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Dispatch From Subterranean Hungarian Haunts (Tokaji Kereskedőház Zrt. 1972 Aszú 5 Puttonyos)

Vinted on October 2, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review
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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!

I don’t want to say that every aspect of my life is firing high on all cylinders right now, because that’s not the case.

BUT

… when you get sent to one of the most beautiful places on the globe to try excellent wines, work hard, then play hard, and get paid well to be yourself, it’s hard to think that like is sucky.

And that’s exactly what happened to me for the latter two weeks or so of September, when I toured Hungary’s famed Tokaji (for which I was not paid), and then spent about seven consecutive days MC-ing a video series that will be used to help launch a campaign on the dry white Furmint wines of the region (for which I was paid).

Our final filming stop took place at Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt., the state-run winemaking outfit that, at a few million bottles of production a year, dwarfs everything else in the region by a factor of, literally, about one thousand (and has not been without recent controversies). The film crew and I were asked to see if we could fit in an interview and tasting at the massive six-kilometer underground cellar and wine library of Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt., hosted by Kiraly Eniko, the company’s General Deputy/CEO (who billed herself, quite rightly, as “Madame Tokaji”).

Now, I hesitated to write about that visit here, because technically I was paid to be there. However, given that none of my tasting comments were scripted, and that the producer and I had veto power over the wines if we felt that they weren’t up to snuff, and that there’s little chance of you getting your grubby little hands on the wine about which I am about to tell you, and that it was one of the seminal tasting experiences of my wine life… sorry, f-ck the minor conflict of interest here. You need to know about how I nearly lost my sh*t over the wine that we tasted in subterranean caverns beneath Tokaji that day…

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Is That A Wine Book In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To Be Reading The Answers.com September 2014 Wine Article Roundup?

Vinted on September 30, 2014 binned in going pro

Well… I’m not exactly sure how to follow up that title, so let’s just jump into it; forthwith are the Wine.Answers.com articles I published this past month:

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Portuguese Wine – I’m scheduled to do some touring (and speaking) in Portugal in November, and in boning up on all things Portuguese for that trip, I came across a few trivia tidbits that fascinated me (because, well, I am a nerd).

 

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Chablis – My next contribution over at Snooth.com will be a vinous tour of some of the levels of Chablis. As a primer, here are some interesting facts about the wine snob’s wine snob’s favorite Chardonnay region. Yes, I did two of these in September; sorry, I have so much fun learning as I research them that I can’t help myself, alright?

 

Wine Book Review: “Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2015″ – Does the world need yet another edition of this perennial little reference? Indeed, it does, as the format of this book, packed with an impossible amount of useful information for such a small footprint remains a winning formula (but if you have the 2013 or 2014 editions, you can probably hold off on replacing it for now, or opting for the digital version instead).

 

Wine Book Review: “The Essence of Wine” by Alder Yarrow and Leigh Beisch – Full disclosure, Alder is a friend of mine. Now, that wouldn’t stop me from panning his new coffee-table style wine book if it sucked, which it most certainly doesn’t. The short version is that this gorgeous book deserves the attention of budding and jaded wine aficionados alike.

Cheers – and happy reading!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 29, 2014

Vinted on September 29, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 11 Swiftwater Cellars Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Looking for an excuse to use the phrase 'high-toned?' Well, now you've got one! $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Westrey Wine Co Oracle Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Unfolding very slowly & deliberately in its crazy levels of freshness. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Comes off soft & understated, but has intensity in its spicy soul. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Chehalem Reserve Pinot Noir (Ribbon Ridge): Juicy & focused, leading you on trails lined with tart red berries, pith & fresh herbs $66 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Villa Maria Estate Taylors Pass Vineyard Pinot Noir (Marlborough): More tea than a Tetley plant, if those had dark berry orchards. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Marchand-Tawse Gevrey-Chambertin (Gevrey-Chambertin): Acerbic & tough to know, but pretty to admire once you get past the defenses $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Domaine Dublere Pitures Premier Cru Volney (Volnay): Less sexy than typical Volnay, & more reserved, but equally apt at the table. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Maison Ambroise en Rue de Chaux Nuits-Saint-Georges (Nuits-Saint-Georges): A lovely lightness of being, just maybe a tad too light $65 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Patz & Hall Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): If it's heft you want, heft – & mid-palate spice – you shall receive! $70 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Navarro Vineyards Deep End Blend Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): The blend is, for sure, deep; and so are the fresh, brambly fruits. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Donum Estate Carneros Pinot Noir (Carneros): Carneros flexing its more muscular side, and posing with focused, terse intensity. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Byron Monument Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Sometimes oak is not the spawn of Satan; here's 750 ml of powerful, balanced proof $60 A- >>find this wine<<

A Few Hundred Bucks Worth Of Cult California Cab, Definitely Not Made By Metallica Roadies (Tanner Dafoe Recent Releases)

Vinted on September 25, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, sexy wines, wine review

Question: What do you get when you cross a law-school trained producer of films and commercials with a former professional mountain snowboarder?

Anyone???

In the case of Tanner Dafoe (named after Jeff Tanner and Rob DaFoe, the producer and snowboarder, respectively), you get some fairly complete and substantial Cabernet Sauvignon priced like the California cult red that it is, only (blessedly) with more acid.

What, you didn’t see that one coming?

That Tanner Dafoe can price their (very) small production wines (less than 200 cases for the most part) the way that they do (over $100 per bottle), and yet produce Santa Ynez Valley Cab so complex that the lofty price tag seems justified, is a bit of a minor miracle in the high-end CA wine world. Based on the uncorked contents of a large wooden box full of samples that I received recently from this duo, the hype surrounding their mini-cult endeavor ought to be entertained seriously, if not believed outright.

Even if the guys look like a pair of Metallica or Rolling Stones roadies (sorry, somebody had to say it… c’mon, just look at that picture!)…

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