Friday, January 06, 2006

Old World v. New World

There seems to be a lot of debate (and flames!) recently on the wine blog forums about old world and new world wines. Last night I got a chance to taste both and came away enjoying both. This is not an apples to apples comparison as the wines are different varietals and I am not sure about the comparable qualities of the vintages in each region, but I think the exercise points out the differences, and it was a great evening with good friends on a cold winter night next to a roaring fire.

1999 Silver Oak, Anderson Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($ ) -- This was a magnum brought in by a friend from his cellar. It is one of his favorite producers. Beside being very "smooth" what you pick up mostly is the oak and vanilla. As a pre-dinner refreshment it was very good and I understand it's popularity around the table and the country. But maybe it it too monolithic in that the primary experience is oak. Again I enjoyed this wine, but I don't think it would have fared well with the dinner, nor would I want to drink it all night.

1999 Chateau Angelus St. Emilion Grand Cru Classe ($85) -- The nose was at first earthy and later after an hour diminished while the fruit flavors were full with lots of tannin, but not overly drying, and a long finish. Nothing thin about this wine. Almost meaty as I am guessing that this wine would improve with 5 to 10 more years of cellaring. It is not a simple California Merlot, but had lots of character and elegance, almost big. It went very well with the food without competing. I would buy again and stash away a few bottles to open in a few years.

So I came away from the evening enjoying both "styles" as each has its place and audience without a need for the rhetoric of "real" wines and "spoofalation" and personal attacks. I think its great that we have so many choice. So many wines, so little time!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Winery Blog - Kinkead Ridge

I would like to welcome the newest winery blog. This should make for interesting reading as anyone can grow vinifera in California or Oregon or New Zealand, but how about Ohio. You can read about the trials and tribulations (and successes!) of making estate wine on the banks of the Ohio River in Ripley. Believe it or not!

Hundred Acre Gold

2004 (?) Hundred Acre Gold ($27) -- Every week I taste through about 50 plus wines as the wine reps come and go, and occassionally I will visit a trade show and power through 30 plus wines in an afternoon (spitting of course!), and not much stops me in my tracks. Oh, I have been overwhelmed by a great wine, and a few great bargains that taste twice or three times their price, but not many wines demand that I stop what I am doing and jump on the Internet to tell a story.

First thing you notice is the gold lettering on the clear bottle. I tried to find a picture but all the bottle shots are different than the wine I tasted today. There is no info on the company site as there is no company site that I could find. (The future site of Gold Wine is coming soon!) Next you notice is that there are gold flakes floating IN the bottle. 24K Gold! I am a trusting soul so I assume it is OK to drink them. Good thing they didn't call their new wine "Lead"!

I couldn't find a vintage date although it was bottled in 2005. And there is some confusion as to whether this is Barossa juice shipped to Napa and bottled, or if it a new release of Napa juice. I am told it is a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewurztraminer with no oak or malo. It has full fruit flavors, maybe be slightly off-dry with good balance and medium finish and a full mouth feel. I did like it, plus the novelty of the gold, and the packaging and the Hundred Acre name, so I am in for 1 case. I heard it is big in the "clubs" in Vegas and the Playboy Mansion, so I figure it will really fly out of here to Indian Hill and Hyde Park, particularly if the High Schoolers find out about it! Just kidding!

There is a 2003 article from about the winemaker Philippe Melka and I still have 2 three-packs of the 2002 Cab if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wine Blogging Wednesday #17

For the 17th version of Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by John at "Corkdork" , the theme is "Red Kiwis". For the wrap-up of all the entries visit his site in a few days.

As I was out last week and didn't have time to press the wine reps for Red Wines from New Zealand, I ventured to a local wine store and hung out in the New Zealand section, which was actually not a section, but some shelf space between Australia and Italy. I wanted to find some Pinot from Central Otago as I had learned from WBW #14 that it is THE new hot spot for Pinot. I mostly found Sauvignon Blancs and a few Reds. (Of interest, I did find a 2000 Stonyridge Blend for $80.) Beside that, I found a 1998 Mills Reef Cab/Merlot, a 2004 Kim Crawford PN and a 2003 Tohu PN.

I passed on the Stonyridge for now, due to budget contraints and concern on storage conditions as I had recently bought an off bottle of 2000 Altos Luzon at this store. As it turns out my choice, 2003 Tohu Pinot Noir was oxidized from a bad cork! But the shop owner easily replaced the bad bottle with a new one with no questions asked. (I saw two other "bad" bottles -- not Tohu's -- next to the register awaiting return to the distributor!)

2003 Tohu Pinot Noir, Marlborough ($20) -- NZ. I can't tell you how the wine fared with dinner last night as the first bottle was oxidized, but the 2003 Vina Borja, Campo de Borja Grenache for $6 was great with the grilled chicken and pesto pasta. What a great $6 wine. Two Buck What?! Don't get me going!

First off for $20 I expect a very good wine as there are many good/drinkable $15 Pinot's. The Tohu is very good with not a big nose, smooth full fruits and ample finish. It is balanced with enough acid to pair well with foods, but also very pleasant on its own. It is almost elegant in a Burgundian way yet with plenty of fruit. I would not back up the truck to buy cases of this wine as a screaming deal, but would certainly recommend.

Once again, I have been impressed by the Pinot's from New Zealand.

PS: Beau at Basic Juice reviewed the 2004 Tohu in November.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some Doghouse

I wish when I was in the doghouse I could look so relaxed!

Furror in the Food Blogsphere

And I thought the Wine Blog world was tough what with trademark infringement issues, and lack of Blogger support, but the Foodies are all riled up over some chef who sent a Food Blogger a cease and desist letter because he took some photos of his meal and posted a review. Not a good move for the chef and the restaurant, Buck's Fishing and Camping in Washington DC. It does bring up possible issues with wine reviews by Wine Bloggers. Imagine getting a cease and desist because some Winery doesn't like your write up. Very interesting!

On the other hand, they might like the positive exposure as in this story about Stormhoek.

Thanks to Beau at Basic Juice for the report!

(PS: Jason at D.C. Foodies has pulled the post due to all the fuss after he posted the letter he got from the restaurant's attorney. I can understand his rational in protecting the innocent, but I thought that it was a good example of the new reality of bloggers and their impact. I am not sure what I would have done in his place.)

Google Blogger Support

I just got this email in response to a question I had in November. November!

Hi there,

Thanks for your note. This is an automated update from Blogger Support.

Due to the tremendous amount of help requests from users, we're currently unable to offer timely, personal assistance to everyone.

If you are still having trouble with your issue, please search or browse Blogger Help to find answers to many common questions:

Note that widespread operational problems, if they occur, will be addressed on our Status page to keep you updated:

Thanks for your understanding and continued patience.

Blogger Support

Patience! What, you think I've been sitting here for 45 days holding my breath waiting for your response. What's amazing is that I haven't moved over to .

Have a nice day!