Wine Reviews Bold As Love

jimi hendrix david shannonW wine grapes value value value u20 rose monterey languedoc cinsault chardonnay

still rainin’ still dreamin’

This heat wave have sapped tBoW’s strength. It is all we can do to pull corks and take notes. Nowatisane? reguscichard11WEB wine grapes value value value u20 rose monterey languedoc cinsault chardonnay So here they are. Fortunately, all wines tasted were deliciously notable.

2011 Regusci Chardonnay Stags Leap District Mary’s Cuvee $40 online: The power of an AVA in full glory! Stags Leap baby. Regusci is about as down home as it gets in Napa and especially Stags Leap. Authentic Napa juice. Some might say “legit.” Purchased at the winery couple years back. We raved about the Burgundian nature then. Poop. This is pure California Chardonnay juice. CorbRose13WEB wine grapes value value value u20 rose monterey languedoc cinsault chardonnay Gets 14 mos American oak. Serve it cold. Bracing feral flavors. If I was up there I am sure I would buy this bottle again. 14.2%

2013 Château Ollieux Romanis Corbières Rosé $16: Cuts through the spicy tuna poke. Good match. Acid and fruit makes a formidable combo. Melon flavor but what kind? Must be tangelo [ed. uh, not a melon]. Corbieres is Cab Franc country. This is 28% Cinsault and 35% Grenache Gris 35%. cambiata12WEB wine grapes value value value u20 rose monterey languedoc cinsault chardonnay Yes. We think the balance of 37% is Grenache Noir. Love the Languedoc. Must return soon! U20 alert.

2012 Cambíata Albariño Monterey $18: Not like a New World wine. Honeydew melon rind flavor. Bit of clove [ed. he stole that]. Perfect on a late summer evening outside. Label says “Albariño: Bold As Love.” Cool. Jimi. Another U20 winna. 14.5%

At 2:49 of this revered and underrated Hendrix composition he takes off on a riff that makes me misty every time every time every time I hear it.

Unnatural Sports R So Not Like Natural Wines

Os pitcher wine grapes santa maria santa barbara county pinot noir cotes de beaune burgundy

batter’s POV

There are only three natural sports left in the professional world: futbol (soccer to us), baseball and hockey. If natural wines are unencumbered with artifice [ed. nice phraseologizing tBoW!] then these three sports likewise remain fairly true to their earliest paradigm. Baseball has Instant Replay which is the landmark of a corrupted game and the DH. Otherwise the game is pretty much same as it ever was. Hockey is barely a sport so it is theoretically difficult to stray far from the source. Besides what was the singular technological advance in hockey – the TV highlighted puck – has been thrown to the heap of “hated it.” Soccer is the purest game. Our cultural chauvinism makes it difficult to accept.

Which brings us to the NFL. How I hate it. Let me count the ways. But wait. Natural wines provide the perfect reference point for everything WRONG with the NFL. Natural wines eschew sulfur and commercial yeasts used to inoculate wines in monstrous batches that must fit into a production schedule that optimizes the timely release of overpriced monochromatic drink masquerading as something exciting. The NFL gives the viewing public a product easy to recognize yet nameless in distinction (“parity”) that is even easier to consume than a 100 point Speculator wine, not worth comprehending (the technical machinations of endless substitutions), and so overdone in “coverage” to render “live” viewing irrelevant (instant replay O-U-T of control). Then we have the “analysts.” From Boomer to Primetime to the Mooch, NFL analysis is much closer to a supermarket tabloid than it is to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Excuse me. I must evacuate.

When will Manziel start? The suspense builds with every sports chat segment.

Back to the base. Thank God the end of the baseball season is here. Hooray for the Orioles. Best unis in sports, AL East Division Champs. They will not make the World Series. Neither will Los Doyers. It’s a red year and the Angels will win it all. hspiscedebeaueSP20071 wine grapes santa maria santa barbara county pinot noir cotes de beaune burgundy This is good for baseball and sports fans. Attempts to replicate this model in wine is fruitless. Hooray for natural wines! Yahoo for playoffs baseball. Like the harvest after the long and dull growing season.

