Posts belonging to Category Wine Grapes



Hey Mr Covid19! We’re Still Drinking Wines!!

IS THAT ALL YOU GOT MR. CORONA?

Not Impressed. Not By a Long Shot. We Are Hunkering down and drinking wine and..and..and..so much more!!

tBoW and pals – and the occasional drifter – are spending more time on zoom than an Easter/Passover congregant. Thanks to the Desert Wine Shop – who shipped us a case for $154 including shipping – we have plenty of libations with which to celebrate the High Holy Days. Of course we also have a cellar. I mean a proper one; not a bedroom stuffed to the gills with cases of indeterminate labels. WORD: those cases have been curated by the indomitable Krisses…so you can be certain those boxes are filled with obscure delights…the kind one might find in shops like these https://shopobscuraantiques.com/ once featured on the TV show Oddities [ed. find entire seasons on youtube].

We are still accumulating wines for the long haul. As the history of pathogens has shown humankind for 700 years, this shit don’t just disappear. Now we have the anthropocene to consider [ed. for a heavy dose of pandemic history and microbial science you can read all about it here]. Thanks to pal CarltheBrain – CtB-  for the info. For sheer entertainment – while drinking worthwhile wines – check out the daily press briefings from the White House. How soon before the Big Cheeto comes to the podium looking like Iron Man above?

Here is how we have been entertaining ourselves and staying sane.

2018 Chateau d’Oupia Minervois Les Heretiques $10.56: Absolutely incredible. The perfect tBoW wine. Balanced? Check. Tasty fruit backed by some grit? Check. Balanced? Already said that. OK. How about the wine is true to the region? Super check. This is important. Light to middleweight. How often do we taste a wine that is reminiscent of somewhere other than it was grown? Too often. This is mostly (100%) Carignane from the Languedoc where tBoW visited in 2001. Yup. One month before Nine Eleven. The wine growing region 20 years was still regarded as chump change in the world of French super locales, i.e., Burgundy and Bordeaux. The mini-locales included Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux-du-Languedoc. Château d’Oupia is the winery. Who knew the site is legendary! We can tell you the wine meets the hype…and that is before we knew there was any hype. We called Katie at Desert Wine Shop grabbed another quad.

2009 Esprit de Tablas $45. The Tablas Creek winery was iconic. The first major site/venture in the USA to NOT plant Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals. Chose to go with Rhone grapes that suited the weather! Duh. And they started a nursery with vines imported from the Rhone. But one must wait on these collectible wines…and that can sooo haaaard. tBoW often failed and pulled a cork on a tough, tannic monster “before its time.” Then we had to “aerate” like a Brooklyn launderer. Had to purchase multiple kinds of aerators to do it better and faster. Thankfully we found other wines like Burgundies and Altopiemonteses to distract ourselves. Now it is time to clear the TC remainders. Today the tough tannic monster is a much softer patch of heavy sweet grass. Color is dark. Weight is middle to heavy. Flavors? Sappy but short of syrup. These wines were too ripe when harvested. And still too ripe! Double duh. Towards the earthy style. Find friends who always wanted to drink well-aged classic collectible wines from California. And drink up!

2018 A.A. Baadenhorst The Curator $8.06. Another Katie pick. Red Blend from South Africa. Already tBoW is skeptical. I texted KrisB “easily most memorable wine I have had from South Africa.” KrisB response? – “those are words seldom associated with South African wine.” The wine is pleasant. Even enjoyable. I wouldn’t chill it like the Spanish summer red wine the color of vampiric blood. slugged down on the balcony of a Sevilla hotel in July. Before I could text Katie…Mrs. tBoW said “nice label kinda art deco you think?” But…but…the wine itself is so…what’s that word? MEH. What is the problem with South African wines? Start with Pinotage…”a red wine grape that is South Africa’s signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a gutsy cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.” A nation blended two grapes so it could have its own “unique signature” grape? DUMB. Mrs. tBoW likes it. Red wines do not always agree with her, esp the kind of wines we favor which have balancing acid that brings out nuances when well made. OK. This is quaffable. Inoffensive drink. The Shania Twain of reds. The perfect “food wine” for any season. Let’s get more, she suggests. 2 more from DWS! Now I am at a half case!

