Wine & Food

Snooth User: Really Big Al

Weekend Wines

Posted by Really Big Al, Jun 1, 2014.

I was wondering what sort of new topic I could start that would pair nicely with my previous posting 'Weekday Wines'; well here it is - Weekend Wines.  Sometimes I just have to stop and take a minute to pat myself on the back for my quick wit but alas, this isn't one of those times.  Anyway, why not talk about wines we enjoy on weekends?  These would generally be the more expensive bottles but in my case I'm starting off with a wine we chose at the Potomac Point Winery that we visited today - Sunday.  We did their classic tasting for $5 each and that included nine wines:  2013 Chardonnay (100% Chardonnay in Stainless Steel), 2013 La Belle Vie White (65% Vidal, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Rkatsiteli, 10 % Viognier and 5% Petit Manseng in Stainless Steel), 2013 La Belle Vie Rose (91% Chambourcin, 9% Chardonnay in Stainless Steel), 2012 Abbinato (50% Sangiovese, 50% Touriga Nacional in Neutral & French Oak), 2012 Coyote Cave Red (65% red blends of Cabernet Franc & Chambourcin, 20% Tannat, 15% Norton in French Oak), 2012 Merlot (85% Merlot, 15% Tannat in French Oak), 2012 Norton (90% Norton, 10% Tannat in French & American Oak), 2013 Dolce Rubus (100% Merlot plus natural raspberry additive in French Oak), and a 2010 Vin de Paille (65% late harvest Vidal, 30% late harvest Petit Manseng, 5% Muscat Raisen in Bourbon barrels).  After the tastings, we selected a bottle of the 2012 Merlot and went to the patio to enjoy our picnic lunch of meats & cheeses (charcuterie) while talking politics.  The bottle of Merlot was rather expensive for this winery at $25 a bottle, but it was very enjoyable on a beautiful day in Virginia. 

If you are in Northern Virginia and find yourself traveling up from the Fredericksburg region, I recommend you stop by the winery for a tasting:  http://www.potomacpointwinery.com/

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Replies

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Reply by outthere, Jun 1, 2014.

WOTY candidate! Wow!

 

BTW Al, we have a "What are you drinking tonight" thread already. Try to pair some notes with that!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 1, 2014.

Wine of the year candidate - the 2012 Quivet Cellars cab?  This one is only $50 per bottle according to their web site.  What makes this one so extraordinary? 

Oh, I know about that 'What are you drinking tonight' thread.  It's kind of long in the tooth, so I was hoping for something fresh with lots of pictures of interesting labels.  You know I like the labels...

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Reply by outthere, Jun 1, 2014.

Actually this one retails for $125 and is worth every penny.

I got your fresh right here!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 1, 2014.

Oh, you are correct OT.  I didn't read far enough in their pricing list:

2012 Quivet Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - $50 (72 cases produced)
2012 Quivet Cellars Pellet Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon $65 (122 cases produced)
2012 Quivet Cellars Kenefick Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - $70 (145 cases produced)
2012 Quivet Cellars Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon $125 (48 cases produced)
2013 Quivet Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - Tench Vineyard - $25 (40 cases remain) Final vintage from this vineyard

Does it beat the 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Silver Oak?

 

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 1, 2014.

"Does it beat the 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Silver Oak?"

Would I be too harsh if I said by all the country miles between Sonoma and Norfolk?  ;-)

But then we'd have to start talking about styles of wine we appreciate or don't....

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 1, 2014.

DM, you know I love the Silver Oak.  Besides, it has a fancy label too.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 1, 2014.

Silver Oak is all marketing Al, there's very little quality or talent behind the wines nowadays...maybe try one blind against the Quivet?

 

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Reply by EMark, Jun 1, 2014.

Hoping that I get into the Quivet offering in a couple weeks.

Tonights:

 

A pretty good wine, but, unfortunately, bitterness in the back of the palate disappoints.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 1, 2014.

The Quivet offer comes Tuesday if you signed up. Since you bought. Myriad on the last release they should throw an offer your way.

Al, totally different level. Different class. 

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 2, 2014.

