Not Much Gold In Them Thar Hills (Inside The 2011 Lake County Wine Awards, Part Three)

Vinted on August 16, 2011 binned in on the road, wine industry events, wine review

[ This is part three of a short series covering my tenure as a judge in the 2011 Lake County Wine Competition – for more details, check out Part The First and Part The Second. ]

The Gold Rush in California dried up more-or-less 150 years ago. And the 2011 Lake County Wine Awards results didn’t do much as far as opening the floodgates back up when it comes to CA gold: out of 180+ entries, we awarded eleven gold medals – roughly six percent of the total entries.

While one might not expect a wine competition to result in a large number of gold medals (and one might cast a wary eye on any competition that did dole out a high volume of golds, anyway), I suspect that having a relatively low number generally in this case is a result of two things: 1) the as-yet-unrealized potential of Lake County’s fruit, and 2) the fact that it’s not really practical to decant the big red wines prior to the competition, and so those that need time in the glass to fully develop just didn’t have a totally fair shake to strut their real stuff.

But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that golds were, in fact, handed out – as it turns out, those gold medals were awarded to a pretty interesting cast of vinous characters, each worth discussing in a bit more detail

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NJ Assembly Majority Leader Disses His Own Wine-Buying Constituents

Vinted on August 15, 2011 binned in commentary, wine shipping

I know that a lot of people like to jokingly poke fun at New Jersey from time to time (c’mon… admit it… they even had a NJ joke in Madagascar 2 and that was a kids flik), but do some people really think that NJ’s citizens are actually that dumb?

Apparently, some of them do – including Joseph Cryan, Assembly majority leader and representative of NJ’s 20th Legislative District. Whoops!

Tom Wark alerted me to this little ditty, an Opinion piece published in the Times of Trenton (that’s in NJ, for all you West Coast people) and written by Cryan, in which he attempts to justify a bill that he sponsored – one that basically doesn’t allow direct wine shipping in NJ. Cryan also goes on to lambast a separate bill that I’m assuming he opposed – one that does allow for direct shipment of wine to NJ consumers.  Here’s an excerpt of Cryan’s OpEd:

“…in New Jersey, we have a three-tier distribution system in place to protect our great state’s citizens, children, safety and revenue. The system has worked since 1933, and we should not be bullied by out-of-state wineries that seek to destroy it. The three-tier system has led to 60,000 retail jobs in our state; if we were to allow direct shipping, those New Jersey jobs could all but disappear.”

Wow.  So, let’s get this straight: according to Cryan, if they allow direct shipping in NJ, then they not only succumb to the “bullying” of out-of-state wineries, but will lose upwards of 60K jobs, will put the state’s children into rehab (supposedly they’re getting smashed on La Tache at, like, $3K/bottle?) and will miss out on an ungodly amount of revenue?

Save the children! Board the windows!! Annie, GET YER GUN!!!…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For August 13, 2011

Vinted on August 13, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews

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

  • 07 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico (Chianti): Lots of pretty fruit, lots of lithe balance, & a bit of (slightly distracting) funk. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Georg Breuer Riesling Terra Montosa (Rheingau): Who can refuse candied ginger & flowers? Especially when they go so well w/ dinner $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Fred Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner (Niederosterreich): Zesty. As in, “possessing lime zest” zesty. Tailor-made for Summer nights. $15 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Spring Mountain vineyard Syrah (Napa Valley): Meaty, blue-fruited, spicy, has a rough edge – & sure as hell isn’t messing around. $55 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 96 Williams Selyem Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Big, earthy, dark & smokey. Won’t beguile you, but *will* own you. $120 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 96 Williams Selyem Riverblock Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Rarely can one use “liltingly gorgeous” & actually mean it. $100 A >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Lincourt Courtney’s Chardonnay (Santa Rita Hills): Elegance, riding in on stoney minerals, trumps tropical buttery-ness (our hero!) $25 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Lincourt la Cuesta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez): Ok there’s the oak thing. But there’s the leather/licorice thing too. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc (Awatere Valley): Sort of like ‘death by lime, lemongrass, pink grapefruit & chalk.’ But in a good way. $15 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Clifford Bay Pinot Noir (Marlborough): Raging baking spices. Raging, juicy red berry fruit. Raging, racy structure. Raging bargain. $15 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough): Clean as a whistle, crisp as fresh grapefruit, & cheaper than a latte at Peet’s in SFO $10 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Joseph Drouhin Brouilly (Brouilly): A serious pepper & red berry Beaujolais show. But might be suffering from a case of Morgon envy $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Joseph Drouhin Rully Blanc (Rully): Carries apple, spice, citrus, a good deal of charm, and probably a slightly elevated price tag $20 B- >>find this wine>>



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