Some recent fine wines worth your attention… or not…

2007 Scott Paul Hospices de Beaune $50: Third time we have tasted this wine purchased from the Scott Paul tasting room. Still not ready! So tight. Will it ever open? At least it smells like a Burgundy. We had a 1985 DRC La Tache like this. Lynne is right. Only buy wines ready to drink. Done. Finito. Nuff said. 13%

Lato Duende 04WEB wine grapes santa maria santa barbara county pinot noir cotes de beaune burgundy 2004 Paul Lato Duende Pinot Noir $TAFI: The legend of Paul Lato has been documented on this blog several times. HE has achieved “old guard” stature in Santa Barbara wine country. He has a loyal following. His wines no longer suit our palate however this third vintage retains some of his original restraint in winemaking. At ten years Dotore’s summation of the Lato bottle is “nice Syrah.” But then Dotore is a snob, and he is right. This was the first vintage when Paul moved towards the big blowsy style that pretty much ruined SB wines for the tBoW tasting crew. Still a nice wine if you like a lighter domestic Syrah. 14.5%

Bill Belichick is the most same person in the NFL. His postgame interviews are by far the most compelling reasons to tune in to the No Fun League. Here the Patriots coach weighs in on technology. Hut! Hut Hut!!

Politics & Wine: Malibu About Face! Timing Raises Eyebrows.

skeptic CholoWEB1 wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia

my attorney Bernie

The Malibu AVA Association won their coveted AVA status August 19, one week before the California Coastal Commission announced there would be no more planting of vines permitted in Malibu. The AVA Committee was preparing a publicity campaign to rally local Malibu vintners to join their AVA Association when they learned County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky zev plansCROPNOPEWEB wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia had filed a proposal with the Coastal Commission to prohibit further planting in Malibu. Zev, a master politician who will not seek another term as one of the Five Kings [LA's five County Supervisors], already had the votes lined up, of course, to approve his motion.

The AVA Committee which includes Malibu developer and perennial Coastal Commission petitioner Don Schmitz organized his own meeting. the idea was to strengthen the vintner’s position by organizing the “horse people” and the “organic farmers” who were also included in Zev’s proposal. [ed. no anti-vaccine folks?]. Zev made the predictable concession. The horse and organic people were removed from his proposal. The wineries remained. And that my friends, is how the political game is played. Grant concessions to the small groups but keep the cufffs on the bigger ones. Do not count out Don Schmitz. He’s gone more than a couple rounds with the Coastal Commission.

What does the ban on further vineyard development mean for the Malibu region? It took three years for the AVA Association to win approval for the right to include “Malibu Coast” on the labels of wineries that include a high percentage of grapes [ed. you don't know do you? I could know I just don't want to look it up, OK?] grown in Agoura and on the Coast. Things could get grim.

Cut to the cheese. Wineries with current valid permits will be able to continue. They will also be all that are left in Malibu. Wineries that did not pull permits when they planted are screwed. There are approximately 50 AVA Association winery members. As many as half could be put out of business. That will severely diminish the ability of the Malibu AVA Association to make an impact on the new region. The entire Malibu AVA is within the Coastal Commission boundaries.

tBoW supports the Malibu AVA because it establishes standards for commercial activities, production scales and quality metrics. At least 85% of grapes in Malibu AVA labeled wines must be sourced from the Malibu AVA. Just like they do it in France. Sourced wines will dominate the shelves at the Cornell Wine tasting room. Malibu the AVA and Malibu wines could become some kind of oddball, hardly known wine region where people plant vineyards for reasons mostly having to with design and style. Napa on a tiny scale.

Sourcing juice outside Malibu was one of the reasons to establish the AVA so that wineries that exclusively or primarily made wine from 85% Malibu vineyards would distinguish themselves. Wineries with permits will still be able to source juice outside the ‘Bu. Seems logical that wines labeled Malibu AVA will become more scarce and, perhaps, more costly?

Wines recently tasted from the rest of the wine world we care about that are worthy of reportage.

laclarine12012WEB1 wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia 2012 La Clarine Josephine and Mariposa $26: If you love the idea of a tame English garden or a wild plot of herbs then this is your wine. We cannot recall such a pronounced scent of savory herbs that is repeated in the glass. “The final blend is 72% grenache and 28% mourvedre. The aromas are classic, old-school grenache – pure, high-toned fruit, some dried herb, and wet, chalky stones.” the winemakers love the yellow slate where the vines grow. La Clarine making natural wines the natural way in the Sierra foothills; “adding no yeast, sulfur dioxide, oak chips, enzymes or concentrates in the cellar, and no chemicals, fertilizers or tillage in our vineyard.” We will buy again. So exotic! 14.6% without the burn.

