Posts belonging to Category Wine Grapes



Let me clear my throat.

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The backlog of wines tasted and notes written is now presented for your consideration. No quid pro quo has been made in exchange for any further tasting of wine products. the recent arrival of Uvaggio wines notwithstanding.

Lettie Teague [tbow: Wall Street Journal wine writer] has written about the wisdom of buying the importer if one is looking for a shrotcut to selecting winners. Label style might suffice in certain cases. For example, the Boxler wines we recently purchased from Teague-noted importer Kermit Lynch have superb labels. The price was so right and the label held such appeal to classic old world sentiments we could not resist. Good old Kermit. Still leading the pack from Hawaii.

2017 Boxler Riesling Réserve $60: Kermit Lynch offered this bottle as part of an all-time special of 6 mixed bottles for $180. 13.5%. This is the first opened. Now we are on an Alsatian binge. Lime, freshness with depth. Long finish. Hairy in an Alsatian manner…like the huntsman in Maleficent. And the label is ultra old school cool.

2012 Diess Riesling $25 in Delaware [ed. Wine Searcher, good luck finding this]: Picked off the wine list at Republique, a pricey dining spot without even one Michelin star…but a superb wine list. Vlad the somm helped tBoW pick this value Alsatian. The softer complement to the hardy Boxler [ed. tBoW too chicken to go with gender similes]. Not quite delicate but definitely charming. Think middle of the night Classic Arts Showcase ballet or cello performance. Sweeter where Boxler would be savory…although Boxler was too complex to be reduced to culinary terms [ed. hey! at least no mention of hints or notes.]

Rioja Taste Off!! Spontaneously held once tBoW saw there were copious amounts of 2006 Rioja wines in the revamped cellar. Pull those corks! Tote those bales!! Clear those bins!!!

2006 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva $40 in my local wineshop, 13% [ed. ghat would be Woodland Hills Wine Co]. Candy nose? Body like Venus WIlliams, taught, toned, fluid. Long finish. Needed time to open. With time a sweetness came on.

2006 Beronia Reserva 13%. Was ~$30 when last available. Tighter than the LdH Tondonia. Tight when opened. Nose black licorice. Forty minutes full of cherries and dark red plum. The lesser alongside the Lopez however all things considered…we preferred Beronia.

THREE BAD BOYS. The three wines below were purchased on a road trip to NoCal. Each one sucked. The implications for  impending arrivals of German Pinot Noir is officially of concern. We need to do a “mulvaney;” i.e., tell the godawful truth then walk it back.

CA NV Proprietary Blend $15. Big red for the tooth stainers and throat blasters. Recommended as perfect complement for grilled steak. Sounds fine except tBoW don’t eat meat.

And if he did it would be pork and that would go great with a Boxler Alsatian. Parker and Wilfred Wong have plenty of sycophants who will run out and buy this wretched bottle. All I can say is the relatively small production at 15K cases is notable. And he price is fair. For heartier palates than mine. Gimme Uvaggio. Drink Jim Moore’s reds with fish!

2015 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir $15 and Markus Prackwieser Gump Hof Praesulis Pinot Noir $35. tBoW thought he might

get a preview of the cases of Pinot Noir wines he has coming from Deutschland. God we hope and pray these wines are not emblematic of those wines which arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. These Pinot Noir wines afe not Burgundies. I guess we should know that. However, how can we not presume the wines from the heated up Rhineland are not AKIN to Burg wines? Oh woe is we if these are any kind of hint what we will find.

Let us pray…

Once in a Milestone…A Cultural Event for Which There Is No Wine Match

KING CRIMSON WITH 3 DRUMMERS LIVE: RED

Le Large is my jazz shepherd. I shall not want.

