Articles from March 2010

Miner? I hardly know her.

Not to harp on (or dream about) it too much, but damn my FedEx delivery guy is hot. When I answered the door a few days ago he was standing there in his little shorts, blue eyes glinting, a cute smirk on his face. “You’re going to like this,” he says to me. Oh yes…I do already. “Looks great,” I said. I may have even giggled as I signed. And oh my, what a nice package…he delivered to my door. A box of wine from Miner Family Vineyards.

I was excited and He was too (but not so much about the hunky delivery guy). It had been a long time since I’ve tasted Miner wines and He never had but had heard me raving about the wines and their national sales guy, Jack, for a while.

I met Jack in Los Angeles in the late 90′s. He is an all around great guy, wine expert, and one of my favorite people. I’m not alone in this evaluation: everybody loves Jack. The bonus is that he works for an outstanding winery. Miner Family is a top notch producer in Oakville run by Dave and Emily Miner.

Before I lived in Napa Valley I would stay at Jack’s place in Yountville when I traveled up there for trade tastings. He actually played a huge part in my eventual moving to sweet Y-town. I was relocating up to the Bay Area and couldn’t decide where to live…and the temporary housing time was running out. I was sitting at the bar at Bouchon, sipping wine and munching on salmon rilettes, feeling happy but overwhelmed. A decision needed to be made. Suddenly, Jack appeared. He was eating in the dinning room. Great. A few moments later James Hall and Anne Moses of Patz and Hall came over to say hi. I love this place, I love these people. Yes, I decided right then: I’m moving to Yountville. (Bouchon became my neighborhood corner bar and over the subsequent eight plus years many, many glasses of wine and bloody mary’s were happily shared there with Jack and the other locals–I miss this place.)

The delivery day was a hot one (like the FedEx…well, you get the idea). I put the two Miner whites in the frig and We impatiently waited for them to chill. We ended up spending the gorgeous day toiling in the garden. By the end of the afternoon We were pleasantly exhausted, dirty and super thirsty. Hello Miner Family whites.

We opened a Viognier and Chardonnay. Delicious, just as I remembered. I took my glass of chard (and what was left of the bottle) to the bathroom and drew a hot bath. The perfect end to a lovely (and stimulating) day.

Viognier, Simpson Vineyard, Miner 2008 (sample, retails $20)

She said: Bright, shiny golden yellow. In the nose the wine is distinctly viognier. There is lots of lush tropical fruit and peach blossoms. The palate is rich and full with a kind of saltiness in the finish. Plush, perfumey, soapy, and floral. The wine is very ripe, but the acid and minerality keeps it all in balance. Truly lovely.

He said: Bright yellow. Tropical fruits and flowery on the nose. I think viognier is one of the wines that I can, with some certainty, identify by the nose. There is also a little sting in the nose that I associate with viognier. I should note: I almost always dislike this varietal. In the mouth there is orange, and pineapple, which were also on the nose. There is also a definite mouthfeel that I associate with both of these fruits. I have to admit that I read “honeysuckle” on the label (which in our tasting ritual is kind of cheating) but, yes, there is definitely honeysuckle all over this wine. This is the best viognier I have had yet.

Chardonnay, Napa Valley, Miner 2008 (sample, retails $30)

She said: Okay, my notes got wet in the tub. It was splashy. But my palate remembers a fresh acidity, to compliment the ripe melon, apple, and toasty oak. Some almonds and peach flavors, a hint of spice (from the oak?). A silky mouthfeel that lingers and lingers. Rich, complex, and wonderful. The perfect “relaxing” in the bath-tub wine.

He said: So just maybe We were in the tub together. I actually don’t remember anything except for “whoa, this is good” which describes both the wine and a bubble-bath with the person you love. I think Steve McQueen enjoyed it too. Go somewhere else for specific tasting notes, but I will say simply, this was good.