2015 Domaine Tortochot Morey St Denis $35: Still young. Early middle age like KrisB and Ikorb. Great color deep ruby. Complex flavors. Cherries more than beets. Supremely balanced with a slight tilt to elegance. Think Jane Fonda in Barbarella…[ed. watched the movie recently]. Could go another 3 years ez. Burgundy. King of wines. Medieval. Vineyards passed down thru the family for centuries. Hard to say no when the right offer comes. So we do not…say no.

Dr. John wants to help us all cast a demonic spell on Mr Covid19. Might work. Nobody knows. Give a listen. Gris gris gumbo ya ya.

 

From the Depths of Despair…Wine Delivers Solace…One Case at a Time.

Sure. Things are grim.

Exclusive Preview of Svengoolie Parody From MAD #4!.

Look. We believe in – and practice – wine therapy.

Every freaking day…well, mostly evenings.

Good news is The Desert Wine Shop in Rancho Mirage is owned by enlightened people whose palates match that of tBoW and many of our readers almost eerily. tBoW called up Kate and asked her to put together then ship a mixed case of her most fabulous and inexpensive [ed. just say c-h-e-a-p] wines. Fact is we have been reading her tasting lineups pre-corona  [ed. of course shut down for now] and she pops corks on some very very very interesting wines. The case arrived within 24 hours [ed. $23 shipping].

Mrs. tBoW has all mail on 24 hour quarantine. So next day at 6:00 [ed. PM] we pulled the cork on the…

2016 Thierry Lurton Chateau Camarac 12.5% $11.66. Blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc…from Entre-Deaux-Mers. Full disclosure…tBoW not a fan of Sauv Blanc grape. Grassy California styles ruined that. But Semillon? Has there ever been a bad one made? Me thinks not. And this was superb. Blended like siblings who love each other. Need more of this for summertime when covid19 has been sent packing…or at least until such a time as it returns. No? Unlikely? Unable to wait on this. Interesting note from producer on back label: “to be kept 1 to 4 years.” So we are at the end of the winemaker’s recommended cycle. We are prudent and attentive with all warnings. We keep socially distant. We stay inside unless we drive around in our hermetically sealed vehicle. Only host or attend virtual wine tastings.

Other wines in the case include a Savoie Gamay Rose @ $9.86; Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone Blanc [ed. nice, esp since not fond of red CdR wines] @ $12.56; Aveleda Vinho Verde @ $9.86…and eight more wines that will be covered during this horrific pandemic now gratefully tempered with a splendid case of vin from DWS.

Pour a glass and read the following tale of life among Millenials featuring ironic irony and admirable, if normal, work habits penned by the Glass Jar. The name of the current employer of the Glass Jar will remain unknown to protect it’s questionable nature and unnecessary existence [ed. a few more wine reviews shall follow]..

All Wade ever did was walk around the building.

Wades work history is peppered with rapid departures. He was once fired from a job he took knowing in his own mind the job was mindless. Wade was later fired. Curiously, the executives flew over to the office to fire the woman who fired Mr. Mindless. Mr. Mindless had a buddy from his neighborhood who he worked with. His buddy has since been fired. 

Wade was known for walking around the building. He did little work and commonly strolled around parts of the building he had nothing to do with. He was told by his supervisor that he was taking too many walks. On that day, he took a walk. Wade did last a solid seven months before he was told it was him time to join the Hall of Fame of people fired from this beautiful company.

About a month after Wade’s last walk out of the building, this COVID-19 situation had all employees working from home. [ed. ironic eh?] We were told to get the things we needed and head on home. Meetings were virtual. Working in pajamas was normal. Taking long breaks in-between emails became normal. When you take away supervisors and cubicles, it is amazing how little work one can do from home. With all the walking around I was doing on the clock, I realized this pandemic is turning us all into Wade! If only Wade could just stay employed by Morons Incorporated, he would be getting paid to walk around whichever building he wanted.

A message of hope to kids, one day you can be paid to sit around and watch TV and don’t let anybody stop you from believing in yourself. 

Now we are going to provide you with the best coronavirus wines. Wines to make you reflect on all the nothing you accomplish when working out of the bath tub.

Thank you GJ. I feel like Svengoolie sans the makeup. Classic “culture crossed with tacky would-be humor.” Perfect for the shut-in season. Here is teh extar wine review.

