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Wine Thread

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
I've been messing around with uber cheap Burgundies? but I haven't gotten around to writing any reviews, so I'm going to start with an Oregon Pinot. Some of the Pinots I used to drink are more than $25 now and I'm not paying that, plus they aren't as good as they were when I was drinking them. I'm not a "cheap bastard" but I'm not going to pay $25 for a bottle of table wine.



Primarius

2007 Oregon Pinot Nior

13.5% ALC

About $8 at Fresh&Easy;

Tasted at: 50 degrees



Okay, I'm not going to hate on this one for being over-juiced (alcohol too high). Yay for our side! Quite brown when you pour it. Very slight nose of currants and dried cherries. Very laid back. Pairs well with, well, everything because it's so laid back - and that's it's downfall, it's almost inert. Sort of earthy, but very brown. On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 4. I don't hate it but I just don't like it very much. I retested this at 55 degrees and liked it less.



Damn. I really wanted to like this one. There, I said it - I'm prejudiced. Winfred Wong eat my lunch.
 
Oh.... F&E wines. While I didn't taste everything they had on offer, to me, everything under $10 sucked. And it didn't suck because it was priced under $10, 'cause I'll save my pennies where I can, but it just worked out that that was the dividing line. One that we did like (when poured through the Vinturi) was the 2007 F&E Recoleta Malbec/Bornarda (60%/40%). I think that was priced at $9.99.
 

stepping_up_IHB

New member
[quote author="no_vaseline" date=1253271483][quote author="centralcoastobserver" date=1253262893]



No_Vas.... why can't you irrigate grapes in Europe???</blockquote>


It's against the rules.



<a href="http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml">http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml</a>



<blockquote><em>Irrigation is not allowed under French appellation rules and the vines are further stressed by increased density of planting.</em> </blockquote>


That stuff in Paso gets 7 to 10 tons an acre of production. The stuff in France gets ? a ton to a ton.



<blockquote>Don't they irrigate any crops?</blockquote>


I'd assume so, but wine grapes are a no go.



<blockquote>From commentary up here in this "wine country".... rain late in the growing season is bad, as it increases the risk of mold on the grapes, and, as I understood it, lowers the sugar content, because the grapes "plump up" with water and dilute the sugar content. Wouldn't irrigation work the same way?</blockquote>


No. Late season rains add moisture to the fruit and cause mold problems you noted (earlier in the season you can apply fungicide, starts to be problematic right before harvest) but it shouldn't hurt the inside of the fruit. Rain usually means cooler temperatures and that hurts the plants ability to build sugars in the fruit. Really it just complicates the harvest.



All modern vineyards are drip irrigated and thus avoid the mildew problems you have when using either flood irrigation or sprinklers. Plus, you use less water and you have the added ability of chemigation (if you need to add fertilizer or something, you can get it in right now by adding it to the water).



Also, there's some timing to the irrigation. You just don't throw water at them all the time.



<a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519134750.htm">Folks have done their PHD's on the topic, but heres a primer article on irrigating wine grapes.</a>



<blockquote>And I thought alcohol content was limited because anything much above 13% killed off the yeast involved.</blockquote>


You're out of my pay scale. I know something about viticulture, but after it leaves the vineyard, I really don't understand it. I was a grape grower, not a winemaker.



<blockquote>I'm going to have to look for that Argentine wine. I'm not much of a red drinker, but I like whites. </blockquote>


I love reds and I don?t ever drink them anymore.</blockquote>


Actually, a number of the paso vineyards do NOT irrigate, especially the ones on the west side that have the calciferous soil. Instead, they let the roots of the vines go search for water, sometimes up to 60 feet down to find it. This allows the roots to pick up the minerals from below, which in the end up in the grape. Terroire is what the French purists call it, but many other vineyards also seek to get the grapes to represent nature below around and above them. And production varies tremendously in Paso vineyards and the 1/2 ton in France... Burgundy with it's rules yes, but there are many domaines in France that surpass 1/2 ton per acre.
 

graphrix_IHB

New member
<a href="http://www.esterlinavineyards.com/">Esterlina is by far one of Cayci and my favorite wineries ever</a>. Not only do we love almost all of their wines (which it is rare to love a majority of a winery's wines but usually loving one or two is an accomplishment in itself), but the experience you get at their winery is even more amazing. Who knew Cheetos would compliment a chardonnay? If you ever make it to Mendocino, this is a <strong>MUST</strong> stop winery.



