Posts belonging to Category Santa Maria



Unnatural Sports R So Not Like Natural Wines

batter's POV

batter’s POV

There are only three natural sports left in the professional world: futbol (soccer to us), baseball and hockey. If natural wines are unencumbered with artifice [ed. nice phraseologizing tBoW!] then these three sports likewise remain fairly true to their earliest paradigm. Baseball has Instant Replay which is the landmark of a corrupted game and the DH. Otherwise the game is pretty much same as it ever was. Hockey is barely a sport so it is theoretically difficult to stray far from the source. Besides what was the singular technological advance in hockey – the TV highlighted puck – has been thrown to the heap of “hated it.” Soccer is the purest game. Our cultural chauvinism makes it difficult to accept.

Which brings us to the NFL. How I hate it. Let me count the ways. But wait. Natural wines provide the perfect reference point for everything WRONG with the NFL. Natural wines eschew sulfur and commercial yeasts used to inoculate wines in monstrous batches that must fit into a production schedule that optimizes the timely release of overpriced monochromatic drink masquerading as something exciting. The NFL gives the viewing public a product easy to recognize yet nameless in distinction (“parity”) that is even easier to consume than a 100 point Speculator wine, not worth comprehending (the technical machinations of endless substitutions), and so overdone in “coverage” to render “live” viewing irrelevant (instant replay O-U-T of control). Then we have the “analysts.” From Boomer to Primetime to the Mooch, NFL analysis is much closer to a supermarket tabloid than it is to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Excuse me. I must evacuate.

When will Manziel start? The suspense builds with every sports chat segment.

Back to the base. Thank God the end of the baseball season is here. Hooray for the Orioles. Best unis in sports, AL East Division Champs. They will not make the World Series. Neither will Los Doyers. It’s a red year and the Angels will win it all. hspiscedebeaueSP2007This is good for baseball and sports fans. Attempts to replicate this model in wine is fruitless. Hooray for natural wines! Yahoo for playoffs baseball. Like the harvest after the long and dull growing season.

Some recent fine wines worth your attention… or not…

2007 Scott Paul Hospices de Beaune $50: Third time we have tasted this wine purchased from the Scott Paul tasting room. Still not ready! So tight. Will it ever open? At least it smells like a Burgundy. We had a 1985 DRC La Tache like this. Lynne is right. Only buy wines ready to drink. Done. Finito. Nuff said. 13%

Lato-Duende-04WEB2004 Paul Lato Duende Pinot Noir $TAFI: The legend of Paul Lato has been documented on this blog several times. HE has achieved “old guard” stature in Santa Barbara wine country. He has a loyal following. His wines no longer suit our palate however this third vintage retains some of his original restraint in winemaking. At ten years Dotore’s summation of the Lato bottle is “nice Syrah.” But then Dotore is a snob, and he is right. This was the first vintage when Paul moved towards the big blowsy style that pretty much ruined SB wines for the tBoW tasting crew. Still a nice wine if you like a lighter domestic Syrah. 14.5%

Bill Belichick is the most same person in the NFL. His postgame interviews are by far the most compelling reasons to tune in to the No Fun League. Here the Patriots coach weighs in on technology. Hut! Hut Hut!!

Red Wine with Fish and Other Blasphemies

fried for Burgundy

fried for Burgundy

Wine like all institutions has plenty of shibboleths. Red wine with red meat and white wine with white fish. Pinot with salmon. Natural wine poses an entire new set of strictures that at least make more sense than simply red meat and blanche fish. Ask your doctor. Don’t look back something might be gaining on you. Buy low sell high. It is what it is. Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear. Once upon a time in France Jerry Lewis was a comic genius.

tBoW drank a 2005 red Burgundy with a whole fried red snapper at the Santa Monica restaurant Tar & Roses. And all three were very very good: restaurant, fish and wine. Lettuce cut to the chase. We have tasted some nice wines and learned a couple things about ourself.

