Wine Talk

Snooth User: Stephen Harvey

It can only happen in France

Posted by Stephen Harvey, Sep 15, 2010.

I only just found out that

Romanee Conti

La Tache

are actually defined as specific regions as per the international agreements

not bad one vineyard 1.63Ha or 4 Acres and it is its own region

Only in France!

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Replies

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 15, 2010.

There are others as well that are really small and some are not even monopole (single owner), unlike the DRC properties.  This contributes to a lot of the fear of French wine by people who started with Californian.  Neither the varietal nor the producer are prominently displayed, and wines can vary from producer to producer in the vineyards. Of course, not a problem for the monopole apps. (Wine may be made in the vineyard, but there's a lot of manipulation there as well, what with thinning, trellising and the like.) California AVAs often err on the other side, but if you liked Sterling's Napa Estate Reserve Special Selection Vintners Choice Cabernet, you will recognize it again if you see it.  Probably, although the abuse of all those adjectives allows some serious game-playing.  And you can get vineyard designated wines that guide you as well. None of this is directed at SH, btw, who knows so much about wine that this might be the last surprise he has.  But just worth pointing out to others that this is where the AVA/AOC/DO arguments always lead.  A good question to ask is whether DRC's money or prestige affected the decisions?

SH, I am hoping that this research was done in furtherance of our DRC-under-a-screw-cap service? Nice to see progress being made in the background research. Not usually one for emoticons, but imagine a winking smiley here.

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 15, 2010.

Stephen, check out the Savenierres area of the Loire. Similar maneuvering going on there, and, je suis sûr, elsewhere....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 16, 2010.

Foxall - nothing ceases to surprise me and plenty to learn

btw - I was researching Screaming Eagle because despite having heard about it I did not realise the stratospheric prices it brought at auction.  And given my journey to learn about US is only at a very early stage  I thought I should research it.  Well as you do I typed Screaming Eagle into Google and got the Urban Dictionary definition - now that was not what I was expecting - the squillion refs to Harley Davidson were not a surprise but Google's first preference hmmm????

Yes - DRC, all of Paulliac, Petrus, d'Yquem, Screaming Eagle and Trimbach under screw cap and we on a roll.  Then Salon and Krug under Crown Seal and the wine bottles will complete their transition from the Dark Side as the Skywalker Closures will have overcome the Darth Vader Closures from the Corkpire

D - will check it out

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 16, 2010.

Okay, Skywalker v. Vader isn't quite as hyperbolic as the "invention of fire" analogy at the cork v. screw cap thread, but it's pretty hilarious.

Google is not a wine search engine, it goes without saying. The winery comes up first when I search Screaming Eagle here, but it is also geographically specific and is based on what else you have searched since you cleared your history and cookies. Which leads me to...

Thanks for directing me to the 'Urban Dictionary" listing.  I can erase it from my computer memory here at work, but probably not my own memory. 

I haven't had SE but I am generally put off by the name--jingoistic sounding--and the insane prices.  Same for Harlan and a bunch of others, and SQN, although with the latter I appreciate that they are not playing to the rich-but-gauche crowd that equates high priced Napa Cab with sophistication. $120 for a classically great RM Tokalon Cab seems like a splurge, but a worthy one.  (Just to pick one--there are plenty of worthy others.) If I am going to drink wine worth more than a grand a bottle, it's going to be DRC.  Under a screw cap.  With you on one side and my wife on the other.  At the estate.  On their dime. 

I can dream, can't I?

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 16, 2010.

The prioritization of what Google shows off searches is based on the kind of priorities you might expect--how Google gets paid. It's virtually impossible these days to game the Google search engine, but there are many search engine optimization (SEO is a big field in digital marketing these days) techniques of a White Hat (as opposed to the Black Hat gaming) nature that savvy people employ (or pay agencies to employ) to raise their results highest up the Google list. Screaming Eagle doesn't really need to do this. 

And, vulpine one, who's getting carried away by their hyperbole now? DRC under a screw cap? A cork is just fine with me, and I'll even be happy to drink it in Tokyo (or pretty much anywhere else for that matter). And yes, here comes an emoticon--since email is so bluntly lacking in backchannel info....  ;-)

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 16, 2010.

Y'know, mcker, that I didn't make that tag up, it's my real name. Better "vulpine one" than the less literate "Foxy," I guess.  Yep, I'll drink anyone's good wine whenever it's feasible.  But somehow I think I would enjoy some of the unattainables even more if someone thought me worthy of testing them.  Hence the screw cap test pilot fantasy.  I am too old to be an NBA point guard, front man for the world's most popular rock band, or anything that glamorous--maybe a character actor in a few years if they need grouchy middle aged guys with fatigue circles under their eyes.  So wine taster ("Yep, this one's just as good as that one, go with the screw cap") is pretty much all I have left.  Please don't take it away from me. ;-)

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 16, 2010.

dmcker's pretty close to my real name, but an abbreviation I used on a couple of gaming sites back when and typed in without much thought when I joined Snooth. 

Family name?

And there are other ways to make the lucre for even that level of costly wine than being a pro athlete or rockstar, even some that are wholesome and don't involve entertaining (or in anyway jacking) the public in one way or another. Best of all, of course, is knowing people who'll pour it to you when you don't actually have to pay for it....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 17, 2010.

I have a friend whose daily drinker is Viader.  I really need to spend more time with him... I am lucky that I have friends in the business (we had good wine at our wedding at the wineries' cost) and continually make new friends in the business.  But no one at DRC or Haut-Brion has friended me yet.  Tant pis.