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Wine Web Wednesdays: Fermentation Emancipation

We had not thought (or cared) much about wine shipping laws until We began United Slurps of America. Now we realize it could be a huge thorn in the side of our project. Neither of Us are law experts, but I assume this law is in place to “protect” those under 21; or an outdated holdover law from the days of prohibition. But common sense says that this is stifling small winemakers in states with tougher shipping laws. And really, just require a damn signature and ID to accept the shipment. Isn’t it just that easy? Our conversation went something like this:

She said: Frankly, I don’t think teenagers are searching out obscure varietals from small artisan wineries out of state to get fucked-up on.

He said: Right, that’s for us adults to do.

Here are some links to people who understand this issue a little bit better than Us.

Tom Wark’s Manifesto: It’s long, but read it. Really do.

Hungover Bureaucracy: “PA’s disgraceful liquor laws.” We actually had no problem with getting wine from PA.

Free The Grapes: Get involved, sign the petition.

Wine Without Borders: Really all the info you will ever need.

Bookmark This Link: If you decide you want to break any of these laws.

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Wines of Note: wowsa Washington

Unlike other states We’ve encountered (We’re talking about you: Florida and South Dakota), when We were searching for wine for the United Slurps of America: Washington edition there was no shortage of appealing bottles to be found locally here in Hollywood. So much so, that She bought five different wines even though We had arranged with DrinkNectar.com to taste only two. Impulse buys.

While at the time the big purchase seemed excessive (although there was never a doubt the wine would go to waste, duh) We’re both happy to have had the extra bottles to taste, especially in light of our only so-so reviews for USA: WA.

We knew the state could shine and these two examples did just that. Right on, Washington.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Fidélita 2006 ($21.99)

She said: Deep, nearly opaque garnet. Licorice, baker’s cocoa, sandalwood, and deep berry fruit in the nose. Luscious, velvety mouthfeel. Flavors of dark cherry, licorice, cocoa, hint of tar and black olive. Very ripe, but maintains its balance by remaining both bright and earthy. Truly delicious and elegant. I love it–very sexy stuff. And for $21.99 it feels like a bargain–watch out premier Napa cabs.

He said: Opaque and Kevin Garnet. Licorice, dark fruit and something minty in the nose. So creamy and good in the mouth. Dark cherry and licorice. Really, really like it and will buy more of this.

Subplot No.23, Columbia Valley, Bookwalter Winery NV ($13.99)

She said: Deep garnet with a translucent edge. On the nose: red currants, some brambly earthiness. Also reminds me of a warm Dr. Pepper– a kind of cola/spice blend of sweetness. The wine has really nice acidity, making it fresh and bright. Dried flowers (not rose, but maybe violet and lavender) candied cherries, unripe plums–the flavors are fruity and lively. On the finish there is lingering cocoa powder, giving it great texture and flavor. Very enjoyable, not overly serious. With it’s nice acidity imagine it as a great food wine–from pizza to bbq. Another nice deal too.

He said: This one is more Paul Pierce than Garnet. Dirty, in a good way, on the nose, with some spice. I was thinking “cola” and just read that She said “Dr. Pepper” and I couldn’t agree more. Flavors of plum and prune. A nice acidic finish. I really like this one too, and for $13.99 it’s a steal.

We said: As an aside: Great packaging. Both bottles are one of the few that We don’t immediately want to re-design. (We’re designers, our eyes can’t help themselves.) Coincidentally they have similar color palettes and feature a circle on the front label–maybe We were in sunny mood that day.

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United Slurps of America: Washington

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? For 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America.

We find it extremely apropos that the motto for this week’s featured state is “Alki.” Yes, the state of Washington likes it’s alcohol, especially wine. Okay, okay…”Alki” is Chinook for “by and by” but it is still appropriate; only in the last fifty years or so has Washington been producing serious wine, but the future of the state’s wine industry appears limitless. According to our guest blogger Josh Wade, of the terrific blog DRINKnectar.com, “before long” the wines from Washington will be tantalizing all wine lover’s palates.

Now, on to the reviews: a red and a white from Washington. (If only there was a blue wine…it’d fit our theme so well.)

