- 08 Maison Bouachon ‘Les Rabassieres’ (Côtes du Rhône): The lighter, food-friendly side of French GSM topped w/ a heap of white pepper $12 B- #
- 08 Centine (Toscana): 2nd under-performing vintage in a row for this now mildy-stinky & not-so-super Tuscan. Are we in a tailspin? $11 C- #
- 08 Cru ‘Appelation Series’ Pinor Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Kinda like gettin’ a lil’ high on a strawberry, cranberry & tobacco fatty $35 B #
- 08 Cru ‘Vineyard Montage’ Pinot Noir (Central Coast): Smoky mildly jammy entry-level Pinot unfortunately without an entry-level price $20 C+ #
- 10 Mendel Semillon (Mendoza): Unctuous melon that smells great, sits big in the mouth but manages to steer well clear of flabby-land. $25 B #
- 00 Château Les Ormes de Pez (St. Estèphe): Attractive w/ tobacco, graphite & dark fruit but missing some of that powerful 2000 mojo. $30 B #
- 03 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley): Could be a bit spicier, but w/ dark cherry fruit this hedonistic, who cares? $70 B+ #
- 08 Luca Uco Valley Chardonnay (Mendoza): Buttery, tropical & a standout sipper on its own. Does not play well with its food friends. $28 B #
- 08 Tikal Patriota (Mendoza): What’s a lil’ over-extraction between friends when you’re this berry-fruity, spicy & delicious (& cheap) $19 B+ #
- 03 Da Vinci Brunello di Montalcino: Lacking just a *hair* of complexity; otherwise spicy, rich & just magic with meaty, cheesy pasta. $70 B+ #
- NV Jaillance Cuvee de l’Abbaye Brut (Crémant de Bordeaux): Tart grapefruit & bready goodness that outperforms some pricier Champagne. $18 B- #
1WineDude.com readers are no strangers to Sommelier Journal, the wine mag with which I started a bit of a wine-geeky-info-love-affair back in 2008 (I’m a subscriber). You may also recall that last year I took SJ to task (tongue firmly in cheek, of course) for their Top Wine Releases of 2009 (as chosen by wine personalities and pros invited to contribute to the list, choosing wines that were particularly memorable to them from those that they tasted during the year).
As many of you may also know, I’m a fan of that recap approach. But while I loved the selections and the manner in which they were solicited, I wasn’t a fan of the price tags to be found in the list – last year’s round-up had an average bottle price of $97.18.
Sommelier Journal’s Business Manager, Phil Vogels is a nice guy and a (semi) frequent contributor to the comments here on 1WD, and pointed out in the discussion that followed my critique that the average price was mathematically skewed by a small number of very pricey wines – and that the majority of the wines were actually quite affordable:
“You’d be hard-pressed to break down the list in a way that didn’t have under $30 as the highest category…”
Well, the 2010 edition has hit the shelves as part of Sommelier Journal’s December 15, 2010 issue. How does the new list fare in these belt-tightening times?…
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The defining characteristic of the most preferable wine for imbibing while viewing epic, come-from-behind NFL playoff battles between hated sports rivals (aside from the wine having been paid for by someone else, that is), would be that the wine is very good without being too good.
[ I should note before we go any farther down field, so to speak, that if you’re a Baltimore Ravens fan I am most likely about to lose you as a friend. Forever. BUT… if you’re a fan of Argentine reds, we may become fast friends after this. If you’re fan of both the Ravens and Argentine reds, prepare to be conflicted. ]
The main point about the best NFL playoff wines was driven home to me via Facebook in a chat with Yair Haidu (founder of the excellent www.haidu.net):
“…shouldn’t be a complicated wine. the mind has to be fully devoted to the game…”
While a good beer of course fills the NFL playoff imbibing bill quite admirably, sometimes even the most die-hard beer fans, much like the play-calling of hall-of-fame defensive coordinators, just need to change things up once in a while. And it goes without saying that no self-respecting wine geek would stoop to drinking plonk during an NFL playoff game, just as no self-respecting Steelers fan would be caught dead wearing Ravens purple.
When it comes to NFL-viewing, distractions (too good or too bad), are killers: missing the big play as it unfolds live, because you have your nose too long in the glass, is likely to give you a gut-wrenching “got to be the sickest man in America” feeling (sort of like a high-priced, free-agent wide receiver dropping the type of key, clutch, do-or-die-time pass for which his team hired him in the first place).
So anyway… for the big games, what wine should it be?…
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When it comes to tasting wine in a critical context (critical as in “for the purpose of reviewing potential and quality” and not critical as in “life-threateningly-important” – though way, way, way too many people treat it that way), I’m often reminded of the phrase made (in)famous decades ago in wine TV commercials by an aging (and rapidly expanding) Orson Welles.
No, I don’t mean “Mmmmyyyyaaaaaargh…The French!…”
I mean “wine before its time.”
The deeper I go into this Going Pro rabbit hole, the more often I find myself tasting a fine wine (several) years before “its time” – what I would consider its optimal drinking age. It’s something that came to mind while I was reading (and subsequently commenting on) a recent blog post by Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff, when he mused that it’s a treat for wine reviewers when they actually get an appreciable amount of time to enjoy a wine at leisure (a point with which I agree, and one I can appreciate given that I’ve found myself in similar circumstances recently – though as a general rule I eschew tasting large volumes of wine quickly and, as mentioned before on these virtual pages, I’m not interested in going that route for 1WineDude.com).
So, what is a wine’s optimal drinking age, then?…
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