French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)

Over the Winter holiday break, I managed to catch up with talented Sonoma-area winemaker and Philly-boy transplant Kieran Robinson, who will soon be opening a tasting room for his wines in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one-block section of downtown… Downingtown, PA.

Downingtown is basically my backyard, so I’m very much looking forward to the advent of Robinson’s new digs, and especially to trying to convince him to hire my band for live gigs once the tasting room opens (seriously… I have no shame when it comes to band gigs). But this little blogging vignette isn’t about Robinson’s wines, at least not directly.

Kieran brought along his friend and boss Scott MacFiggen, the main man behind Sosie Wines, and for whom Robinson consults as a winemaker. MacFiggen – who started the Sosie brand after falling in love with French wines in Nuits Saint Georges and falling out of love with the corporate world – has a sort of mutual love-affair with 1WD, and so I was happy to meet and get my grubby lips on more of their Napa-Sonoma-based products.

Sosie is a small outfit – they produce only about 800 cases, and so tend to hy away from the ‘major’ varieties” as MacFiggen puts it. As for Robinson’s decision to consult, he put it this way: “no distributor wants to pick up someone with just one wine; business-wise, that doesn’t work. And you get itches to make new stuff.”

Those itches make for some very satisfying scratches, some of which I’ll attempt to relay in the far less satisfying written word…

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases) 

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)2016 Sosie Wines Roussane Vivio Vineyard (Bennet Valley, $38)

Clocking in at a modest under-14% abv, this is a bit of a rarity for Sonoma Roussane in its lithe, bright profile. “It was about to rain so we had to pick it,” MacFiggen remarked. He summed up the approach to this white as “No amendments – that’s really important to us. We don’t add anything. Sulfer dioxide, that’s it.” That hands-off approach works well here, with textural, toasty, and broad tropical fruit elements mixing in with the lemony acidity and white flower aromas. As is the case with all of Sosie’s wines, the back label is a well-designed (+1 on the font choice, bro!) treatise on the technical aspects of crafting the wine (which means it probably reads like Sanskrit for the average consumer…), as example of which I’ll post here (but will assume the curious are capable of checking out the website for the same details on the other selections).

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)

Fond of detail much?

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)2016 Sosie Wines Roberts Road Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, $43)

Roberts road vineyard’s fertile soils produce wines that end up being “a bit too rich” for MacFiggen’s tastes, so they’re dropping it for future releases. Which is a pity, because this all native, 20 percent stem, 50 percent new oak Pinot is a minor wonder. Black tea, deep blackberry like fruit, well developed, spicy tannins with sweet edges… It’s a sexy combination that’s not easy to get when utilizing stem inclusion. “That’s the benefit of the cooler area,” MacFiggen added, “you get longer hang times and riper stems.” Four barrels made, so you hedonists out to grab it while you can.

 

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)2016 Sosie Wines Spring Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, $43)

MacFiggen describes Spring Hill, on the western side of Petaluma, as “right in the edge of being functional. It’s super windy, super wet; I’ve shown up at 11 and couldn’t see the end of the vineyard, it was so foggy. The berries are just minuscule. I call this my Steak Pinot. It’s intense.” Added Robinson: “the soils are non existent, it’s on the brink of being un-growable.” Spicy, earthy, peppery, red and black berries, intense structure, long finish… there’s little (if anything) not to like here. Hints of exotic and citrus fruit, caraway seed, tons of character going on, it’s everything to love about the sort of ‘new California’ Pinot movement.

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases) 

 

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)2016 Sosie Wines Syrah Vivio Vineyard (Bennet Valley, $38)

Earlier picking, a bit of whole cluster, and 7 percent Roussane co-fermented all come together to make this red the most clearly French-inspired of Sosie’s lineup. There’s excellent floral lift, a bevy of red plums, dark berry compote, wild herbs, mint, bramble, and baking spices. The palate is at once large, smooth, meaty, and long, without losing a sense of composure.

