A Malbec Three-Way (Or “This Bud’s No Longer For You!”)

Vinted on September 22, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, wine review

Ok, It’s (probably) not what you’re thinking.

What I wanted to do today was highlight the versatility of Argentine Malbec – not just because it’s capable of delivering more than the tongue-coating, savory inkiness of a dry red that we’re used to, but also because I’m kind of all-Malbeced-out from my South American jaunt, and so if I’m gonna cover Malbec it’s gonna need to be a little creative.

Not that creative… look, you really need to get your mind out of the gutter, alright? It’s not even the weekend for krissakes!

So… I grabbed three Argentine Malbecs made in three totally different styles from the ever-expanding and totally-over-run-with-cardboard-boxes sample pool known as my basement, and we hit the grill for some BQ goodness to match up with it all.

My tasting experiment wasn’t without its slight disappointments, but it did yield a crowd-pleasing “sleeper” of a dessert wine – one that happens to deliver a serious amount of bang-for-the-buck, and also even more serious amounts of the “gee-I didn’t-know-they-made-this-kind-of-stuff” factor.  More on that in a minute (or two).

As I suspect is the case with many three-ways, ours started with imbibing some bubbly

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Are You Drinking Wine, Or Just Squashing Grapes?

Vinted on September 21, 2011 binned in commentary, going pro, wine appreciation, wine tasting

Today we will speak of current NFL coaches, former baseball catching stars, and Jedi Master Yoda.  And wine – almost forgot about the wine…

See, I’ve been getting a little bit of flak over how publicly I’ve worn my NFL team allegiance colors on 1WD. And so, true to form, I’m going to go deeper into that forest today. Because at heart, I am a stinker.

For days now I’ve been rubbing the almost-scabbed-over wounds of the Steelers dismal showing of a season opener against the hard-hitting Baltimore Ravens, because part of the healing process for sports fans after such a loss is wallowing in your pain and misery as long as reasonably possible, taking in as much about the heart-wrenching as you can, before letting it all (ok, most of it) go. Real fans know what I am talking about here – sure, the Steelers romping all over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday salved the aching a bit, but c’mon – it was the Seahawks.

And so it was in that wallowing-mode capacity that I came across this little ditty of a quote by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, when asked about the dreadful day one loss:

“I think the people that know and compete in this league understand that there is a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes. Obviously, last weekend we were grape-squashers.”

Ah, the sanctimonious pleasure of shared pain! Tomlin’s it-makes-sense-until-you-reread-it, Yogi-Berra-worthy reference to vino got me thinking about the difference between drinking wine – really drinking it and appreciating it, I mean – and throwing it down our gullets the same way we in the U.S. do with most of our food; which is to say, devouring it so quickly that it looks as if we’re worried someone will come along and snatch up our plates if we don’t clean them off within 4.2 nanoseconds…

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Square Strawberries: Distilling The Natural Wine Message From The New Film “Wines From Here” (Score A Discount To The L.A. Screening!)

Vinted on September 19, 2011 binned in commentary, winemaking

“We don’t want a square strawberry.”

So opines Ridge’s Paul Draper in the first half of Wine From Here, a documentary about (and at points a bit of a commercial for) the budding natural winemaking movement in California (I got a sneak peak by invitation from one of the filmmakers, Martin Carel of Wino Brothers Inc.). The trailer is embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

The film will be screened in L.A. in a couple of days, followed by a tasting of natural wines with winemakers featured in the film at BUZZ Wine / Beer Shop – and if you buy tix to the event online you’ll get 1/3 off the full price by using discount code “1WD” at checkout!

Draper’s comment above is in reference to (what I think is) the strongest selling point behind natural winemaking: consumers ought to know what they are getting when they buy a product, and in the case of wine sometimes they are getting a lot more than just fermented grape juice, primarily in the form of various additives (for more on that topic, and for a rough definition of natural winemaking itself, see my review of Alice Feiring’s new book – she makes several appearances in the film, by the way). And as we know well, consumer sentiment is king, and will play a large part in whether or not the natural winemaking movement gains any serious traction in the wine biz and becomes the vinous equivalent of the organic / slow food phenomena.

Based on the film (which is well-made, and is highly recommended watching for wine geeks), the natural winemaking movement sorely needs to emphasize its strong points, because it’s still touting a few tenets that hold less water than well-drained gravelly vineyard soils…

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