Tag: wine geek

Fun in Napa Followed by Fears of the “Wine Police”

Last week I had an urban wine experience in the most unexpected of places: Napa. This was  my first trip to the Crusher District in Napa where I attended a tasting hosted by the Wine Foundry, a full service shop where you can make/sell/buy/custom label wine. Does anyone remember Crushpad? The Wine Foundry is seriously in the production business, offering its services to novices and established winemakers alike. And they know how to throw a good party complete with disco ball (a stroke of genius to add the perfect bit of whimsy)!

I had a good time and tasted wines ...

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HAPPY: On Bottling Bliss in Berkeley

On Tuesday I –the proverbial “not a morning person” — got up at 5:50 am to head to Berkeley to hit the bottling line at 8 am at Donkey & Goat winery in Berkeley, California. Much gratitude to nearby Philz coffee and Donut Dolly for helping me fuel up a little after 7 am. Without your great food and drink I might have fallen asleep into the machine and end up bottled myself. I arrived and saw the “On Site Mobile Wine Bottlers” truck on the lot – what a great service for small wineries. The taglines says it all: ...

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Battling with the Brix

The line-up of our gracious host, Campovida.

“Oh please, oh please, oh please.” That was the tagline to my Facebook post asking friends to join me at a Rhone wine tasting event last Saturday in Oakland at Campovida Wines. It worked! I had a tasting companion who made the event all the more enjoyable. This was a North Coast Rhone Rangers’ event – that’s a regional chapter of the national group Rhone Rangers, as you would imagine. And we tasted all that you would imagine at such an event: Syrah Grenache, Mouvedre, Viognier, etc. BTW, of the 22 traditional grape ...

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You Like It “Lean & Mean”? Ode to Old-School Pinot Noir.

One day a wine merchant said that it sounded like I preferred that “lean” style of Pinot Noir. Hmmm, I did not know that it came in a “fat” version at that time. Since then, I have learned about the modern clones that produce that cola-cherry flavor, which, quite frankly, does not taste like Pinot to me. I tried one recently and on the nose was stung by the strong scent of over-ripe fruit; to no surprise, my palate was not pleased when it met this Pinot – someone later extolled its virtues to me because they love how “big” ...

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SOMM Surprise: Shock the Wine Geek!

Lately, every time I disclose my wine side to someone new, I get this: “Have you seen the movie SOMM? You have got to see it.””

So after hearing the same promo a dozen times, it finally sunk in and I pulled up the movie on Netflix.

What unfolded was a fascinating tale about single-minded pursuit of a lofty and elusive: membership in the club that is the Masters Court of Sommeliers. To be one of the “few and the proud” of this mostly male club is to be one of only 219 in the entire world. Upon further research, ...

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Last week, I attended a workshop at Bay Grape in Oakland titled, “Napa Valley Terroir and the Evolution of Napa Style.” This event featured producers Jill Matthiasson of Matthiasson wines and Stuart Smith of Smith-Madrone wines who shared their stories. The common themes that threaded their story were challenging the norms, finding their own style, and committing to wines that do “have a sense of place.”

A few memorable takeaways/reminders:

  • In the 70s, Napa was hot but starting in the 80s it began to lose its way
  • Don’t let labels fool or mislead you
  • Wine should be fun and challenging

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