Long story, but without taking a vow of poverty or anything like that, I guaranteed a decade and a half ago that I won't be making that kind of lucre, although I am comfortable and may even be paying a little more in taxes soon. My wife and I are doing pretty well by doing good, essentially. I have a hard enough time spending $100 on a bottle of wine, though I have done so more than once, that I cannot imagine indulging myself with $1000 first-growths or mega-crus. Plus there's that "paying for college" thing--the kids still have about ten years to go before they start, so we're still saving.  My parents instilled in me an appreciation for wine as a normal part of dining, but they also instilled in me their born-in-the-depression frugality.  Hence the scavenging for great wines at low prices.  So far, it has served me well and this economy is made for that pursuit.  Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of so many others.  But that's not really a topic for a wine website.  

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 18, 2010.

Absolutely nothing wrong with finding the lowest price you have to pay for something. Think a lot of people called 'rich' got that way, that way.

And of course, wine is not exactly the most important thing in life... ;-)

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 19, 2010.

Foxall - It is difficult to justify much above $100 for a bottle, but unfortunately the Superstars can get stratospheric prices based on reputation and/or low volumes.

I have found the best way to try an expensive wine is to get a group of friends say 10-12 and chip in for a taste. 

Its actually more fun because everyone can have a discussion on the merits of the wine.  You can also benchmark it against your cheaper favourites.

I suspect that very few of us will ever get to taste a great vintage of DRC but you never know your luck with these things, you just might be in the right place at the right time

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2010.

I live in eternal hope of quaffing a superb first or mega-cru at someone else's expense.  Had dinner with my folks tonight and discussed ny profligate tendencies.  There are certainly come over $100 bottles in the basement, and we always share those with friends.  My parents, in spite of their love of wine, would never spend that much, and I have to occasionally bite my tongue when asked about some cheap thing they are enamored of.  Spending more can and  does make a difference.  Now, on the bargain front, NapaGirl got me all worked up over a Napa Cab that our discounter had for $10 that lists for $80 and is well reviewed, but they had run out... except I found one branch that is getting more tomorrow and they are holding a case for me.  That's a good feeling, and I intend to parcel it out to friends because a case is just more than I can handle adding to the cellar right now.

I imagine that some FGs and the DRCs of the world are actually consumed far less than 1/2 the time now, although the Chinese are apparently not saving it for posterity now that they are in the market.

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Reply by napagirl68, Sep 20, 2010.

That's why I told you to call ahead, Foxall!!  :-) :-)

Was in Santa Cruz all weekend.. I'm sure my GO is out :-(  It's ok..I have 6!  Six is better than zero, right?  Jeez, I am REALLLYYY running out of room now!  (bought other stuff too this weekend up in SCM)

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Reply by gregt, Sep 20, 2010.

Don't know Screaming Eagle but the others - Harlan, Bryant, etc., are pretty good wines.  And definitely not worth the tarrifs.  Ditto the First Growths that I've tried and the seconds too.  Not sure why SE is jingoistic - it's in the mountains and there were eagles there and the founder, Jean Phillips, was reported to ride a motorcycle, although you'd think that for the price, they'd get a nicer looking label.  It really looks second rate.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2010.

GregT:  The skeptic in me just worries about anyone using the eagle to sell a product.  I like your comment that the others are "pretty good wines."  For $30 you would expect pretty good wine.  For $80 you can get amazing wine.  As to the Bords, I have had very good seconds and thirds, but you have to wonder about any classification system that predates the entire replanting of an area after phylloxera.  Those classifications included wines that contained carmenere, I would guess, which never re-established on the grafted rootstock, according to the histories I have read. 

If someone offers me some SE, I will put my worries aside and gratefully have a glass, although I doubt I can ever have any insight into a wine that I can't taste across multiple vintages or at different times. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2010.

Okay, it's official: NG has an addiction to buying wine.  Intervention remains the same: We arrive at her house en masse (having alerted her husband first), lock her in the family room with a nice glass of Fino and some nutty cheese, and start cooking and uncorking.  The only change is we need to empty more cases than before.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 21, 2010.

Sounds like a plan

By the way just found out I have a good friend living in Vallejo

Is that far from any of you guys

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 21, 2010.

Hey, just Livermore's back yard... ;-)

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 21, 2010.

SH and dmcker:  Vallejo is north of where I live, 30 minutes drive in light to moderate traffic, one highway (I-80).  To go to Livermore, where NG lives, is actually more complicated, requires driving right past my house, and takes twice as long.  So I will fire up the grill and everyone can bring a bottle. dmcker has family here, so he can make his own travel arrangements. Also, SH, we drive on the right.  Just a reminder. ;-)

Of course, Vallejo is the gateway to Napa from the East Bay... the drive is about 15 to 20 minutes in light traffic, depending on where in the valley you want to go.

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 21, 2010.

Fox, you didn't notice the emoticon wink, I take it. Used to hear a lot of jokes about Vallejo when I was living in Berkeley, some often class-based. Takes you an hour to get to Livermore? Guess traffic must be worse these days.

Because you haven't commented since very early in the thread, Stephen, the Loire single-vineyard that has its own AOC is Nicolals Joly's Clos de la Coulée de Serrant in Savennières. Think it's relatively 'huge' at 7 hectares, though. A famous chenin blanc is produced there that seems to bring out strong emotions in both its proponents and detractors.

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 21, 2010.

Wow, didn't know they made giraffe wines there...

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