Posts belonging to Category Nebbiolo



Taking Back the “M” Word in 2014

wine futures

wine futures

Hissy fit! Minerality is such an overused term we banned it from the tBoW wine lexicon. Like “it is what it is.” Not on this blog. However, upon consulting with cooler heads and more clear minds the “m” word is back in the game with the caveat that we will only use it to describe wines with high acid and stony character including sulfuric aromatics. High acid and strong citric flavors will not suffice to invoke “minerality.” It’s a new day and we have wines to review.

The Stupid Bore is over. With it the holidays have officially completed. We have a clear pathway to summertime which means Roses and bright summer white wines. It is also means severe drought conditions in California. At least the East and Midwest regions will dry out. Maybe one last crippling character building snowstorm in April. Hope not.

DomaineLA is a somewhat new wine shop on Melrose Avenue in WeHo. They have “more wine and less attitude.” We can say they have wines we are looking for and a highly informed floor person – Courtney – naked-wineWEBwho was able to answer nearly every question we had… about wines. We found the impossible-to-find-on-the-West-Coast Close de la Roillete Vendange Tardive at the shop at a very fair price discounted 10% with overall case purchase. We also found a very decent selection of “natural” wines [ed. new obsession alert!], Burgs and wines from other regions we like including Beaujolais and the Loire. She also had a nice group of Italian wines but not the Sagrantino which Alice Feiring writes about that we were looking for. tBoW also checked at WHWineCo. They have had these unusual wines – specific producers, read the book – but not for several vintages.

The Alice Feiring book “Naked Wine” is exceptionally informative. She covers the original winemakers pushing the “natural” wine movement. She describes their methods and provides a very helpful running discussion of the underlying philosophy and vine to wine values. Feiring is a thorough reporter as well making sure to describe the squishiness of this “movement” and how hard and fast opinions on actions such as using sulfur are actually quite malleable. Still digging it. Here are some wine reviews; not one with minerality.

roty_mars_082008 Roty Marsannay Les Ouzeloy $35: With this bottle and the recent Pataille tasting that featured his Marsannay wines we believe we have a sense of this undervalued and, for us, under-investigated region in the northern Cote d’Or. This wine took 2.5 hours to open. Over that period we saw more action than was taking place on the “most watched TV program ever.” This wine opened masculine and finished that way going from rough and brutish to firm and manageable. This is manly Pinot Noir, sinewy and powerful like the Olympic ice racers [ed. not the “dancers”] we will be watching very soon. Impressive. Roty is a premium producer. Bought from Eno Fine Wine. 13%

deforvill_neb_10WEB2010 De Forville Langhe Nebbiolo $18: Young vine Barbaresco, Rosenthal selection. We had the 2008 version and just purchased the 2011 at DomaineLA. This is a great intro wine to premium Piemonte at a very good price U20 price. Rich and full, middleweight, will take some age to reveal the Piemonte Neb character. We sucked this down after the Marsannay ran out. That helped us through the 4th quarter. We have found older vintages at Liquid Wine. 13.5%

scavino_96WEB1996 Silvio Grasso Barolo Ciabot Manzoni $80: Special meal wine shared by Dotoré. Classic aromas of tar and roses. Meaty yet light on its feet. Boxers – lightweights, welterweights, middleweights – often crowd our consciousness when tasting aged Baroli. This is a Carlos Monzon [ed. Argentine 70s] bottle. Exotic, hitting power, elegance. The wine kept its power and finesse for the entire evening. 14%

nav_gewurtz_2001WEB2001 Navarro Gewurtztraminer Late Harvest Cluster Select $24: Picked off the shelf at Liquid. It is always somewhat of a risk when payng for a dessert wine in a split from a producer not known for such. Weighing in favor of the buy was that Navarro is a very consistent winery and Gewurtz is one of their staple white wines. But could it last 12 years? Poured out dark brown and clear. Looked like root beer without the fizz. The flavors were completely exotic: caramel, coffee and cola. All in harmony and so tasty. A perfect dessert wine for the fresh Meyer lemon possit pudding it accompanied. Spectacular. 10%

The image at top was taken in our local Target [ed. “tar-zjay”] store. The marketing genius displayed… Think about Colonel Kurtz explaining to Capt Willard how… never mind. Will the next generation of these Modern House Wines labels will include “minerality mania” and “natural wonder.” I kid you not: Oprah Favorite.

Recommended reply to the use of “it is what it is”: fuzzy wuzzy was a bear. Try it. Fun.

On the topic of boxers…here is the commentary from the end of the 12th round from the 1962 Emile Griffith vs Benny Paret fight which Griffith won by knockout. Paret never got up. Televised boxing was suspended for a decade. Supposedly Paret had called Griffith “maricon” at the weigh in.

