blogger web statistics/a>
1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 345

Back to My Roots: 3 Wine Lessons from a Magnum Opus (WBW #48)

WP Greet Box icon
HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!


This ultra-exciting edition of Tales of the Purple Monkey has Plumboo and I once again taking part in the Wine Blogging Wednesday blog carnival! Because it’s an anniversary edition of WBW, it’s being hosted this month by cool-guy and WBW founder Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours.

I say “ultra-exciting” edition because Lenn’s theme has Plumboo and I going back to our “wine roots” (read Lenn’s post for more details). Well, back to my wine roots anyway – Plumboo is a plush toy with a plastic squeek for a head, so I’m not sure he’s got any roots worth getting into.

Going back to my roots is ultra-exciting for me, because it gives me a chance to explore why I got into wine in the first place. And it has to do with a wine that everyone loves to hate (oooohhhh… drama!).

I’m talking about that over-the-top, over-priced, and oft-overlooked Oakville stalwart, Opus One.

Go on. Make fun of me.

You know that you want to. You snob!

Love it or hate it, Opus One is the wine that made me serious about vino. Before I get into that, let’s get a little background for those of you unfamiliar with the big O.O. …


Opus One is a joint venture international premium wine venture between Napa legend Robert Mondavi and Bordeaux legend Baron Philippe Rothschild. The aim: produce and ultra-premium Bordeaux style wine, made with the best fruit that Napa had to offer.

This style of international collaborative winemaking is fairly common now, but when founded in the late `70s, Opus One was pioneering stuff. It also made Napa Valley wine more serious – after all, a First Growth was now involved. Oh, MY!

O.O. (located on the main drag in Napa) is a modern temple to high-end winemaking. Touring the O.O. facility literally changed how I look at wine. I’ve spent a lot of time working for major CPG companies, so I’m no stranger to touring manufacturing facilities – and what I saw at O.O. floored me.

Here was a winery that was combining high-quality ingredients (arguably the best fruit that Oakville / Napa has on offer), old school techniques and know-how, ultra-modern equipment, and expensive “by hand” techniques to make a premium product. I could immediately draw parallels to the manufacturing practices of premium chocolate brands like Ethel M.

So why does everyone love to hate this wine?

Well, for one thing, it’s totally over-the-top. There is usually very little that is subtle about this wine. It also takes years to develop, and often comes across as astringent and tough when it’s opened too early. It’s also very expensive – usually $150-$200 per bottle.

Are you paying for the snooty chic factor? You bet. But you’re also paying for the result of really, really expensive production techniques, such as hand-sorting the best fruit for the final blend.

And here’s the thing – you’re also paying for a really, really good wine.

I’ve been drinking through my small cache of 1998 Opus One for a few years now. I picked up a few bottles of the 1998 O.O. because `98 was supposed to be a ‘bad’ year for wine in Napa. Despite that, Opus made a wine that I thought (to the best of my then burgeoning wine geek ability at the time) had some ageing potential. It turns out I was right.

The `98 O.O. is drinking beautifully right now (see my mini reviews here and here). Is it as complex as as First Growth Bordeaux? Not really. But halfway through a glass of that explosive fruit, you won’t give a sh*t about that.

O.O. is oft-maligned because it’s priced like a Bordeaux, so people expect it to act like a Bordeaux.But this is not Old World, sporting a monocle and a tux sophistication, people. It’s California used-to-be-a-hippy and now owns an Internet company, sporting a pony-tail and mock turtleneck sophistication. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What did Opus One wine teach me?

  1. Not every wine is worth it’s price to everybody.
  2. Never overlook a wine just because it gets bad press – make your own judgments.
  3. Trust your wine instincts (and your own personal palate).

Many years on, these lessons still serve me well, and I pass them on when I teach others about wine. Or to anyone within earshot when I’m tipsy and waxing wine philosophical.

Those lessons are deep-rooted into my wine soul. Just like one of those fabulous Oakville vines…

Cheers!

