Monday, October 14, 2019

Eruption Red

For all the bitching I do about California wine being overblown, homogeneous, and overpriced, every so often a wine comes a long that challenges that presumption.  This is one of those wines.  But before we get to it, a word on its appellation.

Lake county sits adjacent to and north of Napa county, and surrounds Clear Lake, one of the state's largest freshwater bodies.  Lake county is also home to the Red Hills AVA, which producers some outstanding, under-the-radar wines.  It's also home to the High Valley AVA, from which this wine is sourced.  According to the producer, the volcanic sands and small sand pebbles make for excellent drainage and force vines to struggle, resulting in concentrated fruit with layers of complexity and structure. I agree.

As Napa's wines continue their meteoric streak into the pricing stratosphere, finding suitable proxies at affordable prices is increasingly challenging, driving many value-seekers (including me) overseas.  But this wine serves as a reminder that it's in the shadows where discoveries await.  I hope to be shining a light on this region in the coming weeks to see what other gems are lurking.

2015 Brassfield Estate Winery Eruption Red High Valley $20*
A kitchen sink blend of mostly Petite Sirah, Syrah, Malbec, and Grenache, this well-constructed red has powerful grip and tension, crunchy acidity, and a solid backbone of delicious, rich black fruit.  Dynamite with burgers or other grilled fare, it's definitely got heft, but poise, too.
*SRP is $30, but I paid $20 at a local wine shop, which I'd gladly pay again.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Recycle Bin, Week of September 30

All kinds of goodies in the recycle bin this week.  We've got Cameron Hughes (not Napa cabernets), a trio of Australian reds (not what you think), and a couple of Chilean ringers.  While all of these wines are recommended, for my money, the Kalfu pinot and Two Hands Angel's Share are absolutely worth seeking out.  (These were all received as samples.)  Enjoy!

2017 Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir Leyda Valley Chile $19
There’s a lot to be happy about with this wine. For starters, it’s beautiful in the glass, and not just by its looks. Gorgeously perfumed, its aromatics are an attractive combination of authentic pinot fruit, subtly exotic spice, and elegance. That theme translates directly onto the palate where a debate over whether it’s more French or Oregonian will ensue. But not for long, because who really cares to be distracted by banal thought when a glass of this is in front of you? Reminds me an awful lot of Emeritus Vineyards’ dry farmed single vineyard pinots; delicate but far from shy. And then there’s the price. While not exactly a bargain basement find, it’s less than half a bottle of Emeritus - more than reasonable given the quality of this wine.

2018 Kalfu Kuda Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Valley Chile $19
The green vegetable, green pepper, celery root that greets your nose here is far from subtle. And the acidity you would expect to accompany those aromatics awaits the palate at full volume. Beyond that shock, however, is surprising harmony and length. If you like a wine so bright you need sunglasses to drink it, this could be for you (but you'll still be squinting.)

2016 Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Washington Lot 660 $25
Textbook. Nicely structured Cabernet with deep black strap fruit, poised aromatics, and deft balance. Approachable now, but will likely improve with five years of bottle age. This notion was reinforced whereupon tasting after open overnight, it’s texture had eased, aromatics relaxed, and fruit remained intact.Need something nice for the dinner table at tue upcoming holidays? Decant for a few hours ahead and your family will be impressed. Guessed its price point at $25.

2017 Cameron Hughes Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Lot 687 $15
Anderson Valley is up in Mendocino County, home to tall conifers, sheep-dotted hillsides, and rolling
fog banks. It’s also home to its own unique style profile, particularly for pinot noir. Where as Carneros and points south tend to yield cola-infused pinots, it’s cooler up here, translating to a more delicate expression of the group. Lot 687 is a good example of that tonality and for the appellation, with gorgeous luminosity in the glass, plenty of spicy high notes, and enough octane to liven up the sinuses, too. There’s no baby fat on this wine, and it’s better off as a result because you can really see through to what it’s got going on. While not at the complex end of the spectrum, it’s easy to drink, good with dinner, and reasonably priced.

2018 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz Barossa Valley $33
Hard to believe I’m using this as a descriptor for an Australian shiraz, but at first glance, this is restrained. It certainly has syrah character, nose of slight tar funk, and a bit of pepper. But where you would expect dense, syrupy juice in the glass, instead is a composed, firm red. Again, with a telltale syrah bounce that electrifies the salivary response, but not (yet) revealing all it has coiled up. Certainly still in its infancy, I’d like to meet this wine again in five or so years.

