My latest article for the online celebration of all things vinous in Monferrato, MyNameIsBarbera.com, is now available; and in it, I explore the born-to-be-wildness of one of Italy’s most unsung fine wine grapes, Grignolino.
If you’ve never tried a good Grignolino before, you’re un-enviably currently missing out, but are enviably in for a real treat – it’s one of the most unique red wine drinking experiences you’re likely to have, and therefore one of the most geekily memorable, as well.
Hit up the link below for the full article. When you’re finished reading, if you find yourself feeling the kind of thirst that only a Grignolino is gonna quench, I suggest hunting for one from Vini Evasio Garrone, based in Grana. They won’t be easy to find, but they’re worth the effort. One of that family-run business’ head-honchos, Dante Garrone, is a tireless champion of the grape; he also happens to be a good guy and a serious Raiders of the Lost Ark fan…
GRIGNOLINO D’ASTI: BORN TO BE WILD
- 14 Donnafugata Ben Rye (Passito di Pantelleria): A 1/2-bottle of honeyed, fig-tinged magic, with fingertip lighting special effects. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Lobo da Silveira Solar dos Lobos Grande Escolha Tinto (Alentejo): Textural and gripping, once you get past the initial shyness. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Herdade do Esporao AB Alicante Bouschet (Alentejo): The pointy edges have been rounded out, much to the benefit of red wine lovers $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 14 Quinta do Zambujeiro Monte do Zambujeiro (Alentejo): All around the mulberry bush… we'll be doing some sultry dancing… $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Henrique Uva Herdade da Mingorra Vinha da Ira (Alentejo): Doing its best to make ripe plums seem sexy… and largely succeeding. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Jose Maria da Fonseca Jose de Sousa Red (Alentejo): The red and the black (fruits, that is) engage on a stone-laden battlefield… $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Monte Branco Tinto (Alentejo): Sporting an intensity that would likely put many athletes in the NFL combine to total shame. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
- 15 Windvane Carneros Pinot Noir (Carneros): Smoked meat this inherently good probably doesn't need quite so much wood on the fire. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Windvane Carneros Chardonnay (Carneros): The weather is a little steamy, but there's a crisp breeze blowing in this direction. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
- 13 Lasseter Family Winery Reminiscence (Sonoma Valley): Big, brash, bold, brambly, bombastic, and, at turns, kind of beautiful. $125 A- >>find this wine<<
With some crazy travel happening in the short term, I’m making the executive decision to go ahead and give you the September 2017 edition of the monthly wine product review roundup a bit on the early side (rather than scrambling to get my act together on it at the end of the month, which is my usual MO).
I have some reservations about both of the non-edible products from this month’s sample pool, so let’s begin with the item sporting the fewest of saidreservations:
The Winemakers of Paso Robles by Julia Perez & Paul Hodgins (328 pages, $119)
This impressive tome, almost equal parts gorgeous photographs and Paso Robles winemaker profile pieces, began as a Kickstarter project and has seen a recent surge in media and press (within the US fine wine sphere, anyway). And when I write “impressive,” I do mean impressive. As in, Darth-Vader-in-The-Empire-Strikes-Back levels of impressive.
Perez’s stunning photos are the focus of this coffee-table book, with Hodgins’s prose providing the support. The profiles, while not exactly fluff pieces, tend towards the lifestyle-magazine tone of prose; not necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not without leaving you with a good sense of what drives the winemakers of Paso to do what they do so well. But if it’s controversy that you’re after, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The reservation comes from the book’s size and price (and weight); all are pretty hefty. It’s not as though you’re getting ripped off – far from it – but this is a coffee table book that’s damn nearly the weight of a coffee table. In paging through it, I kept thinking that a) I can’t read this in bed, because it will crush my sternum, and b) it might behoove these guys to put out a smaller, less expensive (and lighter?) soft-back edition…
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“The most endangered species –
The honest man”
-Rush, Natural Science
In the great room of my house, there are two 5″x7″ framed prints in Chinese script, each of which represents one of the two “house rules” of the home shared by me and my daughter (it’s generally too big of a space for the two of us, but she understandably – and emphatically – did not want to move after I filed for divorce).
And yeah, there really are only two house rules at Chateau Dude. One represents Integrity, the other Honesty.
And yeah, we really do believe in and live by them. The fact that I feel compelled to write that last sentence is, I think, indicative of just how far through the looking glass we have come, socially speaking, in the USA, even in my relatively short lifetime.
And yeah, this will eventually get to the topic of wine, but that’s not the crux of this article (you have been warned). To get to that, we’ll need to review a couple of articles by W. Blake Gray that were recently published on Wine-Searcher.com [ full disclosure: I utilize their affiliate program ]. The first of these, Pay-to-Play Scandal Exposed, detailed the fallout from illegal bribes (including several thousand dollars spent on “adult entertainment”) offered by the likes of mega-distributor Southern Glazer’s to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to influence what alcoholic products were/weren’t carried on its state store shelves.
That story justifiably got a lot of traction. But it’s Gray’s follow-up story that, to me, is actually more important, and should have most of us outraged…
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