“Deep” Freeze = “Deep” Discounts? Thoughts on N. Cal’s Strange Summer Days

Vinted on August 23, 2010 binned in California wine

It’s not really a deep freeze, of course – it’s simply been a wet and (very) mild Summer in Northern California.  Just about anything with leaves that produces fruit was weeks behind schedule in terms of ripening. If you scan the ‘global interwebs’ on the topic, it might strike you that the sky is about to fall with a thud on the entire wine business in Napa and Sonoma.

But most of the Napa and Sonoma vintners to whom I’ve spoken in the last few weeks don’t seem all that worried.  Which is a good thing, since the rest of the wine world was worried enough for all of them put together.

Certainly grape growers, already under pressure from the economic downturn, are feeling the heat (so-to-speak) about the late ripening, even if most of California’s residents aren’t.

Here on the Right Coast, we were baking as if in an oven for the better part of the Summer of 2010, and I enjoyed the cool breezes that came in recently on the heels of some long-overdue rainstorms; and with them, a breath of fresh air about the whole N. CA 2010 vintage doomsday prophesies, courtesy of Ed Thralls over at WineTonite.com.

In a (fairly) recent post, Ed did a little bit of comparative analysis on the 2010 vintage thus far, and came up with an interesting conclusion…

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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…

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