2018 Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz McLaren Vale $33
Instant infatuation.  Perhaps the most complete and refined example of shiraz I've had. This has it all; power, elegance, youthful vigor, mature poise, and an ABV below 14%.  Walking the tightrope between fruity and savory without over-serving either, this is very, very good indeed.

2018 Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale $33
Clean, elegant nose gives way to a voluptuous, fruit-forward palate delivering plump, straightforward cabernet.  It lingers nicely, and begins to show its oak framing and spice box-laced acidity.  Approachable now.

Monday, September 30, 2019

And Just Like That...

It happened quietly and a bit unexpectedly, but it happened nonetheless.  Winethropology turned 10 years old last month.  Plenty has changed since those first posts in 2009; in the industry, in my writing, and in many other ways.  For those of you who have been around since the beginning, thanks for sticking around.  And for the newcomers, here's hoping you have reason to keep coming back.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Catalonia And Its Gems

Catalonia is Spain's northeastern-most state, hugging the Mediterranean to the east and the Pyrenees to the north.  Barcelona, a city that belongs on your bucket list, sits in the middle of Catalonia's coastline.

As a winegrowing region, Catalonia is home to eleven DOs (Spain's version of our AVAs.)  The geography of the state, which is about the size of Maryland, is terrifically diverse.  However, as a whole, Catalonia is virtually synonymous with Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, almost all of which comes from the Penedès subregion. That leaves 10 other DOs, which certainly make their share of sparklers, but, also as a whole, Catalonia is far from a one trick pony.

This diversity of regions and, consequently, wines, was on full display at the Catalonia Wines USA tasting I attended recently.  The tasting was expertly executed, featuring fifteen different producers from almost all eleven DOs, each struggling for attention while the region itself is also vying for light in Rioja's long shadow. But it's usually in the shadows that discoveries await.

Clos Mont-blanc's Xipella
Dani Santacreu, Export Manager for Clos Mont-blanc in the Conca de Barberà DO summed it up well, "It's the beginning for us."  For a winery with a 300 year history, it might seem strange for now to be the beginning, but many of Catalonia's subregions have been organized just in the past couple of decades, and the region has been investing in modernizing equipment and methodology to make the most of its bounty.  Most of the producers I spoke to are also proud of their organic farming practices, which I found refreshing, if not entirely surprising.

Around 75% of wines made in Catalonia are cavas, and a similar proportion of wines being poured at the event reflected this.  Since one could easily spend a week just getting acquainted with this ocean of bubbly, I instead focused on the still wines, many of which are standouts; whites that range from simple, refreshing porch pounders to profound garnacha blanca-based blends with depth and mind-bending complexity. And reds that run the gamut from perfumed, mountain fruit blends heavy on French influence to age worthy cabernets that could rival much of what California has to offer.

One differentiator of these wineries is their use of oak.  In contrast to many bodegas in Rioja, which seem to overdose their wines with American oak, the wines I tasted favored French oak over American, and mostly in restraint. Another big difference in these wines is their price points, some of which are head-shakingly fantastic.  Again, the shadows are where to find the gems, but the injustice of these wines not (yet) having entree into the US market at large is just as mind-boggling as their price points.

It's easy to over do it at a tasting when 45 wines are being poured, which is why focus is key.  I may
The Object of My Desire
have tasted a dozen wines, almost all still, and wish I could have tasted more.  Following are the handful of noteworthy wines that showcase the diversity, quality, and value of Catalonia.  Some of these are available in limited US markets, and I'd recommend looking for them on Wine Searcher.

2018 Mas Llunes Nivia Empordà $21-25
This wine will haunt me.  Made of garnacha blanca (88%) and macabeo, it is profound, full, smartly tailored, and just utterly fantastic.  Far and away the best thing I tasted, I've got a lot more to say about this wine, so stay tuned.

2017 Mas Llunes Rhodes Empordà $24-28
Beautifully packaged and still quite young, this inviting, soft-edged blend of carignan, grenache, and syrah is enchanting.  Mas Llunes' reds show a French influence appropriate to a region tucked into the southern-French border.

2017 Mas Llunes Cercium Empordà $20-24
Bursting with freshness, this grenache-dominated blend sports bold flavors framed by intelligent acidity without being massive or dense.  A delight.

