Archive for June, 2010

We Went to a Bordeaux Tasting and a Gruner Veltliner Broke Out!

Jarred Gild

There was a sports-related saying back in the day that went something like this: “I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out.” This of course refers to activities that are no longer nearly as prevalent in the game as they once were, but be that as it may, Kim and I recently attended what might be considered the oenological equivalent of that old statement. Our buddies Jarred Gild (@jarred_) and Dawn Astrop invited some fellow Twitter-types over to sample and survey a selection of late model, mid-priced Bordeaux, which of course, we were only too happy to join in on. There were a number of local hipsters in attendance, people with names like @HerrBrain, @simmer_down, @perfectlaughtr and @amberto, not to mention our old friend and colleague, Putnam Weekley. Jarred fired up the grill and served up a variety of all natural, grass fed organic meats from C. Roy Meats that paired perfectly with the wines. The Bordeaux selections ranged from good to very good, but nothing among their number really stood out. The true star of this show was a plainly labeled Austrian Gruner Veltliner in a green 1 Liter bottle enclosed with a bottle cap. I had been very much impressed with the 2008 version of this wine when I tried it last summer, and this one is every bit as good, if not better. Read the rest of this entry »

Alan Kerr’s June 26th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

It will soon be time to celebrate Canada Day and the good old LCBO has come to our aid by putting a few solid domestic wines from coast to coast onto the shelves this Saturday. The rest of the release feature is “party wines”, an array of global wines the board considers suitable to bring to a wide range of social events and celebrations. Congratulations to England and the USA for making it into the final sixteen of the World Cup. I of course am elated as my Italian friends are crying in their Chianti. It has been am interesting tournament for sure. Read the rest of this entry »

A Morning At Tablas Creek

Jason Haas

The idea of producing wines from Rhone grape varieties in California was by no means new when Tablas Creek released their initial offerings more than 10 years ago. People like Steve Edmunds and Randall Grahm, to name only two, had already been doing so for years before that, but one had to think that something good would result from a collaboration between the Haas and Perrin families, given their many years of involvement in the wine trade and production. To be honest, I didn’t much care for what I tasted from that inaugural 1997 vintage, but they got it right very soon after that, and by the time I first met Tablas Creek General Manager Jason Haas in the fall of 2006, they were hitting on all cylinders. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Michigan Pinots of the Pale Persuasion

George Heritier and Rhonda Riebow, sales director at Chateau Grand Traverse - Click to enlarge

Riesling may be king on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula, but the more wines that we taste from that neck of the woods, the more inescapable becomes the conclusion that some really good white Pinot varieties are being produced there as well. This was brought home to me again on three different occasions recently, including the Michigan Food and Wine Showcase, a visit to Left Foot Charley in Traverse City and the latest MichiganByTheBottle Tweet & Taste Michigan. I had thought at first to focus only on the three Pinot Grigios noted in this report, but, happily, a couple of other little numbers showed up and I thought, “Why not?”

While attending the aforementioned Michigan Food and Wine Showcase, I happened upon my friend Rhonda Riebow, sales director at Chateau Grand Traverse, who poured me a taste of the latest releases of both their Pinot Grigio and Ship of Fools White Table Wine. I was mucho impressed with both, but wasn’t taking notes that day, which is unfortunate, because the PG would have been perfect for inclusion in this report, and I haven’t run into any since. I DID get to retaste Ship of Fools as part of the June Tweet & Taste, a wine which Vice President of Trade Relations and Specialty Winemaker Sean O’Keefe refers to as “my reverse engineered Sauv Blanc.” This wine is always welcome at Gang Central, as we’ve enjoyed several vintages previously; the last one we reviewed, the 2006, was a blend of Pinots Blanc and Gris, along with Chardonnay. The Chardonnay has been replaced by Pinot Noir in the current model, and it’s very tasty indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Alan Kerr’s June 12th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

In celebration of FIFA’s world cup held in South Africa this year, Vintages feature focus showcases several wines of the home team’s country. Unfortunately none of these wines will match the excitement generated by this amazing event. There are some good wines, but none truly shine. England plays the USA on the same day, June 12th that these wines appear on the shelves. Personally, I am not sure yet which wine I will buy to celebrate England’s win, but there are several beauties to chose from including a delicious Zinfandel from Renwood that might fit the bill. Read the rest of this entry »

John Olney, Ridge Lytton Springs

Ridge Lytton Springs ~ April 27, 2010

Ridge VP and Winemaker, John Olney

During our first visit to California wine country back in 1997, our very first stop was (quite appropriately, given our love for all things Ridge) the Ridge Lytton Springs facility, which was then still housed in the old Lytton Springs Winery building.  In 1999, a new eco-friendly facility was built, and Kim and I had yet to visit the place, although we read Allan Bree’s report about it in his impressive “Homage Lytton Springs” some years back.  So, upon our recent return to Sonapanoma for the first time in eight years, we thought it quite fitting that our first site visit should be at the “new” Lytton Springs winery, and, as previously reported, arrangements were made to do so with the help of our friend Christina Donley. Read the rest of this entry »

Ridge’s Jimsomare—The “Other” Monte Bello

Jimsomare's Gate - Click to enlarge

Last week I had the rare opportunity to attend a tasting of two verticals from Ridge’s famed, but elusive, Jimsomare Vineyard.  One of three Ridge vineyards on Monte Bello ridge, Jimsomare has been the source of outstanding Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon from Ridge’s beginning.  It also has Ridge’s plantings of Chardonnay.  Ridge, of course, is so well known to Gang-ites (or is it Gangsters?) that I’m not going to waste precious e-space going into the long and storied history of Ridge.  And although Ridge’s Jimsomare Vineyard may be less well-known than some others, since it gets only limited distribution from the winery, and occasionally in Ridge’s now-defunct Cabernet Program and still-thriving ATP, it is well-known and loved by the Gang.  In fact, Allan Bree reported on a similar Jimsomare tasting way back when in 1999.  So let’s get to it! Read the rest of this entry »

Three 2008 Loire Whites

Click image to enlarge.

The more we drink the wines from France’s Loire Valley, be they red, white, pink or bubbly, the more we like them and the more we WANT to drink them. Despite the diversity of regions (there are 87 appellations and sub-appellations), there is usually a common thread that runs through them, and, at least for us, it’s based on the minerality that almost all seem to show. Our friends at Vineyard Brands sent us three samples for review recently, and each showed varying degrees of that stony quality that we’ve come to crave when we pour ourselves a glass of wine. We started out with a specimen of unlikely, but not-unheard-of, Loire Chardonnay. Read the rest of this entry »

Tweet & Taste on June 7th with Old Mission Peninsula Wineries

MichiganByTheBottle’s June Tweet & Taste Michigan event will be held on Monday, June 7th at 8 p.m. EST, and will feature seven wines from one of Michigan’s most prolific wine producing appellations, the Old Mission Peninsula. Selections to be tasted include 2 Lads 2009 Pinot Grigio, Black Star Farms Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine, Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2006 2896 Langley (Meritage), Chateau Chantal 2009 Pinot Grigio, Chateau Grand Traverse 2008 Ship of Fools, Brys Estate 2007 Signature Red and Peninsula Cellars 2006 Gewurztraminer. Kim and I may even throw an OMP Riesling into the mix as well… Read the rest of this entry »

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