As most regular 1WD readers know, I’m not much for classic reporting-style articles.
In fact, to me the choice between writing a “such-and-such took place on Monday and so-and-so was honored with a whozy-whatsit for their work on the whatcha-ma-jigger” piece or a “let me tell you what I think about X…” piece – namely, between writing a USA Today style event report ,or interpreting an event through the prism of my unique but twisted perception – is sort of like having to choose between being brutally murdered or having amazing sex. In other words, there’s really no choice at all, is there?
So, you’ll hopefully understand why I’m having trouble trying to decide how best to bring you news of the Fifth Annual Vintners Hall of Fame event held earlier this week at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena (I was invited as part of the 2011 Pro Wine Writers Symposium, which in turn I’m attending as a speaker but more so as a learner as I gear up my efforts trying to make a living in the wine world). To further complicate the matter, I promised my friend W. Blake Gray (who chairs the VHF Electoral College) that I’d consider writing something about the event, and he’s really a very talented and nice guy so I’m gonna feel really bad about myself if I don’t at least give this the old college try.
See, even that tiny bit of exposition was painful to write. F*ck me, I need a drink already.
Anyway, rather than give you a litany of facts about this year’s thoroughly deserving inductees (you can read all about them at http://www.ciaprochef.com/winestudies/events/vhf_inductees.html), I want to share with you what those inductees – or, rather, the what the speeches that introduced those inductees – tells us about how California wine came of age. And it can be summed up in two words…
Read the rest of this stuff »
I’ll be “slumming it” at the Meadowood in Napa Valley this week, taking part in the 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium as a panelist and generally trying to figure out how I got so lucky that I can have opportunity to eat foie gras five times in one week.
What’s that sound…? I think I hear my arteries clogging… graaaaeeeeeeekkkk…..
Anyway, among the attendees at last year’s Wine Writers Symposium were folks from the magazine Sommelier Journal, with which I’ve had a bit of a love affair (that’s a figurative love affair with the magazine, people, and not a literal love affair with any of the people producing the magazine…) for the past few years. I was contacted last week by Sommelier Journal’s Business Manager Phil Vogels (an all-around nice guy and semi-frequent commenter here on 1WD), who let me know that SJ was recently honored with some (well-deserved) Eddy Awards.
To celebrate, the Sommelier Journal folks are offering 1WD readers free on-line (HTML and PDF formats) access to their January 31, 2011 issue for a limited time. Just head over to http://www.sommelierjournal.com/view/view.aspx and start reading! Punch in username [email protected]and password sneakpeek if prompted for access.
If you like what you see, SJ now has an online-only subscription option available for $39 a year. Just sayin’…
- 08 Stepping Stone Syrah (Napa Valley): An aggressive come-on, but after the fun, jammy black raspberry, vanilla tryst all is forgiven. $20 B #
- 09 Stepping Stone "Cuveé Musqué" Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): A little fleshy; but star fruit, melon & citrus keep it svelte enough. $16 B #
- 10 Crios Rose of Malbec (Mendoza): Vibrant, candied red berries are ridin’ side-saddle with full-bodied alcohol & a lil’ astringency. $11 B- #
- 06 Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza (Navarra): Solid, but like so many other Crianzas it tastes a bit too much like the wood it slept in. $15 B- #
- 09 Bodegas San Martin Ilagares Tinto (Navarra): The lighter, inexpensive, burrito-ready, overachieving side of Tempranillo & Garnacha. $8 B- #
- 06 Napa Angel "Aurelio’s Selection" (Napa Valley): Well, the blackberry & cedar spice certainly are heavenly. Stunning Cabernet debut. $90 A #
- 05 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (Constantia): Less orange & more honeysuckle nectar than in prev. vintages. I’m not complaining. $50 A- #
- NV Bollinger Brut Rosé (Champagne): Takes you on a fruit journey from tart cherry to red apple, w/ some tantalizing stops in between $100 A- #
- 06 Emblem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Dark fruit, spice & black licorice savings bond that hasn’t quite yet come due $50 A- #
In the latest video installment on 1WD TV, I channel my inner Colonel Hannibal Smith and taste a sample of Emblem’s 2006 Rutherford Cab in order to try out another sample: one of the latest wine aerators to hit the market, the cigar-shaped Nuance Wine Finer aerator – all with some surprising results. Many 80s brain cells are damaged in the ensuing antics. It will all make more sense when you watch the vid. Sort of. I think.
Oh, yeah – there’s a wine involved here as well, of course:
2006 Emblem Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, $50)
On twitter, I called this wine a “dark fruit, spice & black licorice savings bond that hasn’t quite yet come due,” meaning that I think it will need 4 to 5 more years to integrate and soften up. But as noted in the above vid, if you’re the impatient type you can still find a lot to love here, though decanting this kick-ass, beautiful monster from the 4th generation Mondavi clan is a must. For me, the best part about this wine is that it’s kind of deceptive: the fruit comes off all dark on the nose, but opens up to a lovely, pure, juciy red currant on the palate, like eating a big ol’ handful of the stuff right off the plant. Enough acidity to pair with meaty dishes, but proceed with some caution.