2016 Clos Mont-blanc Xipella Conca de Barberà $15-20
Sensationally aromatic and elegant, this wine can be thoroughly enjoyed through the nose, but why deny yourself the expensive-tasting blend of carignan, cabernet, and syrah? Hard to fathom that a wine of this caliber doesn't cost twice as much. My all around favorite red of the tasting.

2015 Clos Mont-blanc Masia Les Comes Conca de Barberà $36-41
A serious 70/30 cab/merlot blend that will age for decades, but is already showing how this region can compete with heavy-hitters in Bordeaux and Napa.  Deep, tightly-wound black fruit with a thread of cabernet's green-lined fruit.

2018 Costers Del Sio Las Cuadras Tempranillo/Grenache Costers del Segre $18-20
Magnificent texture and with high-toned acidity that makes it a bit jumpy in a youthful way, it is lovely now and should only evolve into elegance.

2016 Costers Del Sio Las Cuadras Crianza Costers del Segre $26-28
Reserved and still hiding its beauty in adolesence, this 70/30 grenache/syrah blend needs a few more years to emerge, but when it does, I'd like to have a bottle or two.  Promising. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Another Peek Behind The Curtain: An Afternoon At The Pageant

Earlier this week I attended a trade tasting. Trade tastings themselves are nothing new or out of the ordinary, but this one was a little different. Normally, a distributor will twist the arms of the producers it represents to pour their wines at an annual event to which retailers, restaurateurs, and others in the retail tier are invited. These are speed-dating events that efficiently put buyers in contact with products and the people who represent them.  Also like speed-dating, there's very little romance.

This week's was different for a number of reasons.  First, it was sponsored by the wine region of Catalonia. Or, more specifically, it was put on by Catalonia Wines USA, which is a domestic wing of Catalonia Trade & Investment, which itself is the investment and development organization of the division of the Government of Catalonia.  In other words, it's the economic development arm of Catalonia's wine industry.
The Penedes winegrowing region outside Vilafranca and Sant Sadurni.

The tasting was also different in that, of the fifteen producers present, just one has an in-state importer. So, not only was it not sponsored by a distributor, but most of the wineries aren't even available locally.  All these producers came all the way from northeastern Spain to see if they could find themselves an importer.

It was hosted at a lovely penthouse restaurant with sweeping views of a river valley, with platters overflowing with cured meats, roasted nuts, and soft cheeses. Not surprisingly (as Catalonia is home to much of Cava country), there were open bottles of bubbly everywhere, adding to the celebratory air of pageantry.  The invitees were largely distributors and importers, (though I did hear one gentleman introduce himself as a facilitator, which sounds like either a lobbyist or a match maker, neither of which I knew existed in the wine business.)  I was invited as a member of the press to help shine a light on this region, which I shall because I learned quite a bit, most of which impressed me, so stay tuned for further updates on this region.

On its surface the event looked like a fancy version of a trade tasting, but the intent was clear: let's find these winemakers some importers.  The winery reps themselves were also quite blunt about the reason they came all the way to the midwest. And why shouldn't they be?  If you're on the prowl for a mate, there's no point in acting coy. What's more is that these wines were good, quite good in some cases. And more than fairly priced in most cases, too.  How, I wondered, is it possible that these winemakers have yet to find entree into the US market, one cluttered with mediocre, overpriced plonk?

This got me thinking about musicians who have yet to be discovered.  We all know of artists who have incredible talent, work hard, tour their butts off, and just haven't broken through to notoriety.  Certainly, you can't fake great wine any more than you can fake soul-stirring music, and they're both going to require a lot of work and sacrifice.  But, man, what was on full display at this tasting is that doing all the right things isn't enough.  You need some luck, too.  And creating the right circumstances for luck is what that event was all about.

Here's wishing all those producers a share of luck - and safe travels home.  More specifics coming soon.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Ready For This? Vermouth!

The following two sample bottles of vermouth have been sitting in the review queue for months.  My hesitation in bringing them to the front of the line lay in my ignorance of this beverage.  Is it a wine?  Is it an ingredient?  How does one evaluate it without knowing much about it?

