Baseball and White Burgundy (Tasting Olivier Leflaive Selections)

Vinted on October 11, 2010 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, twitter taste live, wine review

I don’t know bumpkis about baseball.

Never have.  I prefer sports where guys hit each other at high-velocity (football, hockey), or where the mere act of finishing a game is near-miracle of aerobic survival skills (soccer).  As for all of the numbers that flash up on the screen when someone comes to bat? I don’t call that fun with stats, I call that torture; forget beating or water-boarding, you wanna get details on terrorist attacks from a suspect, submit them to an endless series of baseball games… that ought to get them talking in a hurry.

But Phillies fever is (rightfully and deservedly) sweeping the local populace out my way, and I do appreciate how hard it is to hit a baseball thrown in the major leagues – it might be the most difficult thing to do in all of professional sports.  So I know the value of a homerun – and “home run” is an apt descriptor for the results of the recent Frederick Wildman twitter tasting event with Burgundy producer Olivier Leflaive.

I have such a troubled history with Burgundy; in my opinion, there is no more inconsistent a wine experience on offer for so much money as there is in the vinous produce from rolling hills of the Burg’.  At this point, I think I’d have better luck in playing craps than in buying Burgundy wines, and to this day it is just about the only wine region that I won’t touch with my own money without a close friend experienced in Burgundy wines at my side in the wine shop (fortunately, I know a lot of experienced wine people).

And yet, there exist producers like Olivier Leflaive that can steer you so right so often – for a (sometimes steep) price, of course.  But if you have the cash, you’re in for a treat when it comes to Leflaive, particularly the 2008s…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up for 2010-10-08

Vinted on October 9, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 09 Baron K Riesling Kabinett (Rheingau): A lighter, more playful (but by no means inferior) take on the Rheingau; tasty & elegant too. $17 B ->
  • 08 Undone Pinot Noir (Rheinhessen): Almost jammy red berries & spice? From Germany? Hot damn, this one's gonna please a lot of peeps. $13 B- ->
  • 09 Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Torrontes (Cafayate): Made me feel like I'd just made out with a pear-perfume-wearing Cougar in a bar. $10 B- ->
  • 06 Montes Alpha "M" (Santa Cruz Valley): Not w/out its flaws, but just way too lovable in a velvety, dark, quirky & complex way. $98 A- ->
  • 08 Guy Saget La Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc (Loire): Clean, crisp, full of melons but just a bit too petite for its own good. $11 C+ ->
  • 08 Olivier Leflaive 1er Cru Clos St. Marc (Chassagne-Montrachet): Elegant; like buying yourself a license to be royalty for an hour. $90 A- ->
  • 07 Olivier Leflaive 1er Cru Charmes (Meursault): Brioche, Butter & Butt-Kickery (but you ought to expect it at this price-point!) $103 A- ->
  • 08 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet: Like a non-Photoshopped Men's Health cover model – not an ounce of discernible flab on it. $57 B+ ->
  • 08 Olivier Leflaive Meursault: More nuts than a box of Planter's, more flowers than granny's garden, & more balance than Nik Wallenda $52 B+ ->
  • 08 J Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): An exquisitely prepared crème brûlée; exquisitely prepared w/ a bit too much booze. $28 B ->
  • 06 Judd's Hill Founder's Art Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Still tight as a drum; a powerful, dark-cherry, spicy drum. $65 B+ ->
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I Am Not A Member of the Polynesian National Basketball Team (WineChannelTV Interview)

Vinted on October 8, 2010 binned in 1WD LIVE, about 1winedude blog

Well… I’m not

But I was the guest on last night’s episode/webisode/whatever-isode of #winechat, the twitter / wetoku live video interview series hosted by WineChannelTV CEO/Founder and certified sommelier Jess Altieri.

We talked wine, social media, blogging, and fielded some awesome questions from the way cool #winechat viewers.  I had a great time.  Video of the interview is below.  The unimpressive background on my side is my “home office” but I am wearing a Steelers t-shirt which makes it awesome, right?

Cheers!

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Should America’s Native Grapes Be Saved? (The Wild Vine Giveaway!)

Vinted on October 7, 2010 binned in book reviews, giveaways

This week, we’re giving away a hardcover copy of Todd Kliman’s excellent The Wild Vine: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine (of which I received more than one sample copy) to one lucky commenter (that could be YOU).

I should start by saying that The Wild Vine is everything that you’d want out of a good wine book; better stated, it’s everything that you’d want out of a good book, period.

There are compelling characters.  There is a stellar narrative voice.  There’s an underdog story (a few, actually, interwoven) that make you care.  There is conflict, perseverance, and in some ways, triumph.

I’m just not entirely convinced that the story needed to be told – at least, part of it, anyway.  I’m glad it was told – and in such gloriously talented fashion; I’m just not sure I “get” the importance of the tale, mostly because the heart of the story in The Wild Vine is the near total disappearance of one of America’s most seemingly promising, and at one time certainly most successful – native hybrids, the Norton.

The book takes us on tangents as wildly diverting as the un-pruned tendrils of a Norton vine: from the early 1800s near-suicidal despair of Dr. Daniel Norton (who by all reasonable accounts appears to be the originator of the Norton grape that bears his name) to the crowning of an American Norton as one of the world’s greatest wines in a late 1800s Austrian wine exhibition, to the near singly-handed modern resurgence of the Norton grape in its spiritual and genetic home in Virginia at the dedicated hands of Chrysalis Vineyards transsexual owner, Jenni McCloud.

As you have probably discerned, The Wild Vine is not without (major) drama.  And while some might bristle at Kliman’s extensive use of fictional historical narrative to get inside the heads of the book’s decidedly non-fictional characters, and others might give up on the extended storyline (Kliman literally waits until halfway through the book before posing the question of why the Norton practically went extinct), those who stick with The Wild Vine all the way through will be well-rewarded.

There’s just a part of me – the part that’s tasted some nasty versions of wine made from Norton grapes – that wonders if the grape should have been saved.

(for details on how to win a copy of the book, read on…)

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