Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For May 7, 2011

Vinted on May 7, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 09 Ludwig "Hammerklavier" Pinot Noir/Dornfelder (Santa Lucia Highlands): Has more character than any primetime police drama out there. $28 B #
  • 08 V. Sattui Glisson Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley): Big, jammy, spicy & quite damn happy about it ThankYouVeryMuch! $36 B #
  • 10 Folonari Moscato (Piave): Kinda like the neighbors’ dog – affable, sweet but a after a while too in-your-face for extended company. $8 C+ #
  • 10 Innocent Bystander Moscato (Victoria): The whole fruit cup’s here, along w/ a little spritz, very little booze & a whole lot of fun $35 B #
  • 08 Sanford "Sanford & Benedict vineyard" Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): She’s a beauty, but it’s gonna be a long (4+ years) courtship. $60 B+ #
  • 08 Sanford Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): Oaky & >14% abv? Yeah, but it’s fruity, tangy & herbal enough to stand up tall to all of that $40 B #
  • 08 Sanford Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County): Yeah, come to think of it I *will* take a side of roasted nuts with that tropical fruit. $21 B #
  • 07 Flowers "Andreen-Gale" Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Like the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, it kicks ass (& has a hint of a Dark Side). $50 A- #
  • 07 Krutz "Stagecoach Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): The coach is smokin’ up a boozy – but downright spicy – fire! $69 B+ #
  • 05 D’Argenzio Randy Rhoads Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County): Almost as much prune & plum as Randy had amazing metal licks. *Almost*. $53 B #
  • 08 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): The fruit is Hefty Hefty Hefty! The balance is Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy! $55 B #
  • 09 Markus Huber Obere Steigen Gruner Veltliner (Niederösterreich): The kind of wine a hefty CA-style salad dreams about when it sleeps $18 B #
  • 07 Draconis Petite Sirah "Classic" (Lodi): Unbeatable PS, with no BS. A spicier, meat-friendlier Lodi red probably doesn’t exist. $28 B+ #
  • 09 Susana Balbo Late Harvest Torrontes (Mendoza): Crowd-pleasing lychee/flower bomb to cap off dinner, & just about any dinner will do $24 B #
  • 08 Château d’Esclans "Garrus" (Côtes de Provence): World’s best Rosé? Maybe. One of the most profound, demanding & complex? For sure. $90 A- #
  • 09 Château d’Esclans "Whispering Angel" Rosé (Côtes de Provence): Those angels are basically whispering "Drink Me… NOW…!" $17 B- #



PR Jonesin’ And The Temple Of Parker Scores (Adventures In Wine Tasting At Chile’s Errazuriz)

Quick quiz for you: How many times can you listen to a winery’s PR guy mention Robert Parker scores before you want to shove wine barrel bungs into your ears to drown out all sound?

For me, the answer is “somewhere around 25 times,” which is about the amount I endured in the impressive underground barrel storage area of Errazuriz during my recent visit to Chile. I certainly don’t blame their PR for dousing me with the Robert Parker score hose during my visit – Errazuriz are clearly (and justifiably) proud of the accolades that their wines have received; they’ve been at the production of high-end, “icon” wines longer than just about anybody else in Chile, after all.  But… what I had a difficult time with was the relentlessness with which that stream of scores was trained at my poor, unsuspecting ears.

God knows I don’t hate Parker, and I don’t hate wine scores (I find them very limiting, and rife for misuse, but don’t hate them).  While I find Parker’s palate prefers wines that, to me, come off a bit on the brutish side (and quite a few of Errazuriz’s releases fall into that category), I’m sure plenty of people who like the higher-scoring Parker selections likely find my highly-rated selections on the tepid, shy side.

All further proof that you owe it to yourself to learn your own taste preferences before following the advice of critics too closely, I suppose.

Anyway… back to the cellar of PR pain…

I actually tried to derail said PR person by mentioning (when we were discussing Bordeaux wine prices versus those of Chile’s finest reds) that I’d interviewed Parker fairly recently.  I figured what the hell, maybe telling him I’d had contact with Parker would at least change the context of the current discussion about Parker.  Nope – that tactic had about the same effect as trying to stop a charging elephant with a grade-school-classroom-grade spitball.  So I turned it into a learning opportunity, and the lesson was this:

Reciting a litany of wine scores isn’t really marketing!

It wasn’t helping the oppressive vibe any that day that the icon winery at Errazuriz is impressively imposing in its starkness, or that the barrel rooms have brick and calcareous rock that measures up to two and a half inches thick in some places – while good for withstanding Chile’s earthquakes, the whole thing came off as being a bit too overwhelming, and it all felt just a tad old school.

Quite a marked contrast to the experience I had just a few hours earlier when visiting Errazuriz’s western vineyard location, the gorgeous Chilhue Manzanar (“seagull’s place” in Mapudungun, the language of the region’s indigenous Mapuche people) 120 km northwest of Santiago, and mere 12 km from the Pacific ocean…

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1WineDudeTV Episode 33: Does Long-term Appeal Matter In Wine Writing?

Vinted on May 4, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, going pro

In this episode, I drink expensive bubbly, muse on the Royal Wedding, wax pseudo-philosophic about the Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Awards, and pose the questions: What does “long-term appeal” mean to YOU when it comes to wine writing? And do you think it even matters? Shout it out in the comments!  Enjoy!

Mentioned in this episode:





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