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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 18, 2014

Vinted on August 18, 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!

  • 08 Theo Minges Riesling Sekt Brut (Pfalz): Sekt lovers of the woooooorld…. unite and take ooooooooover…. hand it ooooooover….! $31 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Reserve (Santa Cruz): Taut, tasty, tightly wound, transparently authentic, and downright terrific. $79 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Rocca Sveva Amarone (Amarone Della Valpolicella): Sitting a bit timidly on the fence, not sure of where its allegiance should be. $60 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Prinz von Hessen Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Erstes Gewachs (Rheingau): Still steely – and energetic – after all these years. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 McPherson Cellars Les Copains Rose (Texas): Eating strawberries while enjoying cooling tropical breezes in the thick Summer heat. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Frisson Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Quite beautifully stated, and in a manner that's refreshingly understated. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Still chomping at the bit, a bit made of red berries, sweet spices & silk $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay (Dundee Hills): Peaches molding lovely modern art using earthenware pottery clay. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Penner-Ash Wine Cellars Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): All amped up ith the power and promises of youthfulness. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Prinz von Hessen Riesling Kabinett Royal (Rheingau): New World flirtatious on the outside, but inside? Steely as metal chains. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Montgras Quatro (Colchagua Valley): Starbuck's most alluring vanilla-chocolate-coffee concoctions have got nothing on this number. $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vall Llach Porrera Via De Vila (Priorat): Denser than white dwarf stars but there's light in all that Carignan tart red brightness $65 A- >>find this wine<<

Cuckoo And Cocka-doodle-doo (Coquerel And Toquade Recent Sauvignon Blanc Releases)

Vinted on August 14, 2014 binned in elegant wines, overachiever wines, wine review

At this point, I think that we’ve established that Bordeaux native Christine Barbe is at least a little bit crazy. Very talented, but a little crazy. Crazy enough to justify the namesake of her personal brand, Toquade, anyway.

She has, after all, devoted a significant portion of her current winemaking career to – egads! – Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a region/variety combo that is often either derided (justifiably, for the too-frequent examples that taste like melon-cream soda gone flat mixed with grain alcohol), or in the better cases (unjustifiably) pigeon-holed as always just-shy-of-greatness, the NV also-ran grape. It occurs to me now that NV SB is a bit like the Philadelphia Eagles of the wine world, only without the awesome fight song (seriously, it’s the best one in the NFL; yeah, the San Diego Super Chargers song has an awesome bassline, but otherwise it’s waaaay too disco for football).

NV SB is also the primary focus of Barbe’s other winemaking job, helming the juice at Clay and Brenda Cockerell’s Coquerel brand. They make wine from other varieties, too (the Verdelho and Chardonnay are both well worth seeking out), but it’s that underdog NV SB that has captured Barbe’s heart.

That’s crazy in a good way, of course, and I wish more winemakers had Barbe’s brand of eccentricity, because she’s making the kind of wines – both intellectually and sensually pleasing – that I like to drink on my own time and my own dime.

On one of my recent sojourns to the Left Coast, I got to catch up with Barbe over dinner at San Francisco’s Farallon, a restaurant that sports a décor that I can best describe as “Alice goes scuba diving in Wonderland.” Fortunately, they specialize in seafood, which made a natural match for our little Sauvignon Blanc-fest…

Read the rest of this stuff »

Well, That Was Easy. Not. (“The Once And Future Of Crete” In August 2014 SOMM Journal)

Vinted on August 12, 2014 binned in going pro, wine publications

My feature on the wines of the Greek isle of Crete is now available in the August 2014 issue of SOMM Journal.

That twenty-two word sentence belies what has to be one of the longest paths to seeing something published that I’ve ever had to walk.

Not that the folks at SOMM Journal / Tasting Panel were difficult to deal with; far from it (they have been a pleasure to work with, actually). And I loved getting to know the folks from Crete (and I was doubly-lucky in that I got to work with them this year in helping them present their wines and discuss their island’s native varieties at stops in both NYC and D.C.). It was everything that happened in-between and en route to working with those folks that required this article to be resurrected, phoenix-like.

Let’s just say this was not a quick route to publication, and I learned a valuable lesson in tenacity by pursuing this one. I was prepared to indulge myself in a litany recounting of the simple 4,422-step process constituting the in-between and en route, but I’ll spare you (you’re welcome).

The Cliff Notes version: I was originally “on assignment” with the Crete article for Sommelier Journal, after agreeing the concept with the then head honcho of the mag, during the 2012 Drink Local Wine conference (held that year in Colorado). Except about a year later, that that mag suddenly folded. Happily, Tasting Panel mag took it over, re-branded it as SOMM Journal, and was interested in the story…

Alright, so I lied about sparing you the litany.

Anyway, my Cretan sojourn bore additional tasty content fruit, by way of an interview with one of the island’s next-generation wine family members, and some thoughts for the Answers.com gig on three Cretan producers who are doing cool stuff.

The new SOMM Journal issue is worth checking out just for the map of Crete that Tasting Panel deputy editor Jonathan Cristaldi put together to include with my piece (see inset pic, which I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing, because it’s oozing with awesome).

Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 11, 2014

Vinted on August 11, 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 Antica Terra Antikythera Pinot Noir (Oregon): The main protagonist is Intensity, supported by a cast of Spices, Tea, & Balsamic. $100 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Antica Terra Angelicall Rose (Eola-Amity Hills): A rose that's like a beautiful math equation, it demands your focus & attention. $75 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Antica Terra Aurata Chardonnay (Willamette Valley): Power, poise, persistence & powerful aromas. Only your wallet will protest. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Kramer Vineyards Celebrate Rose Of Pinot Noir (Yamhill-Carlton): Strawberries for days? Well, strawberries for days it is, then! $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Donnafugata Tancredi (Sicily): Picture the Everly Brothers singing "All I Have To Do Is Dream" but wearing leather & going glam. $44 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Alma Rosa Santa Barbara County Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County): Cream on the outside, lemon on the inside, drink it by a bayside $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): My Pinot's big! I'm not ashamed. Big like a pickle, I'm still gettin' paid $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): No devilish pacts to here, just crowd-pleasing amounts of rich, tart fruits tangy & herbs. $49 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alexana Revana Vineyard Riesling (Dundee Hills): Wrapped taught in the high tension – and future promise – of youthful energies. $30 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Sanctuary Heintz Vineyard And Dutton Ranches Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): A sweetie-pie, but at heart she's a contrarian. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Sanctuary Bien Nacido Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Full of come-hither rhubarb, & will likely leave a sweet, lingering memory. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Claypool Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Nor (Sonoma Coast): Hard to argue with the elegant deliciousness of how this tastes right now $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 02 Cameron Hughes Lot 263 Tempranillo Gran Reserva (Ribera del Duero): Dry as the leather it harkens, but the ride sure is a long one $30 B+ >>find this wine<<

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