GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

What is wrong with this note

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 12, 2011.

"-- The 2007 ----- is 100% Tinto Fino aged for 24 months in French and American barriques. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it emits a super-fragrant bouquet of pain grille, pencil lead, Asian spices, black cherry, and blackberry. Dense and opulent on the palate, this loaded effort is succulent, pure, and exceptionally lengthy. It will evolve for 6-8 years and offer a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2032."

Where to begin? I like the last sentence which generously informs us that the wine will evolve for 6-8 years, 4 of which will be required to move the wine to its drinking window, where it will continue to evolve for 2-4 yers before freezing in stasis for 12 more years, then it will no longer be in its drinking window.

Where it might be is unspecified but based on its glass coating qualities, denseness, opulence, and slathering of oak most likely in my toilet well before then, having not had the please of passing through my kidneys i might add.

At least I know enough to read this and know I want to avoid this wine at all costs. Pity the point chaser, Actually, nah.

Bonus score for guessing how many points this was annointed with.

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Replies

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Reply by humpdog, Apr 12, 2011.

well, i think you already pointed out very well what was wrong with the note.  therefore, i will content myself to guess its anointed point value--92?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 12, 2011.

How does a color coat glass? And how does the reviewer know to predict that precise period of evolution?

Any points for imagining the wine from Spain? Connoting from your words, Greg, I assume the score was over 90. Perhaps well past that now-minimum threshold.

I take it you don't have a lot of respect for the reviewer?

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Reply by DawgByte, Apr 12, 2011.

I was struck by the "pain grille" and "pencil lead"

Wines that have the flavor of burnt human flesh and a #2 pencil always score in the mid 90's for me.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 12, 2011.

But those are, actually, quite frequently seen in tasting reviews by a certain ilk of wine reviewer. Personally I avoid the pretentious 'pain grille' (what's wrong with the plain English 'toasted bread', or even the plainer 'toast'?), but have been known to use 'pencil lead' when I detect that aroma...

Good one, dawgbyte, on the painful grilling of, should we assume, someone's hand?  ;-)

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Reply by outthere, Apr 12, 2011.

LOL, the notes keep getting weirder and weirder. Hey, it sells wine.

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Reply by DawgByte, Apr 12, 2011.

If memory serves me correctly a few years ago a magazine or newspaper featured Greek wine. In fact it might have been the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. The special section featured the tasting notes on approximately 100 of the top Greek vintners. I had to look at the author's name at least four times to make sure it wasn't written by Hunter S. Thompson. The flavor and aroma notes were so off-the-wall that I could barely contain the laughter. In fact it was so funny it inspired me to think about writing a book.

 

Yes dmcker, burnt hand is exactly what I was thinking about! ;-)

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 12, 2011.

Greg - whats wrong? It is written to make thereviewer sound impressive rather than help the reader understand the wine.

D - I don't mind writers having a stab at when they think the wine will reach its peak.  I only look at it as a guide and generally I am looking for an idea is it a wine to keep or drink now.

Greg, I am suspecting from your somewhat frustrated/cynical/suspious overtone that the writer gave it 94-97 and you rated it <90 and closer to 85.

But to be fair, would you reject a wine because you hated or were offended by the review[or the reviewer] - surely you would taste before passing judgement.

Although I would agree that if it was >$25 then I would want to taste before purchasing if I had no prior experience with the wine.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.
Edited Apr 13, 2011

Aalto 2007 Ribera del Duero Tinto Fino,  95 pts Robert Parker.

Easy to find on a search, cause I just KNEW it was Parker.  jeez.  I disagree with him much of the time, both ways.  for my palate, I have found Tanzer a closer, but not perfect, match.

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

NG - what would you rate the wine?

Has Tanzer rated the wine?

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.

SH- I have not HAD this wine... was just playing the guessing game on what it was.  Did a search putting "RP" in because the descriptors and frivolous adjectives are SOOO RP! 

I think Tanzer did not rate this vintage.. from what I found, but, I think he rated the 2006 as 92.  I have not tasted either and therefore have no personal opinon.  Just guessing the rating/wine as GDP invited:-)  But I have to say, there are over 10 wines so far that Tanzer and I agree upon:-)

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

It looks like it retails for around $38 ex sales tax in your world

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.

I can get better for that price ;-)  MUCH better!!

meaning:  better WINE, not better price for this particular wine..

 

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1057629

KL has the wine GDP mentions for $50....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

NG - US Wines owned by Fosters

Berringer

Bohemian Highway

Cellar No 8

Chateau St Jean

Etude

Meridian

Santa Barbara Wine Coy

Sbragia Family Vineyards

Souverain

St Clement

Stags Leap

TAZ

Whats your thoughts on these companies/wines

Others feel free to weigh in

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

Woodland Hills wines has it for 39.95 ex sales tax

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 13, 2011.

Stephen, in a nutshell, they've all seen better days...

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

D - are you sure you are not just reflecting your well documented dislike of large wine companies?

Admittedly these were all pre Fosters purchases by Berringer but surely some must be making some reasonably good examples of Cali wines.

The reason I ask is that being in the Fosters stable they will be available here in Australia

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.

Dmcker is mostly correct in his statement.  They have seen better days.  Not to say that all of them are necessarily horrible today... but they would not currently be my "go to" wines.