2017 Gachot-Monot Cote de Nuits-Villages $30ish. [ed. I lifted this right off a website. Helps the memory.]This is a special cuvee which comes from a plot of the same name “Les Chaillots” in old Burgundian French which means ‘Les Cailloux’ (the Pebbles) which exactly describes this plot where the soil is very stony with natural drainage. The soil produces complex wines which are expressed in fruity notes of cherry, blackberry & forest floor. Would tBoW say Complex? Nah. Ripe and juicy? Yes. Cherry and blackberry? Cherry. Forest floor? Not a hint “tanks gott.” Not even meaty unless you are thinking kangaroo jerky, crikey. This wine is delicious and a Burgunday bargain. Almost certian it was a Desert Wine purchase.

Thanks to the Glass Jar for his contirbution to vin literatur. Since we are all locked up and shut in with nothing better to do than let our minds wander we encourage you to share your views on life and wine. Here is the greatest songwriter of a generation.

Wine in the Time of Corona

Making Sense of Chaos.There’s a message here.

It’s a pandemic. Nothing to sillify. Very serious. However if the moron in the White House can act a fool then so can tBoW!! With apologies to all seriously concerned scientists, citizens and guests…tBoW just wants to chat about wines he has tasted recently. Of course the pandemic has impacted the wine business. Amazingly some wine tours remain hopeful for May. The wine tasting conference business is also reconsidering the drunken soirees, uh…we mean serious considerations of wine science. We think about our favorite shops in Palm Springs and Woodland Hills and we are confident they are still in business. Having said that…

Just because one is scared silly with a serious illness running out of control around the world is no reason to shut the shutters and abandon healthy habits. Wash your hands. Do not touch your face! Keep social distance. Pull some corks. This too will pass. In fact…just stay the heck home. It will all be over in April…I mean June…maybe September?

Here is how tBoW has been hunkering down. We pulled corks.

2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beuacastel 14.5% $: TC is somewhat fussy in the guise of being informative. The exact percentages of each grape in a blend are right there on the label. This is 40% Mourvedre, nearly equal proportions Syrah and Grenache and a taste of Counoise. Nobody loves a little counoise more than Dotore and tBoW. Bought this on release [ed. tBoW was a subscriber back then]. An example of being beyond the pale. Past its peak for certain but not over the hill. Choco bread evoking a Holiday Fruit cake. Held on for 36 hours which is impressive. We drank a decade worth of TC. Someone else can pull the cork. We prefer Burg and Altopiemonte [ed. seriously, folks are suffering terribly north of Milan].

2015 Marchesi di Barolo Maraia Barbera del Monferrato 13% $: Surprise! Not too tanic. Hardly even tannic. Yummy out of the bottle. Kermit selection? Think so. Some cranberry. Ripe and young.

2016 Cap O Sud 11-14% $16: Got this at Woodland Hills Wine Co. What a deal. From the Sud which is the southwest region of France. THis region is so funky and down home in overproduction years the unsold juice has been used as house fuel. I KID YOU NOT. tBoW and kin visited on a superb holiday in 2001. The region was completely uncool; not even close to being on the radar of the wine cognoscenti. How did we know to go? Soon as someone suggested going to Provence that was it. No frigging way were we going to sit in an overcrowded sheeshee spot eating overpriced food so when we get home we can say we were in Aix en Provence. Try Capistaing, Puisserguier and Carcassonne withe the surrounding wall to wall vineyards. This is the kind of wine you get from the Sud. Still unfashionable [ed. maybe a bit more fashionable – I believe Desert Wine Shop has some]. Vintage? Shmintage. Pizza and burger wine.

2018 Andre et Michel Quenard Chignin-Bergeron Les Terasses 13.5%, $35 (discounted from this): Kermit Lynch import. 100% Rousanne grown at elevation. KL says racy. tBoWadds frisky and refreshing. Imagine Esther Williams when she was fresh and new…in a bottle of wine. Kermit is not the cheapest wine vendor. He is the most sure handed. Hard to buy a bottle that does not please.

The TikTok video below is actually very cool. The fellows are showing kids how to wash their hands to avoid the novel corona! Huge views among tweeners.

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!