Ok, I won't buy anymore Silver Oak wines, unless I find an old one at a good price.  They were my definition of 'smooth cabernet'.  Maybe I'll have a chance to taste the '2012 Quivet Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon' since it's on the lower end of the price spectrum. 

I think my next area of focus might be a return to some Malbecs from Chile or Argentina.  Any recommendations for bottles under $50 each?

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Reply by outthere, Jun 2, 2014.

Don't let us dictate what you like to drink. I mean I don't have any suggestions for your new query. You lost me at 'Chile/Argentina'. That region has never done anything for me. Let's not get started on Malbec either. :) You can have my allocation!

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Reply by dvogler, Jun 2, 2014.

Al, if you don't mind spending over $50 for a wine and you like it, there's nothing wrong with that.  You probably haven't had the opportunity to taste Quivet or the million other California wines these guys rave about.  When I first really started looking at Washington wines, I was hesitant to pay $50 and figured the less expensive ones wouldn't be very good.  I tasted a lot of wine at the event in Seattle and now I know what I can look for (except none of it is available where I live) and it's not expensive stuff.  If you can't get to a tasting, try buying two or three bottles of California Cab that you're unfamiliar with and do a tasting with a few other people (have Sandra put them in bags) and taste them blind.  You might come away with a new favourite!

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 2, 2014.

No need to Abandon CA Cabernet Al...you just might try experimenting with some that can age a while and bring more complexity. Getting a good Dunn Napa Valley (might set you back $60 - 90+) but if you can find with some age on it...'99, '01, '02, '04, and even '06 might be some good vintages to try. Also like Corison for a larger scaled, but still nice balanced cab with good freshness and ageability.

Dm's suggestion for trying Rhone wines is a good one, probably Chateauneuf du Pape for weekend wines....Pegau Reservee is one of the top. I like Vieux Telegraphe "La Crau" quite a bit, and Charvin is also well loved by those in the know. Beaucastel is the most popular but is much larger in production, also good.

Spain would be another interesting place for you to look but I'm not sure I know who/where to point you. Rioja and Ribera del Duero are good regions to start with.

 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 2, 2014.

Thanks for all the suggestions - and the reference for a wine to be a weekend wine JD.  I've started thinking about our next wine tasting party that we'll host in the fall this year - I want to pick a theme based on either a varietal or a region this time.  Our first wine tasting party about a month ago was asking folks to bring their favorite wine and hence we had a big delta in varietals and regions. 

Spanish wines are very tasty to us, as we generally order them when having tapas in Washington DC or even Crystal City (where I volunteer for the Wine in the Water Park events).  Rioja and Duero wines are some of our favorites from Spain.  Since we will be in the Burgundy region of France next spring, perhaps we should be trying some Pinot's or Chardonnay's from that region?  We do love the Pinot's from Oregon (Willamette Valley).

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 2, 2014.

Al, don't let OT intimidate you--'weekend wines' works fine as a category!  ;-)    Sunday wines at the family table in France, etc., etc....

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 2, 2014.

DM - Don't worry about be being intimidated.  I'm a biker dude too, so I can always hide behind my bike and point fingers.  Seriously though, check out the web site I maintain for our motorcycle group - the Washington Operations Riders of Motorcycles (WORMS) at http://www.bigal-computers.net/worms.php  On that top picture, yes that's me with a few Hooter girls and my chopper. 

I love this forum and the different points of view presented for all to embrace.  Several folks are full of wine knowledge and I'm impressed by that (yes, OT is high on that list), but others are closer to my level of wine knowledge (half full I suppose) and could use more experience in tasting and evaluating wines. 

I'm tasting one of those Ridge wines that I purchased a week or so ago right now.  However, this is the weekend thread and now it's a weekday.  I cannot comment on this Ridge wine until I hop on over to my other thread......

 

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Reply by dvogler, Jun 3, 2014.

I have thick skin Big Al.  It doesn't bother me that I can't afford "those Ridge" wines as my weekday drinkers!  I don't know why I can't get any of the stuff OT and the others talk about.  I can get stuff like Caymus and Cakebread  and yes..Silver Oak.  Can you get most of the California stuff they're talking about in Virginia? 

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Reply by EMark, Jun 3, 2014.

