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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 335

"Wine on Tuesdays" on a Wednesday (Book Review)

Vinted on October 15, 2008 binned in book reviews
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I figured that it was about time for another book review on 1WineDude.com, so I’m jumping back into the book review swing of things with my take on Debra & Keith Gordon’s Wine on Tuesdays: Be a Serious Wine Drinker Without Taking Wine Too Seriously.

[ Full disclosure: I received a media copy of Wine on Tuesdays. Not that Dude doesn’t buy his own books, but… ]

The Low Down
Co-author Debra Gordon is no stranger to wine writing, having penned material for Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Vines, and Wine Adventures. She and husband co-author Keith are also dabbling in blogging.

Wine on Tuesdays reflects the Gordon’s writing experience – it’s well-written, accessible, and at turns funny and engaging. The tone of Wine on Tuesdays is lighthearted and its target is squarely on the wine novice, which puts it into the now-very-crowded field of wine introduction texts.

Which is the main problem with reviewing Wine on Tuesdays - it’s good, but (for me) lacked any real “wow” moments to give me a clear picture of its ideal target audience. While I found some topics covered superbly well (it has one of the best intro chapters on Champagne that I’ve ever come across), other topics (usually the more complex ones, notably dessert wines) are casually treated and maybe a touch oversimplified – which could be confusing for some readers, especially those new to wine… who theoretically happen to be the target audience…

Buy It or Skip It?
That depends.

Given the tone and overall style of Wine on Tuesdays, If you’re a budding wine lover you could do a lot worse than this well-written guide. Whether or not you will enjoy it is largely a matter of presentation – with so many great overall wine introduction guides available in the marketplace, the one best suited to you may really be down to writing style preference and the order of how the topics are presented. If you want to get into wine in a very structured way, starting with grape varietals first, then try Wine on Tuesdays. If you prefer a less structured approach, then there are better options.

It won’t replace my current favorite wine intro book, Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, and it probably won’t make its way into my list of Essential Wine Reads, but Wine on Tuesdays is certainly a viable alternative for budding wine enthusiasts – enjoyable, and packed full of relevant and helpful wine info.

Cheers!
(images: amazon.com)

The Passing of Papa Pinot (David Lett, 1939-2008)

Vinted on October 14, 2008 binned in commentary

I was sad to hear of the passing of David Lett last week, at the young age of 69.

David wasn’t as much of a household name as Robert Mondavi or Rodney Strong, but he was every bit as influential in putting U.S. wine on the map as his more visible peers. What Mondavi did for Napa, and Strong did for Sonoma, Lett did for Oregon wine.

In 1965, Lett came to the Willamette Valley looking for U.S. conditions that closely matched those of Burgundy, in order to make exceptional Pinot Noir. It didn’t bother him that the region had been widely dismissed as being too cold to make decent wine.

After selling textbooks to pay the bills, he created Eyrie Vineyards, and in 1979 entered his `75 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir into a French wine competition. It came in 3rd, besting some notable Burgundies.

Because the French are, well, French, this pissed then off and they held the competition again the following year. Lett’s wine came in 2nd; Oregon was no longer in wine-making obscurity – “Papa Pinot” had put them on the map.

To this day, Eyrie is still a great producer of age-worthy Pinot Noir and stellar Pinot Gris – both of which have previously found their way to the Dude & Dudette wedding anniversary dinnner table, which is no simple feat because I am a picky bastard when it comes to my wedding anniversary wines. Oh, yeah – lots of other critics and wine lovers dig it, to.

So today we tip our virtual hats to Papa Pinot, in gratitude for what he’s done for U.S. wine (and for my dinner table experiences!).

Cheers! (images: latimes.com)

A Turn on High Voltage Wine: Volta Wine’s Inaugural Offering

Vinted on October 13, 2008 binned in best of, California wine, organic wine, wine review

You know what kicks ass?

The movie IRON MAN. That film devastates when I watch it on the 50″ Sony HDTV in my basement.

You know what else stomps all kinds of gluteus maximus?

1WineDude.com readers! Especially when those readers make wine. Like Steve Lau of Volta Wine, which is releasing its inaugural Cabernet Sauvignon vintage (2005) this Fall. Steve contacted me as a fan of the blog and someone who grew up in my current stomping ground of Pennsylvania, wondering if I’d like to try their single-vinyeard, Howell Mountain Cab.

Howell Mountain? Would I like to try it? Hello! Does the Pope wear a hat?!?? Despite the fact that this kind of thing consistently gets me in trouble in the wine blog-o-world, I advised Steve to send me a bottle with all speed.

