WBW 76: Barossa Boomerang

Schild Estate Barossa ShirazNot too long ago I drank quite a bit of Australian wine, particularly Shiraz. Given that this grape, also known as Syrah, expresses greatness in the Barossa Valley I could not pass an opportunity to revisit this region for this months’ Wine Blogging Wednesday. Our host, Adam from Wine Zag, proposed we look for any wine from Australia’s Barossa Valley but for me only Shiraz would do, much the same way only Cabernet would do for Napa Valley. One other limitation was to choose a wine for $30 USD or less. I’m well aquatinted with great values from Barossa but have not tasted any lately so I was a little concerned as I entered my local wine store to explore the options available this week.

The main reason for my exile from Barossa and most of the wines of Australia of late has been value. There are many great wines made in Australia but far fewer under $30 than in the past. at least it seems to me. Some of this is due to shipping costs;

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Francesco Rinaldi, dolcetto d’Alba, Roussot, 2010

rinaldi dolcetto

Dolcetto, which means either “sweet-ish” or “the one you drink while your Baroli are aging,” is rarely in better hands than it is with the traditional producer Francesco Rinaldi. Many dolcetti have course tannins but this “Roussot” 2010 has a seductive roundness to it, offsetting the notes of gentle bitterness and dark fruit.

I give it my highest rating: I’d buy a whole case of this wine. And, at only $15 a bottle, that’s actually within the realm of the possible.

Search for this wine at retail

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Nondrinkers are terrible presidents. Discuss.

RonaldReagan wine Timothy Egan has a piece up on the Opinionator column of the NYT with a provocative thesis on the correlation between teetotalism and presidential leadership: “The nondrinkers, at least over the last century or so, were terrible presidents.” Our country has a history of both binging on alcohol and abstaining so it is in an interesting lens for looking at leadership. However, it’s not perfect since Nixon liked wine but his presidency undeniably ended in disgrace and even Herbert Hoover apparently once had a large wine cellar.

But in gazing at the drink preference of Mt. Rushmore’s faces, George Washington liked Madeira and became a whiskey distiller after leaving office, Jefferson, of course, was the best friend wine geeks ever had in the White House, Lincoln once had a liquor retail license and later owned a tavern and Teddy Roosevelt apparently had a nightcap from time to time.

Clearly defining good and bad presidencies skates a little close to partisan coloring for this blog. But Lincoln had a good perspective: “The problem with alcohol, he said, was not that it was a bad thing, but a good thing abused by

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La Presse: SAQ paid Suckling $24,000 for reviews

james suckling1 SAQ, the state-owned wine entity that has a monopoly on wine retail in Quebec, paid wine critic James Suckling $24,000 last year. Suckling and SAQ had both denied any financial relationship.

La Presse reports in their online edition that they obtained documents through freedom of information law. The documents reveal that the SAQ paid Suckling $18,000 directly and bought 119 subscriptions totaling $5,950 to his website, which offers wine reviews to members only.

Suckling, the former Wine Spectator critic and European bureau chief, went to Montreal in early 2011 to taste wines and produce tasting notes that would appear both on his website and on that of the SAQ, he wrote at the time. La Presse reports that when Suckling was in Montreal the SAQ had stated “Mr. Suckling was not compensated to do the tastings.” Suckling, for his part, had blogged, “There is no financial relationship. It’s a sharing of information and contacts.” The documents obtained by La Presse state that Suckling was paid for “the tasting and scoring of products, the production, the creation, and putting the brief videos live.”

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Chateau Latour to halt futures – what do you think??

onion what do you think Chateau Latour to halt en primeur

After the 2011 vintage Chateau Latour, owned by billionaire Francois Pinault, will not pre-sell their wine as futures. What do you think?