 

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)

Dying breed… :-(

French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases)2016 Sosie Wines Cabernet Franc Stagecoach Vineyard Block K5 (Napa Valley, $80)

I loved – looooooved– the 2015 vintage of this wine. The 2016 is just as excellent. Unfortunately, the vines just got pulled due to virus pressure, a tragedy that I might not get over any time too soon. Black cherry and fantastic herbal spice introduce this tight, taught, young blockbuster, giving way to some grit and grip and lovely graphite notes. Characterful throughout, with dark fruit and even darker mineral notes. “Get it now, because it can never be replicated,” Kieran wisely advised… and I was crying on the inside when I heard it…

 

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at French Soul, California Roots, Philly Grit (Sosie Wines Recent Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 18, 2019

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 18, 2019 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Congrats, US Wine Industry – You Blew It! (Thoughts On Fine Wine And Millennial Consumers)

January saw the advent of another version of the annual State of the Wine Industry report by Silicon Valley Bank. I’ve covered several years of this report here on 1WD, and usually that coverage is of a slightly (ok, full-on) negative tone, warning the US wine biz that sea changes in consumer behavior are afoot, about which the industry seems to be doing little.

Now, according to the 2019 incarnation of the SVB analysis, the US wine industry might be too late; or, at least, too late to avoid negative impacts to fine wine sales now that most of the millennial generation are old enough to legally drink, and making just enough money to spend some of it on drinking.

Congrats, folks! You officially stuck your head so far into your butts that, if you squint through your belly-button hole, you’ll be able to see that you blew your chance at capturing the hearts (and dollars) of the next generation of drinkers! Go, you!…

Here’s how the carnage looks, folks:

If you’re taken by surprise that younger drinkers are eschewing fine wine for cannabis, beer, cocktails, and even spiked seltzer (which is doing well enough to afford its own Superbowl commercial), then bluntly stated, you are a fool. So many saw this coming that even I have been shouting about it for at least a decade.

But even in our current US culture of rampant blame-deflection, trying to pin the gloomy outlook for US wine sales on weed, beer, millennials themselves, or anything else, serves only to complete the failure.

It is not time to cater to millennial generational tastes – it is past time to do the preventive work. The wound is already open, the blood is already spilling; it’s time for the US wine biz to staunch the bleeding, and maybe – just maybe – start the healing.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Congrats, US Wine Industry – You Blew It! (Thoughts On Fine Wine And Millennial Consumers) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 11, 2019

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 11, 2019 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)

Scarpa’s foyer

Despite the fact that I have content to write up that spans more than a year of travel (including my takes on the wine scene in Israel, the southern Rhone, and Romagna), the thing that’s been rattling around in my brain and not letting the hell go stems from a much more recent excursion, when I had a brief, impromptu visit taken during my latest jaunt to Monferrato.

Specifically, to the as-of-right-now 219-year-old building (established the same year – 1900 – as the planting of the sort-of-famous tree in their backyard in Nizza) of Scarpa. My short-term obsession has to do with the impression that this relatively small (22 hectares, yielding about 120,000 bottles/year) producer is fascinatingly, anachronistically refreshing within the context of modern Italian wine. Time passing seems to have little impact on how Scarpa approach crafting wine in Piedmont.

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)
Have tree, will make unique Italian wine…

Scarpa works only with indigenous Italian grape varieties, and is one fo the few regional producers that have been grandfathered in to the zonal production laws of Barolo. The rest of this short tale is literally told almost exclusively in liquid form, in the hopes that my written words can transmit the sense of nonchalant, almost insouciant joy that Scarpa’s winemaking style presents…

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)
No, we did NOT get to taste these!

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)2015 Scarpa ‘Casa Scarpa’ Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont, $22)

Earthy, old school, and classically framed, this is a textbook definition of how traditional Asti and Piedmontese Barbera shoudl present itself. Juicy red fruits and vivacity are there, but so are hints of tenser structure, leather, and spices. Capable of elevating just about any meat pasta dish to more refined territory at a moment’s notice.

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)2015 Scarpa ‘Bric du Nota’ Nebbiolo d’Alba (Piedmont, $40)

Only 3,000 bottles of this alternatively-styled Nebbiolo were made, using large-format Slavonian oak barrels for aging. If that sounds Old School, it’s intentionally so, but in the best ways imaginable: the ways with stewed plums, incense, cloves, earthiness, minerals, bacon fat, spices, lanolin, violets, licorice, and balsamic. This is intense in its aromatic punch and its vibrancy, but at no point feels overwhelming; in other words, it’s a joy.