Merlot, “The Velvet Devil,” Charles Smith Winery, 2007 ($11.99)

She said: Purpley ruby, translucent around the edges. Smells like a cherry Coke burnt over a cedar campfire. With tobacco leaves thrown in. I’m guessing there is some American oak involved. Not much flavor up front on the palate, but the finish is forever and velvety…too bad the muddy flavors and harsh bite get in the way. Some cocoa and stewed plums, but mostly tastes like a goopy, dark mess with over ripe tannin and weak structure.

He said: Not as dark as a typical Merlot. Dark fruit and an underlying funk on the nose. And some chocolate. What is that funk? It kinda smells like a meat product cooking on a campfire, not exactly a hot dog, but close. There is some funk in the mouth too. That scent I can’t really pinpoint keeps showing up. The flavors are intitally pretty weak, but there is a nice choco-cherry cola showing up. I just took a 10 minute break. Air helps this wine. The funk is mostly gone (or I’m used to it) and it’s drinking nicely. There are flavors and textures of that Bottle cap candy. I’m really starting to like it. I think I don’t dislike it as much as Her or like it as much as DN; I’m right in the middle. I will finish the bottle.

DRINKnectar said: Let me just start by saying Merlot is making a comeback in a big way. Don’t forget to participate in #WAMerlot on March 25!  Mildly translucent with ruby red undertones. I started to get a whiff of the wine when I was pouring. Immediately hit by dark chocolate and oaky cherries. I would imagine this would be the aroma an Umpa Lumpa would smell in the chocolate river (if cherries were involved too). The sip is slightly thin on the front that opens up to a nice moderate fruit – still cherries. Definitely a chocolate covered cherry Merlot. The name is apropos in that the finish is very smooth. I think the devil is in the fact that the temptation is strong to finish the whole thing. The devil won. Think Elvis in a velvet leisure suit suckin’ on a chocolate covered cherry! Thank you, thank you very much!

Riesling, Columbia Valley, Seven Hills 2008 ($11.99)

She said: Pretty, pale straw yellow color. The wine smells like Hawaii on a spring morning: very floral and ripe. Also there is an undertone of petrol which can be quite attractive in Riesling. In the mouth it tastes like creamy lime yogurt and lychee syrup. There is plenty of acid and minerality which prevents the wine from being too cloying, but the sweetness and viscosity points to residual sugar. The finish is long and dry with lingering tropical fruit flavors. I wish it was more aggressive, but this is fine, easy drinking wine–not exceptional, but enjoyable. In fact, We enjoyed it with spicy fresh fish tacos that had lots of lime, jalapeno and cilantro–the wine mellowed the heat and made for a great pairing.

He said: Very pale with a watery perimeter. Citrus on the nose and a little apricot and a granny smith apple. In the mouth it’s candy. It’s sweet and a little unbalanced, there is a hole in the middle..and quite a short aftertaste. It makes me pucker a bit, like having a sweet-tart. To me this wine is sweet in 2 ways; both sugary and it’s a little too friendly. All that being said, it is refreshing and I will finish this bottle too (it may be a long night). Not great, but totally drinkable.

DRINKnectar said: Bright pale honey color. Viscosity seemed pretty thick on the swirl. I must start by saying I’m not a sweet wine fan, the swirl and the sniff had me thinking syrup was on the other end. The aroma was a nice citrus lime with good white plumeria undertones. Hesitantly I took the sip and was pleasantly surprised by the balance. Not an overly sweet Riesling (6 on a 10 pt scale) but had enough acidity to make it pleasing. Good tropical fruit flavors without a typical steeliness that comes with cheaper models. Not MY fave, but those who like sweet over dry would go gaga, (not Lady). Washington is making some killer Rieslings under $15 and while this doesn’t make my killer list, it’s a good solid effort.


2 down, 48 to go.

Summary

She said: I’m regretting We didn’t pick more standout wines for the WA edition of USA. I’ve really enjoyed the state’s offerings in the past, especially from DeLille Cellars, Chateau Ste. Michelle, L’Ecole No. 41, Woodward Canyon, and Andrew Will. These makers have consistently impressed me. Then again, there is a pretty large price point difference between most of what these wineries produce and the $11.99 (from K&L Wine Merchants, Hollywood) bottles We chose for the tasting. Luckily, We bought three others.