“That’s great. It’s good to see a billionaire doing the right thing for a change by not ripping off millionaires. Also, Salma Hayek is hot.”
-Mandy Street, Occupier

“I’m disappointed. Now when I boast on eBob that I bought all the (98-100)-point wines before the scores come out, it won’t include Latour.”
-Mark S. Quire, Systems Analyst

“Is Chateau Latour the one with the kangaroo on it?”
-Bruce Babcock, undergrad

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Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley


The Award-Winning Wine:
Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Reason for Reviewing:
Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, won a Best of Class award at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Noteworthy:
Fritz Underground Winery is built into the side of a picturesque hill atop the northernmost region of the famed Dry Creek Valley.

Winery Notes:
Burgundy in color, this Pinot Noir offers aromas of black fruit and tobacco. With balanced acidity and rich texture, this wine is full of cherry and rhubarb flavors with savory spices and finishes with elegant, lingering tannins.

AlaWine Notes:
On pouring, Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir is medium ruby in color. A bountiful bouquet of dark fruit, and a clove note, radiate to the nose. Ripe berry and dark cherry flavors prevail on the palate and persist through a long, dry finish with a leather highlight.

Bottom Line:
Fritz Winery 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, is a balanced wine with interesting layers of complementary complexities. Flavorful and elegant. Suggested retail price is

Article source: http://www.alawine.com/archives/04-01-2012_04-30-2012.html#748

Talking dirty: Rioja soil map

rioja soil map
Mosel winemakers love to talk about the blue slate of their soils. A discussion of Chablis couldn’t be had without mentioning Kimmeridgian. Coonawarra has its terra rossa and Rutherford has its dust. But what about the soil in Rioja?

rioja soil detail As Telmo Rodriguez recently discussed at length, to his lament, the Rioja winemaking process favors process over place. So as a companion to that post, here is a relatively little-known soil map that Don Manuel Ruiz Hernandez put together. (In a funny contrast to how some New World vineyard owners are obsessed with mapping vineyard soils, this one is from 1972, the blink of an eye geologically speaking, I guess.) It shows three types of soil: chalky clay soil (yellow); ferrous (or ferruginous) clay soil (maroon); and alluvial, silty soil. Describing the differences, he writes “the ones with the most moderate of yields, the Calcareous-Clay ones, are, thus, the lands from which the most special qualities is achieved.”

It’s hard to generalize since other factors, such as elevation and sun exposure,

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Wine LOLz from the Twitterverse

DrVino: Michel Rolland has an autobiography coming out? A magnum oakus, surely.

CraigCamp: hear the Oxygen network picked up the rights and will turn it into a micro-series
Wink Lorch: Bet it will appear late
OlivierLandry: A very ripe comment on your part, good sir. #RollandPuns …I think we’ve extracted everything we could out of this…

mostinterestingsommelier In meme action, consider #mostinterestingsommintheworld:
@WineauxDLynnP: He finished inventory at Berns in 40 minutes.

@JosiahBaldivino: He taught Jesus how to turn water into wine.

@DrVino: He doesn’t decant because sediment is afraid to come out of the bottle.

@alpanasingh: He is a She

@ganzer_wein: (s)he routinely sells wines for $5000 a pop from the DRC…democratic republic of Congo

@JeremySeysses: He decided not to have his own label.

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Telmo Rodriguez uncorks terroir in Rioja

telmo rodriguez
Telmo Rodriguez was in full cry when I met him in New York City recently. Although the 50-year-old “driving winemaker” studied enology in Bordeaux, worked a vintage at J.L. Chave in the Rhone, and for 25 years has made his own wines across Spain, what was on his mind when we spoke was Rioja:

“What do we know about Rioja? Just a few brands? Nobody wants to talk about site, or villages. Rioja is the next thing to discover. We don’t know Rioja. If you think you know Champagne and you only drink Moet et Chandon or Veuve Clicquot, you don’t know Champagne! You need to know the specific vineyards.”

Andre Tamers, who imports Rodriguez’ Remelluri wine, agrees: “This is the way that Spain has to move forward: away from brands and toward the land.”

Starting with the 2010 vintage, Rodriguez returned to make the wines at Remelluri, the 375-acre estate (with 250 acres planted to vines) that his father, Jaime, purchased in 1967. Although Telmo had been making the white, a field blend of nine varieties, he took over the estate’s tempranillo-based red too.

He told me the Rioja

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