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)2013 Scarpa ‘La Selva di Moirano’ Monferrato Freisa Secco (Piedmont, $25)

Occasionally, you run into a wine that makes little sense without food; this was one of those times. Scarpa’s Freisa Secco is the kind of red that feels disjointed on its own, yet will gracefully, resplendently shine with just about anything at the dinner table. Pepper, wild raspberries, meat, and spices open things up, juicy red plums are next, followed by acidity that’s both intense and yet somehow soft around the edges. The tannins are a bit on the rougher side, but their feel is tempered by a clean, linear, just goddamned delicious finish.

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)2016 Scarpa ‘La Selva di Moirano’ Rosso Vino da Tavola (Piedmont, $50)

One of the more complex and complicated Brachetto d’Acqui incarnations that you’re likely to ever encounter – herbs, mint, roses, lanolin, juicy and brambly red berries, and savory game meats abound. It’s leathery, chewy,  lovely, lively, and difficult to understand at first (don’t worry, it’s also so tasty that soon enough you won’t care).

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)2014 Scarpa ‘Briccorosa Rouchet’ Monferrato Rosso (Piedmont, $45)

This is Ruché, a Piedmontese grape with which longtime 1WD readers are already quite familiar, though it’s not labeled as such. Back in `74, Scarpa received a few Ruché plants as a gift, and planted them on sandy soils in a windy, elevated area of their vineyards. That turned out to be just about the perfect spot for Ruché, but at the time Scarpa weren’t permitted to put the  grape name on the label. So, like just about all Italian producers do, they turned to their deep penchant for fantasy names. Roses, perfume, pepper, dried herbs, mint, and sour cherries kick things off with this excellent – and stainless steel only – version of one of Italy’s wilier red varieties. There’s a smooth palate entry, austere tannins, and a finish that’s long, tasty, chocolaty, and spicy.

Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases)

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Out Of Time In Piedmont (Scarpa Recent Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 4, 2019

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 4, 2019 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Among Idaho’s state slogans and motto (which have included Esto perpetua, “Great Potatoes,” “What America Was,” and “Tasty Destinations,”) was the phrase “Not California.”

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
The author (& friends) at “work” in Idaho
“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

There’s a slight air of desperation and defiance in defining your identity in the negative; though in the case of Idaho’s budding wine production scene, it’s not entirely inappropriate: despite 150+ years of winemaking history, this is a state whose first AVA (Snake River Valley) was recognized less than fifteen years ago (and is probably more famous for Evel Knievel than it is for wine). Idaho’s other two AVAs – Eagle Foothills and Lewis-Clark Valley – are less than five years old, and one of those is a sub-AVA. Despite its visually stunning expanses, the state has a mere 1300 acres of grapes planted, almost all of it in the Snake River Valley, and is home to just over 50 wineries (for some perspective: California has about 4400).

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

We can forgive Idaho for having a bit of a petulant-attention-seeking-middle-child chip on its wine producing shoulder, because there’s little reason that the state can’t make very, very good wines. Formed from ancient volcanic and flooding activity, Idaho’s soils are sandy, sedimentary and well-draining, and its climate is dry with cold winters; all of which are good conditions for reducing pest and disease pressure for grape vines (and in some cases, allow the vines to be own-rooted).

Actually, there is one very good reason why Idaho wine doesn’t get the media luv right now: there simply isn’t enough of it. As Idaho Wine Commission Executive Director Moya Shatz Dolsby told me when I visited the state last year, “our biggest problem is that we don’t have enough grapes.”

