Posts belonging to Category Wine Grapes



Forced and Unforced Wine Errors.

 

Making Sense of Chaos.

Lettie Teague recently wrote what she really loves about wine 7 Reasons We Love Wine. tBoW loves Lettie Teague…and wine. Much to love when it comes to wine. However, there is a lot of dopey stuff as well. And since tBoW does not write for a living (at least not about wine) we can poke fun at all the silliness involved.

Take Wallys Wine and Spirits. For more than four decades Wallys was the trendsetter in how to market fine wine. Steve Wallace and Gary Fishman [ed. call me Gary, Matt’s Dad wants to interview you] ran the best WINE shop on the Westside. The only competition was the Wine House which became the SUPER market for wines ’round the world. However, Wallys was the top dog with the Hollywood client list. Ran into Danny Kay there. Had him sign the birthday card I happened to be carrying with me. Now Wallys is a laff riot of misguided pretension. Glamour and importance. Cater your next awards season party. Affect your glamorous lifestyle. Forced error – misguided hubris.

The aging wine thing is D-U-M-B. Archaic. Silly. Producing wine to be aged is bull pucky; a fashion foisted on the innocenti who believe wine is better with age. The only thing better with age is adolescence. In fact aging wine is a gamble…a poor one. Odds are stacked against those who love wine when the wine needs to “lay down.” This is doublespeak for heavy oak and tannins more commonly found in wood sealers. Those phonies who would write a wine review suggesting “lay down this beauty for a decade” are lost in the “fog of wine.” Lettie Teague would never suggest laying down a wine. At least we believe that is true.

Ever freeze a bottle of wine? You now…put it in the freezer to cool and discover a few days later you actually put in the cooler to freeze? Unforced DUMB error.

tBoW recommends wines that can be opened and consumed right now. Sometimes it is necessary to lay the wine down in the cellar. This is usually the case when wine is shipped. Wait 2 weeks if you can stand it. Sometimes it is necessary to allow a wine to settle down if the bottle has been cooled in the freezer on a bed of ice…and forgotten. That wine should be defrosted at room temp before pulling the cork in another week…if the cork has not forced its own exit from the bottle. Barring unforced errors like freezing wine for good cause there is no excuse for buying wine that needs to be aged for a decade or more. There are two exceptions to this rule: ports and sauternes.

Here are two wine paragons that can please greatly when opened “before their time;” and one wine that missed its “open by” date.

2016 Boxler Gewurtztraminer $35: Floral nose, a flower bouquet, honey suckle. Flavors of hay and mint. Say what? Over the top AND balanced. Honey. A knockout. Can it age. Certainly. However, if we bought more it would be like trying to keep my hands off my baby granddaughter. Oh sure. Wait until she’s five years old and more ambulatory. Looks like this gewurtz baby is still available at Kermit Lynch, Flatiron and Vintage Wine Merchants in San Jose. Lucky buy! Thank you Kermit.

NV Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut 13.5% $39 at Costco. May seem pricey however for champagne of this pedigree it is the go-to choice for tBoW on Valentines Day. Fruity, marzipan like. Break out the nice flutes. Dependable selection for the special occasion. The right question is whether the tBoW reviewed Cava sparkler Ravenots at 40% the cost, is good enough? We would say not quite…but close.

2011 Domaine Joseph Roty Marsannay 13%. $40ish. Tough to find. Because it is old now. Generally the vineyard designations age longer and are more interesting than this village bottling. The pedigree – Roty – is top notch. The wine is exotic but on its way to the Assisted Living Facility. tBoW finds that Burgs are generally better when consumed “before their time.” We missed here by a couple years. Forced PEDIGREE error. Fuggedaboudid. It’s Burg Town..

Making the right choices when buying wines is important to our list of reasons to love wine. As Chuck D and Public Enemy put it don’t believe the hype. However we find Bob McNamara in all his confidence and technicalities the more appropos analogue when it comes to figuring out how to enjoy wine by accepting the Fog of Wine.

Wine Enlightenment is a THING!!

 

Hume! Smith! Carlyle! Siegel? Blair! The greatest minds of the Scottish Enlightenment all loved Spatburgunder!