Greek Theater perfect summer evening. Sssssupppperrrrbbb venue inside the city-encircled Griffith Park. King Crimson all seven pieces (sometimes they are 8) on the stage. Their appearances are few and far between; infrequent enough to draw every ProgRock codependent in town and a few hundred miles.

tBoW sits next to LeLarge who has indoctrinated the blogmeister via mandatory ingestion of the greatest ProgRock band in modern history.

click link wait 10 seconds for one King Crimson masterpiece: 21st Century Schizoid Man Including Mirrors

ProgRock? A blend of rock and jazz; short for Progressive Rock. Comparing the music from the fever dreams of Robert Fripp to a bottle of wine m=concocted from Syrah and Reisling…well…NO…not in this town…in this venue…on this night.

Lope de Heredia trio of classics

tBoW is a very recent fan of the Fripp led ensemble. If King Crimson was a wine the closest match might be Lopez de Heredia which releases a vintage every twelve years…when the vintage is at least a decade in the bottle. Crimson tours on a similar schedule. Like Lopez de Heredia one can be confident the contents – wine or music – are for primo highest quality consumption.

One can read about the 50 year history of ProgRock music and KC lineups. What is amazing is that the KC music holds up so well.

We paid for VIP parking and walked to our seats. The Greek is a superb venue for 5700 folks. Forty plus years in LA and this was tBoW’s first visit to the shrine. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

Impressions 24 hours post the three hour tidal wave that washed over row after row of seats. Notes from the King Crimson typhoon.

Crimson lava over Pompei

…melodic gives way to structured and unstructured cacophony that is……rhythmic? Brit musical styles from 15th thru 19th centuries; folk, modern 60s & 70s rock styles…and other

Is that the moody blues [ed. sure sounded like it] or maybe It’s A Beautiful Day? [ed. turns out the KC sound is both highly derivative AND trend setting, inspired by others and inspiring for others to catch on…keep thinking about the wine analogy!]

GWAR meets JAZZ…heavy welders’ torch metal, Pantera… megadeth…mmmmmmm I am hearing Bad Plus [ed. groundbreaking new jazz group from Idaho or someplace equally unexpected]. That is definitely Ornette Coleman meets Beethoven. Seems unusual that KC has THREE DRUMMERS and yet they are mostly NOT overwhelming [ed. sometimes the entire experience is so overwhelming I can only sit frozen in my seat].

Dr Manhattan

 

Never overwhelming… 3 drums for this noyz… WARNING – do not move or you may fall to your auricular death. If you like shiatsu massage you’ll love KC and the Mad Genius Robert Fripp.

quoth LARGE-nez: Mad genius makes Mad Noyz…Typhoonius Maximus. Fripp Is the mad genius who can burn a brain alive with lava music buries Pompei.

What about craftsman wines? Is Fripp a master craftsman? His musical men are hand picked and long standing like a winemaker picks his growers or even moreso his vineyard manager, botanist, chemist. Choosing labels and bottles is like choosing music by the album covers… does Fripp want control there as well? quoth Le Large: Probably. Fripp is total control freak!

When I think of Fripp as a character I see a guy in a straight jacket or maybe Dr Manhattan [ed. OVER THERE –>]. Is Fripp flawed? A wine can be flawed…  but a flawed wine rarely is spectacular or even notable. Fripp is no brettanomyces. He could be an eccentric – very eccentric – superhero.

Cellar Purge: Wait Too Long & Suffer Like Postseason Doyers

SIGN OF GREAT WINE? BE REAL.

Would you pull the cork on one of these dusty moldy bottles with excitement or trepidation? The task is not any easier for much larger concerns. Consider the Dodgers. Their pitching staff is somewhat like the photo. They got rid of one very bad bottle but held onto a couple showing serious signs of age.

Los Doyers had the chance to get another relief pitcher before the deadline and failed to do what was obvious. Now comes the lesson. When one fails to do the obvious now one often pays the price later on.

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PAST HIS PRIME

So it is also true with wine “collecting.” As the reader should understand we no longer “collect” wine. Although we have in the past. “Collecting” involves buying “trophy bottles” [ed. see Wine Speculator and 100 point scores] with heavily hyped name winemakers or labels. This rarely works out when it comes to actually pulling a cork. Another “collecting” mistake is buying a wine because it “means something” like a favorite travel destination. Or winning a World Series.