sperino10WEB wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia 2010 Proprietà Sperino “Uvaggio” Costa della Sesia $28 (Eno Fine Wine): 65% Nebbiolo, 20% Velspina and 15% Croatina. The blending of Nebbiolo is a soft, sweet and sexy revelation! 100% Nebbiolo now seems to tBoW like 100% Cabernet. Irrelevant. Jim Moore [ed. isn't his wine label also named Uvaggio?] always said “Cabernet Sauvignon – a great blending grape.” This wine is from Lessona which is one of those “off label” Piemonte communities that grow Nebbiolo, also know as Spanna in the Italian pre-alps. These communities are Gattinara, Ghemme, Valtelina, Bramaterra and Lessona. At least these are the one we know now. Forget Barolo and Barbaresco! Go north! Here is a very good link to learn more about the region and the label. 13.5%

punset07WEB wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia 2007 Punset Barbaresco $65 (online): High toned stuff. Pure 100% Nebbiolo from the heartland. Yes it is sinewy, even muscular. Yes it is palate pumping. And yes Nebbiolo wines like these have lost their spot in tBoW’s world of Neb. LKike the discovery of communities like Aloxe-Corton,= and Mercurey in Burgundy and producers like Clois de Moines, we are learning to appreciate particular wines in our favorite varietals that are not quite but almost off the grid. And that are ready to drink right dang now… and next year. Same vintage. This Punset was Parker’s highest scoring 2007 Barbaresco but, y’know, we don’t value Parker’s POV. No sir. [ed. We definitely do not]. Plus this wine needs a lot of air. 14%

pezaWEB wine grapes spain ribera del duero mencia 2011 Peza do Rei Mencia $20 (Garagiste): Described as the Pinot Noir of Spain, after we sipped and pointed out the balance, medium weight and flavors unlike the riper Tempranillo or more fleshy and rich Garnacha. Wine that we would buy if we saw it. The back label states “eight acres of vertiginous south facing slate terraces in the rugged and beautiful Ribeira Sacra.” Very good value and, even better, a new varietal for tBoW! “Situated at the foot of the Biellese pre-alpine hills, the soil of the Lessona district still contains ancient marine sands that make it one of the most acidic in the entire world of wine production.” 13.5%

Next up… What if the NFL ran wine Tastings?!?

Somehow this Dylan classic seems apropos. Special thanks for ‘Bu News courtesy of the sanest vintner in the ‘Bu, Charles Schetter.

Cowabunga!! Labor Day, Monster Surf, Fine Wines

Heaven thunder 8 27 14WEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc

“it’s booming” said the lifeguard

The Summer of 2014 officially closed with significant doings in Southern California. The Coastal Commission is ready to impose a ban on further development of vineyards in the new Malibu AVA. Yup. You read it. Malibu is a new AVA. On Wednesday August 27 monster surf provided a once-in-a-decade spectacle when 15 to 20 foot waves crashed up and down the coast of North Los Angeles County. We tasted some monumental gnarly ass wines.

cadelbaio 2010WEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc 2010 Giulo Grasso Ca’ del Bao Langhe Nebbiolo $23 (Wallys): Langhe on the label usually signifies wine made from traditional Piemonte regions not in Barolo or Barbaresco. It can also signify younger vines. This bottle came from Liquid which is an outlaw itself in wine retail, and a tBoW secret wine spot. Researching this bottle turned up a lovely website with some down home family tidbits about the Grasso family, a cross-winemaking family marriage,and a book I have to check out. Organic growing methods, natural yeasts… all by tradition. This wine is a bit rugged, lean and muscular. iceman strawmanWEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc It is too young to open unless you aerate mightily. All the good flavors we love in Nebbiolo are there: cherries, exotic earthy, high toned… but not ready. 13.5%

Iceman Angry Orchard Hard Cider $16 (Whole Wallet): 16 oz bottle from Quebec. That equates to a $30 wine. Sweeter than the yummy Virginia hard cider which we WILL BE ORDERING in about 45 days when the heat yields to Autumn in LA; i.e., the 80s. After visiting the website I am certain we would prefer the Strawman bottling. 10%

spungola 2011WEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc 2011 Spungola Bellaria Pignoletto Emilia Alberto Tedeschi $18: Pretty sure Dotoré picked this up at Domaine LA, his favorite secret wine store. White wine made by an obscure dude toling on his own with an indigenous obscure grape – Pignoletto – with a great name that sounds like a kind of pedicure. tBoW tasted oily, kind of lean. We like that but perhaps it was the atmosphere – adult party. Not impressive. However, you may disagree. We took this from a website.