Mr Story is a notable thinker in his own write. He has been giving thought to a delicate topic; guidelines for regulating wine purchases. I am confident tBoW speaks for many when he says buying wine is an impulsive act. Count sellers among that group. The general impression is that people who buy wine as a “hobby” are compulsive idiots who disdain the self control they otherwise widely practice in their lives. I am speaking of clinicians, dentists, $$ investors, high school teachers, attorneys, movie folks and professors. BY contrast, actors, dentists and politicians are undisciplined folks driven by base amoral impulses.

It seems timely that tBoW publishes the following testamento. Reflecetions follow.

[STORY BEGINS HERE] Greetings, blog recipients! It has been awhile since I – Mr. Story – have gathered my thoughts and carefully crafted them into a fine delicious blend for you, my dearest readers, for light sipping and enlightenment. Following the Storied Tasting of 2019 there was much to reflect on. I am ready to be back on the blog to share my wisdom with you! Now, I come to the next crossroads. What do I discuss on the blog? Yes, rumor has it that the Best of Wines is a wine blog, but methinks there is more to life than wine. So how about we discuss money. Wait, how about we discuss wine AND money! Brilliant. [ed. now tBoW is paying attention].

Did you know that millions of Americans are drinking their way into debt? Yes, I said it! It’s quite a terrible thing. As Dave Ramsey says “adults delay pleasure. Children do what feels good.” I guess there are a bunch of “children” over 21 running around and drinking their brains out instead of putting their money into mutual funds or saving to buy a house. They go to the bottle because it “feels good” in the moment.

I am not saying get rid of wine altogether, no, no! What I am recommending is putting together a monthly wine budget to ensure that your wine spending doesn’t get out of control. Yes, create two of them. One monthly wine budget for bottles of wine at home and the other for purchasing glasses of wine outside of the home… at a restaurant, for example. For the more adventurous, you may want to create a third annual budget for wine tastings and outings. The important thing here is to have a budget and to follow it. Every time you buy wine, keep the receipt and put them all into a wine glass [ed. tBoW suggests using the glasses “given away” at tasting rooms.]. Keep a piece of paper near the wine glass or track the expense category of WINE in your favorite budgeting app. I use Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar App and it works great. While we are talking about Dave, no, you shouldn’t be buying wine with a credit card or going into debt for it. It’s not worth it.

Here’s the thing. You probably have no idea how much you are spending on wine. Let me introduce you to some numbers and math to do the explaining here.

[ed. tBoW reviews value wine in midst of Story’s thoughts] 2016 Chateau Bonneau Haut Medoc $25 altho we probably got it for less. Review is sourced from Vivino Dark garnet. Smoky vanilla and cedar, touch medicinal. Cherry, woody red currants and a hint of ash. Decent length with a slight tickle of woody tannins. Perfectly mature now, but decant to avoid sediment. 🌟86 pts – good QPR. tBoW recalls he liked this wine mucho esp for a Cab blend. Best thing about the Vivion review is the “good Quality-Price Ratio – QPR.” 86 points means N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Back to the Story story.]

For the at-home-drinker: Online wine retailer Vivino reports that the average bottle of red wine costs $15.66. If you drink 1 bottle a week, you are spending roughly $814.32 per year. 2 bottles a week brings you to $1,628.64 per year. See why we recommend wines $25 and under on this blog now, right? Imagine if you were buying $50 bottles to try to impress your friends and doing so twice a week? That would be costing you $5,200 per year! Yikes!

According to the Wine Market Council, millennials and boomers are most at risk for drinking up their paychecks. They found that 42% of all wine in the United States is sold to millennials. Boomers however, account for a slightly smaller portion of the U.S. population but are more heavy wine drinkers than millennials.

[ed. tBoW reviews value wine in the middle of Story’s thoughts: 2009 Ghemme Terre Moreniche Ill Chiosso 13% unclear on price altho guessing $25. Lyle Fass offer and buy. Only ONE review of this wine on Vivino. What makes AltoP wines so terrific is they are blended! Unlike most Baroli. Did not locate many Altopiemonte wines on Vivino. Guessing because the region is too far off the beaten path. The wine was spectacular. We would buy again in a heartbeat faster than Mahomes can deliver a heater 20 years downfield throwing across his body. We MUST have an Altopiemonte & Spatburgunder tasting in the Spring! Mr Story will be there I am sure.]

