Posts belonging to Category Provence



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.

Hidden Treasures in Hidden Treasure Chests

"Hunting Wines" talent

“Hunting Wines” field team

The Animal Planet show “Finding Bigfoot” is fun to watch except we never get to see the critter. Storage Wars, Antiques Roadshow, Bering Sea Gold would be nothing without the payoff. Show me the buried treasure. The same principle holds when hunting for worthy wines at even more worthy prices. Here is the premiere episode of Hunting Wines. (more…)

Waikiki: Wasteland / Wonderland

Hotel Street action

Hotel Street action ca. 1960s

Waikiki is Bourbon Street meets the Vegas Strip. People come to the Hawaiian islands and stay a week or longer in Waikiki. Same crew that buys all their wine from BevMO. Then there are other people who fly right past Oahu on their way to Maui, Kauai or the Big Island and stay in a destination resort. They include those who only buy wines rated 90 points or higher. There is more to wine and more to Oahu [ed. and more to the outer islands; g’head and be obnoxious].

new wine shop in Princeville

new wine shop owner in Princeville

After 5 days of rain and grey skies on the north shore of Kauai – and buying wine in the new Princeville Wine Market – we were ready to wash Hanalei right out of our hair. Fortunately, we had set aside three nights and three and a half days in Honolulu because we like the city and the island. It is much more cosmo than Dancing with the Stars. (more…)

Pink Savages: BEST of the Large Fantastic

tBoW team taster The Large got inside the ropes at the premiere party for Savages. Being this close to Benicio del Toro [ed. the Hunted, Fear & Loathing], and Salma Hayek [ed. lead vampire From Dusk Till Dawn – see video!] sent Large for a Loop crossing his appetite for blush wines with movie star fever. We all benefit from his pyretic vision shared herein: tasting notes, sexy babes, paired foods. Welcome to the Large location food truck.

Summer is the season of blush. You see it in the cheeks of that beguiling and shapely post-teen prancing the beach!…in her bikini — tiny sparks of sand fly off her electrically as he turns to notice her staring at him; she’s caught with an embarrassed smile, pale perfectly smooth skin scattered with freckles turning deep pink… her deep red hair masking the sun like some flaming halo…. Or is it just the way the late afternoon sun disperses as you twist your glass, its dancing rays sparkling atop a sea of pink. It’s the season of hotter days… our ecosphere is boiling over, starting to fry large swaths of the Eastern seaboard into the midwest.

Hollywood spews out sizzling summer thrillers, with tall blondes in pink dresses sharing bong hits while manacled, held hostage by a ruthless, decapitation-happy enforcer working for a struggling, ruthless Baja cartel (Benicio del Toro, could it be any other, I ask you?). And after cutting a maniacal workday short and putting your feet on the patio furniture, it’s time at last to savor another wine of countless variations: Rosé.. (more…)

BEST Summer Blind Tasting: Available Pinot Noirs (mostly)

wine eunuchs fore and aft

It was just so perfect. Everything aligned like things had been planned. Summer evening temps were in the low 80s. A tasting crew of 10 was ready to guzzle, I mean sip. The lineup included pre-tasting palate warmups with a Provencal Rosé, a California Pinot Grigio and two Gascogne white wines. The blind tasting of premium Pinot Noirs immediately preceded the meal. The wines were all outstanding sending the tasters back to the table buzzing. Summer dinners like this one make LA live-able. Here is the down low. (more…)