Anyway, I had their <a href="http://www.esterlinavineyards.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=Esterlina&Product_Code=Merlot_CR05&Category_Code=RED">2005 Cole Ranch Merlot</a> tonight. Normally... I don't drink no stinkin Merlot... but this wine really is different than any merlot and is more like a jammy zin than a musty tannin like merlot. Nice deep cherry fruit with a smooth slight vanilla finish. The thing I love about Esterlina is you can open it now and enjoy it now. I cooled it down in the fridge, because back in the day those French and Italian caves were in the mid-50 degree range. Cool your red wines to cave like temps and they have way more fruit and are less tannin and way less heat like. This is something I think turns me off of some red wines at wineries that serve their wine at room temp when it should be chilled. I hated everything at Opolo, probably because of the high temp, not because their wines were bad.



Also, the Esterlina wine club is the shite. They offered a phat discount to wine club members on their Merlot that made the cost shipped with tax to be about $14 a bottle. Which is truly a steal. We also got their "Gran Rojo" on a discount during that special sale. Which... is even a more amazing wine.



Can you tell I love Esterlina?
 

graphrix_IHB

New member
[quote author="stepping_up" date=1255004360]Actually, a number of the paso vineyards do NOT irrigate, especially the ones on the west side that have the calciferous soil. Instead, they let the roots of the vines go search for water, sometimes up to 60 feet down to find it. This allows the roots to pick up the minerals from below, which in the end up in the grape. Terroire is what the French purists call it, but many other vineyards also seek to get the grapes to represent nature below around and above them. And production varies tremendously in Paso vineyards and the 1/2 ton in France... Burgundy with it's rules yes, but there are many domaines in France that surpass 1/2 ton per acre.</blockquote>
<a href="http://www.dunningvineyards.com/">Dunning does this and you can taste the limestone in their wines</a>. Love them!
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
[quote author="stepping_up" date=1255004360][quote author="no_vaseline" date=1253271483][quote author="centralcoastobserver" date=1253262893]



No_Vas.... why can't you irrigate grapes in Europe???</blockquote>


It's against the rules.



<a href="http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml">http://www.chateau-masburel.com/grapes.shtml</a>



<blockquote><em>Irrigation is not allowed under French appellation rules and the vines are further stressed by increased density of planting.</em> </blockquote>


That stuff in Paso gets 7 to 10 tons an acre of production. <strong>The stuff in France gets ? a ton to a ton.</strong>

<blockquote>Don't they irrigate any crops?</blockquote>


I'd assume so, but wine grapes are a no go.



<blockquote>From commentary up here in this "wine country".... rain late in the growing season is bad, as it increases the risk of mold on the grapes, and, as I understood it, lowers the sugar content, because the grapes "plump up" with water and dilute the sugar content. Wouldn't irrigation work the same way?</blockquote>


No. Late season rains add moisture to the fruit and cause mold problems you noted (earlier in the season you can apply fungicide, starts to be problematic right before harvest) but it shouldn't hurt the inside of the fruit. Rain usually means cooler temperatures and that hurts the plants ability to build sugars in the fruit. Really it just complicates the harvest.



All modern vineyards are drip irrigated and thus avoid the mildew problems you have when using either flood irrigation or sprinklers. Plus, you use less water and you have the added ability of chemigation (if you need to add fertilizer or something, you can get it in right now by adding it to the water).



Also, there's some timing to the irrigation. You just don't throw water at them all the time.



<a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519134750.htm">Folks have done their PHD's on the topic, but heres a primer article on irrigating wine grapes.</a>



<blockquote>And I thought alcohol content was limited because anything much above 13% killed off the yeast involved.</blockquote>


You're out of my pay scale. I know something about viticulture, but after it leaves the vineyard, I really don't understand it. I was a grape grower, not a winemaker.



<blockquote>I'm going to have to look for that Argentine wine. I'm not much of a red drinker, but I like whites. </blockquote>


I love reds and I don?t ever drink them anymore.</blockquote>


Actually, a number of the paso vineyards do NOT irrigate, especially the ones on the west side that have the calciferous soil. Instead, they let the roots of the vines go search for water, sometimes up to 60 feet down to find it. This allows the roots to pick up the minerals from below, which in the end up in the grape. Terroire is what the French purists call it, but many other vineyards also seek to get the grapes to represent nature below around and above them. And production varies tremendously in Paso vineyards and the 1/2 ton in France... Burgundy with it's rules yes, but there are many domaines in France that surpass 1/2 ton per acre.</blockquote>


I think you misread what I wrote. There are roughly 200 domaines in France. None of them are new and none of them (to my knowledge) are irrigated. Frankly, it wouldn't help that much because it's so cold there compared to California. On the UC Davis climate scale of 1-5 (relating to temperature) I think Burgundy is a -1.