(images: 1winedude.com, czaplamusic.com)

International Conflict and Wine: Georgia’s Treasures Under Fire

Vinted on August 12, 2008 binned in commentary, wine news


Just to bring a bit of palpable focus to the ongoing conflict in Georgia, I thought I’d highlight a few of the wine-related impacts of the fighting that is making worldwide news headlines:

Georgia’s Caucasus region is widely believed to be the birthplace of wine, based on archeological findings of the oldest known cultivated vines. Georgian wine is still made, and its unique tastes and grape varietals (most notably Saperavi) are highly regarded, with their wines being widely sold in Europe – with the potential to generate increased sales in the international wine market, as well…

The current conflict is taking its toll on Georgia’s wine trade. Russia, probably the largest purchaser of Georgian wine, had already placed a block on sales of Georgian wine. As you can imagine, most business in Georgia has slowed during the conflict, and among those protesting Russia’s actions this week have been importers of Georgian wine.

Here’s hoping that the conflict ends as soon as possible – and that Georgian wine, and the historical wine treasures of Caucasus, escapes relatively unscathed.

Win Free Wine Gear (Prep. for Twitter Tasting Live #2)!

Vinted on August 11, 2008 binned in giveaways, twitter, wine industry events

In preparation for the upcoming Twitter Tasting Live Event (hosted by Winecast & BinEndsWine.com) on August 21st, I’m giving away FREE 1WineDude.com gear!

This round of the live twitter wine tasting will focus on the fabulous Alsace wines of Hugel & Fils. Mrs. Dudette and I will (once again) be hosting a group of local wine geeks and industry folk to taste the wines – while yours truly captures the (increasingly inebriated) tasting comments from our panel via my twitter account.

Of course, we want all of you folks to join in on this fun as well and taste along with us, and the rest of the twitter live participants (twitipants?). Check out BinEndsWine.com for details on how to join up.

I may also be streaming the (increasingly inebriated) 1WineDude group commentary via my Yahoo! Live channel!

Anyway, help me out and YOU could soon be wearing a Men’s “Wine Rules!” T-shirt, or a Women’s “1WineDude.com” cap sleeve T-shirt! Or be reading through the cool tips & tricks of wine tasting in my eBook!

All you have to do is help me & Mrs. Dudette prepare for the twitter tasting. Easy peasy nice an’ squeezy!…


Here’s the skinny:

  • Mrs. Dudette and I need to cook for our guests, and we need YOUR help! Leave a comment on this here post anytime between now and midnight ET Sunday, August 17. In your comment, tell us your favorite food to pair with wines from Alsace.
  • I will randomly select two winners from the comments.
  • Next week, I’ll post a round up of my favorite pairings from the comments, and will announce the winners:

    First Prize: A 1WineDude.com T (as described above)!

    Second Prize: A free copy of the 1WineDude.com Wine Tasting Guide!

Nothing to it.

So get cookin’ already!

Cheers!
(images: allposters.com, cafepress.com)

August Wine Events

Vinted on August 8, 2008 binned in wine industry events, wine tasting

It’s that time of month again here at 1WineDude.com.

That time when we hip you to some way cool events going on in the wine world (what were you thinking I was going to say?):

1) First up is a local Philly-area shin-dig. Teikoku Restaurant will be having their next wine & food pairing event on Thursday, August 14, 5:30-7:30 PM ET.

Iron Chef Takao Iinuma will be cooking up some delectable small bites to pair with “off the beaten path pours” of wine selected by Heather Wright of Cellar Door Imports. I know that chef. And I know that Importer. And both of them kick ass.

2) Next, after a fun and successful inaugural twitter tasting event, BinEndsWine.com will be back LIVE on August 21st for twitter tasting #2. This time around, they will be featuring Etienne Hugel, of Hugel & Fils.

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with Hugel, the name is practically synonymous with fine Alsace wine. BinEndsWine & Etienne will be joined live via twitter by yours truly, as well as a host of other fine wine bloggers, as we taste through a selection of Hugel’s finest.

The last twitter live tasting event was a blast, so head on over to BinEndsWine.com, order yourself a tasting pack of Hugel wine, and join in the twitter fun on the 21st. The details of how to follow the live event can be found there as well (be sure to friend me up at 1WineDude before the 21st!).

Cheers!

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com

Google+

Labels

Vintage

Find