He said: I have had some really good wine from Washington. And, oh boy, have I had a bad one. I still have nightmares about that bottle of Hogue. But for the most part, I have enjoyed Washington wine, and plan to continue doing so.

We said: First off: it was a genuine treat to have Josh as our virtual tasting companion. He is a social networking genius (don’t take our word for it, follow him on Twitter and Facebook) and the most enthusiastic cheerleader for Washington wines (and coffee) that we’ve come across. Be sure to join him and hundreds of other wine tasters for the WAMerlot Twitter Tasting on March 25. And an aside, these wineries as well as many others we have reviewed do not provide bottle shots or logos (vector, pretty please) on their websites. Please reconsider and you will find our blog filled with images of your bottle and vector logos of your company with oh so crisp and clean lines. And, really, He has been working on a presentation for a lecture at SCI-Arc tomorrow and doesn’t have time to search the web or for Us to create them. Noted? Also, we love you. And. She appreciates the convenience of screwcaps, and He (ever the traditionalist, despite himself) is warming up to them.

Previously on USA: Pennsylvania

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Tomorrow…

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Weekly Hangover

At the end of (almost) every week He summarizes what He has learned. Or just rambles on about things he wants to write about that may or may not be directly related to His wine education or even wine.

First and foremost this week I learned that Pennsylvania makes some damn good wine.

Accolades make us feel good. Gosh darnit, people like us.

Architecture for Worms. I have designed a restaurant, a few houses, and currently working on a 10-acre park. But the prospective project that has me the most excited is designing a custom worm-composting bin. My worm guy told me that he has clients that would just love to have a custom worm bin–and would definitely pay for it. File under: Only in LA.

This part is only for super-rich people, those with an annual income less than $2 Million can skip to the next paragraph. She and I are also designing a super hi-tech wine-cellar-pod. It is awesome. It is digital. It does everything. We need investors. Our super-rich readers should send along qualifications and at least 16 references with last names I recognize.

United Slurps of America is underway. These fine bloggers from these fine states are (we hope) on board:

That leaves 39 states unaccounted for. If you want to join us, by all means contact us.

Some Laws are Meant to be Broken. The other sentence that I could potentially put in bold is “Welcome to our naiveté.” We thought of United Slurps of America the same way We think of most of Our ideas; over a glass of wine with one of us saying to the other, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…..?” These conversations hardly ever include anything as boring (or practical) as wine shipping laws. So far, so good. But supposedly Georgia is a bitch. She looked up the laws yesterday and tried to read them to me, and I got bored quickly as I do whenever I hear any legalese. What I’m saying is this: We need a mule to transport winedrugs from certain states to a certain state. If interested, We will supply (but not apply) the proper lubrication.

Moving up the Google ladder. Probably due to the previously mentioned accolades we have shot up to the top (almost) of search results for “wine blog” and “wine blogs.” Please don’t take this as self-horn-tooting, until last week we were buried deep on page 13 of the results somewhere between a parenting “whine blog” and something called a “Marvin Shanken.” Not that I even check things like this (hourly). Anyhow, toot toot.

I’m just sayin’. The 2010 Wine Blog Awards will be accepting nominations on April 1st. They have, ahem, added a new category: Best New Wine Blog.

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Field Trip Fridays: X to the Z

Some days everything just goes right. This is one of them. It all started at…

The Berrics
We had to swing by The Berrics (the most popular private skatepark in the world, and the most viewed website in skateboarding) to pick up Steve Berra for the LACC Luncheon. I have known Steve for 20 years and I worked with him at The Berrics for a couple of years. The growth of The Berrics has been outstanding and impressive. We are currently working on a few things together, and that’s why we are “honored guests” at the luncheon. Even if you have never skated, The Berrics website is quite entertaining and I would recommend that you check it out. I have to mention that Steve and I had a 3-hour meeting this week with a billionaire philanthropist with the last name Annenberg. It’s nice to meet billionaires.

LA Conservation Corps 2010 Luncheon Celebration (Los Angeles Historical Park, the old Cornfields)

Xzibit with some of the kids who were not exactly the under-priviledged ones.