<a href="http://www.calwineries.com/learn/grape-growing/climate/heat-summation-scale">Primer on UC Davis heat scale.</a>



You can have high degree days and still make quality grapes if you irrigate. As a benefit, you get much increased production. Nothing grows in your freezer because it's cold. Guys who farm almonds north of the delta get 1800 pounds of nuts per acre. Near Kettleman City/Coalinga the production is closer to 4500 pounds. The big producers get less rainfall in the winter and more heat during the summer and make up for it with irrigation and have roughly 250% more production for their trouble.



Cold summer temperatures in most of France (southern Rhone excepted) partially negate the benefits of irrigation.



<blockquote>The stuff in France gets ? a ton to a ton.</blockquote>


There are a few dry farmed vineyards in Paso, but not very many.



The dry farmed stuff in Paso is part art and part there isn't a ready source of (cheap) water on the West side. Drilling wells is not cheap, and running pumps is not cheap. Making money in wine grape production requires making maximum tonnage with acceptable sugar levels and minimal inputs and that requires irrigation. If water is too expensive, you do what you have to do and go the other way. Plus, it gives you something to talk about on the label.



Please be aware that when I?m speaking of irrigation, I?m not talking about maximizing quality. I?m talking about making a profit out of a vineyard operation in California. There is good reason why we do what we do and the French do what they do.



Readers who have gotten this far in this thread might find these sites interesting:



<a href="http://www.pasowine.com/about-us/membership.php">http://www.pasowine.com/about-us/membership.php</a>

<a href="http://noblerot-iggpra.blogspot.com/">http://noblerot-iggpra.blogspot.com/ - Blog for Paso Area Wine Grape Growers</a>

<a href="http://pasoroblesgrapeconnection.com/">http://pasoroblesgrapeconnection.com/ - ton of stuff here, all grower centric</a>
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
[quote author="EvaLSeraphim" date=1255002983]Oh.... F&E wines. While I didn't taste everything they had on offer, to me, everything under $10 sucked. And it didn't suck because it was priced under $10, 'cause I'll save my pennies where I can, but it just worked out that that was the dividing line. One that we did like (when poured through the Vinturi) was the 2007 F&E Recoleta Malbec/Bornarda (60%/40%). I think that was priced at $9.99. </blockquote>


When F&E opened, they had a master sommelier on staff and their selections were, um, exquisite - and insanely cheap. I don't know what the hell happened, but the word SUCK comes to mind now. I'm done messing around at F&E for a while.



It recently occurred to me that I know the buyer for the French stuff at TJ's. She and her husband used to own Brassiere Astuce in Pomona. I think they might have a small wine shop attached to their wholesale operation in Claremont now.
 

stepping_up_IHB

New member
[quote author="graphrix" date=1255005185]<a href="http://www.esterlinavineyards.com/">Esterlina is by far one of Cayci and my favorite wineries ever</a>. Not only do we love almost all of their wines (which it is rare to love a majority of a winery's wines but usually loving one or two is an accomplishment in itself), but the experience you get at their winery is even more amazing. Who knew Cheetos would compliment a chardonnay? If you ever make it to Mendocino, this is a <strong>MUST</strong> stop winery.



Anyway, I had their <a href="http://www.esterlinavineyards.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=Esterlina&Product_Code=Merlot_CR05&Category_Code=RED">2005 Cole Ranch Merlot</a> tonight. Normally... I don't drink no stinkin Merlot... but this wine really is different than any merlot and is more like a jammy zin than a musty tannin like merlot. Nice deep cherry fruit with a smooth slight vanilla finish. The thing I love about Esterlina is you can open it now and enjoy it now. I cooled it down in the fridge, because back in the day those French and Italian caves were in the mid-50 degree range. Cool your red wines to cave like temps and they have way more fruit and are less tannin and way less heat like. This is something I think turns me off of some red wines at wineries that serve their wine at room temp when it should be chilled. I hated everything at Opolo, probably because of the high temp, not because their wines were bad.



Also, the Esterlina wine club is the shite. They offered a phat discount to wine club members on their Merlot that made the cost shipped with tax to be about $14 a bottle. Which is truly a steal. We also got their "Gran Rojo" on a discount during that special sale. Which... is even a more amazing wine.



