Friday, April 18, 2014

2014 Colorado Governor's Cup results

Two weekends ago, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB, and for which I work part-time) held the Governor’s Cup Colorado Wine Competition. This year was the fourth incarnation of the largest, and most prestigious, statewide commercial wine competition (actually the First Lady's Choice was awarded the first year because the Governor had not given consent to use the title). The 2014 Governor’s Cup was awarded to Canyon Wind Cellars’ 2012 Petit Verdot from the Grand Valley AVA. The past two years saw cabernet franc coming out on top, but even before this result I was starting to think that petit verdot might be the best cultivar for Colorado producers. This year also marks the inaugural "Governor's Cup Case." Modeled after the Virginia Governor's Cup Case, the top twelve wines will be the wines that the CWIDB use for the next 12 months for its marketing and educational endeavors.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dr. Oldman channels Oprah to expose a doping scandal that will rock the wine world...

After his surprising Boxing Day interview, Dr. Harry Oldman thought that today would be the perfect day to share his next interview with us.

I had so much fun with my interview with my anonymous wine critic friend (though I hope the interview wasn't the real reason he is no longer a critic...), that I thought I'd try my hand again at asking another famous wine personality some tough questions. Bobby P and I go all the way back to his early days as the world's first blogger, a camp which I too have fallen into. Together, Bob and I would take on the heathens of the wine world on Prodigy's Wine Forum. It had been some time since we last talked, but I've long defended him from the many sheep of the Interwebs. When Bob agreed to sit down with me I decided that I had better improve my interview skills, so I watched countless hours of the best interviewer I could think of: Oprah. I've followed Oprah from her very start on AM Chicago, but spending a week straight of watching reruns gave me all the insight I'd need to make this a newsworthy interview sure to cause a ripple in the space-time-wine-blogger continuum. One day, I am sure that this interview will be as talked about as any interview Oprah did with Tom Cruise, Lance Armstrong or Lindsay Lohan. Make sure that you are sitting, because what I'm about to share with you will knock your tastevins off!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Variety's the very spice of life

                               The Sycophant
Who waits to dress us arbitrates their date;
Surveys his reversion with keen eye;
Finds one ill made, another obsolete,
This fits not nicely, that is ill conceived;
And making prize of all that he condemns,
With our expenditure defrays his own.
Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour.
     -William Cowper, The Task (1785)--'The Timepiece' (Book II, lines 599-607)

Wine is an immensely diverse product. Flavors and aromas vary widely depending on grape cultivars, places of origin and wine styles. Wine quality and price is as diverse as the number of SKUs available on the retail shelf. The wine world is a wide world of variety - and that is a good thing. Wine's diversity, and those who cheer it on, should not be discredited as being "a losing path." Wine does not fit nicely into some Platonic universal. Every person tastes wine differently and every person has an idea of what Wine should taste like. Some people like big, bold wines while others prefer light, delicate wines. Some drink only red wines, whereas others only drink white wines. Some only drink wines from a specific place, others explore the vast universe of fermented grape juice. Being able to choose to drink a wine from the United States of America, France, Italy or any other country is something that should be celebrated. Being able to choose from a variety of styles not expected from a specific place is also something that should be celebrated. Pleasure seeking through wine should also be celebrated, but so too should the idea that wine can offer more than just a party in your mouth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tasting Turley Through Haiku

Last week, Christina Turley was in Colorado to lead a series of seminars showcasing a handful of Turley Wine Cellars' new releases. I've met Turley's winemaker Tegan Passalacqua and tasted a handful of their wines before, but this was the first time I was able to taste eight Turley wines at the same time. And yet, this tasting was just a glimpse of what Turley offers.
Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley after he sold his portion of Frog's Leap Winery to his business partner John Williams. Turley wanted to focus on zinfandel and petite sirah (though Turley spells it as petite syrah). After Larry's sister's, Helen, short stint as winemaker in the early years, Ehren Jordan held the reigns as winemaker for almost two decades. Tegan Passalacqua (who also is the co-founder of the Historic Vineyard Society and about to release his own wine brand, Sandlands, in the coming weeks) took over the title of winemaker in 2013, though for all practical purposes Passalacqua was the man at the helm since 2006. Turley now produces 34 wines from 38 vineyards across the entire state of California. In addition to this army of old-vine zinfandel and petite sirah, Christina Turley was instrumental in convincing her father, despite his less-than-delightful characterization of the variety and its fans in the past, to add a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon to the stable."The Label" is marketed as an independent project and is meant to be a contemporary take on the classic Napa Valley cabernets from the past.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dr. Oldman on the Wine Writers Symposium

I was in Napa Valley two weeks ago for Premiere Napa Valley, but I was unable to attend the Wine Writers Symposium. Others have written a few accounts of what transpired during the workshops and sessions at the secluded Meadowood Napa Valley resort and spa. With not being there, I find it interesting to hear about the fun and informative events attended by a whole host of wine writers. I think it is pretty cool that simple bloggers, or people new to the world of wine writing, can hang out with established writers from Food & Wine, Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast as well as columnists from the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal. My extern, Dr. Harry Oldman, was disappointed that I was not going to chime in on an event that I did not attend, so he asked if he could. I know I shouldn't let him post anymore, but he can be very persuasive...

Friday, February 28, 2014

A few more thoughts on Premiere Napa Valley

Just as with last year, I want to write about a few specific thoughts on Premiere Napa Valley in a bit more detail than my initial post.
Premiere Napa Valley 2014 Auction

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Initial comments on Premiere Napa Valley 2014

As usual, the weather in Napa this past weekend was almost perfect and the results from the 18th annual Premiere Napa Valley wine auction shattered the previous record. Seventy three bidders spent more than three hours purchasing 225 different lots of wine for a total of $5.9 million. That total was almost as much as the two previous auctions (now the second and third largest results) combined! The most expensive lot was a 60-bottle lot collaboration from Scarecrow that brought in an astounding $260,000. That lot was more than double the previous record for a single lot and comes to $4,333 per bottle. What makes this even more mind-blowing is that more than a dozen other lots sold for less than $10,000, including a few that sold for just $5,000 total. That's almost the price for just one bottle of the Scarecrow! Other six-digit lots included Schrader Cellars' 2012 Double Diamond Rocky's Row,  Shafer Vineyards' 2012 Sunspot Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and ZD Wines' Non-Vintage Petit Abacus all selling for $100,000 for five cases.