The final collecting mistake is actually good advice. Somebody gives you a bottle of plonk over the upcoming horrible holidays? Get rid of it. Re-gift it. Just do not let the Riesling from Yakima WA occupy any space on the bar or god forbid in the cellar. We learned these lessons once again when recently re-doing the cellar. Think about how the Dodgers dumped Yasiel Puig. He had to go. Stuck around way too long.

tBoW and Ikorb went thru our shared cellar last week. Every bottle was under consideration. The new cellar features a new cooler (Whisperkool 5000 on Craigslist $600 cash) and half as much space which means half as many bins. Many many bottles were purged. The new org scheme features the most precious wines, e.g., Ital Nebs and French Pinots. It had to be. [ed. he has a handful of domestic Pinot Noir which has-to-go] Ten cases of bought-and-paid-for wines will be arriving in 60 days from Fass Selections, Kermit Lynch and even Garagiste [ed. Fass and Rimmerman in dead heat for most entertaining online retailers]. tBoW Sr. has decided to devote his wine selections to David Russell of WHWC [ed. just picked up two Corsican DR picks].

HE HAD TO GO

Wines that did not make the cellar cut: Rangeland 2009 Cabernet and 2009 Zinfandel. tBoW felt strong ties to the young winemaker when visiting on 2010. When tBoW writes the following about a winemaker you know a purchase of wine will follow. “Shannon is Audrey Hepburn in a hoodie, Astrud Gilberto punching down the cap.” Bought too many bottles. Most opened within a couple years. Waiting 10 years for the last couple three makes the point.

Do not wait too long – like more than four years -on 95% of California wines. Unless the wines are from Tablas Creek. We expect those to be ready in another five years [ed. which would be a total of 15 to 20 years]! And they will be finally ready. Will they be worth the wait? Who can say. We are no longer fond of red Rhone style wines no matter the vintage! [ed. note to readers white Rhones not included]. At ten years the Rangeland – which was not intended to go this long – was completely out of sorts.

POWERHOUSE CONSISTENCY

The other wine we held far too long was the 2009 Chateau Cambon. This illustrates another “collector” mistake – buying the winemaker [ed. see above Rangeland] and not the wine. This was the last wine made by Marcel Lapierre the “legendary winemaker” of Beaujolais, in particular Morgon [ed. Beaujolais has more than 5 but less than ten villages – look it up!]. Beauj is 100% Gamay juice. Every wine drinker needs to make up her mind about Gamay juice. Part of the argument aside from palate preference, was that Beaujolais and Gamay were the poor man’s Burgundy choice. Not really. It is always about the Price-Quality ratio aannnndddd what your palate prefers. Gamay just does not do it for tBoW.

We still have Beaujolais in the cellar. None from 2009 any more. However there are several from 2013. These can form the first flight to a late summer tasting.

After three “flawed” wines we settled on Burgundy [ed. duh]. We had a 2010 and a 2011 Roty Marsannay. Right. We opened both. 

The 2010 was delishus. The 2011 was delishus. These Roty wines from Marsannay were a tad more rustic than the Fournier Marsannay slugged down recently. Small point. Both bottles were exhausted enthusiastically. Ikorb noted that the nose on the 2011 “stinks of truffles.” His sniffer is legendary.

One needs a guide to identifying quality Burgs. If you like truffles – or cherries or beets – you will love Burgundy wines however selection is everything. I believe the same can be said of German Rieslings. And Maus will tell us we may apply these same considerations to his special spots [ed. Rhone plus other off the trail regions in France] where he knows exactly what to buy.

Wait! One more lesson learned. Start with the highest quality when filing your cellar; not from the bottom. Andrew Friedman chose not to replace his GM who left for the Giants [ed. nice job there]. Instead he split the job of one technocrat among three others. Expect to see postseason analysis of that failure–to–fulfill. Astros in 6…again. However I actually hope the Dodgers prevail so there will never be another World Series trophy wine like this one below.