cathy bretonWEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc

Cathy Breton se naturel

We just did not get it. “Bronze colored in the glass, the bouquet is one of salt, apricot, and hazelnuts. It is a full wine with rich tannins and flavors of orange blossom, cantaloupe, and toasty coconut.” That reads pretty nice. Everything we like is on the page. I will bet in a small group with less pressure to “interact” this wine will taste much better. Needs another shot! 13%

NV Breton Vouvray Brut “La Dilettante” $20 (K&L says they have it): Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Yeasty, sophisticated, grapefruit rind, acidic. dilettanteWEB wine grapes value value value sparkling loire valley chenic blanc Loved it. Big hit with those holding glasses. Made by natural wine organic gorgeous (in photo) winemaker Catherine Breton. Committed to the natural movement! At $19.99 a U20 buy. 12%

catch the twichen groove doods… COWABUNGA!!

The Naked Truth from an Underground POV

haboobWEB wine grapes

desert haboob? play on!

The Underground Wineletter is one of the finest newsletters covering wine obsessions since the 1980s. John Tilson is the editor and publisher. He knows wine and is a very decent writer. Much better than the tripe found here [ed. Hey. We like tripe and buches too.] John loves many more California wines than the tBoW Tasting Team. At least he knows so much about them that he is a peerless historian on the older established labels such as Ridge, Mayacamas, Diamond Creek…

We love reading his stuff. He also likes to go against the grain and “break news.” He is pretty good at being a newsbreaking contrarian. Among his more notorious subjects was one of his earliest editorial exposes titled Hokus Pokus Opus. He immediately saw through the marketing brilliance of Robert Mondavi and Baron Phil Rothschild [ed. Baron Phil. That's funny.] Blending Cabernet from the top Bordeaux and the would-be top Napa Cab in a first-off-its-kind across-the-ocean venture that was Opus. Just ponder a moment how often this gimmick has been repeated. The Opus vineyard was too new to produce fruit close to the quality of Mouton so he sourced it… starting yet another super trend; custom crush indie labels.

Tilson was also among the first to suspect and write about fraud in the super-collectible wine market. He ridiculed the 100 point scale exposing the joke. What does a scale that never falls below 87 say about 100 points? That is really a lucky 13! Tilson often waits for the wine world to catch up with him. He is an ardent advocate of listing wine ingrediments on wine labels; a practice some winemakers abhor. We hope to read his thoughts on the “naked or natural wine” movement soon.

He is especially strong with California wines however he loves Burgundy. His annual trip to and review of the most recent vintages are highly opinionated in his very detailed way. Forget Parker and the Speculator. If you want to learn a lot about wine then you should read the Underground. You can get the UW for nothing except the effort to sign up online. A very worthy read.

Here are some really great wines we tasted recently. Let me amend. These may be the two of the three best wines we have tasted all year.

 wine grapes 2008 Antonioti Bramaterra $28 (Eno): This is beautiful wine. Originates in the northern most region of Piemonte. 72 acres comprises not the entire vineyard but the entire region. Thank you Louis Dressner for importing this gem. Thank you Eno Fine Wine and Mr. Goldun for getting it to us at such a great price. Juicy, completely balanced. It is the perfect wine right now. 13%

ladoix09CROP wine grapes 2009 Domaine Gaston and Pierre Ravaut Ladoix Premier Cru Les Basses Mourotte $32 (Eno): Mrs. tBoW who prefers New World Pinot Noir was impressed with this wine, another Eno find. “Sophisticated. Pour me a little more.” It is sophisticated high tone Burgundy. We do not know who is the producer or the vineayrd. “Situated on the east side of the Corton hill, Ladoix-Serrigny is one of three communes that produce both reds and whites entitled to the Corton grand Cru appellation. While Aloxe-Corton has the largest Grand Cru vineyard land by far almost equally divided between Corton-Charlemagne and the lions share of the great red Crus, Ladoix shouldn’t be overlooked.” Whenever Corton-Charlemagne is mentioned that is very good. This is beautiful Burgundy with all the finesse and sophistication that will never be found in a New World Pinot Noir. Get it. This is a terrific price. 13%

Eno Fine Wine is on a roll. Tilson and the Underground Wineletter are classics. Here is another classic completely out there on his own stretching the envelope of greatness.