Posts belonging to Category Alsace



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.

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!!

Surprise Tasting Produces Surprising Tastes Fun ‘n Games

carnevale-fotoWEBThe most popular Tasting Game played on the tBoW veranda is bag’n’guess. The tasters bring a couple three bottles and challenge the other tasters to guess (i) the varietal, (ii) New World or Old World, and (iii) the region. The bottles go in a bag before they are poured. The honor systems prevails. We try to avert our eyes from the seal, cork and label so we can make our guesses enthusiastically and with authenticity. A crew of experienced tasters played a classic game the other night. The befuddled chatter shows good as the wines sometimes can sometimes. Here are the highlights. (more…)

BEST Hollywood Chinese AND Riesling Tasting

Genghis Cohen is one of those industry insider restaurants where IF you knew…you WOULD know…you were IN the midst of some highly seasoned dealmakers and Chinese food. In this case the music biz. We are celebrating the birthday of one of the biggest dealmakers from the height of a now vaporized industry who has recently expanded his wine interests almost as widely as his musical tastes [ed. not to  mention the acts he signed from Janet Jackson to Sheryl Crow to Blues Traveler].  Which is to say he called for Riesling and Gewurtztraminer to go with the spicy fare at GC. In addition to a very lively dinner Papa Fred sampled from the following bottles.
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Last of the Holiday gifts and surprises

The Holidays are over. Everyone breathe a big sigh. Eleven months before the intense commercialization begins again. Dotor√© already senses the approach of a long summer. The best thing about the Holidays for a wine aficionado is the chance to taste stuff that would otherwise go unnoticed, even avoided. There are always surprises. Here were a few of the last we encountered. (more…)