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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Lost Grapes Get Found: Forgotten Grapes VA Tasting Event – August 18

Vinted on August 16, 2010 binned in wine industry events

Doing for Forgotten Grapes what Dancing With the Stars does for forgotten celebrities.”

Thus reads the tag line of Chris Kern’s website ForgottenGrapes.com, the purpose of which should hopefully at this point be glaringly obvious to you.

You’ve got to like a tag line like that.

Chris contacted me to invite me to one of his upcoming events in Arlington, VA, during which five different off-the-beaten-path wine varieties will be poured while Chris will “tell stories, cracks jokes, sings songs, dress up in costume, and relate each varietal [sic] to a pop culture icon as a way to introduce D.C. wine lovers to these exceptional wines that they really should be drinking.”

I don’t promote local events often enough here on 1WD – mostly because as the blog has become more successful, the chances of you not being in my general neck of the woods have increased.  But it feels good to “go local” once in a while.

I can’t make the event, but I really dig what Chris is trying to do in highlighting some of the more unsung grape varieties.  On his website, Chris pulls together fun info. about each grape including trivia and food pairing recommendations from chefs, and thoughts on the wine grape from winemakers (see an example).

According to Chris, “We’ll be pouring a dry Semillon, a Gruner Veltliner, a Carmenere, a Mourvedre/Monastrell, and a Brachetto d’Acqui. A pretty eclectic mix, to be sure, and something I really think the DC wine lovers’ community will enjoy.”

Vital details on the event are below.  If you go, I’d love to hear about the experience!

“First pour for “Getting Friendly with Forgotten Grapes” will be at 6:30 p.m. sharp Wednesday, August 18th, and the cost of the event is only $35 per person, which includes the two-hour show, generous pours of each of the five Forgotten Grape wines, and a cheese plate paired with the wine. Reservations can be made by calling Twisted Vines directly at (571) 482-8581, but please note that seating for the event is very limited and it is expected to sell out, so if you are interested in attending, call Twisted Vines as soon as you can to make your advanced reservation. Twisted Vines is located at 2803 Columbia Pike in Arlington.”

All this got me thinking about “unsung” grape varieties – the “ABC: Anything But Chardonnay/Cabernet” set.  What are YOUR fave “unsung” varieties?  Shout ’em out in the comments!

Cheers!

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-08-14

Vinted on August 14, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 09 El Coto de Rioja Blanco (Rioja): Short on balance, but plenty long on herbs, flowers and tart citrus for the price. $9 B- #
  • 08 Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz (Barossa): Hot vintage births a hot wine. Still, it’s a great opp. to sample those 100+ yr old vines. $22 B #
  • 08 Tres Sabores Farina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma Mntn): Round but also vibrant thanks to some “previously inspired” French oak $22 B+ #
  • 07 Tres Sabores Rutherford Estate Zinfandel (Napa Valley): Eminently enjoyable & spicy black berry marred only by a bit too boozy edge $35 B #
  • 07 Tres Sabores “Por que No” (Napa Valley): Zin blend that will very likely make you the upscale hero of your next BBQ picnic. $25 B+ #
  • 06 Tres Sabores “Perspective” Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford): Besides the price, there’s a lot to love in this dark, dusty wonder. $80 B+ #
  • 07 Tres Sabores Petite Sirah (Napa Valley): If you like dark chocolate, then buy this, pronto (if you’re lucky enough to find any). $45 B+ #
  • 08 Cantina Novelli Trebbiano Spoletino Bianco (Umbria): Old vines, herbs & almonds have taken squatters’ rights in the citrus house. $18 B+ #
  • 06 Cantina Novelli Rosso (Montefalco): With such light oak, it probably shouldn’t be this far into the “Old” of the “Old World” style $27 B- #
  • 07 Cantina Novelli Bianco Cube (Umbria): Looks as yellow as the fruits it tastes like. And the yellow tastes are pretty tasty indeed. $14 B #
  • 07 Domaine Rochette Pisse-Vieille (Brouilly): Futher berry, peppery proof that you can’t really go too far wrong with Cru Beaujolais. $18 B+ #

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