As I mentioned above, I am working with Steve and the LACC on a couple of architectural projects. The LACC is a fantastic organization with truly ambitious and genuinely good goals. Today they were presenting scholarships to over 250 kids from tough backgrounds. 2 of the kids spoke, it was very moving, She cried.

We had been seated at a table right in front of the stage, and at the table was a well-dressed handsome man who introduced himself to us as Alvin “and this is my lady Crystal.” She, Steve & I all picked up the catalog in front of us that listed the speakers and the schedule. At separate moments, both She and Steve leaned over to me and pointed at the name “Xzibit.” My only thought was, “Cool, Xzibit is here.” I can almost guarantee that I am a bigger fan of Xzibit’s music than either She or Steve, but it took me another five minutes to realize that Alvin was Xzibit. Then there was a funny exchange:

Steve: So you have to get up on stage, huh?

Alvin (Xzibit): Yeah but I ain’t gonna rhyme.

Me: Not even a little What You See is What You Get?

Xzibit (Alvin): Nah, and no Bitch, Please either.

Then he got on stage and the first thing he said was, “I’m not gonna fix your cars.” The kids loved him. He was excellent and funny and charming and sincere. He wasn’t there trying to push or sell anything. It seemed that he was doing it strictly because he believes in what the LACC is doing for these kids. And it was his third year presenting the scholarships. Xzibit is very nice and I really like him.

Lunch was served in an LACC nylon lunch bag and We had turkey sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad and water as City Council President (and rising political star) Eric Garcetti spoke. Wow, he’s awesome. I really like him too.

The Gorbals
After our inspiring lunch We were in the mood for a glass of wine. Since We were downtown We decided to pop in and see our friend Ilan at The Gorbals. I designed the space and like to check in every now and then to see how it is holding up, and I really love seeing people seated on the stools I built with my hands. Ilan wasn’t there, so I called him and he said (in that very frazzled Ilan way), “I’m not there. I don’t have time. I am working on something time-sensitive. OK, I’ll come by for 2 minutes and say hello and give you a kiss.” That is actually how a lot of my conversations with Ilan go. We each had a glass of a Pine Ridge Viognier / Chenin Blanc blend. Ilan came by and said hello, and I learned that the time-sensitive “thing” was that he had to move a giant TV before his girlfriend got home from the airport and got mad at him. I love Ilan, but I am happy to report that he did not, in fact, kiss me (though he did kiss Her). The wine was light, lovely and refreshing.

K&L Wine Merchants
I haven’t been to K&L in a long time, which was long before I knew anything about wine. Today, it felt like I was at Disneyland (that is, if I actually liked Disneyland). Maybe I should restate that last sentence: Today it felt like I was at, umm, a Lakers game. Aisles and aisles of bottles. Oh, look, some Txakoli. We have to get a bottle of that. We were there to pick up wine for our United Slurps of America: Washington post that will go up this coming Monday, but left with those 5 bottles, a Txakoli, a Madeira, a bottle of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, and 4 bottles each of Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon and Tonic Water. And I almost bought a hat because my hair is getting kinda long. Any wine shop that has shopping carts is OK by me.

Later She checked her history online and informed me over the past dozen years she has spent something like $50,000 at K&L. Whoa, darling.

Lou Winebar
We’ve already written about Lou in a previous Field Trip Friday. What can We say, We like the place. The service, food and wine are always top-notch. When We sit at the bar Lou almost always pours us a taste of some interesting wine that he is drinking from a region you wouldn’t expect to make good wine. I think last time it was Croatia. Tonight We sat at a table, She had duck, I had the Niman Ranch Ribeye. We shared Mac & Cheese (with Hook’s 10 year Cheddar, oh my), the charcuterie plate and olives and almonds. We drank 2008 Ribeira Sacra Vina do Burato; the medium bodied wine with flavors of pomegranate / cranberry and tart was a nice compliment to both of our meals.

