Archive for January, 2008

logo5.gifGreat winter sale at TwentyTwenty — including Pinots from Loring Wine Company — very sought after and difficult to find for $34 a bottle — $10 dollars off retail (if you can even find it anywhere else).

Check out the Sale at TwentyTwenty.

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The 2005 Syrah comes from the Stagecoach Vineyard located in the eastern hills above Oakville and Lee Hudson’s Henry Drive Vineyard in Napa Carneros — under the guidance of winemaker Anthony Biagi.

DEEP purple in the glass. Nose is a little hot. VERY big, lush, ripe, opulent and fleshy. Plum, rose, licorice, chocolate and espresso notes — good tannins and a long, persistent finish. Tips the scale at 15.8% — it does push it a bit for me, though certainly a very nice wine. Not my style, but that is my own personal taste — and am sure there are many that would think this is a great bottle of wine. I’ll certainly put the other bottle of this down for at least 5 years.

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92788l.jpgI have a soft spot for Randall Grahm. I worked at Bonny Doon many moons ago — before Bill Clinton was President.

As mentioned in a previous post, I took a phone call from the head of the California campaign for Clinton after Grahm gave many cases of wine to the campaign. Clinton had just been elected President and the head of the California campaign said to send a bottle of BDV and he would personally deliver to the Clintons.

Randall took a bottle of Vin de Glaciere and wrote, “Bill, I trust you will like this wine so much you will virtually inhale it. Randall Grahm” — history was made and Hillary had that wine served at every state dinner during Bill’s tenure.

I am a fan of the Clinton’s — but now find myself leaning ever closer to supporting Obama. Barack, you have my vote as long as you pledge to serve BDV Vin de Glaciere at all State dinners…….

You might also want to serve Le Cigare Blanc. I do love this wine, it is 60% Roussanne and 40% Grenache Blanc. Not very aromatic on the nose, but lovely on the palate. Citrus, pear, mineral and wet stone with a hint of Ooolong — good acidity with a clean finish.

Great food wine — stood up very well this evening to Indian food. BDV Vin Gris is always a good bet with Indian as well.


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val_de_flores.jpgMore evidence that Argentina continues to increase its status as a producer of great wines — and another Michel Rolland fingerprint on the Argentine hand. This wine is produced from 100% old vine (50+ years) Malbec aged 14 months in new French oak. Beautiful, dark ruby in color and a little closed on the nose — so it was a bit surprising on the palate — lush plum, dark berry with some leather, mineral, toasted oak and graphite. Very nice balance, texture and structure — good depth, but not as layered as I initially expected with a long clean finish. It is quite extracted and weighs in at 14.5% alcohol — but is not overwhelming and could stand up well the right food (think meat, rustic and hearty fare, stews, game, etc).

I think this wine retailed for $35-40 when released, it looks like you can still find it at about $80 a bottle and subsequent vintages have been offered at increasing prices.

A look at a couple of online sources had Parker rating this wine a 95 (which might be just a wee bit high in my humble opinion…..)

Recommended — and keep a close on on Argentina.

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This would certainly make almost anyone’s top 10 list of top California Chardonnay. Newton’s Chardonnay is unfiltered and fermented with wild yeast, native to Newton’s Carneros vineyards — still fairly small production and really a well made wine — I think the last 3 vintages have all been rated 95 or above by Parker. Parker calls it on of the best and longest-lived California Chardonnays.

Beautiful golden straw in color. More impressive (and complex) in the mouth than on the nose, soft citrus with some green apple, pear and a hint of jicama and almond, notes of mineral and wet stone — some exotic fruit, well balanced, nice acidity with a pure and long finish.

A great food wine for anything seafood or white meat — this would certainly enhance any meal — or be totally memorable on its own merits.

While I am not a fan of the Bush Administration. I would give them their props for 2 things — one of them is serving this wine at numerous official dinners. Recommended.

BottleBuys.com is selling this wine for $36.50 — (see product page on bottlebuys.com) — Wine Exchange had it for $42.99 — so you know under $40 is a great price. Certainly not an inexpensive wine, but availability is limited and demand is only going to increase. 20/20 Wines is selling it for $64.99 — so you really should take the opportunity to order from BottleBuys as the wine is somewhat limited and in high demand.

I expect this wine will be one of the top 10 white releases for the year and will be on auction sites at $60-$80 a bottle or more the end of the year.

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Alfred Peet

I was an assistant manager at a coffee shop in Santa Cruz while in college. After I graduated I was involved in a start up and oversaw all of the roasting operations.

As luck would have it, one of the founders was good friends with Alfred Peet — and was able to arrange to have him as consultant to mentor me with my coffee and roasting skills. I was already a huge fan of Peet’s coffee — and to this day I can still remember the first cup of coffee I ever had at Vine street.

Alfred was the Warren Buffett of the coffee world — he was the country’s authoritative voice on all things coffee. That being said, he was not a quiet or soft-spoken man, he knew what he was talking about and was quick to let you know if you didn’t know what you were doing. We had a rep from the roaster company come to our facility and Alfred quickly put him in his place — and reduced the man to tears For a reason unknown to me, Alfred was very patient and helpful with me. My time spent with him was as valuable as it was memorable. He was a very important person in helping me develop my palate.

In my mind, the origins of great coffee in this country start with Alfred Peet and his first store on Vine Street. This is where I had the cup of coffee that will be the yardstick I will always use as the best cup of coffee. It was a cup of Kona, thought secrets be told, Peet’s Kona is not 100% Kona, but that is why their Kona was always so good.

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Just released — I would suggest you move pretty quickly as these are highly anticipated. The Wine Exchange might has the most competitive prices I have seen to date. You can also go to wine-searcher.com. These are some of the most compelling wines out of Spain. Yes, they are new world in style — and there may be some that will find these to be too big, too forward, too extracted — but I actually think these show some restraint compared to a lot of Chris Ringland’s other wines — I actually think these are the best wines he produces.

This is the fourth addition of one of the most impressive new projects in all of Spain. This is a joint project featuring an all-star cast, the Gil family, who has done so much to put Jumilla on the map with the wines from Finca Luzon, wine broker Jorge Ordonez, one of the pioneers for unearthing high quality wines from all over Spain and creator of such labels as Numanthia, and famed Barossa winemaker, Chris Ringland, who has a number of things on his resume including R Wines, a multifaceted project with Dan Philips, Ringland wines, and Greenock Creek. This project started in the most difficult recent vintage in Spain, 2002, yet the reviews were amazing. They only got better from there. These guys were serious about making a statement and they pulled no punches.

The Clio is a blend of mostly Mourvedre from 60+ year old vines with the balance from a ‘younger vine’ (25 years) Cabernet. The Wine Advocate reviews for Clio: 2002 (93 points), 2003 (96), and 2004 (97). The El Nido ‘big dog’, called El Nido, is the reverse blend of 70% Cabernet and 30% old vine Mourvedre. It has an even more illustrious 3 year history with the the 2002, 2003, and 2004 versions weighing in at Wine Advocate 96, 97, and 99 respectively. The 2005s just came out and haven’t been scored yet. But given the vintage and the track record of this source, it hardly seems like much of a gamble.

December 2008 Update
The 2006 vintage was just released…..seems like it is hard to keep in stock. Wine-searcher.com might be the best bet.

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