Interesting stuff. Read this blog and get the good deals. Make your wine budgets, two or three depending on your relationship with wine. [END OF STORY!]

Thank you Mr. Story. My reflections follow from a Boomer palate…okay? (1) I cannot believe I am pimping for Dave Ramsey and getting zilch in return. (2) My dental surgeon reviews wines for Vivino which is a populist website that rates wines on a five point scale that is actually 40 points using a single decimal point between 1 and 4.9. I give them credit for rejecting the ABSURD and USELESS marketing tool…100 point scale. (3) I respect Mr Story’s POV. (4) Not a chance I will budget anything including golf clubs. Keep in mind tBoW is an old boomer fart. Wait until Dotore weighs in. Or IGTY aka IWTYT. I leave it to Story contempos Glass Jar, KrisB and Ikorb to share their views which is unlikely given their compulsive Millenial work ethic.

I have an idea. Let’s drink some value wines with a decent price-quality ratio…and post up here!

Ach du Lieber Spatburgunder!

Lederhosen und Rot Wein!! Sehr G-u-u-u-ut!

This is the Ahr Valley which is north of Mosel and which – until very recently – has been the most highly regarded wine valley in Germany.

Oh yeh. tBoW is going. Goodbye Luxor and Valley of the Kings…und Hellau Ahr.

We last (actually initially) wrote about German Pinot Noir, Spatburgunder, during the past summer. Das vas nicht gut.

Under relentless email assault from Lyle Fass tBoW dipped his tongue into the glass of German Pinot Noir sold by Fass. [ed. Fass is the successor or at least rival to the king of online megawinemarketers Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste]. The hype is powerful and compelling for any woke wine slugging environmentalist. Global warming has allowed for the propitious [ed. portentious even?] growth of Pinot Noir by Le Bosch. Rumors have been inconsistent. Fact checking – an impromptu tBoW tasting past summer – was inconclusive to be kind.

Two bottles were cracked together; one imported by Fass and the other by Kermit Lynch.

2017 Enderle & Moll Liaison $38 (online altho’ I am not sure what we paid Fass): Chambers Wines website says this…”a beguiling nose of stone, crushed strawberries and red florals, the palate is radiant with red cherries, strawberries, blood orange, and a hint of tart red currant.” Not the tBoW writing style however useful for a quick intro to top tier (at least for now) German Pinot Noir. Enderle & Moll as Fass warned is a hot ticket. What did we think? This wine is Burgundian. The wine is so tasty. The fact it is beyond quaffable is H-U-G-E news for tBoW and readers. The wine calls V-O-L-N-A-Y its brother. Volnay is commonly described as pretty, lush, floral. tBoW might add on the “cherries” side of Burgundy [ed. the other side is mushrooms, feral, “forest floor.”] We love cherries. The best news is that this could be easily mistaken – at least by tBoW – for “yer durn tootin” Burgundy. Don’t bother searching. Cannot get it.

Image result for Boxler Pinot Noir 20162016 Albert Boxler Pinot Noir $67: Man. We missed out here. One of those “why-didn’t-we-buy-more.” Imported from Kermit Lynch who this summer offered a 6 pack steal of Boxler Alsatian wines for under $220. We bought two six packs of Alsatian white wines and the lone Pinot Noir. Boxler is a reliable Alsatian white wine producer however who knew this red would be so incredible. It was the priciest bottle in the gang which we attributed to scarcity. As IGTY might put it…who makes Pinot Noir in the Alsace? Who would pay $67 for it? If the Enderle & Moss is Volnay then this is Russian River Pinot Noir from Williams Selyem or Rochioli circa 1980s. Those wines were distinctly Californian from one of the two best – amend that four best – growing regions for Pinot Noir in California (and therefore the nation).

The other two credible New World Pinot regions would be the Willamette Valley (Maggie Harrison/Antica Terra; Patty Green RIP) and soImage result for Burt Williams winemakeruthern Napa’s Carneros rolling hills. You can also throw in Jim Clendenen in Santa Barbara. Our point is this. The 2016 Boxler Pinot Noir is a ringer for the best of lush and balanced and sluggable California Pinots. Fruity without going over the top, balanced (always important even essential to well made wine), never acidic not even in the earliest stages.