Lamenting this indecision, this weekend seemed as good a time as any for some experimentation.  Mixing them with bourbon - the most common use for vermouth here in the US - seemed silly.  With a suggested retail price of $25 apiece, something told me that these would merit a more reverent preparation.  So, first they were chilled and poured naked into glasses.  That first glance was followed by pouring them over ice in tall highball glasses with a seltzer float.

The experience was surprising, highly informative, and very rewarding.  Like it’s brethren, sherry, vermouth shouldn’t be approached as a wine because it’s a different animal altogether. Scratch that - animals (plural) because the red and white couldn't be more different in every respect.  Which made the aforementioned preparations just right to enjoy and learn about these.

To be sure my exuberance wasn't misplaced, I served a Rojo with seltzer over ice as a pre-dinner drink to a skeptical guest.  Two sips in, he was a believer.  At 15% ABV, these are delightful, refreshing, and versatile wine alternatives, but not all vermouths are created equal, so skip the cheap  stuff and look for these.

NV La Copa Vermouth Blanco $25
Dominated by an earthy, toasted hazelnut flavor, and all but devoid of fruit, this 100% palomino vermouth has more in common with fino sherry than any Spanish still wine. Still, it is refreshing and does a remarkable job preparing the palate (and whetting the appetite) for an evening of degustación. Bone dry and a quickly-acquired taste that will make you feel like a cosmopolitan adult. Try over ice with a seltzer float on a hot afternoon. Garnish with an orange slice if you’re feeling randy.

NV La Copa Vermouth Rojo $25
The color of Coca-Cola in the glass is unexpected, but the the surprise turns quickly to infatuation. Mysterious herbal aromas infused around a core of exotic spice conjure images of dark forests and hooded figures gliding silently in and out of fog. Sharing a lot with Italian aperitivos, but a more grown-up and cool weather alternative to Aperol. 75% palomino, 25% Pedro Jimenez, 100% delicious.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Italian White Delight

There aren't too many white wines over $20 I'm inclined to recommend, but every once in a while a wine knocks your socks so clean off, it's worth the splurge.  So, as summer begins its (hopefully) languid slide into retirement, here's one such beauty to enjoy as the long rays of a setting sun filter through tree tops.

2016 Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOCG Classico Superiore “Podium” $26 (Sample)
Delightful. Channeling pure minerality in a full, round fruit package conjuring springtime white flowers and zest, this brilliant white is beguiling and transportive. Better yet, it serves as a perfect reference point for a class of wines that get little attention here in the US.  Verdicchio itself can be pedestrian and fair, but takes on more complexity when grown in the Castelli di Jesi region on the east coast of Italy, over the mountains from Florence. The Classico Superiore designation is an indicator of ampe-up quality.  But this particular bottling is from a single vineyard and made with both skill and deference.  Invia più presto! 


Friday, August 23, 2019

Now For Some Good News

I've got plenty of snarky things to say about rosé these days, but then along comes this gem - available probably everywhere - and it makes me happy.  Rosé is a lot cheaper (and faster) to make than the red wine the grapes would otherwise be vinted into. And thanks to its popularity, particularly with a less-discerning demographic (it is trending heavily with hipsters and bros), wineries the world over are cranking it out in such a hurry that quality appears to be an afterthought voiced in a giggle. 

The marketplace is so saturated in medicrre rosé, you have to be willing to suffer through a lot of duds before landing a delight.  Here's one of those:

2018 Chateau Ste Michelle Rosé Columbia Valley $10
The label says that it's crisp, dry, and elegant.  I agree, though it's probably more crowd-pleasing than elegant.  Nevertheless, it's also lip-smacking delish and has - wait for it - character.  All this for $10?  And I grabbed it at the grocery store?!  It's a find, alright.  This is just the second vintage for CSM making this wine, which is made mostly from syrah with around a quarter merlot.  Wow.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Affordable Wine: It Shouldn't Be This Hard

This past weekend I set out to pick up a mixed case of inexpensive wine. My target price range was $10-13, and my objective was to have some bottles around to enjoy with weeknight meals.  Nothing extravagant, just a handful each of summer-friendly reds and whites. But I failed. Miserably. Five bottles with an average price of $14 made it home with me - after going to three (!) reputable, independent wine shops.

It shouldn't be this hard. So, why is it? And will it get better?

