Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-08-21

Vinted on August 21, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 06 d’Arenberg “The Sticks & Stones” (McLaren Vale): The violet nose will never hurt you. But the hot finish might sting a little bit. $35 B
  • 09 Frisk Prickly Riesling/Muscat Gordo (Victoria): Gives a whole new (fruity) meaning to having a fun, bubbly personality. $10 B-
  • 09 Xplorador Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Valley): I don’t mind green pepper, but this sucker had me green-peppered out way too fast. $9 C+
  • 09 Xplorador Merlot (Central Valley): Green Pepper Monster raises its ugly head, but only *just* over the black cherry & coffee horizon $9 B 5:36 PM
  • 09 Xplorador Chardonnay (Central Valley): Uncomplicated – not complex but it won’t drive you nuts looking for a good food match either $9 B-
  • 08 Xplorador Sauvignon Blanc (Central Valley): Short on aromatics but long on balance & food-friendliness. Needs grilled scallops. $9 B- 5:33 PM
  • 03 Judd’s Hill Estate Grown Red Wine (Napa Valley): I hear Judd can turn a mean magic trick. He certainly worked some magic on this. $70 A-
  • 08 Markus Molitor Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese (Mosel): The spice is ginger. The finish is lemon. And the kung-fu is strong. $30 A- #
  • 06 Emblem Oso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): More dark chocolate than a Dove bar, & thankfully not enormous for a big Cab $50 A- #
  • 08 King Estate Signature Pinot Gris (Oregon): Tropical fruits galore, but feels more like it belongs in the Prince’s estate instead. $23 B- #
  • 07 Aresti Cabernet Sauvignon (Curico Valley): The main pyrotechnics here? Those would be the green-pepper-pyrazine-o-technics. $11 C+ #
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Step Forward For Big Brother, Step Backward For PA Wine Lovers

Vinted on August 19, 2010 binned in commentary

Last week, the excellent (and hilarious) Tom Johnson published an article titled “Pennsylvania, Cradle of Liberty” in which he highlighted a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the expansion of PA’s wine kiosk device.

Besides Tom’s normally laugh-out-loud funny and on-point commentary, the post is worth a read (and a click-through to the article) if only for this well-meaning but (in my view) misguided quote in the P-G piece, regarding the expansion of the “automated” wine kiosks to more grocery stores throughout the state (emphasis is mine):

“I’m all for it,” said Marsha Cuffia, a member of American Wine Society of East Pittsburgh. “We should be up with the modern world.”

Call me crazy, but I don’t see how the use of technology equates to being modern, especially when it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with modern common sense.

For example, wouldn’t it make more sense to get “modern” by catching up with some more basic items than the technological marvel of the wine kiosk?  You know, lower-tech things like the free market system, and increasing profits across the state.  Before dumping money into a technology that requires over ten steps, a breathalyzer test, and takes two-and-half minutes to make a single purchase, I mean.

I know, I know… I’m a real pimple on the ass of progress, right?

I’m just not a fan of throwing tech (or money) at a problem when there’s potentially lower-hanging fruit.  Like being more profitable, offering more consumer choice, improving customer service, and (last but not least) getting a bit more in-line with the U.S. Constitution…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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Turn Turn Turn: A Time For A Right Banker In Napa Valley?

Vinted on August 18, 2010 binned in California wine, on the road

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
The Byrds

Let’s play a little game of word association.  I say “Carneros” and you say… ___________.

Budding wine geeks and geekettes out there would likely answer “Pinot Noir” or “Chardonnay” or “Sparklers” or “Unimpressive-In-Recent-Vintages.”

But the answer we’re looking for today is… wait for it…

Cabernet Franc.

Yes, way.

Our story today not only involves Carneros, it also involves turns, banks, and several groan-worthy, near-pun plays-on-words.  Oh, yeah, and some very good wine as well (you didn’t think I leave that part out, did you?).

A couple of weeks back, I dragged my worn-out and slightly-hungover bones over to the fine Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena to meet up with former investment-banker turned wine brand owner (and first-class personality dynamo) Emily Richer.  Over a “light” lunch of amazingly fresh garden produce made into phenomenal but artery-clogging, buttery delights, Emily and I chatted (and chatted, and chatted – we’re both talkers) about her new wine venture, Virage Napa Valley.  Emily had come with a preview, label-less bottle of Virage’s inaugural release.

It’s from Carneros.  But it’s not a Chard, a Pinot, or a sparkler.

It’s a blend made primarily from Cabernet Franc.  And it’s pretty damn good.

Is Emily nuts for trying to establish a new brand in today’s hostile market – especially when she’s banking on a variety that still isn’t relatively well-known to most wine consumers (and even to some wine store employees)?  Her backers don’t seem to think so…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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