Finding the Lost Grape of Bordeaux (Tasting With Chile’s Top Carmenere Winemakers)

Vinted on November 9, 2009 binned in wine industry events

Last week, I attended an on-line video conference / wine tasting that involved a handful of wine bloggers from around the U.S., as well as eight of Chile’s most talented young winemakers (congregated in Santiago), moderated by Wines of Chile in N.Y.  While I’m used to this kind of cross-time-zone, cross-cultural meeting (as well as utilizing video and conference call across the same) from working in IT, I had no idea how this would transpire in the context of wine.

And I’ve never tasted eight samples of Chilean Carmenere wines on an IT conference call.

So… how did it go?

I’m happy to report that I found the event to be great fun and quite well executed.  The technology worked well and I only found minor cavils – like wanting the in-conference chat to work like twitter, preferably integrated with twitter – which I think speaks to the professionalism and quality of the event overall if those are my only complaints.

Last week, I’d written that this event could prove to be a seminal moment in my wine-lovin’ days, as it focused almost exclusively on Carmenere, a grape with which I’ve had a troubled history.  In summary, I’ve been critical of Chile’s ability to deliver on the potential of the grape as (in my experience) they’d yet to get pyrazine (which imparts ‘green’ aromas of bell pepper and pine) truly under control and balanced with the dark fruit flavors of the grape.

I was placing (perhaps unjustifiably) a lot of pressure on this event, as I was expecting (perhaps justifiably) that Wines of Chile would ‘go big’ and bring some heavy hitters to the party – i.e., really show what Chile was capable of when it comes to Carmenere.

So… how were the wines?

In summary: a mixed bag…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2009-11-07

Vinted on November 7, 2009 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 07 Scloss Reinhartshausen Fountain Blue Riesling (Rheingau): ABCs of the region – Austere, Balanced, & Critical mass of apricot goodness #
  • 07 Scloss Reinhartshausen Old Vines Riesling (Rheingau): Victorian-statue austere. White peach & pineapple demand that u kiss their rings! #
  • 07 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbach Erstes Gewachs Riesling (Rheingau): Peach, tropical fruit & enough booze to rock your T-Day turkey feast. #
  • 07 Schloss Reinhartshausen Erbacher Marcobrunn Auslese (Rheingau): Drop dried apricots in a vat of local honey. Now, serve it in heaven. #
  • 06 Josh Cellars Amber Knolls Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills, CA): An economical choice for lovers of big (aka Fruity + Oaky) CA Cab. #
  • 07 Errazuriz Don Maximiano Single Viny'd Carmenere (Aconcagua Valley): A lush plum pie, but some of the bites have chunks of bell pepper… #
  • 08 Big House Pink (CA): If it's a house, it's a house carved out of the patch by Strawberry Shortcake herself. Competent if unexciting rose. #
  • 07 Josef Leitz Eins Zwei Dry Riesling (Rheingau): Great approachable, turkey-friendly, if a bit over-priced example of Rheingau goodness. #
  • 05 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles): Intense & extracted, this is tasty but the booze needs to be approached with caution. #
  • 01 Rutherford Hill Merlot (Napa Valley): Waves of tar & game are gently pulling at the blackberry & cedar shore. Adult swim, baby! #
  • 07 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenere (Rapel Valley): Dark, fruity, & green-peppery. Mouthfeel outshines the nosefeel. Nosefeel? #
  • 06 Mollydooker Enchanted Path (McLaren Vale): Has every red flavor you can think of, & it just might stand up to aging vs. the immense booze #

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Change Agents: More Wines You (Probably) Can’t Have

Vinted on November 5, 2009 binned in wine review

Today, we’re going to talk about more wines that you (probably) can’t get your wine-lovin’ hands on.  And I know that you want to hear about them, because you told me so.

I’m going to start by saying that I wasn’t totally blown away by these wines (received as samples), but I love, love the concept behind them.  I also love that their website includes streaming reggae music, and liberal use of the word “surfeit .”  But, as will come as no surprise to frequent 1WineDude.com readers, I digress…

The first, and the more impressive, of the wines hails from the sandy loam Margarita vineyard site in Paso Robles’ southwest – Martellotto’s 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s pleasant, with decent balance, clocks in at a relatively restrained 13.5% abv, is farmed sustainably, and is spot-on priced at $18.  Interestingly, it’s the 5% Syrah component that really stands out for me on this wine (there’s 10% Merlot as well), which rounds out the finish with red fruit and peppery, dried herbs.

So why can’t you have any?  Well, you can, but only if you buy through Big Hammer Wines.  Oh, yeah, and there were only 34 barrels made of the stuff.

Although not quite as interesting as the Martellotto Cab, the next wine (also selling for about $18) definitely has a more interesting story

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CNBC.com’s Wines For the Holidays

Vinted on November 4, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog, holidays

CNBC.com has updated their annual expert recommendations on wines for the holidays – and this year, there are a few interesting parties among the panel of wine smarties contributing their wine picks for your 2009 fourth quarter celebratory dining table.

Like me, for instance.

I know what you’re thinking.  How the hell did YOU get on the same list as Jancis Robinson?!??

I had the same reaction, my friends!

I’m in great, great company on this one, with quite a few fellow bloggers gracing the CNBC.com lineup, most of whom I’m happy and proud to call friends of the Dude:

There are some great wine picks offered up in the list, so head on over to CNBC.com and check it out before you do your holiday dinner shopping this year.

Cheers!

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