tortochet05WEB2005 Domaine Tortochet Gevrey Chambertins 1er Cru Les Champeaux $unk: Complemented the fried fish perfectly. The deep fry removed all the fishy flavors that we associate with snapper. The fish was prepared such that one could pick a biteful cube at a time followed by a tasty sip of French Pinot Noir. The wine was firm at 8 years with restrained – not muted – fruit. Just the way we like it. No tannins to speak of. From the French website we raided: “male, with power, firm tannins, length and lots of structure.” Mais oui! 13%

cornas07WEB2007 Tardieu-Laurent Cornas Coteaux $42: Has the name, the vineyard, the vintage, all the pedigree. Well made wine with good flavors in harmony. Soft and seductive. But… we realized we are not fans of red Rhone grapes. There are exceptions such as the CORE wines from Orcutt which focus on Mourvedre. We have had most memorable Rhone reds but right now, in this long moment, we would not hurry to purchase any red Syrah wines from the Rhone. Blasphemous. 13%

anacapa04WEB2004 Rusack Anacapa Santa Barbara County $TAFI: Rusack is an under-the-radar winery for dimwitted wine snobs like tBoW. We think of Rusack and we think of the Wrigleys of which Mrs. Rusack is a member. Hey. Of course we know there are plenty of scions and high-ons and silly wealthy folks in the wine industry. But Wrigley? As in the oldest baseball park in the USA, chewing gum, the Chicago Cubs, and “26 miles across the sea Santa Catalina is waiting for me.” So we are impressed with the name. Now we are unexpectedly impressed with this wine. You know the situation. Good friend pulls the cork on taboo wine – in this case a Cabernet blend. We pinch our mental nose and take a sip of the Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot meritage. We would guess this blend is Merlot dominant with the soft rich fruit, and the absence of Cabernet Sauvignon chocolate and tannins. “Please sir can we have some more” we asked in our best Oliver voice? Picked up by our host at the historic 2005 Santa Barbara Wine Festival held at Santa Barbara’s El Paseo right around this time nine years ago. More blasphemy! 14%

coreGB10WEB2010 CORE Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc $18: David Corey can’t get any respect. He has been turning top dog wines from well over a decade. He gets the high point reviews. He has a clique of devoted fans who consistently purchase his stuff. Some of the name reviewers visit his Orcutt tasting room and anoint his wines with 90+ points. Yet most wine people in the know [ed. you know who they are?] never heard of this label. This wine was pretty green at first. We applied immediate glass-to-glass aeration. About half a dozen sloshing pours later the fruit was able to collect itself and emerge in a full melon robe of moderate weight. This was lovely. We may have lost our taste for Syrah [ed. you could see it coming] but we remain loyal and hopeful whenever we see white Rhone varietals. If loving New World White Rhone wines is wrong… I don’t wanna be right. Picked up by Largenez at the CORE tasting room on our recent T-day trip. U20 winnah! 14.5%

Going to a hot shot tasting this week. Notes will be taken with the report to follow.

Turkey Day Psychout Road Trip

Jimi made it, Large shot it

101 at Gaviota Dec 1 2014

Freud may have invented the id but it takes a Bird and the holidays to throw the id into a higher gear. Basic wine needs and basic family desires were in full run last Thursday. Tribal members gathered around the flame. Drink began to flow soon as guests arrived. “Noshing tasties” were served to the brethren and it was all ssssoooo ggggooooooddd. Thanksgiving is everyone’s favorite holiday for all the right reasons. Traditions. Laughs. Loving. Bowl games. Family arguments. It is a day that celebrates thanks, generosity and indulgence. Just like wine the season can be a mixed bag. The holidays get longer every year. With T-day in the bag that’s one down and two to go. (more…)

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.

Eat Something! It’s Thanksgiving.

Santa Anita Staff waiting to serve you.

Gather your bottles of wine, your trays of scalloped green beans, and the all-grown-up cousins. Turkey Day is upon us. Let’s all be together cracking jokes, talking about old times, and checking out the young ‘uns and their “sig Os.” Tell stories, think about those who are no longer here. As Grandma used to say, “eat something!” As we like to say “Drink Something!” Everyone have a great time. (more…)