I tried Volta’s Cab. this past weekend. And it’s very, very good. The blackberry and plum coming off this wine is outrageously pure on the nose and on the palate, and the mouthfeel is smooth as silk. That Howell Mountain fruit is somehow lush but at the same time the tannins have a laser focus. The only thing I didn’t like about this wine was the high Voltage – at 15% abv, the wine’s booze power is no joke. But I was digging it, and it’s one of the few 14.5%+ abv wines that I’ve really been able to get behind lately without feeling like someone is trying to beat me up.

Still, I hesitated to write about the wine here, because at 291 cases produced, most 1WD readers are unlikely to be getting their hands on the stuff. BUT… with plans to branch out with other single-vineyard releases of Southern Rhone varietals from Sonoma and Riesling from Yakima, Volta might just be a producer to watch for high quality (but potentially high voltage) vino. Plus, they source grapes that are farmed organically so they’re adding to the growing list of wines that are proving wrong my theory that organic wines bite donkey bong


I asked Steve for some insight on how the Volta got its start and what the winery is all about. According to Steve:

I grew up in Pennsylvania. I was involved in the music industry for many years, first as an artist on Warner Brothers and then running a label called Kinetic records for Warner’s. I took some time off about four years ago at which point I met my partner who was, at the time, leaving the mortgage business. (Timely exits from two tanking industries I guess).

Long story short, after a fascination with wine for most of my adult life and a discussion with a friend who was importing wine in Amsterdam, we decided to explore the wine industry and went to the wine program at Culinary Institute in the Napa Valley. From there we just kind of dove in head first talking to as many people as we could about starting a new project, finding a facility, a winemaker and sourcing premium organic fruit.

It’s been an incredible journey, one that the more we learn, the more we realize how much we have to learn. Our winery is in Sonoma at a facility which is owned by a guy that is the former winemaker at Etude, Scott Rich. (He makes an awesome Pinot called Talisman.) Our winemaker is a a really cool guy named Massimo Montecelli. He’s a fourth generation winemaker and his entire family in in the business. He was the winemaker at Silver Oak, his brother is the winemaker for Trinchero family’s premium line and his dad was the first winemaker for E.J. Gallo back in the early seventies and is still running their wine making today. Phil Cotouri, our vineyard manager, is the leading organic vineyard manager in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. We feel privileged to be working with such generous and talented people.

So there you have it. Good peeps, and very good unfiltered and unfined single-vineyard wine. Plus, I managed to combine Volta Wine, IRON MAN, and AC/DC in the same post. Better quit while I’m ahead…

Cheers!
(images: blog.al.com, bigpond-images.com, 1WineDude.com,)

Baked Goods: Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 51(WineDude) Edition!

Vinted on October 10, 2008 binned in wine blogging wednesday

I have the pleasure – and honor – of announcing the next Wine Blogging Wednesday theme, #51 (or as I like to call it, “the 51WineDude Edition!”), hosted this time right here on 1WineDude.com. Special thanks to WBW founder Lenn over at Lenndevours for throwing WBW #51 my way!

The Theme:
Dude has a serious sweet-tooth. Therefore, November’s WBW theme will be dessert-wine related! And the theme is…

Baked Goods – wines that are deliberately heated, or Madeirized. According to the way-cool wine glossary at RedWineBuzz.com, Madeirized wines describes the “intentional oxidation of grapes in an estufa (hothouses used for this purpose in Madeira, where these wines are made). The resulting wines (typically whites) are sweet and caramelized in taste.”

These wines often also have nutty aromas, a honey-like mouthfeel, and distinctive bronzed color. Yumminess! Examples include (of course) Madeira, but also wines in other parts of the world such as Australia’s Rutherglen Tokays.

Now, Lenn and I do realize that these wines are not always easy to come by, so we’re also allowing sweet Fortified wines into WBW 51(WineDude), which should provide enough options for everyone to contribute. For great examples of the styles of wines you can choose for this round of WBW, check out the excellent dessert wine production overview page at MusingsOnTheVine.com



The Logistics
:
WBW 51WineDude Edition will take place on Wednesday, November 12.

The way that WBW works (in summary): You get a wine that lines up with the theme, you review said wine, post your review, and send a link to the host, who will then summarize the event and write a wrap-up with a link to your review. Nothin’ to it!

So, to participate in this round of WBW, post a comment to 1WineDude.com on or before Nov. 12 (either comment on this post, or to the post on Nov. 12). and include the link to your review.

It’s gonna be a sweet time, people!

Cheers!
(images: winebloggingwednesday.org, cupcakesgourmet.com)

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