Burt Williams was the legendary self-taught winemaker who put Williams-Selyem (and Pinot Noir outside Burgundy) on the map. He died recently…a healthy and greatly respected winemaker whom the wine industry just did not want to let go of.Image result for Patricia Green winemaker

And that is the good news [ed. he means the wines not the deaths]…two Pinot Noirs that tasted like Burgundy grown and produced outside Burgundy, along with Pinot Noir that tastes like the earliest great New World Pinot Noir wines.

We expect to be busting corks on other German Pinot Noir wines shortly. We shall duly report. For right now…keep your eyes peeled. Today we are back on the hunt for German Spatburgunder. So, as always…when buying German Pinot Noir? Research and stay frosty.

Und now vee haff ein spitzenmäßiger Schuhplattler, sehr exakt und rhytmisch getanzt. Sowas sieht man nicht alle Tage. Jawohl!!

It’s Safe to Come Out Munchkins! The Next – I mean New – Year has Begun!

The holiday season can be taxing. But now that its O-V-E-R we can only say don’t let the door

hit you on the way OUT DUDE!

Image result for Santa wrecks sled

The celebration gauntlet was especially long in the tBoW household oin 2019 with endless events to attend and host. There were highlights marked by memories [ed. all good] and in some cases there were memorable wines.

The BIG EVENT was the Friday the 13th Holiday Wine Tasting at RiTA House hosted by “Stacie’s Wine Cellar.” Stacie’s collection is legendary. The lineup created a locust-like buzz (ed. cue Exorcist II locusts clip) given it was an all star, all desirable lineup of labels and vintages. The RiTA House venue is excellent – a 100 year old 3 story “townhouse” in mid Wilshire with no parking. Stacie hosts the “Share A Glass” wine tastings at RiTA House which are open to members.

The lineup included top labels from Burgundy, Chianti (early 90s Biondi Santi) and Bordeaux (1988 Pichon Lalande): “Classic Vintages and Magnums of Champagne, Barolo, Barbaresco, Burgundy, Bord

eaux, Tuscan, Napa, Paso Robles.” The evening became a lesson in the perils of holding on too long to our most precious bottles. Too many wines were tired and simply over the hill. tBoW covered this phenomenon from his own supply mid-year with his “How To Tell When a Wine is Bad” tasting. Of course that tasting included judgment errors! Stacie did hit the gong with several outstanding wines. Dotore – who attended – captured the holiday message succinctly. Be careful to not hold onto your favorite wines too long. Suivez vos conseils mon ami!

2000 Billecart Salmon Amreuil-sur-Ay. $?? Priceless. The R-A-R-E single vineyard triple mag was served chilled. Came off like a kiwi lemon fruit bowl on ice. With ~20 plus guests the bottle was finished…but it took a few hours! If we had to pick one wine for a second round it would clearly be the Billecart! tBoW probably stuck his glass in front Gianfranco the distracted somm at least 6 times. Speaking of sparkling wines…we ope

ned several between Christmas and New Years. Here is one we really loved that can be found and bought for a fair price.

Laghibellina Gavi Metodo Classico $28: “on the lees 24 months” with 13% alcohol. This was the sparkler of the holidays (excepting the Billecart of course). Easy quaffer. Full flavored fruity and tart. Th grape is Cortese di Gavi which tBoW would usually avoid. Not in this case!  Imported by Oliver McCrumm Wines [ed. who’s he? say Broon fans] which is also worth remembering. We will probably have a post coming that reviews the new importers – succeeding Kermit and Rosenthal and more who are reshaping the wine import industry with direct to seller – themselves.

The early 90s Biondi Santi [ed. apologies; failed to note vintage] had survived almost 3 decades with great panache. Pulled this cork just in time.

Finally, the 1994 Quinta de Eira Velha Noval Single Quinta [ed. quinta means single vineyard] Port was served last after many tasters were fatigado. Flavors of maple and chocolate. This was the last of a case tBoW acquired on futures way back when on release. F-U-T-U-R-E-S was a commercial scam dricen by the 1980s and 90s wine fever that excited middle-aged men who just had to have that vintage from that producer. Martinez and port wines generally are an interesting story for anyone who likes wine. A single vineyard is unusual and certainly an attempt to get with the hot sales tip that continues to thrive today.

Come Out! Come Out! Wherever you are!!

