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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 4, 2014

Vinted on August 4, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 12 Rockpile Pritchett Peaks Vineyard Zinfandel (Rockpile): Like a James Dean, young but full of intense, focused, brooding intent. $38 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rockpile Jack's Cabin Vineyard Zinfandel (Rockpile): The dusty, smoky, mineral-laden Cab of Zins? Yeah, it's pretty much like that $38 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Rockpile Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockpile): The kind of kick-ass focus you're only getting from good farming. $42 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 David Caffaro My Zin Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): Poised and complex, but certainly suffering no lack of rustic bravado, either. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 David Caffaro Terre Melange (Dry Creek Valley): The word we're looking for here? Piquant; that finish pleasantly bites back. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Wardy Rose du Printemps (Bekka Valley): Cinsault & Syrah that are springing into serious – and downright earthy – life. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e una Notte (Sicily): A torrid love affair of a red, beguiling, maddening, but never boring. $80 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Rocca Sveva Soave Classico (Soave Classico): And then there were apples. And flowers. And refreshment. And there was much rejoicing $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Ravines Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes): I want everybody in the house to know… I came here tonight to hear the limes go BOOM!!! $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Carneros The Famous Gate Pinot Noir (Carneros): The gate's rightfully famous; it's also made of – & rules with – iron rods $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 M. Chapoutier Banuyls (Banuyls): Do yourself a favor; have the chocolates – and the hangover remedies – ready well in advance. $27 B >>find this wine<<

Same Old Song (Ridge Lytton Springs Recent Releases)

“We sing the same old song
Just like a vintage car,
You can look, but you won’t ever drive it.
We drink the same old wine
From a brand new jar,
We get hung-over, but we always survive it.”
- “New Song” by The Who

Some tasks are just… unenviable.

Take, for example, trying to say something new about iconic California producer Ridge that’s not already been said. Go ahead, give it a shot; it’s not easy, folks. Some people are adept at taking the same few chords or themes and churning out something that sounds totally new; The Kinks, The Who, John Grisham (okay, maybe not Grisham). I am not one of those people. The Ridge story has been told several times in print, and from a wine perspective equates to something like “these are excellent, potentially long-lived reds, go buy some; the end… why are you still here?”

And so in recapping my visit to Ridge Lytton Springs in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, I find myself entertaining a sense of dread that I’ve not felt since I’ve had to turn in a term paper in undergrad, the kind that you avoid for as long as possible because you know it’s going to be a bitch to write. I can offer at least one take on Ridge that is original, though, since it happened to me personally; so I suppose I’ll start there.

A couple of years ago, when interviewing the equally iconic California stalwart Kermit Lynch at his Berkley area shop, I noticed a shelf of old empty bottles on a wall in his office. I pointed out to him that only one of those bottles was from an American producer: Ridge. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, “and check this out!” taking the bottle from its display and showing me the back label, pointing to the small text that proclaimed its sub-14% alcohol by volume. I then tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to convince him that Ridge was still making elegant, long-lived, balanced wines that despite an uptick in abv, and that I’d had several aged examples over the years to prove it.

Interestingly, my host at Ridge’s DCV winery was winemaker John Olney (onboard at Lytton Springs since the 2003 vintage), who once worked for Lynch… see, I knew if I tried hard enough there’d be something new there…

Read the rest of this stuff »

Reviews (And Wine Labels) ‘R’ Us (Answers.com Wine Article Roundup, July 2014)

Vinted on July 29, 2014 binned in going pro

We wind down yet another summer month (a scorcher for me, since we spent a good portion of it without a working central AC system at 1WD HQ), and so we have another round of Wine.Answers.com article highlights for your reading pleasure. I was in full-on review mode this month, in an attempt to make a dent in the pile of samples that were not actually wines (this isn’t as insane of a pile as the wine samples, but in its own way has been getting a bit out of hand):

Wine Book Review: “Native Wine Grapes of Italy” by Ian D’Agata – From a sample copy. A comprehensive look at the native wine grape varieties of a country that has a sh*t-ton of such varieties; this will appeal to a very small percent of the population, but among those geeks it could prove to be an indispensable reference.

Wine Product Review: Ravi Instant Wine Chiller – The short version of this review is that I had, at best, a tumultuous time with a sample of this rapid wine chiller; while it’s undoubtedly fast, for me it did always undoubtedly pour any actual wine (and, well, that’s kind of a show-stopper from a wine-pouring-accessory standpoint).

Wine Product Review: Riedel “Big O” Cabernet Wine Tumbler – Loved this not-so-little stem-less wine glass; it is not for small wines (or small hands… or small bank accounts…), but for those who go for big pours of big wines, this is a keeper. Another sample for review (duh).

Surprising Meanings Behind Common U.S. Wine Label Terms – it always amazes me how even well-heeled wine pros have no idea that some of these label terms are regulated (or aren’t).

Cheers!

 

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For July 28, 2014

Vinted on July 28, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 09 Amista Gloeckner Turner Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockpile): Savory flirt! But don't underestimate the substance under the surface $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Amista Syrah (Dry Creek Valley): For those who prefer their meat be served with spices, a touch of delicacy, & a lot of care. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Amista Morningstar Vineyards Tres Red (Dry Creek Valley): Perfume spritzed on a bedrock of dark, peppery, brooding red fruit. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Amista Morningsong Vineyards Chardonnay (Dry Creek Valley): Bringing the flowers, the steel & the minerals to the dry creek. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Boschendal Appellation Series Chardonnay (Elgin): All dressed up to the nines, flaunting its wares, but also keeping its cool. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Boschendal Appellation Series Pinot Noir (Elgin): You could concoct a gourmet berry, bacon & herb dressing; or, just drink this. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage (Coastal Region): Things at this barbeque just got very, very, VERY serious. $44 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc (Coastal Region): The term Full Monty doesn't really even begin to describe it $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Claypool Cellars CC Pachyderm Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): It's about as complex as a good prog rock anthem. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Prinz Salm Berg Roxheim Riesling Spatlase (Nahe): Green tea with a bit of honey? Stone fruit on a bed of flowers? Count me in. $49 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Lieb Cellars Blanc de Blancs Pinot Blanc Brut (Long Island): Yellow apples making most east coast bubbles green with jealousy. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<

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