From Yasgur’s Farm to a Back Yard in Woodstock: Eyewitness Account of the 50th Anniversary That Fell Apart Like a Hand-Rolled Doobie

The 50th Anniversary of Woodstock did not get far. Reflections include the failure as being endemic of the Woodstock Generation. You know. Unable to foment nationwide revolution.
Jerry Image result for yippies surround pentagonRubin who helped start the Yippies (Youth International party) switched to the Venture Capitalist Party and hosted networking events on Wall Street. Wikipedia (where tBoW gets mucho research done quickly) says Rubin hosted Yippie Meets Yuppie “debates” with his fellow “rad” Abbie Hoffman. Both dead now. Those were the days. The greatest Yippie event was to surround the Pentagon with thousands of Yippies and levitate it. Great idea. Political theater. Today the reproduction would be in Yankee Stadium. Fox would disapprove and MSNBC would ask what Bernie thought about it.
The resurrection of Woodstock has mercifully passed away. tBoW DID NOT go. Nor did anyone else cuz it was cancelled.Altamont Magic

He did go to Altamont in 1970 where the Hells Angels beat a guy to death with pool cues while boring bands tried to play boring rock to hundreds of thousands. It has been said Altamont killed the 60s. So did Charlie Manson and his Family. Thank goodness we dwell on wine and other more sane cultural events like the Herbie Hancock show at the Hollywood Bowl with Thundercat guesting. Garden box. Chilled Rose’ and epoises cheese on a summery cool night in LA. Mayhaps Le Large will report.

By the bye tBoW has a reporter who lives in Woodstock. Her handle is “The Heavenly One or THO.” And she did celebrate the unseminal Woodstock affair. She has agreed to share her impressions. Here are her uncensored comments.

“Michael Lang [ed. original festival sponsor] is kind of a pig so I didn’t mind that his festival didn’t come off. We went to a Woodstock themed party on Saturday night and everybody was dressed predictably — Emily [ed. her lovely daughter] wore her Woodstock Elementary School tie-dyed tee shirt; the one they have to wear on field trips) and I thought she was the only authentic Woodstocker there, having been born and raised here!
The people were old but the music was great. The only acid I saw was the balsamic on the quinoa and heirloom-farmstand tomato salad. We group-hallucinated that we were still capable of dancing without straining anything. Most of the food was along the lines of hot dogs and hamburgers. There was some good cheese, however, and the aforementioned quinoa salad. I ‘sampled’ a rose’, which was perfectly fine, and my friend Jonathan (who is an organic wine nut — also writes about it) raved over the random bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in the cooler.
This is only THO’s second wine blog post. Her other was about a wine-and-cheese pairing. “It was so much fun! Mostly my pieces are about internet fraud. Scary and boring at the same time.” I don’t know about you but this is all I need to know about Woodstock in 1969 and 2019. tBoW is very interested in having “friend-of-THO Jonathan” write a post for the best of wines.

 

We also like pink wines especially in the summertime. Here is one that satisfied immensely.
2017 Wagner Stempel Rose Gutswein: Imported by Rudi Wiest from the Rheinhessen (the wine not Rudi – good to remember Rudi’s name as he brings in super German wines; dependably). Bright acid. Lean but not mean. High tone fruit. Like drinking some kind of not quite ripe Lychee. Good thing Mrs. tBoW was not fond of it. The bottle was finished that evening under cool LA summertime skies. [ed. Little help here with the grape and price.]
The J Dilla moment: an interview with Thundercat and Lotus [Flying] chatting with Herbie Hancock and inform the Genius that J Dilla sampled one of his songs and Herbie DID NOT KNOW THAT.

 

Wine Talk with the Ultimate Cognoscentus: Mr. David Russell

 

We have an exclusive interview with David Russell who is the Senior Wine Advisor at Woodland Hills Wine Company which is tBoW’s home store. A truncated set of questions and answers follow [ed. that means there are others on the shelf]. Suffice it to say David has wasted most of his life chasing a wine dream. Something with which tBoW and readers are familiar. There are worse things to pursue like going into politics. He has worked at prestigious wine shops along the Coastal Premium Wine Shop Trail which runs from Seattle thru Portland then the Bay Area to Santa Barbara, LA and Orange County. In case he looks familiar his personal tracks cover the Bay Area and Santa Barbara, and now Woodland Hills. There are maybe a dozen or so premium wine shops where one can count on great wine for a fair price sold by folks who know their shit. And away we go.