Wine Is Expensive
Has wine become so expensive now that drinkable $10-12 wines are the unicorns of the industry? One funny, if cynical, reference to this phenom is the phrase, "$16 is the new $10."  Certainly wine pricing continues to outpace all reasonable indices, but there is ample evidence that the world (the Old World in particular) continues to churn out delightful, affordable wines. In other words, tasty, value-priced wines still exist, but there are fewer of them. Finding them requires more effort.

Grocery Stores
It's hard to beat the convenience of picking up a bottle while you're shopping for dinner. And with margins on alcohol way, way higher than regular groceries, it's no surprise that large grocers are devoting ever-increasing square footage to their beer and wine selections. But while this expansion results in more bottles on the shelf, it doesn't exactly result in a greater diversity of choices. The bean counters at grocery chains have mandates to reduce the number of suppliers each store buys from and centralized decision-making on what stores will offer is also common. These factors net out to thousands of bottles that fall into maybe a total of eight or nine flavor profiles. Heck, I bet that more than 50% of all domestic reds - regardless of variety - at most grocery stores would be indistinguishable in blind tasting.

Independent retailers, on the other hand, differentiate themselves by selling more unique offerings.  But if you're not moving a ton of volume, you'd better be moving a ton of margin. That's just what's required to survive in the retail game anymore. And independent retailers are subject to a variety of practical vagaries that inhibit moving any serious level of volume, such as location, parking, space, loading docks, cost of inventory, labor, etc. So, it's no surprise that the bargain bins have been shrinking.

Sure enough, that "$16 is the new $10" joke was on full display at one shop where $16 was the ground floor on their selection of rosés. Rosés! Ha! I suppose the theory is that, if the selection of $16 and under wines is slim, customers will just upgrade. Double ha!

Anyway, this explains why I could only come up with five bottles from three different stores, and I still wasn't able to stick to my price range. I'm not blaming independents for this, but it does offer a sign post to where things are heading.

Independent retailers just can't make ends meet by selling affordable wines, no matter how delicious they are. And grocery chains wouldn't know a delightful wine if it bit them in the ass. Online retailers, on the other hand (at least collectively), offer a seemingly endless range of wines at a variety of price points with the convenience of online shopping. In the wake of the Supreme Court's Tennessee ruling, retailers are also getting more bold in shipping into other states, making access even easier for consumers.

Beer, Cocktails, Cannabis & Other Factors
Particularly as the focal point of wine consumer demographics shifts from boomers towards millennials, the idea that wine is a precious and irreplaceable product is as laughable as the theory that drinkers will just pay more to access decent quality wine. Think about how ridiculous that sounds, yet premiumization in the wine market presumes just that.

Back in the real world, though, consumers are increasingly looking at beer, spirits, and, yes, cannabis (market sectors which are all enjoying good/explosive growth) as alternatives to wine (sales of which are basically flat.)

So, where does that leave us? With market factors that favor online retailers and increasing competition from alternative products. Yet wine prices continue to climb and deliver lower and lower value. These conditions do not suggest that the wine industry is poised to attract more consumers or begin to grow sales again.

I'm probably wrong more often than I'm right, so who knows? Then again, just in the last 12 months drinks giant Constellation sold off 30 of its wine brands to Gallo and invested $4 billion in a Canadian cannabis behemoth. What does that tell you?

Bringing It All Home
The bottom line is that it's becoming harder to be enjoy authentic wines at affordable prices - and even more difficult to do so while supporting local independently-owned businesses. Bringing the good stuff home is likely going to require sourcing more affordable wines from online sources, something that would have seemed oxymoronic just a few years ago. As for your local independent wine shop? Keep on supporting them if you can. They are quickly becoming an endangered species.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Recycle Bin, Week of July 29

The Recycle Bin this week is a hodge podge of random wines, some of which have been backlogged in the samples pile, and others that I've sought out in search of discovery.  But in most cases, these are all wines I'd safely place in the summer-friendly category.  Enjoy.

2018 Rombauer Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley $24
Neither as intense or bombastic as in previous vintages, but still with plenty of lively zip, this sauvignon blanc tones down the Northern California characteristics of fresh cut grass and Grannysmith apple in favor of tart, flinty, citrus-driven energy. Refreshing and exuberant.

2017 Artezin Zinfandel Old Vine Mendocino County $16
Super bright, red floral bouquet framing a core of warmer, deeper fruit scents and tickles of toasted oak. Awfully supple texture and a labyrinth of high frequency spice flavors that dance around a charged, mid-weight body. Varietally correct with loads of black pepper and a bit of heat on the finish..

