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dmwine's Achievements


ventworm (63/123)

  1. Here's a description, at least from three years ago. I would say that space camp sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, while winemaking is likely the start of something very time consuming and expensive.
  2. Could this be more contradictory? The rich former airline pilot (?) vs. the "mom and pop" winery ... And "passion" is as much a cliché as the "adversity" rich athletes face when the ball bounces the other way. 3. Love a good tale. These consumers like wines that are made with "passion" and have a "story." The story often goes something like this: "Former airline pilot/teacher/CEO starts his or her winery on a patch of land like no other in search of the perfect bottle." This generation likes to know who's making their wine and its members often favor mom and pop wineries. This allows them to know more about what they are drinking, ...
  3. Andy Myers of CityZen, and Jarad Slipp of RdV Vineyards, ex-of CityZen, became Master Sommeliers today. This is a remarkable achievement that both have worked for over many years, and well deserved for both. They join Kathy Morgan and Keith Goldston, both of Range, as DC's Master Sommeliers. (Fran Kysela, now a wine importer based in Winchester, is also a Master Sommelier.) Last year, Carlton McCoy of The Little Nell in Aspen became an MS - and he had worked at CityZen, with Andy as his mentor. Eric Ziebold and the folks at CityZen should be proud to have had three Master Sommeliers emerge from the exceptional wine program at this restaurant. Andy mentored with Kathy and Keith, and has mentored several other DC somms who are working their way through the Court of Master Sommeliers program. We have several who are Advance Sommeliers, the third of four levels, who hopefully will become Master Sommeliers before long. It's a very rigorous course of study that requires dedication, time, expense - investment in all senses of the word. That so many DC-area somms are working through this is a testament to the professionalism of DC's restaurant scene and wine service in particular. Three cheers for Andy and Jarad!
  4. I'm sure glad you two weren't pissing at each other over the table during lunch!
  5. Gerry - We met several years ago at a wine dinner at the late, lamented (by me, at least) Café Atlantico. I've enjoyed this thread and am eager to taste your wines when they become available in the DC area. If you pass through, please let me know. Your discussion above on Rioja and the earlier quotes from Josh Raynolds bring to mind Paul Lukacs's new book, "Inventing Wine." The last few chapters sum up the evolution of wine's modern "invention," as he fancies it, into an international style characterized by flamboyance, fruitiness over earthiness, and potent alcohol. I'm simplifying here, of course, but the main factors driving this evolution are modern technology and viticultural practices, which have had several effects: Good, as in technically sound, wine can now be made anywhere. Dramatic improvements in wines from around the world (South Africa, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand). And perhaps a similar expansion of quality wine within classical winemaking countries (Languedoc, Priorato, and some of those tiny "new" regions on Don's bull head? Celebrity status for winemakers - the technology gives them tools and makes their choices in the winery as important, if not more, as choices in the vineyard. Because there is so much technically sound wine, wine is democratized - more people can afford it, so it becomes a more popular drink. Therefore ... Celebrity status for wine writers and critics, as consumers need someone to tell them which wines to choose from among the multitudes. The result of all this is that modern wines tend to taste alike. Lukacs calls this a triumph of style over terroir. "Wine's newfound ability to come in styles that can transcend both region and grape variety is the most important aspet of the current era of globalization," he writes. "For many consumers, a wine's ability to be true to a style even more than either a region or a grape has become a defining mark of quality." That's a thought-provoking discussion of why it can be hard to distinguish a modern Rioja from a Napa cabernet. I hadn't thought to blame Francois Freres, though! (A shameless plug: I reviewed Lukacs's book, along with another about wine in biblical times, for today's Washington Post. It's my first appearance in Book World, and I'm pretty darn excited about it.) Cheers, Dave McIntyre
  6. I don't really, and now I think advancing age may have tripped me up when I wrote that - I believe the Old House was a vidal blanc (dry and quite good). Linden and Breaux still make nice seyval, as does Boordy in MD. Leesburg Vintner might have some, I suspect.