Following is a (very) brief overview of the wines that stood out the most to me during my Idaho travels. There are, I think, three basic themes that, like Idaho’s famous rafting rivers, run throughout the best of their vinous experimentation: a sense of purity (possibly helped by the lack of a need to graft on to American rootstocks), a pioneering spirit (sometimes to a fault), and a diversity that few American wine regions can legitimately claim to be able to match…

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Par Terre’s Travis Walker

2016 Par Terre Merlot (Snake River Valley, $24)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Now, here’s an example of Idaho’s pioneering ways: in March of 2018, former ballet dancers Travis and Mallory Walker opened up Par Terre (“on the ground”) in Garden City, across the parking lot from a Big Smokes cigarette shop. Travis put it this way: “When we retired [from dancing], we knew that we couldn’t just sit behind a desk. I thought that I could make the most change here.” In terms of passion for wine, they lack little of it, to the point that they grow Gewürztraminer in their backyard as “practice” for when they can plant their own fruit. Their Merlot shows great promise – it’s lithe, silky, and full of black and blue plum action, without shying away from the grape’s penchant for pungent black olive notes.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Idaho Chic: Cinder’s urban tasting room

2016 Cinder Syrah (Snake River Valley, $30)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Also in an urban setting in Garden City, Cinder Wines is the brainchild of Chateau Ste Michelle alumnus Melanie Krause and husband Joe Schnerr (a former chemist). Cinder has seen early success with their chic tasting room and even more chic, clean wines (now up to about 8,000 cases, though some fruit is from nearby WA state). Their Syrah is leathery, toasty, and jam packed with smoked meat aromas, a sense of minerality, and deep, dark fruit flavors.


“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Telaya’s Earl Sullivan waxes
didactic on Idaho winemaking

2016 Telaya Mourvedre (Snake River Valley, $32)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Kentucky native and Telaya founder Earl Sullivan is a former Pharma COO, his wife Carrie was a veterinarian surgeon, and they run their second careers in wine with all of the gnat’s-ass precision that you’d expect from their backgrounds. That’s a good thing for their 5000 case wine production, which is determined and quality-driven. Earl is a font of information with respect to Idaho’s winemaking issues, from its nascent quality focus (“we used to deal with grape growers,” he told me, “now we deal with wine growers”) to its unique climatic challenges (“we lose a bottle per barrel per month due to the dryness of the climate”). Bright, light, and textural, their Mourvedre is delicious – pepper, red currants, violets, citrus peel, and a sense of tasty delight.

NV 3100 Cellars Whitewater Sparkling (Snake River Valley, $35)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Telaya winemaker Hailey Minder’s side project is named after the number of miles of rivers in Idaho, and given her experience in crafting spumante in Italy, she decided to go with sparkling (though in this case, it’s methode traditionale). Made from Bitner Vineyards Chardonnay, this bubbly is floral, with green and yellow apple notes, and a nice undercurrent (ha ha!) of toastiness. A bit pricey, but also more than a bit tasty, and an open bottle won’t last long.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

2016 Koenig Vineyards ‘Sunny Slope Cuvee’ Riesling (Snake River Valley, $13)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Situated near the town of Caldwell, Koenig has been in the business of Idaho wine for two decades (and in farming for almost 100 years), which qualifies it as a bit of an institution in these parts. Owner Greg Koenig is tall and mild-mannered, which might explain why some of his wines, among the best in the state, are under-priced. Case in point: this pithy, bright, and citrus-tinged Riesling, which offers aromas of bruised apple, white flowers, toast, and wet slate. The fact that it’s available for under $20 is head-shaking.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Greg Koenig of Koenig Vineyards


2014 Koenig Vineyards ‘Cuvee Amelia’ Reserve Syrah (Snake River Valley, $55)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Simply put, this is probably the best red that Idaho currently has to offer. Silky, savory, structured, and gritty, there’s power here and a purity of fruit that provides a solid, unflinching backbone for its herb, pepper, and smoked meat aromas. I’m starting to believe in the future of Syrah in Idaho, though I suspect that, like Syrah just about everywhere else, it will continue to be a hand-sell.