I have tasted only a few of them in the last 5 yrs or so- the St. Clement Chard, the Ch. St. Jean, and the Berringer.  I was a fan of all these wineries back in the 90s. My more recent tastings were wines that I procured through a chain wine store... therefore the more "commonly" distributed.  I found them average at best, with the St. Clement being slightly better than the other two.  I think the key here is what gets mass distributed.  I haven't been to these three wineries in many moons, but I am pretty confident that one could visit one of the above wineries and find a much nicer wine that is not widely available. 

Sorry I can't help more.... I currently tend to stick to smaller producers for the most part

I think the bottom line is, being in Australia, you will most likely get California's mass-distributed wines, which for the most part, lack consistency and are average at best.  Unfortunately, by getting these wines, you are missing the best that California really has to offer.  You need to make a visit and taste/see for yourself. 

 

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Reply by gregt, Apr 13, 2011.

 I was waiting to see if anyone got it. Good job Napagirl.

BTW - it was NOT rated by Parker. I don't know if he's ever tasted it.  I suspect not.  It was rated by Jay.  If you want a clue - "Asian spices" means you can pretty much figure it's a 95 point wine from Jay.  He's trying to learn about Spain and it's wines and its regions and he's tasting more wines from there now that he's made a trip once or twice. If he likes it, he says it has Asian spice.

Don't dismiss that wine as a Foster's wine.  It's made by Mariano Garcia, who made 30 vintages of Vega Sicilia and who probably knows the vineyards of Ribera del Duero better than anyone.  He started a few projects with his sons and this was one he began with the Osborne family.  They eventually pulled out though.  Nor did he make the wines for Parker points - as the most famous winemaker in Spain and considered by some to be one of the best in the world, he never worried about getting high or low scores from critics.  His wines consistently get lower ratings from the WA than the wines from his peers.  In blind tastings I've fairly consistently preferred his wines but the WA doesn't taste blind. He's recently done better with points - perhaps because Jay has learned who he is - that's not clear.  In any event, Aalto can be a pretly good wine but it needs some time. 

It is a big style of wine, but unbekownst to himself, the WA critic was correct in this case - the wine will age nicely..

All that said, when young, all of the Garcia wines are pretty oaky.  Also, the 2007 vintage wasn't the greatest. So try the 2001 before you judge the wine.

Stephen - of those on the list, they are companies, all with a number of different wines.  Beringer for example, makes some swill but also some pretty decent wine.  They probably made the best white zin and still do and that's probably what Fosters wanted - huge and loyal market.  They also  make cheap supermarket wines.  OTOH, until recently their Knights Valley was a very decent, moderately priced Cab from CA.  For old times, we opened a 2007  which sucked IMHO - it had become too hot and gooey.  Big disappointment as I still have some from 1995 in the house to remind me what it was - an ageable CA Cab for under $25.  And their Private Reserve is actually one of the classic old-time Cabs from CA that can hold its own with wines from anywhere.  Ed Spragia was of course the winemaker for Beringer and when he wanted to leave and start his own place, they made him a great offer - stick around, supervise our stuff, and make your own in our facility rather than build a new place for yourself.  Who would refuse that?  So he's got first rate facilities to make the wine he wants to.

Chat St. Jean is a solid winery that had their Cinq Cepages wine named WIne of the Year by WS and the price went from $28 to $100 a bottle. It's settled back now.  Nice wine for $28, bad buy for $100. Their Sonoma Merlot and Sonoma Cab used to be consistently decent for around $20, but they were best known for their Chardonnay.  If you like the style, it's a good wine - it's CA style but well done in that genre.  Chat Souverain is roughly in the same league quality-wise IMO. 

Never had anything from Meridian that was exciting, nor Etude.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 13, 2011.
Edited Apr 13, 2011

Stephen, there is reason behind my madness. I'm cursed with an excellent memory for events, concepts, locations, people (though strangely enough not always people's names), scents, and many others, including, yes, tastes. I wasn't speaking from prejudice, but rather experience.

I have complex opinions about the value of large conglomerates in all sorts of contexts, and I've done business with some in other industries as the partner of choice, in multiple situations. But in the case of wine, as a consumer, I see little value if you're looking for quality, rather than just quantity at low price. Of course I see the value to the shareholders (and managers) of the conglomerate. The wealth they accrue doesn't make me appreciate their efforts, though, because of what they end up doing to formerly decent wineries and their product.

Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, St. Clement and Stag's Leap (whichever of the two you're referrring to; haven't looked Foster's listing up directly) were all definitely better a couple of decades ago. Etude, Santa Barbara, Bohemian and Taz were never that good to begin with. Not sure about Souverain's provenance since the Souverain I used to drink (spotty, but had its good moments) was bought up by Coppola. Sbragia's the only one for whom the jury's out with me because I haven't had any of their wine recently.

I view Foster's portfolio as mixed at best. Would love to be a fly on the wall in their board meetings to hear just how and why they a) decided to procure these wineries, and b) expect to exploit them.

Any insights in that direction, Stephen?

 

I've been having a debate with ownership (seed investors) in the mobile startup I joined last autumn about wastage that went on in the company before I joined. Getting the story clear before undertaking a mezzanine round of financing. This has caused me to talk to some people in Silicon Valley about their views, and we ended up segueing into debates on all sorts of things from Valley history, the value of failure and what are the true engines of innovation, to Keynsian Waste vs. Schumpeterian Waste. Shall we begin a discussion here on whether or not conglomerates have actually contributed in any positive way to innovation in the wine industry?

Of course we'll have to define innovation and progress before we begin... ;-)

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