  7. Well, I AM aging, which of course .... beats the alternative ... (rimshot) ... though I'm actually more and more appreciative of nuance in wines. What I was responding to in that Norton piece was the plain fact that the winemakers are getting better at what they're doing. I'm intrigued by Alan Kinne's idea that using gentler techniques more common to pinot noir (from his experience in Oregon) might produce Norton wines that are less ....well, let's just say less over the top and more nuanced. At the risk of getting wonky, which I don't like to do in my columns, the problem with Norton is the combination of high acid and high pH. To lower the pH, you need to add acid, but there is already too much. Without lowering the pH, the wine can be unstable and susceptible to brettanomyces (the bad yeast that leads to "barnyardy" or "band-aid" aromas and flavors) and other funkiness. What producers such as Jenni McCloud and others are finding is that with vine age and careful vineyard techniques, they can influence the acid/pH balance favorably - in other words, "the wine is made in the vineyard." That plus careful, gentle handling in the winery can produce a balanced, tasty wine. You've probably heard that before - it means that Norton in this respect is no different than other grapes. Like Don, I used to be a "viti-racist," preferring vinifera over all others. I still DO prefer vinifera - the world does, with good reason. But winemaking is getting better throughout the United States. Stone Hill Winery in Missouri makes some very nice Nortons (and is the same winery that won the gold medal in Vienna, Austria, for a Norton in the 1870s.) Personally, I think Missouri does an even better job with dry Vignoles, a French-American hybrid grape that makes very tasty white wine. I only know about these because DrinkLocalWine.com, a website I co-founded four years ago, held its annual bloggers conference in Missouri in 2011. I don't go there and I won't mail order them for direct shipping, but I like the wines and recommend them to anyone visiting Missouri. Closer to home, I've been impressed with the Old House Vineyards 2010 Chambourcin and 2009 Seyval Blanc from Virginia, two very stylish wines made from hybrid grape varieties. I agree with Don about finding a critic you can relate to and "calibrate" with your palate. Just like my parents used to avoid any movies recommended by the newspaper reviewer, because they invariably hated them. We have tastes and preferences that come with a certain perspective, but that isn't always the same POV of the average consumer. (That's one reason we do this, after all.) Too much for tonight - work to do! Another column to write ...
  8. Look for soon-to-be-released estate wines from Granite Heights (Opal, VA, b/w Warrenton and Culpeper - not a stunning view, but very nice wines, jams and honeys!). Also, in Maryland Boordy should soon be releasing their 2010 Landmark reds from their newly replanted vineyards. Also, the 2010 Syrah from Elk Run in MD is quite good.
  9. Your words, not mine. It could also be that they taste a wide variety of wines and are having their first real exposure to VA in that context (which is what the organizers wanted), while some of us who drink the wines more often can relate to the wines more closely. For example, those wines that I gave my highest scores to - to be honest, I'm responding in part because they did seem to set themselves apart from the crowd as Virginia wines. The MWs on the panel might have been comparing them to first growth Bordeaux, something I don't taste often enough.
  10. Impossible to say. Remember, there were 15 judges, so 15 disparate scores to average. Some of these judges had had little or no exposure to Virginia wine before; this MAY have prompted them to score more cautiously, but that's simply speculation. I know I gave more than 13 gold medal scores, and most of those were in the 90-92 range, with a few that really excited me going over the 94-point threshold. But I hate point scores, so whaddo I know? The judges were not informed afterwards as to which wines were which, so I don't know what wines I would have included in the Governor's Case. But I think my distribution would have been similar, in that the Bordeaux blends (meritage) category was strongest.
  11. Some interesting things to note here: The prevalence (5 of 12) of Bordeaux blends, including the Glen Manor, Delfosse, Potomac Point and Veritas. No petit verdot or viognier (though the Tarara is apparently 40% viognier) Most are from the Charlottesville area The new format will not only allow the industry to spot its star wineries, but also which vineyards produce the top wines, as many of the medal winners may purchase grapes from the same sources - that way the growers will get recognition too. In all, 13 golds, 137 Silvers, and about 215 bronze medals, from about 400+ wines entered - shows fairly high overall quality.
  12. Congratulations, Jeff! Well done! The Governor's Cup was revamped this year to give it more credibility, by bringing in some top judges (two MWs - with a third, DC's own Jay Youmans, organizing the competition - and an MS (Kathy Morgan) among the judges. Most of all, a requirement that the wines be made 100% from Virginia grapes.
  13. Justin - I was impressed with their rosê and some of their reds they were pouring at the Silver Spring Eat-Drink-Local event last month. They are an estate winery with a large vineyard, so they could have some real potential. I mentioned them in my Maryland feature last month as well. Dave Mc
  14. I'm not sure about the original Long Bomb, but Jordan Harris, the engaging young Canadian winemaker who joined Tarara in 2007, has insisted that the winery use only Virginia fruit. His other changes include screwcaps for all wines and vineyard-designated blends instead of labeling by grape variety. Thus he has the Neveah White or Neveah Red blends (the vineyard name following in the winery tradition of spelling things backwards).
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