2014 Williamson Orchards & Vineyard Sangiovese (Snake River Valley, $NA)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

First homesteaded in 1909, this family farm now produces almost twenty different labels of wine. Whenever I don’t loathe a domestic US Sangiovese, I consider it a success; even more so when I actually like it. You know immediately what you’re getting with this one, as it has Sangio’s telltale dried orange peel notes and textural combination of vibrancy and chewiness.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

2015 Fujishin Reserve Petite Sirah (Snake River Valley, $26)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Martin Fujishin (former Vineyard Manager for Bitner) and Teresa Moy began the Fujishin brand in 2009, and seem to be really coming into their own at the decade mark. Or maybe they came into their own ten years ago and I’m just catching up… Anyway… Violets and vivacity mark the entrance of this big boy red, which lacks shyness but not power, meatiness, or deep, dark fruitiness.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Martin Fujishin and Teresa Moy

2017 Lost West Winery Riesling (Snake River Valley, $17)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Fujishin’s “second label” is an experimental playground of sorts, and it’s produced this crisp, clean, mineral-and-lime-driven delight. Long and fresh, with exotic fruit and toast notes, it’s yet another under-priced white from the state, who seem to think that the word “Riesling” is German for “offered at a 35% discount.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

2015 Trout Trilogy by Sawtooth Grenache (Snake River Valley, $40)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Named after the Rocky Mountain range that runs through the state, Sawtooth is Idaho’s largest vineyard owner, with 500 acres of vines, and thirty years of experience. In my experience, it’s their higher-end offerings that are worth the attention, in particular this peppery, floral, meaty, and juicy Grenache. Lovely on the nose, things get sultry on the palate, where raspberry, bing cherry, and red plum flavors dominate, along with a sense of both power and energy.

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)
Look, rocks! Scoria’s Sydney Nederend

2016 Scoria Vineyards Malbec (Snake River Valley, $NA)

“Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country)

Scoria is one of the more curious success stories of Idaho wine. With a tiny production (expanding now to 2000 cases), the brand is getting press on the media-friendly story of Sydney Nederend, who seems impossibly young for the task of expanding on her family’s long-standing farming business (father Joe Weitz produces mint) by planting mostly Malbec and launching a wine brand. In fact, Nederend was too young to (legally) drink when she began researching the scoria rock and basalt channels that would become the brand’s sandy vineyard soils, and clearing the sage brush in order to plant about 800 vines. What defines this young vine Malbec is its savory texture and black and red cherry fruit flavor combo. It’s spicy, a tad oaky, but definitely promising.

Cheers!


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Copyright © 2016. Originally at “Not California” (Exploring Idaho Wine Country) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For January 28, 2019

I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For January 28, 2019 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Liver Angry… Liver SMASH!!! (Talking Booze And Health At IntoWine.com)

image: WebMD.com

My friend and colleague Michael Cervin recently penned an article for IntoWine.com, titled The Angry Liver, highlighting the health hazards of my chosen second career – namely, kind of sort of drinking for a living. He asked me to share some thoughts on the matter, which you can read in the finished article.

While most of Michael’s focus is on the hits that our livers are potentially taking by being attached to the bodies of those of us who have decided to make professional wine-related stuff our living, my quote in his article has more to do with overall health, in the form of a warning that many wine lovers conveniently like to forget: wine contains alcohol, and alcohol consumption is empty calorie intake.

This begs the question “how many empty calories?!??,” the answer to which is “it depends.” Generally, for most dry and sparkling wines, the answer is about 100 to 130 calories per 5oz glass. WebMD has a nice little infographic on this (see inset pic – click to embiggen), as well as the following helpful reminder:

“…alcohol also delivers empty calories and not many nutrients… The higher the ABV, the higher the calorie count.”

I would revise this slightly to “the higher the ABV and sugar content, the higher the calorie count” – meaning that sweeter wines (especially those with more booze, like Port) will potentially hit your waistline harder.

At this point in any such related discussion, I usually get asked “how the hell do you not weigh 300 lbs?!?” The answer is a combination of anxious temperament, genetics, and making exercise a priority (especially as the salt-and-pepper hair thing becomes more and more prominent). The moral of this short story is that wine is not a zero-sum game: there are likely several health benefits to moderate consumption, and there are definitely detriments to over-consumption (particularly to your liver and waistline).

https://www.intowine.com/angry-liver-keeping-healthy-and-balanced-alcohol-industry/

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Liver Angry… Liver SMASH!!! (Talking Booze And Health At IntoWine.com) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

