Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For September 17, 2011

Vinted on September 17, 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!

  • 06 August Briggs Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Such great plummy spice. But every grain is carrying a load of boozy bigness. $52 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 John Duval Plexus MRV (Barossa): Rhone hooks up with south Australia; their love child eventually becomes a stunning supermodel. $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Johannishof Charta Riesling (Rheingau): A tasty blast of apricot & citrus pith. Maybe too much citrus pith all things considered. $21 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Sooo complex. Sooo drinkable. Sooo focused. Sooo damn ripe. $75 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): I love funk music, but I definitely wouldn’t play it during a coronation $75 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Trapiche Zaphy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza): Red currant fruit that’s right on course, though that course is a bit, er, coarse. $9 C >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Trapiche Zaphy Malbec (Mendoza): Plums & hint of meatiness that have entered the fruity dimension (& basically got stuck there). $9 C+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir (Marlborough): Red berries that are buoyant enough to lift your spirits after a crappy day at the office. $17 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough): Grapefruit, passion fruit, a touch of herbs & a shrimp-friendly, stately demeanor. $17 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough): Great herbs & pleasant tropical fruit salad executing a slightly awkward dance maneuver. $14 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Foppiano Vineyards Estate Bottled Petite Sirah (Russian RIver Valley): Just a big, guilty, peppery, flowery, black-fruited pleasure $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Bernardus Pinot Noir (Monterey County): An herbal, juicy jaunt that, alas, took its eyes off the road at the smokey finish line. $20 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley): Red berries as vibrant as a neon sign; truffle & herbs make up for the charred meat. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 X Winery Truchard Vineyard Pinot Noir (Carneros): A little hefty but ready to beat the pants off Napa Valley Pinot twice the price. $27 B >>find this wine>>



Speak Low And Carry A Big Mourvèdre (The Boz Scaggs Interview)

Vinted on September 15, 2011 binned in best of, interviews, kick-ass wines, sexy wines

What do you do after you’ve more-or-less totally conquered the R&B/Pop and Jazz worlds, and have become so successful in the music biz that one of your backup bands goes on to become a multi-platinum-record-selling act?

In Boz Scaggs’s case, you start up a wine brand. Of course!

Many of you…, uhm… younglings reading this may not be intimately familiar with Boz’s tunes, or his soulful crooning, but chances are very, very good that your parents think he’s the shiz. In 2000, smooth-soul-rocker Boz and his wife Dominique released the first wines made under their Scaggs Vineyard label. Their plantings were started on a bit of a lark in the late 1990s, when a friend suggested they try growing grape vines on their Napa Valley property (and gave them some leftover Syrah he had on his truck). Turned out that friend was onto something – Scaggs Vineyard 2008 Mt. Veeder Montage is a stellar Mourvèdre / Grenache / Syrah blend that’s packing as much soul as any one of Boz’s numerous memorable grooves.

Judging by his responses to my interview questions, award-winning singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs may be a man of many infectious grooves but he’s also a man of relatively few words. When it comes to his wines, however, little embellishment is needed for those who have had the opportunity to taste them.  Boz might “Speak Low,” but his wines carry a pretty loud bang (for the buck).

A quick interview with Boz (who took some time out of a busy and active touring schedule to answer my questions) is below, along with some further thoughts on two recent Scaggs Vineyard releases (tasted as samples).  I suggest listening to the live version of Lowdown while reading it (if that song doesn’t get your booty moving at least a little bit, then you might not have a pulse…).  I’m not sure Boz “gets” my sense of humor (actually, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get my sense of humor), but I sure “get” his wines – of all of the rock-star-turned-wine-producers that I’ve interviewed, Boz’s releases are certainly among the best (if not the best).


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Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay Attention To?

Vinted on September 14, 2011 binned in best of, going pro, wine news

Well… whose ratings should a wine drinker pay attention to?  Or, stated with a tad more more grammatical correctness (warning: sounding-like-douche-bag-potential alert!), To Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay More Attention?

An American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) working paper with that tile was just released, though, interestingly, it doesn’t actually answer the question.  I will answer it, in a few minutes anyway, but not before torturing you with exposition and report dissection first. Because, well, I’m really just not that nice of a guy.

Despite the bait-and-switch title, the paper starts with a fascinating premise: given that ratings for the same wines vary between professional wine critics (called “experts” in the paper’s lingo), is there an established expert whose ratings correlate closely with those of the general wine-drinkin’ public?

Turns out, there is one – at least,there is one out of the three expert sources that the paper used.

The paper’s authors, Omer Gokcekus and Dennis Nottebaum (no, I do not know how to pronounce those), chose to examine ratings/scores of 120 Bordeaux wines from the 2005 vintage.  The voice of the people was played by the scores for those wines as recorded in Cellar Tracker, subsets of which were then compared with the scores for the same wines as reported by three pro wine critic sources.  Big-time influencer Robert Parker (via The Wine Advocate) was included, as well as Wine Spectator, so they covered the 1.5 most influential wine critics in the U.S.  The third included was Stephan Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, though to be honest I’ve no idea why they included that last one.  Just kidding, Stephen!

Anyway… It’s important to note the results were aggregated, and this makes them a tad misleading because the same wines were not compared between the three pro critics and Cellar Tracker – a subset of the wines were compared (CT to RP, CT to WS, and CT to ST).  These were not the same wines (or the same amount of wines) in each case, so while there will be some wines in the group that were compared against all four ratings sources, there will also be some wines that were only compared between Cellar Tracker and one of the pro sources.  Got it?  Good!

Overlooking that minor cavil, the results are pretty darn fascinating…

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