The United Slurps of America. Also, Some Organic Wines Still Suck

Vinted on March 9, 2010 binned in organic wine, Penns Woods, pennsylvania, wine review

Actually, let’s take those in reverse order.

Here’s the deal – I have a love/hate affair with organic wines.  I love the fact that they’re organic and environmentally-friendly; I hate many of the wines because they’re not any good.

And I’m convinced that enough wine consumers have reached a similar conclusion that they actually avoid buying wines labeled as Organic, which is why many good wines that could be labeled as officially organic don’t bother to mention this on their labels (see Alder Yarrow’s take on the subject of Organic wine labeling).

It’s not all organic wines that suck, and there are many excellent, premium wines that farm organically or biodynamically.  But the extreme cases have a loooooong way to go before they will appeal to the average consumer.

Take Stellar Organics for example.  Amazing things they’re doing for the environment and their community.  BUT… they make a line of ‘No Sulfites Added’ wines (essentially, the only sulfites in the wines are those produced naturally in the winemaking process), and the samples I tried of those wines just aren’t very good.  To the mini-review tape:…

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Uncorking “Corked: A Memoir” (The Kathryn Borel Interview)

Vinted on March 8, 2010 binned in book reviews, interviews, wine books

Reading Corked: A Memoir, you may find that you don’t much like author Kathryn Borel.  And it will probably have nothing to do with her being a Canadian (sorry, Canada… just poking fun at you because you won all of those Olympic hockey gold medals…).

She is, by her own fearless admission, not the best of traveling companions. Neither is her father, with whom she travels to some of France’s most famous wine regions in an attempt to connect more deeply with him while they still have time together on this planet.  Even a healthy proportion of the storied French wine producers that the Borel clan visit in Corked are portrayed as, to put it mildly, difficult.

Corked isn’t about wine appreciation, but it touches on the topic frequently and views it obliquely, as if through a funky, tilted lens; it circles the topic as if both wine and Kathryn were old cats in some new territory – familiar, but with a sense of fight-or-flight caution.  Let’s put it this way: Kathryn describes her new book (also her first) as being about “wine, France, my father, existential dread, and death.”  So you know the viewpoint on wine is going to be different.

As it turns out, wine plays a minor, but important, role in Kathryn’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes quirky, sometimes painful recounting of her journey through French wine country – at turns a vehicle for connectivity, and an insurmountable and intimidating barrier.

And it’s exactly because of that unique viewpoint that I was so stoked to read Corked and to interview its author (if you need further convincing of Kathryn’s unique view on life, just check out how she introduces Corked on video, or visit her craftily quirky – or is that quirkily crafty? – blog).

If Corked reveals a truth about the human condition, it’s that coming to a shared understanding as adults – to a place where we can truly appreciate one another – isn’t always as simple as sharing a glass of excellent vino; sometimes it takes a gut-wrenching rite of passage.  That probably mirrors the relationship some of us have with wine at one point or another in our lives.

Read on for the interview, which is mostly full of wine-related topics but, thanks to Kathryn, is totally full of awesome – just prepare to be entertained, a little moved, and a lot impressed by his woman…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-03-06

Vinted on March 6, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 05 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Wild berry party spoiled by too much green, too little body, & too high a price tag $100 B #
  • 05 Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau): Stately, clean & just a *tiny* bit cloying. $40 A- #
  • 05 Wolffer Estate Claletto (Long Island): Fab Amarone-style Cab from stellar year. Focused black fruits = Awesome. VA = not-awesome $85 B+ #
  • 06 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir (Walker Bay): Would be lovely, if not for the prominent & nasty burnt tire & band-aid aromas. $37 D #
  • NV Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut (Champagne): Red apples & baked bread launched at tasty velocity towards your taste buds. $42 A #
  • 02 Domaine Des Baumard Savennieres (Loire): Touch of honey & a lot of awesome. W/ that acid, this CB ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon. $30 A #
  • 08 Deerfield Ranch Los Chamizal Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley): Give it time & peach & apple will appear. So will the midpalate heat, tho $28 B- #
  • 06 Deerfield Ranch Red Rex (Sonoma County): Capable kitchen-sink red blend, but you’d better like black raspberry before attempting! $28 B- #
  • 09 Grey’s Peak Sauvignon Blanc (Waipara): Like a barrel full of monkeys. Monkeys made of lemongrass, limes, gooseberries & firm acids. $18 A #

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