1WineDude TV: Candid Conversations With Napa’s Next Gen Winemakers

Vinted on July 28, 2010 binned in 1WineDude TV, California wine, interviews, on the road

What do you get when you gather five young, “next-generation” Napa vintners around a table and talk shop?  Besides “buzzed on some really good juice,” I mean?

Essentially, that’s the question I was hoping to answer when I worked with the Napa Valley Vintner’s Association to set-up a round-table discussion with some of Napa’s best next-generation family winemakers, hosted at the stunning Viader Vineyards property on Howell Mountain.  I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the next-gen Napa set before (see previous one-on-one’s with Hailey Trefethen and Helen Buehler), but until last week I’d never taken a deep dive into the unique spin that the next-generation has been putting on Napa’s family-run wineries and their wines.

As it turns out, I visited only family-run Napa wine operations during my latest Napa jaunt, and the most obvious common thread tying them together were wines of high-quality and often stunning vitality.  Acid is back in fashion, and so is balance – and for the most part, Napa’s next-gen set are making wines that they themselves enjoy drinking.

Included in our roundtable were Florencia Palmaz (Palmaz Vineyards), Alan Viader (Viader Vineyards & Winery), Judd Finkelstein (Judd’s Hill), Andy Schweiger (Schweiger Vineyards) and Elizabeth Marston (Marston Family Vineyard).  We tasted through several of the recent white and red releases, and talked wine scores, winemaking styles, savvy wine consumers, music, social media, and which wine critics they’d most like kick in the crotch.

Two-parter video (1WineDude TV Episode 16 and Episode 17) recapping the roundtable is after the jump.  Enjoy!…

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1WineDude TV Episode 15: Underground Wine Road at Benziger

Vinted on July 26, 2010 binned in 1WineDude TV, California wine, on the road

Although the term terroir gets tossed around like confetti at an Italian wedding these days, there are several (mostly family-owned and –operated) wine properties in Napa and Sonoma that are taking the idea seriously.

One such property is Benziger, who biodynamically farm grapes and make wine in a beautiful section of Sonoma County.  So much so that they’ve hired self-proclaimed terroir specialist Dr. Pedro Parra to help them analyze the soils and subsoils of their vineyard locations – involving scientific analysis and the digging of deep trenches at strategic locations in the vineyards to examine the soil profiles and root growth.  You can see some of this in the video coverage below.

General Manager Mike Benziger and I sat down last week at the family winery to talk about California wine, terroir, dirt, and Dr. Parra’s unique work, but failed to discuss the strange state of my wind-blown hair.  Enjoy!

Cheers!

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-07-24

Vinted on July 24, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 07 Rocca Bad Boy Red (Napa Valley): Mostly a very, very good boy. But something tells me he might be a Bad Boy when it comes to food. $32 B+ #
  • 07 Torres Sangre de Toro Tempranillo (Catalunya): Summertiiiiiime, and the sippiiiiiiiin’s eeeeaaaasssyyyyy. Especially in this case. $11 B- #
  • 07 Torres Ibericos (Rioja): A sprig of herbs has been stuck into those black cherries, stem and all. Careful with that oak, Eugene. $16 B #
  • 09 Acordeon Torrontes (Cafayate Valley): Limes, pineapples & Jasmine, oh my!! You’d use multiple exclamation points too at this price! $9 B- #
  • 09 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare (Central Coast): Tasty, refined Rose for smart people who still aren’t afraid to like strawberries. $15 B #
  • 04 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County): U don’t like black cheery & licorice? Well, U like this black cherry & licorice! $75 A- #
  • 06 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County): Their vineyard views are gorgeous & substantive. So is this dark-fruited beauty. $40 A- #
  • 09 Bennett Lane White Maximus (Napa Valley): Shooting for vibrancy, tropical fruits & refreshing citrus. Pretty much a bull’s eye. $28 B+ #
  • 07 Bennett Lane Reserve Chardonnay (Carneros): Can you balance creme brulee on citrus, acids, & booze. In this case, you come close. $45 B #
  • 06 Bennett Lane Maximus (Napa Valley): Not distinctive, but this red goes down too juicy & easy not to drink lots of it for the price $35 B+ #

(yes, there’s even more of this stuff…)

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2 for 1(WineDude) Music Giveaway!

Vinted on July 22, 2010 binned in giveaways

I had a hankerin’ for a giveaway, and for something fun and off-beat (I know, right?  me being offbeat?  what-what-WHAT?!??) and so for this edition of giveaway action we’re doubling up on the prizes and YOU can win just by leaving a comment!

I was recently (that’s “recently” as in my version of “recently” – which is measured in months – and not recently in normal human terms) turned onto a band called side FX, who feature the interesting vocals of wine fan Kim Cameron, and who (according to their publicist) have built their career by performing at wine tasting events.

Now, as a member of a hard-working (that’s “hard working” in the “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll” AC/DC sense, not in the 9-to-5 sense) rock band myself who has played in just about every scenario that you can imagine (including wine tasting events, which are usually a great gig), I was intrigued and the publicist sent over some review copies of side FX’s album Turning Point [ for laughably funny “rawk stah” photos of me pretending to be a musician, check out the inset pics below ].

Fans of well-crafted, pop-infused hooks and musicianship will dig Turning Point, I think – the more astute listeners will pick out a variety of influences from `80s Go-Go’s pop to country and UK club dance beats.

Anyway, today we’re giving away a copy of Turning Point and throwing in a copy of my band’s pop-influenced album Cloud & Water.  Here’s how it works:

YOU leave a comment describing the worst band that you ever saw live while you were drinking (because if a band stinks when you’re buzzing, then they probably really suck). In one week, using a super-secret random process, I will select one commenter as the WINNER.

My personal selection of the worst band that I ever saw while drinking (that’s while I was drinking, though I’ve no proof that the band in question wasn’t drinking)  is going to surprise you…

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