Posts belonging to Category Zinfandel



The New Era of Wine Tasters Are Not Spectators!

younguns_idealized1The new generation of adults who find an interest in wine don’t buy 100 point scoring systems. They are not interested in putting out cash to “learn” how to appreciate wine or to attend mega tasting events. They are not interested in the Wine Spectator or Robert Parker or any of the folderol that has shaped the image of wine as lifestyle since Robert Mondavi invented it. The new generation of young people prefer to figure out wines on their own. They appreciate guidance and they appreciate variety. They do not feel the urge to latch onto “Napa Big Reds” or 100 point trophy wines. Indeed, The economy has been depressed as they have matured into self-supporting adults. They do not have the discretionary income to Be A Spectator as Young Un Sawa EM put it. And so say all of us!

Here are some wines tasted with a group of Young Uns with in-their-own-words comments while immersed in the tasting of a group of wines as interesting as the tasters themselves.

gassier_sables_dazurCROP2012 Michel Gassier Cotes de Provence Sables d’Azur Rosé $10: The bottle has curves in all the right places. This Provencal wine is salmon color. The flavors are fresh with plenty of acid, of the sea. Inspired by the aromas and flavors Young Un E said “it tastes like the beach, an ocean breeze before sunrise in Normandy after a long night. It’s going to be a warm day.” tBoW feels it. Add lime back and rocky sand. 13%

1996 Giessinger Zinfandel: REL says the wine nose and flavors conjures Grand Central Station in 1958 [ed. she wasn’t even born! No matter she’s on a roll!]; worn leather and wood. I get it. These are the aromas and flavors of aged red wines usually captured in more familiar cedar box and graphite bullshit. Dr. Geissinger the astrophysicist is a local winemaker who makes all kinds of wines. It would not be unfair to describe him as a wine tinkerer. I once tasted a White Cabernet he made. He seems to favor sweet wines ergo many of his wines have a floral nose and candied flavors. He has captured the affection of Young Uns up and down the Central coast. This wine is unlabeled. Color is brick red. The sweet nose has caramel and milk chocolate. This wine has held up nicely. Flavors include molasses and pine nuts. On his website he offers the following advice under the heading “What Matters”: Drink in moderation. It is better not to drink than drink excessively.

2010 Giessinger Paso Robles Limited Vintage Malbec ~$25: Dr. G sources all his fruit. His joy is making the wine. Perfumed nose. Bordeaux flavors. Young Un E says it is medieval, Pre Golden Age. Royalty in the bottle. Think Game of Thrones. GenH says “like coming home and changing out of your work clothes into some comfy PJs, watching Teen Moms and eating a bowl of cereal. [ed. A discussion of Teen Moms breaks out]. tBoW says prunes-plus.

Dinner at local favorite Saddle Peak Lodge introduced us to a couple new tastes out of the Central Coast. Somm Jen Carter has performed some of her own wizardry with the wine list which emphasizes ONLY domestic wines. martian-ranch-vineyard-los-alamos2Jen has dug into the blooming field of new winemakers and labels from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles and peppered her wine list with a dozen or so labels that will jump out for their affordable price points and their unusual varietals. Mind you this is a winelist that for decades featured heavy hitter Cabs. Check these out.

2011 Martian Ranch & Vineyard Los Alamos ‘UFOric’ Albarino Santa Barbara County $46 (on the wine list $25 at winery): Only 300 cases. Oily feel and weight. Very flavorful with acidic melon. The perfect pre-dinner sipper. How much Albariño can be planted in Santa Barbara? She pours it by the glass ($13).

sierra-madre-vineyard-estate-pinot-blanc-santa-mariaCROP2010 Sierra Madre Pinot Blanc Santa Maria Valley $42 (on the wine list, $19 in stores): 500 cases. Herbal. spiny flavors, rich with some power. Meal wine. Nice job.

Don’t be a Spectator when it comes to Wine. There are plenty of wines worth trying out with price points under $20. Inventing your own “lifestyle” and wine language is so much more interesting. For all of us older tasters…encourage discovery…host a new gen tasting ASAP.

Labor Day Stay-cation Fueled by Low Wine Prices

With our lives governed by precious petrol we had little choice but to turn to wine as an alternative fuel source over Labor Day. The Large provided the first tasting session on a perfectly sunny SoCal day. After checking out the SW swell at Salt Creek we retired for a serious and amusing tasting dubbed Le Ruse Rouge de Mooj. The crew assembled for the avalanche of U20 wines laced with commentary heavy in fake Frénch acceñts. Let’s get to it. Many of the wines are still available.

Chris primed the tasters with a nice selection of Rosés that showcased the range of varietals and regions making up this prototypical summer beverage. (more…)

Riesling 50 Chardonnay 0: Turkey Day Wipeout

overwhelming lineup!

The annual Turkey Bowl was a smashing success with the expected outcomes. The food was totally fab and the wine lineup was longer than a Herman Cain explanation. We could not get through all of the choices. Such was not the case Saturday night when the Trojans-Bruins “rivalry” game was gratefully buffered by a Riesling extravaganza hosted at Papa Fred’s Shack and “sommed” by Kris B. The Bruins – who have won 6 games – were limp as a Santa Margarita Soave, while the Rieslings gave a Trojan-inspired performance. (more…)

Marching towards the Bird (but not a BCS Bowl)

dux1.jpgBeing an SC football fan is a lot like loving Barolo and Burgundy. You hope every year will bring a championship banner but it just cannot be. Just like with Burgundy, we never really understand why every bottle labeled Chambertin is not championship quality. And, like USC football, there is always a year that just does not measure up to the highest expectations of the only team in this cow town that has a chance of realizing high expectations. Like 1995 in the Cotes de Beaune and Piemonte…nnhhh. Those Toe-jams just about broke Mrs. tBoW’s Cardinal & Gold spirit!
Thank goodness there is always The Bird. Thanksgiving approaches and we have to start thinking about wines to serve. Let’s be honest. I’m talkin’ Dotor√© honest. The tension is between serving the lumpen good wine while simultaneously matching a wine to the demands of an over-the-top meal. It’s like wine calculus! This day of celebration demands some great wines. We have the time to enjoy but we cannot throw pearls before turkeys. Or can we? [ed. how ’bout Ducks or Huskies]. It is the season of giving. Pour a decent Pinot Noir – Willamette or Cotes de Nuits – then follow it with an older Barolo. (more…)

Early Fall Wine Finds


They played Rebel Rebel on Monday Night Football as the broadcast went to a break.Came back from break with Bawwitdabaw. Too late to get tBoW interested in MNF again. Better than Bocephus…now if Kid Rock handled the intro… (more…)