Darren/Al, OT is wired into some excellent wines.  I would, occasionally stumble into one or two of them in certain wine stores down here in Southern California, but that was the exception, not the rule.  OT encouraged me to get onto the mailing list of some of these wineries.  So, I went to the web sites for several of them--e.g., Bedrock, Rhys, Ceritas.  Sure enough, they all have links to get on their e-mail list.  So, I clicked on them gave them my e-mail address and waited.  "Waited" is the operative term, here, because what you are generally doing at this point is submitting your name on a waitlist.  Interestingly, enough, my name percolated towards the top of these waitlists pretty quickly.  Typically, these wineries have new releases two or three times a year.  When my name reached towards the top of any of them, I would receive a notification that a new release was imminent.  This doesn't really mean that I am in, yet, but I'm close.  Previous customers get "first crack" at the new release wines.  They receive allocations from the winery that they can accept or reject or modify (depending on the winery).  These previous customers have a certain time period to respond to the solicitation.  After that time period expires, whatever wine remains is made available to the people whose names have moved to the top of the waitlist.  So, their allocations may not be as robust as the initial solicitation.  However, if the do make a purchase, they are now promoted to "previous customer" status and will get "first crack" at subsequent releases.

I had my first Myriad wine last March at a restaurant in Las Vegas.  It WOWED me.  Myriad is another producer that was brought to my attention by OT.  I went to the Myriad website and asked to be put on their mailing list.  Myriad and Quivet are made by the same winemaker.  So, a couple weeks ago I received advice that the next Quivet release is in June.  Since I have not been a previous customer (getting it in the restaurant does not count), I have to wait for the second "go around."  So, if OT and all his buddies buy up all the stock, I'll be left out.  More than likely, though, there will be something left.  I'll get it and will be promoted up to the first team on the next release.

Now, Darren, this may be problematic for you.  I gather that shipping wine to Canada is nontrivial.  On the other hand, don't you have in-laws or something in Seattle?  Have it shipped to them and pick it up during the holiday.

Al, I think you've mentioned that you belong or have belonged to various winery clubs.  So, you should be OK.

The problem with getting on these mailing lists is that all of a sudden your wine cellar has lost a bit of diversity--you find that you have a disproportionate number of bottles from these makers.  I feel, however, that the great quality of these wines offsets that disadvantage.  Besides, if I ever feel that I have too many examples of any given producer, I can just ignore the next solicitation.

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Reply by Really Big Al, Jun 3, 2014.

Our main acquisition process for wines have been the wine clubs we joined - St. Francis (California), Repris (California) , Duckhorn (California), Medlock Ames (California), Barnett (California), Domain Serene (Oregon), J.K. Carrier (Oregon) and RdV (Virginia).  We also frequent several wine shops out here in Virginia.  I can't find many of the exotic wines that are mentioned in these forum threads though, but then again I'm not looking too hard.  I am easily distracted by other wines on the shelves - the ones with fancy labels.  :-) 

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Reply by outthere, Jun 3, 2014.

The thing about wine clubs for me is that they send you what they want to send you. Usually higher production bottlings that are available regularly in 3 tier, or obscure things that don't move. I have found that personally I have had better luck with mailing lists and having the ability to pick and choose what and how many based on my preferences and current finances. Nothing worse than getting loaded up with off wine in a bad vintage simply because you are obligated through your club membership. 

There is something to be said about diversity yet at the same time I know that I have about a 98% chance that I will enjoy whatever I pull from my cellar because I am selective with my purchases. I have maybe 35 + varieties in my cellar which is not very diverse as it is heavily weighted in Syrah and Zinfandel and associated blends. But the majority of it is not available at retail so when it is gone I am forced to look in the secondary market where provenance is always in question. I find it best that I front load with things I like so that I minimize my chances of being disappointed with what I open.

And hey, I'm not trying to intimidate anyone. I just prefer having some uniformity in the threads. Makes it much easier to find a post when I know what thread it is in and don't have to search multiple threads with the same content. But if it doesn't confuse you folks then have at it. Maybe we can do a Monday wines thread, and a Tuesday and a Wednesday and...

;) 

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