When We got home, She Tweeted:

To which Lou replied:

I’m very surprised Lou knows of my Txakoli obsession. As much as I do love Txakoli, I hope Lou knows that in the He/She/Lou triumvirate, I am the one with the least wine knowledge. Either way, see you at Lou next week. And how does he know that She tweeted that and not me. Hmm…

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Hints on Wine Buying

I’m still obsessing over the stack of 1960′s wine pamphlets a friend gave Us last week. Reading the (often hilarious) recipes bring up fantasies of throwing boozy, Mad Men-like dinner parties wherein I don a sexy little apron over my curvy dress and heels and then get to work in the kitchen. Sipping bubbly as I stir the sauce for “Duckling in Burgundy.” (Yes…I just typed “sexy little apron.” Think Joan rather than Peggy– or even that stiff little Betty.)

Of course I love the look of the booklets as well. With their over saturated pictures, kitschy type and clipart, cheeky copy–really the designs are perfect.

Today I spent too much time reading and gawking at Wine is Fun, published by “the wine growers of California, acting through the Wine Advisory Board, San Francisco.” It’s an educational booklet “introducing to Americans the Wines of our country…the goodness of fermented juices from fresh ripe grapes…to be enjoyed without Wine Hokum.” The advice is simple and easy with an “everyman” kind of vibe. For example, when picking a wine for food don’t worry about what the experts say, “suit yourself!”

Nice idea, but do most people really suit themselves when pairing wine and food or do they tend to go for what is recommended? The page on buying wine got me thinking further about how I chose wine and if it differed dramatically from others.

I conducted a little informal poll on criteria when buying wine, in order of importance. The results:

1. price
2. recommendation
3. varietal
4. label aesthetic
5. producer or winemaker
6. region/food (tie)
7. ocassion/rosé (tie)

My own order is:

1. occasion (including weather)
2. grape
3. price
4. winemaker
5. region
6. recommendation/shelf talker
7. yes…the label. But more than anything a clever label makes me suspicious. Why are they trying so hard? Unless it’s SQN–because Manfred is an effing genius when it comes to wine and making art (amongst other things).

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United Slurps of America: Pennsylvania

Every state in the US produces wine. Why not taste them? In the next 50 weeks We will do just that…welcome to the United Slurps of America.

This week our eager palates travel to the state of “Virtue, Liberty and Independence:” Pennsylvania. For this premier edition of USA, wine blogger and Pennsylvanian 1 Wine Dude virtually tasted with us. Joe Roberts is a terrific, unique voice in the wine blog world and We are honored to have him join Us.

By way of background, last week a rather hunky UPS driver (what is it with the hot delivery guys in this neighborhood?) asked for Her signature for a box that looked suspiciously like wine. And to our delight, it was. Penns Woods Winery in Pennsylvania had shipped Us three bottles to taste, no strings attached. Fantastic. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch USA. We’re very grateful to receive samples from wineries (go ahead…ship them our way), but the feelings of joy for free booze also comes mixed with anxiety: what if We don’t like it? We pledge to always be honest in our reviews, but biting the hand that imbibes you seems harsh. Luckily for Us, We greatly enjoyed the two unique bottles reviewed below. Seek them out.

That said, let us begin:

Merlot, Reserve, Penns Woods 2005 (Pennsylvania, received as a sample, retails for $38)

She said: Very deep garnet, verging on opaque. In the nose strong wiffs of currants and blackberries with an earthy undertone. Extremely ripe and extracted fruit hits the palate immediately. Jammy stuff. There is a pleasant chalky texture, but more than any other sensation I get is lush fruit. Prefer less extraction and more structure in Merlot, but I am impressed that the wine does not get overwhelmed by the jamminess. As the bottle remained open the finish became increasingly Port-like. Very interesting wine. 

He said: Very, very dark in color. She says “garnet” and I don’t really know what She means. Kevin Garnet is quite dark, but it seems racist to describe wine that way, darling. Dark cherry, tobacco, cola, cedar and a lot of chocolate in my nose-piece. In the mouth there is a lot of fruit, but seems balanced nicely with the chalky tannins. More creamy chocolate and dark fruit flavors throughout. I am not normally a merlot drinker, but I definitely enjoyed this “big” wine. I would (and will) pair it with an American Spirit.

