Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For November 12, 2011

Vinted on November 12, 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 Spring Mountain Vineyard Elivette (Napa Valley): Black currant, black plum, black tea, & maybe a little bit too much black angus. $125 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Laurenz V. Charming Gruner Veltliner (Kamptal): Classic Kamptal, which means it’s also a classic match for an enormous tasty salad $26 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Turk Kremser Weinberge Gruner Veltliner (Kremstal): Stately; those apples & herbs have finesse but also a ton of… well, of *pep*. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Pffafl Haidviertel Gruner Veltliner (Weinviertel): Citrus that drinks big as its name; stick around for the orange blossom finish. $22 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Leth Steinagrund Gruner Veltliner Reserve (Wagram): Well-coordinated juggling act of tropical fruit, green peas, flint & spices. $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Huber Gruner Veltliner (Traisental): Kind of like Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc dancing, but they’re not quite fully in the Gruve. $16 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Aveleda Alvarinho (Minho): Maybe not as stellar as the ’09, but still pretty friggin’ stellar. Tropical, lively & a total bargain. $13 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Trapiche Broquel Bonarda (Mendoza): Equal parts blueberry compote, black cherry and vanilla extract. Good if U like ’em woody. $15 B >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Farina Gran Dama de Toro (Toro): Concentration of a Buddhist monk; black fruit of a brambly bush; wood of a Buick Roadmaster wagon $45 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Come for the pure, stately blackberry & cassis, stay for the crazy cellar-able value $52 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Jordan Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Like handmade furniture the joints almost totally dovetail in this refined, lively Chard $29 B+ >>find this wine>>



Tasting 40 Years Of A Tawny Port Icon

Vinted on November 10, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine books, wine review

“Billy C. is drinking Sandeman Port down at the old café
And the river goes by slowly, the river likes it that way.”

The Knuckleball Suite, Peter Mulvey

In the world of wine, there are a few images that stand the test of time and can truly be described as iconic, instantly conjuring up the history not just of a long-standing producer, but also of the entire region that producer calls home. And when you’re iconic in the world of wine, with its long historical perspective… well, then you’re just f*cking iconic, period.

In America, we have such an icon: the Missionary-style tower at Robert Mondavi winery in Napa Valley has come to represent not only the history of fine winemaking at RMW, but the entire modern history of fine winemaking in all of Napa (and by extension all of the U.S.), by virtue of the man who just about singlehandedly started it all.

The world of Port in Portugal has such an icon, too: The Don – that tall, dark-cloaked stranger that stands so prominently on the Gaia side of the river Douro (and who’s a lot more Zoro than creepy-flasher), is instantly recognizable to anyone walking along the shoreline in Porto. George Massiot Brown’s poster design from the 1920s has come to represent not only the 200+ years of Port-producing history that began with Scotsman George Sandeman – to many, it represents Port, period.

So when you’re offered samples of the icon’s range of age-designated Tawny Ports (from 10 to 40 years old) for possible review, you think twice about turning them down. In fact, in that scenario, as a wine geek you really have only two options: 1) decline the samples, or 2) plan on staging a comparative tasting and pairing them with Apple, Cranberry & Walnut Pie with Stilton (from page 208 of Sid Goldstein’s excellent The Wine Lover’s Cookbook).

You can guess which option I picked…

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Are Wine Critics “Wasting” Points On A Wine’s Color?

Vinted on November 9, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, wine appreciation

Well… are they?

Some background: Wine critics generally use a 100-point scale when evaluating wines (I know most of you know this, bear with the exposition, people!). I don’t, because I think it implies a level of accuracy in evaluating a moving-target product (that can change within hours in the glass, let alone within years in the bottle) and so I (begrudgingly – hey, you asked for them!) use a “fuzzier” scale to evaluate the wine that I’m fortunate (and, ok, sometimes not-so-fortunate) enough to have cross my lips.

Generally, it’s assumed that many (probably most) wine critics reserve some part of their rating score for a wine’s color. For example, long-time Wine Spectator editor James Suckling once explained via video how he doles out his points when reviewing a wine, in which “things like color get 15 points.”

But is a wine’s color an important enough aspect on which to base 15% or so of one’s critical rating?  According to a (very) informal poll I took recently via twitter and facebook, the answer is probably “No.”

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