2017 Marshall Davis Chardonnay Yamhill-Carlton $39
Palest straw hue in the glass, but any thought that its color is an indication of timidity is corrected as soon as the aromatics hit you. Full, round, plump fruit notes float out of the glass and the sensations carry through verbatim in the mouth. Full throttle, Athena-class, tropical Chardonnay unfolds its largesse unapologetically and winds it’s tentacles around your attention. Big, but well appointed and well made. Very limited production.

2016 Bibi Graetz Bianco Toscana 'Casamatta' $15  
Brilliant and clean. Minerals lined with salinity and acids frame crisp vermentino fruit to result in an exceedingly refreshing and joyful drink.  Yum.   

2017 Pra Valoplicella 'Morandina' $22  
I could drink this stuff all day, and at a modest 12.5%, you sort of could. A few shades darker than a rose and not much more dense, this light-bodied red is bountiful with gorgeous fresh flowers and herbs.  It's a step up in cost from the typical Valpolicella, but you absolutely get what you pay for. Hard not to gulp it down like a crazy person.   

2016 Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir $15   
A new vintage from an old favorite continues its streak of over delivering pinot noir joy at a great price. Grown more than 400km from Burgundy (that's why it doesn't cost four times as much), this domain is in the mountains between Marseille and Nice way in the south of France, lending this a bit more heft without being clumsy. Though not terribly sophisticated, it's got a fantastic one-two punch: classy lines and a friendly price tag.   

2016 Domaine des Nugues Beaujolais Villages $14  
Oh, gamay, you silky, so-easy-to-drink temptress! Bing cherry shining from within completes this joyous wine. Time to revisit Beaujolais Village soon.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Valuables from Valdeorras

Would I be interested in receiving samples from Spain?

This is how an email exchange started a couple of months back.  Such an inquiry is very common, though you can substitute almost any region, producer, or variety for Spain and you've got the formula.  But Spain, oh, Spain...we were once compatriotas, but then, then Spain became simultaneously infatuated with Parker's penchant for massiveness and, perhaps not coincidentally, American oak. It's been a turbulent relationship since.

Whereas my normal response to the above inquiry would be, "Sure!", I groaned inwardly and reluctantly accepted.  Alas, keeping an open mind is essential to making discoveries - and here is an example of why that approach yields results.

The Valdeorras subregion of Galicia is way out there.  Geographically, it's north of northeastern Portugal, and west of northwestern Spain. In many respects, it’s the middle of nowhere - maybe so remote that it remained outside Parker's sphere of influence.  But in terms of winemaking credibility, this could be Main St. The two samples that arrived were 100% varietal bottlings, one godello and the other mencia.  Neither of these wines present with swagger, nor do they have any need for it, because when you’re this attractive naturally, there aren't any insecurities to require heavy-handedness.

I'll readily admit to falling hard for the godello, and recommend you surrender yourself to do the same.  It's a white that offers as much or more sophistication as any red, yet won't clobber you, either.

2017 Pagos de Galir Godello Valdeorras $17
Platinum blonde. Clean nose offering gentle white flower blossoms giving way to a poised, elegant main attraction. The fruit, while somewhat reserved, reveals itself through a brilliant texture and in ever-intriguing chapters. Sophisticated and lovely, yet without anything to prove. A haunting wine thanks to its quiet beauty and soft-spoken confidence.  More. Soon. Please.

2016 Pagos de Galir Mencia Valdeorras $17
Rustic, but clean and honest. And like it’s sister (above), the suppleness if its mouthfeel strips away any obstacles to accessing this wine’s authenticity. Lovely balance of dusty fruit and cellar spice, followed by a food-loving acidity that nearly crackles. Very good without being showy.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Never Been On A Podcast Before

Jeff Siegel, aka the Wine Curmudegon, has, for longer than I can remember, written a nearly-daily blog on a breadth of wine matters. If you're looking for unvarnished takes on everything from wine reviews to the regulatory state of affairs to the impact of cannabis legalization, you'll be hard pressed to find a more pro-consumer writer than Jeff.  

Against all better judgement, he had me on for a quick spin of topics last week, including premiumization, rose, Ohio alcohol regulations, and other things we pretend to know something about.  It's around 10 minutes long and his link/intro (and photo from back when I had a full head of hair) can be found here.