Can you tell I love Esterlina?</blockquote>


I think even if you chilled Opolo wines, you'd still hate them. Frankly, they just aren't very good and are grossly over priced. Funny thing I've noticed is that when you hear people talking about the wineries they liked, the ones who really dug Opolo are the ones who don't know wine at all.



Chilling masks some flavors so a lot of wineries serve even their whites at room temp for tasting purposes. I bought hubby one of those hi tech chillers that it supposed to get each variety to the exact temp it should be served at, but he hated it and had me return it. He likes to put the dinner red outside for a few hours whenever the temps are in the 50's.
 

stepping_up_IHB

New member
[quote author="no_vaseline" date=1255037630][quote author="EvaLSeraphim" date=1255002983]Oh.... F&E wines. While I didn't taste everything they had on offer, to me, everything under $10 sucked. And it didn't suck because it was priced under $10, 'cause I'll save my pennies where I can, but it just worked out that that was the dividing line. One that we did like (when poured through the Vinturi) was the 2007 F&E Recoleta Malbec/Bornarda (60%/40%). I think that was priced at $9.99. </blockquote>


When F&E opened, they had a master sommelier on staff and their selections were, um, exquisite - and insanely cheap. I don't know what the hell happened, but the word SUCK comes to mind now. I'm done messing around at F&E for a while.



It recently occurred to me that I know the buyer for the French stuff at TJ's. She and her husband used to own Brassiere Astuce in Pomona. I think they might have a small wine shop attached to their wholesale operation in Claremont now.</blockquote>


Tell her we said thank you very much for the Vacqueryas and Gigondas they added.
 
[quote author="stepping_up" date=1255039767]I think even if you chilled Opolo wines, you'd still hate them. Frankly, they just aren't very good and are grossly over priced. Funny thing I've noticed is that when you hear people talking about the wineries they liked, the ones who really dug Opolo are the ones who don't know wine at all.</blockquote>


:red:



The first year we went to Opolo we liked it and bought three or four bottles. On our last trip this past January, we didn't like what they offered very much at all and bought only a single bottle. I admit to being a Westside snob when it comes to Paso. With respect to Graph's favored Eberle, they will usually have one bottle that knocks my socks off, so I still make an effort to go there when we're in town. Sadly, I think we're taking a break from Paso for awhile.
 
[quote author="no_vaseline" date=1255037630]It recently occurred to me that I know the buyer for the French stuff at TJ's. She and her husband used to own Brassiere Astuce in Pomona. I think they might have a small wine shop attached to their wholesale operation in Claremont now.</blockquote>


Hmm.... I may have to look that up.
 

caycifish_IHB

New member
I had dinner with some colleagues last night (I had the Solaire 06 Cab by the glass and it was "okay") and the idea of a November Santa Barbara wine tasting trip came up. Where to go? Where to avoid? Where to stay? What say ye, IHB wine lovers?
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
[quote author="caycifish" date=1255042567]I had dinner with some colleagues last night (I had the Solaire 06 Cab by the glass and it was "okay") and the idea of a November Santa Barbara wine tasting trip came up. Where to go? Where to avoid? Where to stay? What say ye, IHB wine lovers?</blockquote>


Are you looking for a high brow or a Joe Dirt type trip?
 
[quote author="caycifish" date=1255042567]I had dinner with some colleagues last night (I had the Solaire 06 Cab by the glass and it was "okay") and the idea of a November Santa Barbara wine tasting trip came up. Where to go? Where to avoid? Where to stay? What say ye, IHB wine lovers?</blockquote>


<a href="http://wine.woot.com/forums/ViewPost.aspx?PostID=3199795&PageIndex=1&ReplyCount=4">Some suggestions.</a>



Also, <em>do not go to Blackjack.</em> We tasted ~12 wines there and they all sucked. Normally, that wouldn't warrant a stern warning, but tasting staff were arrogant jerks as well so they are completely off our list. In talking with other people that had been to Blackjack, that was also their experience with the tasting room staff.
 

caycifish_IHB

New member
[quote author="no_vaseline" date=1255045261][quote author="caycifish" date=1255042567]I had dinner with some colleagues last night (I had the Solaire 06 Cab by the glass and it was "okay") and the idea of a November Santa Barbara wine tasting trip came up. Where to go? Where to avoid? Where to stay? What say ye, IHB wine lovers?</blockquote>


Are you looking for a high brow or a Joe Dirt type trip?</blockquote>


I like small production wineries. Stuff you can't buy elsewhere.
 