During my recent travels in Piedmont, I was part of a (rather large) media group that took part in a “Barbera Revolution” masterclass, held in the small town of Nizza Monferrato, organized by the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e vini del Monferrato. There was nothing about that tasting of 2016 vintage releases to make me personally think that Barbera was undergoing some sort of quality revolution; likely a result of the fact that, given my history with the region, I was already convinced that Barbera in Asti was experiencing a quality renaissance.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

So, no arms were taken up during the sampling of these 2016, but we did take up several glasses of promising Asti reds. Now that my stint with the My Name is Barbera program has wrapped up (for now, anyway), I felt comfy in taking a more critical eye on some of the latest Barbera d’Asti releases (not that you can ever fully take the critical eye from the critical guy, but I’ve generally avoided talking about Piedmonte Barbera here on 1WD while I was cashing checks for the video and blog work over at mynameisbarbera.com).

Here are my personal highlights from the tasting, many of which I think have been given short shrift from other critics in the past, and others that might be looking for US representation (importers… I’m looking at you!)…

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)
Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Garrone ‘Evasio’ Barbera d’Asti ($NA)

Dante Garrone farms his Barbera on clay soils in Montemagno, and his approach can probably be summed up as exuberance. Floral, spicy, and full of wild raspberry fruitiness, this is a supple, fresh, and juicy joy to drink. The dried herb and leather notes are a nice touch, but overall this is friendly to both people and food.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Caudrina Romano Dogliotti ‘La Solista’ Barbera d’Asti ($NA)

Just about everything from this little number, coming from sandy higher elevation soils, is lovely. Cloves, licorice, juicy red fruits, lithe acids, bouncy texture, great balance… all evoking elegance, and capped by a nose that’s spicy AF.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)
Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Coppo Camp du Rouss Barbera d’Asti ($20)

This is a family that has figured out its sweet spot, marrying modernity with a bit of tradition, and churning out excellent Barbera at prices that are probably too low. Black fruits, plums, earth, spices, violets, cloves, and perfume aromas abound, exuding classiness; jumping acidity in the mouth and a long finish make this gorgeous (and versatile) to drink. Ok, love letter’s over.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Marchesi Alfieri ‘Alfiera’ Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($NA)

Calcareous soils, and a mix of old and new wood make for an interesting combo in this Superiore, which starts off with vanilla, cedar, and plums, then winds its way to licorice, more plums, tannic grip, supple dark fruitiness, and finally to a long exit of spices and herbs. On the fuller-throttle side, and will stand up to heartier fare normally in the Cabernet-or-die territory.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)
Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Marenco Ciresa Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($NA)

Boom. Savory, juicy, spicy, long, concentrated… but also composed and emphasizing Barbera’s red fruitiness (rather than the darker plums and black cherries that usually accompany a Superiore this ripe). If you dig power, but also dig poise, this is your sweet `16.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Pico Maccario ‘Epico’ Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($60)

There’s refinement amid the power of this 15% abv beast, primarily in how the perfumed aromas of minerals, flowers, cloves, vanilla, and red berries jump out of the glass and into the lap of your nostrils. Sure, there’s some heat, but it’s a sexy kind of heat…

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)
Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Tenuta Olim Bauda ‘Le Rocchette’ Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($NA)

Masters of the new Nizza DOCG, Olim Bauda is primed in style to become a further darling of the wine cool-kid crowd, and I mean that in the most positive senses. Cedar, smoked meat, baking spices, dark red fruits… the entire aromatic package is enticing. In the mouth, this is taught, focused, elegant, and very, very, very serious. Structured, sporting a long finish, bold, powerful, and potent (with that acidity, you’ll barely realize it’s over 15% alcohol), it’s everything that modern Barbera is striving to hit right now.

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

2016 Cascina Castlet ‘Passum’ Superiore Barbera d’Asti ($40)

Dial it all up to 11, Barbera style: ripe red fruits, juicy plums, and raging acids, this is a shy baby right now that’s built for a longer haul in the bottle. Mineral edges, woody spices, and powerful heft and structure (by Barbera standards) are all combined into a potentially future stunner. If you try this and think that Barbera still can’t hang with the big boys, then… well, you’re wrong…

Lunga Vita Alla Rivoluzione! (Highlights From The 2016 Asti Barbera Revolution Tasting)

Cheers!

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