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19 October 2007

Old Wine Bloggers Never Die, They Just Write for the Gazette

For those who have been around the wine blog-o-sphere for a few years, the Caveman's blog was a gem.  Bill Z. offered world class wine knowledge with a down-to-earth attitude.  Like many blogs (this one included) the Caveman posted less regularly, and then poof!  it became frozen in time (kind of like Han Solo in Empire). 

Well, my pal Bill, the Caveman, is back and writing for the Montreal Gazette.  It's good to see his voice is being appreciated by those lucky folks in Quebec.

"It was my first evening back working the floor as a sommelier. I was invigorated after an exceptional week touring and tasting wine in France's Languedoc-Roussillon.
My second table that night was a couple from France, so I started going on and on about the place, even recommending to them one of my favourite wines from the region. They looked at me and said, "Yes, it's beautiful there, but we would never drink their wines."

Read the rest of the column here.

Good on ya Bill!


(Aww Bill you look like Big Parks!)

19 August 2007

Juice Crew Update

Bjuicecrew Robin, our most on-the-ball Juice Crew member reports on our evolving, 'mighty brick' (AKA Juice Crew Red).

"Hello All,

I finally got down to the new CP digs a few weeks ago to taste our barrel. I asked Kian to join me since he was at the blending fest and had a good sense of what we were sorta kinda looking for. I also got to take a sample home so I could let it sit in a glass for awhile to open up.

The wine is coming along nicely. It still needs more time, but it will be nice and drinkable. I was surprised how mature the fruit tasted, with a touch of licorice or fennel. At first I thought it tasted possibly overripe, prune-ish or oxydized, but I came back to it after an hour and it's like a top layer of alcohol had blown off it and it mellowed into a really pleasant wine. Not sure what that bodes for the finished product, but it's what I observed.

I thought with so much granache it would be far lighter and brighter, but the Eaglepoint grenache is so robust. It has some nice body and I don't think it needs any extra oak more than it's getting now from the Zebra barrel. It'll pick up a little more in the next 5-6 months before bottling, and that should be plenty for this wine.

So all and all, the blend has resulted in what we wanted - a rich rhone style wine with some backbone. The different varietals playing nicely in the sandbox. Great dark color, long sexy legs and built to party.

Beau tells me he's working on wine label design (editor's note: Yeah - any fancy-schmancy designers in the hizzouse?), which is the next major project.

Meanwhile, harvest is on the horizon and I'm wondering if I'll join in any barrels again this year. Let me know if you guys know of any good groups to join. I wanted to make a super-tuscan (Sangiovese with some Cab) but don't know if I can get enough interest for a barrel. Anyone here maybe interested?

Have a good one,

Thanks for the update Robin!  We're all excited about the prospect of our Mighty Brick evolving into a Mighty-tasty Brick.

17 August 2007

Basic Juice Top Ten

Topten_1 Yellow Tail wine's recent ad campaign displays this slogan: "Have you spotted it?"  Through a secret source, I have smuggled the top ten rejected ad slogans, out of YT HQ.  I think a few of these were definite winners..

From the Home Office in Beaver, Utah..

Top 10 Rejected Yellow Tail Wine Slogans

10. Plonk* 'R' Us

9. Yellow Tail - Because we gotta glut of wine, and you Yanks will drink anything with a cute critter on the bottle

8. Our label is in English

7. Throw a 'roo on the barbie

6. We sell most wine before its time

5. Cheaper than a gallon of gas

4. Now with Mega-Purple!

3. Not French, like what those lefty-liberal-tree-hugging-gay-hugging-readin-writin-feminazi-Prius-
drivin-wine-snob-commies drink!

2. Pairs exceptionally well with the McRib

1. A nutritious part of this healthy breakfast

*"Plonk" is also used in British English as slang for cheap, low-quality wine (from the French word "blanc" for white wine)

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04 March 2007

Moric Ist Da

Moric "Moric is Here."

Run, don't walk, to find these astoundingly unique wines by Roland Velich.

Last spring, I chatted with Roland and his brother Heinz.  My conversation and tasting of their wines wrought this little piece of wine writing:

Velich Seewinkel Wild

Near the southeastern shore of Lake Neusiedl lies a wine region called Seewinkel. As far as European winemaking locations go, it's a fairly wild place.  Seewinkel is dotted with numerous small lakes lying in alkaline depressions.  In fact, some of the lakes contain salty water, while others evaporate entirely during hot summer months.  Strong gusts of wind blow across low vegetation and wide open sky.  There are also herds of cattle dotting the landscape.  This ruminant, which has been herded in the region for centuries, looks like something along the lines of a longhorn-water buffalo hybrid.  This is the atypical landscape in which the Velich family produces some of Austria's best dry white and dessert wines.

Continue reading Velich Seewinkel Wild

03 December 2006

Last Call for the Juice Crew

Bjuicecrew_2 Attention fellow Basic Juicers!

