Ten years ago, on a trip with friends to New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, I bought a few bottles of bubbly.
I was not a pseudo-wine-pro back then; I was an avid consumer (that term still applies!), and the majority of my vacation travel was centered around wine exploration. I had a budding interest, passionate zeal, and I knew what I liked though I would have had a lot more trouble telling you why, or explaining how, a wine I liked got to that point.
It was one of those gorgeous sunny Autumn days that was quickly turning into a chilly Autumn evening (no sun = no heat) and most of the Finger Lakes tasting rooms were closed or moments-away-from closing; we happened upon what was then a joint-producer tasting room featuring only local sparkling wines.
I knew what I liked, and I really liked the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut that evening. So, my girlfriend and I bought some.
Ten years later, at the surprise 50th birthday party of one of dear friends (who helped us greatly in getting through the tough times leading up to the recent loss of our Weimaraner, Samson, and to whom we gave a bottle of 2007 Quinta do Vesuvio so you know we love her), I had occasion to open the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut – Dr. Frank is one of the birthday girl’s favorite wine producers (alongside the most recent offering of Chateau Frank’s non-vintage Riesling sparkler, Célèbre Cremant).
And it rocked.
The fruit had started to subside a bit, but what remained was bready, lively, and wonderful; still fresh, still food-friendly, still (in the words of Simple Minds) Alive & Kicking.
An apt comparison, it turns out, for the state of NY wine in general…
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You may have noticed that Wine Spectator has been advertising here on 1WineDude.com. I know, right? The temperature in Hell may just have gotten a couple of more degrees below freezing.
WS are pushing their new iTunes vintage chart app, and part of that push involves a month-long ad stint here and on other on-line wine publications/blogs. Me being me, I asked them to sweeten the deal and as such this week we are giving away a one-year subscription to Wine Spectator (print or on-line), a $49.95 value.
I think I just heard teeth chattering by another lost soul in Hell… [though I should note, before you or the FTC send me any flaming e-mail, that this post is not sponsored, I worked with the WS reps to concoct the giveaway idea].
Anyway, here’s how the giveaway works:
- Leave a comment here telling everyone what you think about vintage charts: are they useful? overrated? essential?
- In one week, I will randomly select a winner from the commenters to walk away with a one-year Wine Spectator subscription!
I’ll kick things off by talking about my view on vintage charts – but first, I probably need to clear the air about how I view Wine Spectator in general, because right now that air seems to be a little smoky…
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A short-and-sweet little ditty for a couple of badge-worthy wine recommendations this week. I also want to thank everyone who has contacted me through various channels with their positive vibes for the badges; so far I’m enjoying using them so they’ll be sticking around:
2008 Three Rivers Winery Insania Red (Columbia Valley): A bit hot but pleasingly complex (hello Olives & cedar!) Bord’x-style blend. $35 B+ #
Produced in cooperation with bad-ass hard rock vocalist Geoff Tate, this is one of those reds that has the virtue of being pleasantly drinkable now, complex enough on the nose to get wine geeks talking about its olive and cedar overtones, and carries with it the cache factor of limited production from an emerging hot-spot wine region (and being associated with Queensryche, who kick all kinds of ass).
2006 Hugel & Fils Pinot Gris Classic “HUGEL” (Alsace): I consider it very awesome that someone is making a lively & very non-flabby PG. $15 B #
This wine will definitely come off as too racy and acidic for some, but the geekier among us will love the fact that there’s a food-friendly PG out there that delivers oodles of tropical fruit aromas without turning into a flabby-ass alcoholic mess on the palate (PG lovers will know what I am talking about here).
If anyone out there gets the chance to try these puppies, let me know your thoughts!
There’s a special mention this week as well, one that doesn’t really fit into any of the badge categories, but does deliver some serious goods:
07 Shinn Estate Vineyards Nine Barrels Reserve Merlot (Long Island): Walk-on part by dried fig steals the show in off-Broadway hit. $42 B+ #
Part of a Taste NY twitter live-tasting event earlier this week, this Merlot-based blend from Shinn should bring the smack-down on any naysayers who continue to believe that East Coast reds can’t compete in terms of ripeness and complexity.