 

the Glass Jar Looks Back on 2019 and Foresees 2020: from Mindless to Winedless

The Glass Jar has returned to The Best of Wines bearing words of wisdom learned from the past while also casting an eye to 2020. For this we are grateful. Amen. Let us read..

ancient winemaker with fuzzy revus

modern winemaker seeking comeback

GJ: When is it a good time to take a break from the blog? This a trick question. People often live in states of uncertainty demonstrating little remains constant in life. Except the blog. For years now, the Glass Jar has considered the blog to be somewhat of a second tier Thanksgiving relative. Maybe I am not always in touch with the blog as much as I should be and perhaps I struggle to understand everything the blog says but I will always know the blog is there. I mean would you rather be talking about your life plans with some dull relative or would you rather be in the company of the greatest wine blog ever to exist? The choice is yours. So make it wisely and don’t look back. 

The Glass Jar has been making a lot of phone calls lately as he is spending this chapter of my life in a “sales type” role. [ed. he is selling stuff on cold calls]. My employer will not be named to protect its questionable reputation. The Director of Sales asked a co-worker why he wanted the job. He responded he was driven to leave a prior job of great intensity. He wanted to simplify his life by doing something mindless. He got the job. The Sales Director fired this go-getter. Last month the Sales Manager was fired.

I did make some friends, for example a man who taught me some basic archery. He got fired. My other friend has not been fired and is one of the better salesmen at the company. But he has kept a box under his desk for years for when the day comes.

Darwinism in cubicles? The Glass Jar walks in the building with no fear as he learned a tender lesson in his pizza employment [ed. read about giving back to the pizza here]. He has bounced back through unimaginable hardships.

So what is my word for 2020? You may have guessed: Mindlessness. The word captures giving time and energy towards an endeavor that doesn’t really mean anything. Those in search of mindlessness will likely find some form of it nearer than realized. Which leaves me wondering…is wine mindless? Is there no point regarding wines celebrated by blogs such as The Best of Wines? Or is there a truer meaning in wine which must be discovered?

I remember in my younger years, watching people sit around tables sipping wine and talking about the flavors. I remember wondering if there was really a point to this. It seemed pretty mindless but the drinkers enjoyed it. Maybe mindlessness is an excuse to enjoy life. Why else would salespeople putt golf balls on the rug? Is wine mindless or not? Why not be a little mindless? Word for 2020 – Winedless!!

bombast sells in politix!

tBoW: Oh my. The Glass Jar uncovers yet another corner of cognitive dissonance; an experience omnipresent in life. Mindlessness runs the gamut from the current President and his moronic cabinet, to the endless news cycle which runs the idiocy like a broken bicycle, to annual wine holiday catalogs for the oenologically challenged. Wallys Wine used to be a terrific wine shop in West Los Angeles. tBoW found purpose every time in the Westwood Boulevard store owned by Steve Wallace and managed by Gary Fishman. Steve had been buying great wines for so long his backroom was littered with bottles. Wallys backroom was like the storerooms with Euro antiquities purchased mindlessly by Charles Foster Kane [ed. cue Citizen Kane]. It was well known in the 40s that the controversial movie was inspired by the ultra wealthy protagonist newspaper publisher Charles Foster Kane who was William Randolph Hearst. tBoW’s purpose was to locate and capture the fab bottles lost to time In Wally’s backroom. tBow even placed his own son as curator of Wally’s backroom.

Steve Wallace sold out at least a decade ago. Wally’s today is a mindless wine store that caters to mindless “wine collectors.” WINEDLESSNESS applies! The holiday catalog is a monument to mindlessness. tBoW was so appaled wth the tastelessness of the premier post sale catalog we featured it here.

Is the Glass Jar presaging the greatest events of 2020…the national and key state elections? Stay tuned. And pop a great Cava sparkler during the holidays…something like Raventos i Blanc Blanc de Blancs U20 at ~$20: YUMMY JUMMY NUMMY NUM NUMS! Cava sparkler perfectly balanced, good weight golden apples sez Mrs tBoW. We could say poor mans Krug but that would be quite a stretch. Or would it? Great backstory here worth reading how this Penedes winery stepped it up champagne style in 2012. Sold to tBoW by Katie of Desert Wine Shop [ed. now there’s a surprise.]

HAPPY NEW YEAR.