The end of the year is fast approaching and our inaugural Juice Crew Red barrel still has a few lonely cases up for adoption.  If you've hemmed-n-hawed, or otherwise been a little reticent in committing to our Rhone blend, think about this: Crushpad will be featured in next week's Fortune magazine, and as such, all Crushpad wines are likely to become insanely popular.  Who knows, someday your bottle of JCR could go for mucho dinero on eBay.  But why would you want to sell this extra tasty Grenache-Petit Sirah-Syrah?  Grab a case, put it away and taste a bottle every year for the next 12 years.  Don't delay, sidle up to the Juice Crew today.  Simply visit Crushnet (Crushpad's online community), find the Juice Crew, join up and/or request 1 or more case allocations at $216-a-pop.

22 November 2006

Phat Pheast

Turkey Blah blah blah what wine to serve with your turkey blah blah.

There is always something annoying about wine opi to the turkey-centric thanksgiving dinner.  Take a step back and think for a moment:

Just what exactly does turkey taste like?

If we’re talking industrial, DD-breasted birds from Butterball, I think the best flavor descriptors are either a) watery, faintly poultry-like or b) dry, faintly poultry-like.  What this means from a wine perspective is this: Damn near any wine will be fine with most turkey.  Bring me an heritage gobbler, and then we can really talk wine & turkey pairing.  However, for the best Thanksgiving wine experience, I suggest focusing on the sides. 

Here is a handy-dandy list of suggested wine-to-side-dish pairings:

  • Stuffing (traditional/Stove-Top style): Young, crisp Pinot Noir or Alsatian Riesling
  • Stuffing (low country-style with sausage and sage): Chianti or California white Rhone blend
  • Butter/buttermilk mashed potatoes + brown gravy: Cava, Cremant, Barbera d’Asti or d’Alba
  • Roasted sweet potatoes (not yams): Beaujolais Cru, Tempranillo (e.g. Rioja from Spain)
  • Candied yams: Superfruity California Merlot, Australian Shiraz
  • Cornbread & butter: Young, un-oaked Chardonnay
  • Jell-O Salad: tapwater, Mountain Dew

Finally, a good rule of thumb for Thanksgiving imbibing is, “When in doubt, go light, fruity and/or bubbly.”

Three wines that will be on my Turkey Day table:

  1. Segura Viudas Aria Brut Nature, NV ($10)
  2. Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Theo, 2004 ($30)
  3. Georg Breuer Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), 2004 ($20) [German Pinot Noir - give it a try!]

Tell me what wines will be lubricating your feast of thanks tomorrow.

01 November 2006

Good, Green Karma

Nz_sustain_1 From the annals of good, green karma:

The Grove Mill winery in Marlborough, NZ has taken environmental commitment to a new level with CarboNZero® certification. The winery has released the world’s first CarboNZero® wines, which are also among the world’s first carbon-neutral consumer products.

Grove Mill has challenged itself to address its impact on climate change from carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the growing, winemaking and shipping of its wines.

Actually, this is more than just good karma, it is an example to other wineries, and other producers of consumer products, that being green makes good business sense.  Put this way: the next time I'm in the market for New Zealand wine, I'll be hunting for Grove Mill (imported by Palm Bay Imports).

More on CarboNZero here.

25 October 2006

Here Comes the Syrah

Our Eaglepoint Juice Crew blend is already looking mighty fine.  The chaps at Crushpad/net sent some photos (click to enlarge) of our back-up singers - Syrah and Petit Sirah.  Just harvested and oh-so-lovely.



Joining the Juice Crew is just like adopting a highway - except you'll get the chance to drink Juice Crew red, while you one should never drink anything found whilst cleaning up a highway.  But other than that, it's the same.

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19 October 2006

Juice Crew Plan

Bjuicecrew_1 Robin, The Basic Juice Crew's winemaking liaison, brings us news from Eaglepoint:

"The wine plan is now updated online. Eaglepoint grapes started coming in today.  They will be sorting/crushing the [Petit Sirah] and Syrah today, Friday & Saturday. If anyone is interested in rolling up sleeves on the Syrah, Friday afternoon or Sat am might be a good time.  Unless we make an appointment, however, there are no promises and they'll just keep moving the stuff through until it's done.

Grenache is coming in next week. I scheduled an appt to sort for next friday, 27th at 6pm.  Anyone around to join me?

The winemaking plan:  Please take a look (view Basic Juice Crew's 'Winemaking Status' on Crushnet).  I was interested in the blending process so I thought I'd share what I learned today about how we'll do this at Crushpad.  Basically since we are doing a blend, it will be "crushpad" wine until December. Until then, they'll process the Syrah, PS and Grenach pretty much they way they think they want to do it for anyone who wants to blend with these wines.  The winemaking plan reflects their plan for whole berry/crushed for each varietal at this point.  At press it will all be put into neutral oak barrels until December.

Then around December we get to decide how much of which blend we want, and into what kind of barrel.  Kian (CP winemaker dude) was thinking we might want to do more Syrah - but that is because the Syrah came in today.

We have all but 11 10 cases allocated, right Beau?  My experience from last year is it was hard to get anyone involved after crush - so now is the time to rally more people!

If you can't be there live next Friday, see if you can tune in via the crushpad cam."

Thanks Robin!

If you want to be a part of this winemaking odyssey, visit Crushnet and join the Basic Juice Crew.  We want you to crush wit' us.

09 October 2006

Featured Crew


The Basic Juice Crew is Crushnet's (from Crushpad) featured wine group this week.  Check it out and come crush with us.

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