1WineDude TV Episode 31: Postcard From South America

Vinted on March 28, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, on the road

A teaser vid from my recent jaunt to Chile and Argentina, including a polo match at Casa Silva in Chile, Finca Altamira Malbec harvest at Achaval Ferrer in Mendoza, and instruction on the proper (Argentine) methods for preparing Yerba Mate tea at Zuccardi.   Just another day at the office!

Cheers!

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For March 26, 2011

Vinted on March 26, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 09 X Winery Los Carneros Chardonnay (Carneros): That wonderful apricot isn’t totally happy about being served w/ the buttered popcorn $19 B- #
  • 09 X Winery “White X” Winemaker’s Blend (North Coast): 4 white grapes mostly playing nice together but the Albarino gets a lil’ bossy $15 B- #
  • 08 X Winery “Red X” Winemaker’s Blend (North Coast): Diverse band of spicy red & black fruits jam on familiar but cacophonous tune. $15 B- #
  • 09 Pey-Marin “The Shell Mound” Riesling (Marin County): CA style w/ Germanic soul. Slate, melon, citrus, vivacity & heaps of awesome. $26 B+ #
  • 10 Trivento “Amado Sur” Torrontes (Mendoza): Old vine Torrontes? It totally works, with lychee & spices floating on its fleshy bod. $15 B- #
  • 07 Trivento “Golden Reserve” Malbec (Mendoza): That dark cherry, fig & leather are as inviting & warm as your favorite easy chair. $20 B #
  • 09 Trivento Reserve Malbec (Mendoza): Feel it hot hot HOT. And a little too green, a little too herbal but certainly savory. $11 C #
  • 06 Zuccardi “Zeta” (Mendoza): Stately Malbec marries racy Tempranillo in fully elegant, rich, velvety and complex ceremony. $45 B+ #
  • 09 Emma Zuccardi Bonarda (Santa Rosa): Rustic charmer if a bit unfocused; black grapes, blue flowers & probably some good times. $25 B #
  • 09 Zuccardi “Q” Malbec (Mendoza): Black fruit, leather, tar, chocolate & vibrancy. Packs *a lot* of punch for *not* a lot of dough. $19 B #
  • 07 Zuccardi “Q” Tempranillo (Santa Rosa): Dried cherries, leather, tobacco leaf, spices… where the hell is my beef stew, dammit!?? $19 B #
  • 09 Zuccardi “Serie A” Torrontes (Cafayate): Grapey & floral, but the round body will have you forgiving the rougher edges. $14 B- #
  • 09 Leyda “Lot 5” Chardonnay (Leyda): Sexy, w/ a dash of apricot and cinnamon. But she’s got acidic bite too. You’ll want her digits. $27 B+ #
  • 09 Leyda Single Vineyard “Neblina” Riesling (Leyda): The Rheingau in a Hawaiian shirt. Tropical, but the florals went on holiday. $16 B- #
  • 10 Leyda Single Vineyard “Kadun” Sauvignon Gris (Leyda): Think (good, cool climate) Sauv Blanc meets (good, cool climate) Chardonnay. $16 B #
  • 10 Leyda Single Vineyard “Garuma: Sauvignon Blanc Leyda): Lemons, herbs, chili pepper, tropical fruit & an elegant, stunning bargain. $16 B #
  • 08 Lapostolle Clos Apalta (Colchagua): The leather grips your gums like a vice but also ties a tidy belt around all those black plums $80 B+ #
  • 08 Lapostolle “Borobo” (Chile): Tannins like GWAR, but this red blend has enough soft red fruits & violets to compensate. $70 B+ #
  • 09 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua): Flashy, juicy & well-made Cab seeks hedonists (only) for BBQ steak. $26 B #
  • 09 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay (Casablanca): Peaches & cream on the rocks (mineral rocks, that is) with a twist of lemon. $23 B #
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Movie Stars, Vineyard Maps And Dirty Undie Drawers: Chateau Montelena’s Winter Rebuilding Project

Vinted on March 24, 2011 binned in California wine, crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, on the road

“You’re actually the first journalist to see this.”

Loaded words spoken to me when walking down the back staircase at Chateau Montelena to the cellar room. And they’re not just fully-packed AK-47 words because I’ve received no formal training in journalism; it’s because there’s pressure when someone trusts you enough let you take a peek into the dirty underwear drawer of a movie star.

Ok, so it’s not actually a dirty undie drawer; but it’s the equivalent, anyway, when that movie star isn’t a recognizable pretty face plastered across billboards and silver screens worldwide, but is a winery.  And make no mistake about it, Chateau Montelena is, indeed, a movie star.

The steady stream of tourists and visitors arriving right on my heels at 9AM, popping photos of the Calistoga winery’s iconic stone castle exterior was evidence enough of that, considering that your average Napa Valley wine country tourist turns around once they hit downtown St. Helena on Route 29.  If you want to visit Montelena, you have to find Montelena, and to find Montelena you have to be going slightly out of your way; you have to be looking for it.

The recently-expanded parking lot is the best evidence of Chateau Montelena’s new-found popularity – where they previously got by with space for about eleven cars, they’ve had to expand to a new lot that can accommodate several times that number. It’s all part of the strange dichotomy that seems to have defined the image of Montelena in the minds of wine lovers over last few decades: a familiar name and yet not a familiar destination.  Even though its name became etched into the consciousness of U.S. wine lovers after Chateau Montelena’s then-unknown Chardonnay bested its more celebrated French counterparts in the famed 1976 “Judgement of Paris” tasting, real fame – movie star fame – didn’t come until 2008 when the movie Bottle Shock hit the theaters, giving the `76 Paris tasting the Hollywood treatment.

Too Hollywood, as it turns out.  Ask Montelena’s assistant winemaker, Matt Crafton – who as a lanky, tall, affable, laid-back-but-knowledgeable guy seems to fit like a glove into Montelena’s NorCal culture – how accurately Bottle Shock portrayed Montelena’s history, and you get a pause, followed by a smile and an answer that says everything by hardly saying anything:

“Well… There was a Paris tasting; the Barretts did exist; we did win.”

All the rest, as they say, is basically Hollywood bullsh*t…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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