s wine producers, the most prominent takeaway was that there were so many wines that were made from very, very ripe fruit – wines that generally exceeded 14% abv in the whites and regularly hit over 15% abv in the reds.

That is not an inevitable conclusion for Paso Robles wine.  And I know this because it wasn’t always the case.

During my Paso visit, I dined at the home of Gary and Marcy Eberle, who own Eberle Winery in Paso. Over the course of our meal (also attended by representatives of several other Paso producers), Gary opened a few bottles of Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from the early 1980s. Those wines were a far cry from being dead – in fact, they were vibrant, with juicy red fruits underpinning aromas of dried herbs.  In other words, those wines were refined, food-friendly, and eminently drinkable.  The abv? About 13%

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