Do You Take Wine Notes? (Giveaway! 33 Bottles of Wine Pocket Notebook Edition)

Vinted on April 26, 2010 binned in giveaways, wine products

Well… do ya?

We’ve got another nifty giveaway this week (this time courtesy of Scout Books) to help stimulate some stimulating conversation about taking detailed wine tasting notes.

The thing is, I don’t do it.

I know.  I suck.

Seriously, though, I don’t take copious notes when it comes to tasting wine.  At massive tastings such as Premiere Napa Valley I certainly do take notes, because otherwise it would be hopeless – but those notes certainly aren’t detailed, and usually are just enough text to jar my memory, where the real tasting notes are kept.

In similar fashion, I don’t keep a very good written record of what’s in my cellar (personal or wine samples), tough I’d argue that the record in my brain is pretty damn good.

Fallible?  Certainly, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing things down on 1WineDude.com so I’ve no plans to change it.  But that doesn’t mean that I advocate anyone else mimicking my behavior; in fact, I preach just the opposite, I’ve spent a lot of time studying systematic approaches to wine tasting, and I think it’s essential for those learning about wine to record detailed thoughts on their experiences. I just don’t do it myself, in the same way that my band can play successful gigs without practicing – there comes a time when you get comfortable enough that you don’t need to do those things as often (though of course you still benefit from doing them!).

Which is where tools like Scout’s 33 Bottles of Wine come in – and we’re giving away a three pack ($12 value) of their way-cool tasting journal

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-04-24

Vinted on April 24, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 08 Alamos Chardonnay (Mendoza): Things may get too tropical, toasty, or sweet for you, but things will *definitely* get interesting. $13 B- #
  • 05 Snows Lake “Two” (Lake County): CS/CF blend layered w/ berry, spices, cocoa, it’s like the whole pantry. Underpriced (for now) at $45 A #
  • 07 Talus Collection Zinfandel (Lodi): Almost improbably good. Like a 1st date that’s also a cheap date & ends with you getting lucky. $7 B- #
  • 07 Eola Hills Zinfandel (Lodi): A shot of booziness on the palate isn’t enough to spoil the spicy, jammy fruit & dusty-tannin party. $13 B- #
  • 07 Trefethen Double T (Napa Valley): Heavy on the fig, heavy on the smoky spice, heavy on the mellow smoothness, heavy on the value. $25 B+ #
  • 04 Sterling “Three Palms” Merlot (Napa Valley): Drinks like a Cab. It’s good but know what you’re in for (namely, dried black cherry) $30 B+ #
  • 08 Elviwines Clasico Red (Ribiera del Jucar): Juicy dried cherries, only the cherries are kinda under-ripe & leave you a bit wanting. $13 C #
  • 08 Hazlitt Homestead Reserve Riesling (Finger Lakes): Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the tartest lemony finish of them all? $18 B #
  • 08 Clos Cristal Hospices De Saumur (Saumur Champigny): And they ruled the land with a Violet fist! With a hint o’ green as well. $19 B #
  • 07 Seven Artisans Clayton Rd Ranches Petite Sirah (Suisan Valley): KISS’ “Hotter Than Hell” might have been referring to this wine. $17 C+ #
  • NV Campbells Tokay Liquid Gold (Rutherglen): Lusciously uber-extracted nutty caramel. Enough abv to pickle you soundly (twice over). $14 B+ #

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A Tale of Three Oh-Fives

Vinted on April 22, 2010 binned in California wine, Italian Wine, wine review

As in, three 2005s, or 3 different wines all from the 2005 vintage.

Other than their harvest year, they’ve got little in common apart from the fact that I tasted all three as samples over the last week or so, and in a rare case of vinous serendipity found all three to be excellent (a real treat for me) and probably worthy of your time (and your cash).  So much so that I decided to write a “what-I-drank-last-week” style article, which I don’t often do (not to be taken as a “statement” on the validity of such pieces, by the way).

An alternative title for today’s post might be “Dude-i-locks And the Three Reds,” seeing as how one of these wines is a bit overpriced, the other a bit underpriced, and the price of the third is juuuuust riiiiight.

Let’s start with the slightly overpriced wine, Trefethen’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley), which you can sample as part of their ingenious “mini bottle” offering before you decide to plunk down $100 on a full 750 ml bottle.  This wine is most decidedly not a wine for now.  It’s a wine for 5-7 years from now.  Tasting it right out of the bottle now, you might exude a heavy sigh and a look that says “Oh shit, what did I just spend a hundred clams on?!???” – a veritable mess of dense dark fruits, tight tannic grip, vanillin oak and booze all vying for your attention. BUT… a day in the decanter will show what this wine is capable of becoming in a few years, which is downright magical.  It’s like a miracle will happen in that decanter, which on day two will greet you with an enormous wine of power and depth, waves of black fruits, red jams, chocolate, and tiny amounts of nuts and black olives to really seal the deal into awesomeness.  If you don’t think Napa Cabs are capable of aging, then you and I ought to split a bottle of this, come back to it in 2015, and see who won the bet.

And now, our second wine, which is probably slightly underpriced (I know, right?)…

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In Plain Sight (Uncovering Wes Walker’s “Hidden Napa Valley”)

Vinted on April 21, 2010 binned in book reviews

The first thing that you think (if you’re me, anyway) about the late Wes Walker’s Hidden Napa Valley ($19.95 from Welcome Books, I received an advanced sample copy of the newly updated edition) is how unexpectedly small it is.

At 7 and 1/4 inches square, you almost want to greet it with a cliche; “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s just that… well, I expected you to be taller”).

The second thing that you might think when seeing Hidden Napa Valley for the first time is that it’s just another book of beautiful photographs from the equally beautiful Napa Valley, the kind that tourists pick up from winery gift shops so they can take them home and later lament at how unbeautiful their hometowns are in comparison; another stone to hang around their heavy hearts as they sink into the miasmic depths of the discontent that only those who chase after the capitalist notion of the wine lifestyle can truly appreciate.

Or something like that, anyway.

Writing off Hidden Napa Valley can only ever be a temporary mistake for anyone who really knows the Valley, however; once you flip through its gorgeous pages you will, eventually, come across a photo that speaks to you, as if Walker had somehow, without ever knowing you, captured a private moment – some time when you let your guard down, willingly got sucked into the gorgeousness of it all, and that you thought was only known by you and Napa.

Walker probably knew that just about everybody that spends more than one vacation stop in Napa has had that moment…

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