1WineDude said: Robust & full of dark fruits. Flirting dangerously close to over-extraction, but thoroughly enjoyable. The Merlot might blow your mind in terms of how ripe the fruit is, coming from the Right Coast.  This is because Gino Razzi (the winemaker) has spent a sh*tload of money on his small operation and equipment, and he has a horizontal fermentation vessel that can extract everything that the grapes have to offer in terms of fruit – I think you can literally dial-in the manner and depth of extraction on this machine.  Of course, you need to be careful that you don’t create an over-extracted Frankenwine Monster when you’re using that thing.

Chardonnay, Reserve, Penns Woods 2007 (Pennsylvania, received as a sample, retails for $33.50)

She said: Jumping to the bottom line: I loved this wine. It has a terrific balance of fruit/oak/acid with a deliciously long finish…a true delight. Now the specifics. Color is a pale yellow with golden hue. On the nose: apples, lemon curd, hint of wood. Great mouthfeel; very rich and full. The wine is obviously oaked, but the flavors do not overwhelm (not overburdened by butter, vanilla etc.). On the palate I taste pear and apple. There is a tangy creaminess which recalls brie and lemon curd. Some toasty notes and hazelnuts. In the finish I also sense crushed shells, but it is not a strong minerality. The finish lingers and lingers with a refreshing mix of acid and fruit (peach fuzz?). Fantastic. Where do I find it in LA?

He said: Pale gold-green in color, but as I have said before, I am colorblind so this part means almost nothing to me. Wow, very aromatic and smells damn good. Very crisp on the nose with honey and créme brûlée evident. Initial butterscotch in the mouth and very creamy, an excellent mouthfeel (a word I’m still uncomfortable with.) Getting a little something tangy, apple I think. I can taste and feel this in my entire mouth, which gives way to a long aftertaste with a nice acidity. It almost feels and tastes like a Bellini in the finish.I would drink this with anything in a cream sauce, but I would be more than happy just to drink it by itself. This wine is excellent.

1WineDude said: Vanilla, tropical fruit, VG acidity. Might be the best E. Coast Chard. I’ve EVER tasted. Period. I love what winemaker Gino Razzi is doing, and his `07 Chard made my Top 10 Most Interesting Wines of 2009 list because it’s the most balanced and nuanced white wine from the East Coast U.S. that I’ve ever tasted.  I’ve been following this one from its inception in stainless steel through barrel sampling and at multiple points after being bottled.  The amount of fruit that Gino has been able to coax out of these PA grapes is astonishing, and it was clear early on just how special this Chardonnay vintage was, and that the wine was capable of standing up to as much oak treatment as Gino was willing to give it.  It’s drinking beautifully now, a minor triumph really, and a new benchmark for PA and East Coast wines.

We Said: First of all, thank you to Jason Malumed of Penns Woods Winery, and Joe Roberts of 1WineDude for being involved for the premier edition of USA. Neither of US have ever tasted a Pennsylvanian wine, and it’s nice to get out of our oenological comfort zone; i.e. California and France. If We had to critique something about these wines, it would be the labels. We are both designers and can’t help but notice these things and how We would like to make them better (and, umm, We’re for hire).  Thankfully, the wine inside both bottles is terrific and that is what is really important.

In addition to the Merlot and Chardonnay, We also received a bottle featuring a grape neither one of Us had heard of: Traminette. We plan on tasting and reviewing it at a later date. 1WineDude gave us some insight as to what We may discover:

I tasted it while it was still fermenting in the tank and sitting on the lees (the wine, that is, not me!) and at the time Gino told me he was trying to make something simple and really fruity and refreshing.  Then, he ended up leaving on the lees so long that it gained this interesting creamy texture and more complexity.  I was like “Gino… if you were trying to make a simple wine, you failed spectacularly. This is one of most complex takes on Traminette I’ve ever tasted – you’re INCAPABLE of making a simple wine, man!!!”  We had a good laugh over that.

We’re intrigued. Will be opening the bottle sooner rather than later.

1 down, 49 to go.

We want United Slurps of America to be a collaborative project. Wineries or bloggers from states other than California who would like to be involved, contact us.

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United Slurps Of America

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