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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For May 19, 2014

Vinted on May 19, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews
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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!

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!

  • 12 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay (Sonoma County): Doesn't quite shake the popcorn, but it's still a creamy, affordable luxury. $22 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (Sonoma County): Berry friendly to start, then smiles & whips out the kinky leather $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rose (Sancerre): Can partial saignee be more than just ok? Apparently that's a yes; & even elegant, too. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Licia Albarino (Rias Baixas): Lemons, melons, herbs & bottle of mineral water all delivered in a pretty little grass-filled basket. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Las Perdices Reserva Malbec (Lujan de Cuyo): Dark as night, mineral as stone, rich as chocolate, fun as a carnival, sip it soon. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Klinker Brick Farrah Syrah (Lodi): About as dense and thick as brick, but certainly funkier, meatier, and a lot more savory. $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Gramercy Cellars Olsen Vineyard Rose (Columbia Valley): Textural, floral and downright extraordinary; can you wait 3 or 4 years? $25 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Barone Pizzini Saten (Franciacorta): Not exactly made of satin, but it's deftly playing the middle ground between smooth & pithy. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Vallformosa Clasic Brut (Cava): A bubbly superhero, with the power to bring a touch of elegance to Tuesday evenings everywhere. $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Steven Kent Winery Small-Lot Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Franc (Livermore Valley): Young & awkward, but so was Lebron James once. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 La Rochelle Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Block A Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands): Brimming with energy, & brooding with dark plans. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve (Alsace): Oil sick thick, & ready, willing, and able to be employed with spicy Indian cuisine. $17 B >>find this wine<<

No Reservations (Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva 1964)

Vinted on May 15, 2014 binned in going pro, kick-ass wines, wine industry events, wine review

Despite the simple title, I did, in fact, have serious reservations about the subject of today’s featured juice. After all, technically I tasted it while being “on the clock” for a paying gig with Wines of Rioja (now ended), which had me wondering just how impartial of a judgment I could make about it.

But there are tasting moments so formative, so elemental, that sometimes you have to go with your gut and trust in the intelligence and goodwill of the Global Interwebs to forgive you if you stray into a gray-ish, conflict-of-interest no-man’s land. Also, now that the gig is several weeks behind me, I felt we had enough “distance” to give this thing a proper airing here.

The vino causing me such temporary consternation was the clean-up hitter of the trade panel tasting I moderated as part of the recent sold-out series of Rioja Week events in New York. We had a great group of winemaker panelists, and tasted some fascinating juice (including a rare look at a nearly extinct Spanish grape, Maturana, given a bold, modern treatment by Dinastia Vivanco). I think most of you appreciate the fact that I call things as I see them, and would tell you (despite the paycheck) if the wines were under-performing, but in this case we had easy jobs on the stage that day; everything in the tasting lineup was showing nicely.

Including that clean-up hitter, which happened to be a spry fifty years young…

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How To Become A Wine (Whatever)

Vinted on May 13, 2014 binned in going pro, wine appreciation

I try (but don’t always manage – I claim SAHD status!) to answer just about every piece of email that gets sent over to 1WD HQ. Usually these messages are of the “I found some older wine in a relative’s basement and I’m not sure what to do with it,” or “what wine should I buy for [ insert occasion here ]” varieties, but lately I’ve been receiving a disproportionate amount of requests asking “how can I become a wine [ taster / certified-type-person / critic / whatever ].” I’m guessing this volume had something to do with me spilling the beans on how I’m now able to pursue my dream job professionally, and a few folks starting to wonder if doing something along similar lines is possible for them, too.

Those latter emails I’ve yet to answer (apologies if one of them is yours!), mostly because the topic is so complex that I’ve had trouble trying to determine where it’d best to begin when writing about it. Really, it’s almost like asking “why drink wine?” – the answers depend on both where you’re starting, and where you want to end up.

So here’s my attempt at answering those too-long-neglected requests, in the hopes that it will be helpful to at least a handful of you lushes intrepid wine-loving folk.

Let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that you’re asking because you want to end up somewhere professional (sommelier / writer / critic / beverage director / whatever) with this, in which case my first inclination is to tell you not to bother…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For May 12, 2014

Vinted on May 12, 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!

  • 10 La Rochelle Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Roses are red, they're also in here, this didn't rhyme, OK whatever. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbes Gewurztraminer (Alsace): It hath been declared, the spicy food shall be brought forth! $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Kilakanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz (Australia): It's just not worth the effort arguing against its delicious, minty statements. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Vallformosa Origen Brut (Cava): Seemingly, it's thoroughly – and happily – unaware of its own refreshing, apple-laden talents. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Charles Krug Family Reserve Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): The hall of the Mountain King gets all prettied up. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Argyle Brut Rose (Dundee Hills): Salmon of skin, fleet of feet, and possessing of charms that are damn near impossible to resist. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Waters Interlude Red (Washington): Aiming for the dancing waters off of Bordeaux's Right Bank, and mostly hitting the target. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Efeste Sauvage Boushey Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Yakima Valley): There's nothing wild or savage about this refined, lithe beauty. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Dylan's Ghost Hell Hollow Red (Napa Valley): Convening with angels and devils alike, and almost certainly beguiling both groups. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Barone Pizzini San Paolo Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva (Castelli di Jesi): Combine a bag of nuts w/ refreshment $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Pedroncelli Signature Selection Dry Rose Of Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): All the refreshment of a good White Zin, none of the crap $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley East Side Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Dry Creek Valley): As fun as a ray of sunshine on picnic field. $14 B >>find this wine<<

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