David wears glasses and is often fighting a chill.

1. tBoW: You are from SB and almost the right age. Did you riot in IV? DR: I’m definitely the right age, however I was in Hong Kong dodging the draft serving a Mormon mission (seriously!) when the really heavy shit went down in about 1970. Also I went to UC Berkeley, not UCSB (although most of my friends did go to UCSB and did participate in, uh, acts of civil disobedience.

2. tBoW: Spumante or prosecco? DR: I can tolerate a decent Prosecco. 

3. tBoW: what was the last wine you drank – not tasted – that was higher than 15%? DR: Though it doesn’t taste like it’s 15%, the 2014 Passopisciaro from Etna is labeled as such, and I definitely enjoyed it.

4. tBoW: Compare these wines for relative quality: Rochioli and Williams Selyem (Burt years). DR: I haven’t had nearly the experience with either that many have, but the W-S during the Burt years that I have tasted were not only frighteningly Burgundian, but I’d go even further and say that some were even Jayer-like.

5. tBoW: What Burg region would you recommend TODAY for value? What is your personal fave Burg region? Producers: choose Leroy/DRC vs, Armand Rousseau?

the wine that inspired this post was sold to us by David Russell!

DR: Probably the Côte Chalonnaise. Or Marsannay and/or Fixin. I likely have more favorite producers in the Côte de Nuits than in the Côte de Beaune, simply because the former is so much bigger and has so many more growers. I’d give DRC the nod over Leroy (though we’re splitting hairs here), as I’ve had more older bottles that truly delivered (’62 La Tâche being a case in point). Remember: Domaine Leroy has only been existence since 1988. As much as I adore Rousseau, it’s only their top three wines that really perform at the level they ought to; the Charmes-Chambertin, Mazy-Chambertin, and Clos de la Roche routinely under-deliver. There also other producers among the very elite: Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, Mugneret-Gibourg, Mugnier; Lafon, Raveneau, and Roulot in white.

7. tBoW: How long have you known Marsanne is not south of Beaune? DR: But Marsanne is south of Beaune, unless you mean Marsannay.

8. tBoW: We support the Price/Quality ratio and NOT the 100 point system which is only 13 points. Is Shanken a prick? DR: He strikes me more a buffoon than a prick.

9. tBoW: Port or Sauternes? DR: Sauternes.

10. tBoW: Is Santa Barbara suitable for Pinot Noir? Didn’t Richard Sanford have it right (how to make SB Pinot) from the start? DR: Yes, although I think Santa Maria is undervalued and Sta. Rita Hills overrated. Richard Sanford may indeed have had it right, to a degree at least, but the most compelling SB pinots for me have come from Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat).

11. tBoW: Can Calif produce great wines? Does it? Who are SOME of the GREAT producers? DR: Yes. It does, at least it did…pre-Parker. Ridge Monte Bello is still great. But none of the Big Bucks Cult Cabs are even worthy of mention in the same sentence with ’68-’70 Heitz Martha’s, ’68 or ’70 BV Private Reserve, ’74 Conn Creek, etc.

12. tBoW: What is it about Lodi that makes it the most dependable and best growing region in CA. DR: Who says Lodi is the best growing region in CA? Certainly not I.

13. tBoW: What can u say about Riesling in less than 10 words? DR: Rivals pinot in its ability to express terroir.

Many many thanks to David for sharing some time with tBoW readers. When in Woodland Hills drop into Woodland Hills Wine Company. As you can see, if you love wine then you always end up at some point with Burgundy. Maus will tell you to hunt down white Rhones and KrisB will expound on Riesling values. IGTY will ask is this all you got? tBoW Jr wants to know what we are drinking tonight. We value winemakers like Jim Moore and wine retailers like David Russell. Christ. I’m getting moist eyes.

Here. Try some Ron Burgundy with your wine Burgundy…