If Bill Belichick Rated Wines…

chick-grapes2WEBIf you have any interest left in the NFL playoffs raise your hand. The one without the remote control. Sorry if we woke you. Yup. tBoW is NOT a fan of the NFL. He prefers Homeland reruns to another commercial festival. And college hoops. However, there is one clown prince of the NFL who can take the starch out of any reporter, whether on the sideline or at the postgame podium. That would be the reigning genius of pro football; Bill Belichick. (more…)

2014 Kicks Off with New Winners

new Rose Bowl winners

new Rose Bowl winners

The Michigan State Spartans came to Pasadena and stuck it to the Stanford Cardinal. The substitute middle linebacker playing in place of the team captain resting in the dog house made the play of the game (above). Let me be Frank. Shirley there is a wine story here. (more…)

Holiday Road Trip to The City

pray for parking

the dao of parking

It is hard to go wrong with a quick trip to San Francisco. In the Wintertime the San Francisco air is exceptionally crisp. The sunlight can cut glass. What’s not to like? OK. Cars are strongly discouraged. It can cost twice to park overnight as it does to rent for a day. The scene at Union Square is bright and cheery and overly commercial; full of holiday shoppers.

However, if you want to try another cultural flavor the city is hardly bereft of captivating neighborhoods. arlequinWEBThe Mission bustles with local shops and plenty of homeless people crashing in the alleys. The mural filled alleys of the Mission are tourist destinations. Thank you Trip Advisor. Hayes Street Gulch has two blocks of shops, food spots and a very appealing wine shop/bar/deli. The sign says Arlequin. If you like a combo wine shop/deli this should work. tBoW purchased a bottle of Cowan Cellars Ribollo Gialla that came highly recommended as an “orange wine.” This Eastern Mendocino product tasted nothing like oranges but it was pretty cool even though we did not decant as recommended. We opened and poured on the spot.

Cowan-2012-Ribolla_400WEB2012 Cowan Cellars Ribollo Gialla $24: From the website: “Light gold color, brilliant; aromas of apricot, light honey, persimmon, nutmeg and a floral note might give the impression of a sweet wine but the palate is dry; the flavors echo the nose, concentrated texture, lively acids and grippy tannins; good length but needs a year in bottle to become integrated. Should be cellared for at least a year and should drink well for another decade. This wine should never be over-chilled; cellar temperature or warmer for service.” The wine has an orange tint. The winemaker stops fermentation so “retain acidity.” What a great idea! As Kris-B touted, this is a good sign of the thinking winemaker figuring how to make wines more food friendly and generally interesting. As Cowan’s website states “fine wines for lighter meals…if you want a wine of personality and quality at a reasonable price…” We’re convinced. 12.5%

Mission mojo hand

Mission mojo hand

tBoW dined at Foreign Cinema in the Mission. The expansive restaurant is set in an old movie house. A movie plays on the rear wall in the (heated) outdoor patio. The rustic interior hall is noisy and alive. We shared half a fresh Dungeness crab with a glass of Old World white from the more than satisfying wine list. This is how it is in SF dining. In fact, wine is passe. The cocktail culture has gripped on the city. tBoW ordered a muddled something with Bourbon and cane sugar. Yum.

Here are some pretty impressive bottles recently cracked.

TAMI12WEB2012 Arianna Occhipinti ‘Tami’ Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane $15: Soulful, luscious, inspiring in the most sensual ways. But enough of Arianna Occhipinti. How’s her wine? Blackberry fruit, bright acid, light to middle weight. The label says typical for Southern Italian wine AND at a price everyone can afford? What’s not to like? Ms. Occhipinti is a terrific winemaker. We hope she gets out a little. All that time stirring the cap and beating down the must has to make a girl lonesome. A U20 deal. 13%

PerraudMaconVillages09WEB2009 Domaine Perraud Macon-Villages Vielles Vignes $19: Nobody can say it better. “A wine made by XXX censored2WEB so you can count on lots of oak/batonnage, etc. Whatever they have to do to make it slutty. And they’re not picky about farming practices.” Hey. Don’t shoot the reporter. We thought we were crossing the line sexualizing Arianna O. Slutty wine? We liked this little Chard but we would not buy it again, especially now that we could get herpes or something worse. Screw top Chardonnay [ed. big tip right there] from Burgundy’s bargain basement. I feel so dirty. 13%

2007 Angelo Germano Barolo $34: Entry level Barolo from Germans. Very good buy from Eno Fine Wine. Bro’ in law flipped and the last time that happened with wine was when I showed him the Arianna O googleimages page. Dark red black color, not thick. Anise nose on the open, full of life, could take decanting but it is so exciting right away. Not much chance to see it develop as it got sucked up tout suite. Higher alcohol not even noticed. Listed online for less $$ but not usually in stock. 14.5%

Papa Fred Memorial Saturday.

Italian Wines All Day and All of the Night

Roagnas in their vineyard

Roagnas in their vineyard

Imagine that wine was made in every state of the union and that this has been going on for 1,000 years. What if the best wine regions in the USA included North Carolina and Oklahoma, and there were hundreds of vinifera varietals from which so many different kinds of wines were made that we stopped thinking all American wines were made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay? This is wine in the Old World and a nation such as Italy fits these descriptions like Lady Gaga fits KINKY. (more…)