[quote author="caycifish" date=1255051086]I like small production wineries. Stuff you can't buy elsewhere.</blockquote>


Then I would definitely recommend a Lompoc trip with a visit to Ampelos (and Dragonette, if they are still sharing the facilities), and the wine ghetto with Fiddlehead, Palmina, LaVie (who are a bit hit 'n miss, but I like the '05 Black Mountain), and Nicolaysen, among others. Lompoc alone could take up one day. Palmina and Fiddlehead are not small, but still worth a visit.
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
[quote author="caycifish" date=1255051086][quote author="no_vaseline" date=1255045261][quote author="caycifish" date=1255042567]I had dinner with some colleagues last night (I had the Solaire 06 Cab by the glass and it was "okay") and the idea of a November Santa Barbara wine tasting trip came up. Where to go? Where to avoid? Where to stay? What say ye, IHB wine lovers?</blockquote>


Are you looking for a high brow or a Joe Dirt type trip?</blockquote>


I like small production wineries. Stuff you can't buy elsewhere.</blockquote>


Cool. Here?s my small producers list, my restaurant list (all central coast cowboy steakhouses), and my hotel choice.



My favorite on the Foxen Wine Trail is Koehler.



<a href="http://www.koehlerwinery.com/home/content.cfm">http://www.koehlerwinery.com/home/content.cfm</a>



These guys were growers first turned winemakers. They really care about everything that matters. The tasting room used to be a temporary modular office building. It might still be. They figure they should put profits back into the winery and the vineyard (you know, where wines come from) and not a fancy tasting room.



Another favorite is Sunstone.



<a href="http://www.sunstonewinery.com/">http://www.sunstonewinery.com/</a>



I'm not into organic one bit, but these guys make solid wines, particularly the Vigonier and Semillon.



I have three recommendations for dinner, but all of them are in North SB county.



<a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/jockos-steak-house-nipomo">Jocko's Nipomo.</a>



You are going to Jocko's for the steaks grilled over Santa Maria red oak coals, everything else is a warm up. Not much to look at. $30 a person, includes cocktails.



<a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/far-western-tavern-guadalupe">Far Western - Guadalupe.</a>



Many locals like the steaks better here than Jockos, but thier side dishes are much better. About the same money.



<a href="http://www.hitchingpost1.com/">http://www.hitchingpost1.com/</a>



<a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-hitching-post-casmalia">Hitching Post - Casmelia.</a>



I've never ate here, but it wasn't from a lack of trying.



Make a reservation no matter where you go on the central coast. Expect to wait either way on weekends or during the summer, particularly at Jockos.



I stay at Big America in Santa Maria for no reason other than I?ve been doing it for 15 years and it?s close to the restaurants I want to eat at. Nothing special, just rooms. I stayed in the Alisal Ranch at Solvang for three days once. Best I ever ate and drank, but we were literally the only room rented in the place. No TV?s, all the included golf and horseback riding you can stand. Awesome resort and I don't golf nor do I ride horses.



I?d go tasting as early in the morning as you can stand it and quit at 2 or so. Go chill in Solvang or take a nap or something else than fight the crowds who seem to come out of the woodwork in busses and limos to get their drink on and ruin my time.
 

no_vaseline_IHB

New member
A Bordeaux tonight.



Chateau Briot

2007 Bordeaux

12.5% ALC

About $6 at Trader Joes



Six bucks? Are you joking? I mean, whatdya want for six bucks?



The color is dark crimson and almost glowing. Zero sedimentation. The nose is of light plums, but slightly spicy and a little peppery too. Light viscosity and mouth feel. Finishes a little heavy, but pleasant because of the low alcohol. Again, definitely a food wine. I retested it at 55 degrees and the aromas pipe up nicely (this is the third time I?ve drank one) and I?d suggest serving it warmer (my wine storage is preset at a compromise 50 degrees). On a scale of 1-10 I give it a solid 7 ? and maybe higher if I?d tasted it warmer to begin with.



C?s get degrees, but for six bucks? You can spend a lot more and do far worse. My wine aficionado friends won?t be impressed, but it certainly will get the job done with maximum flexibility and minimal impact to your wallet.
 

opuswon_IHB

New member
[quote author="EvaLSeraphim" date=1255052499][quote author="caycifish" date=1255051086]I like small production wineries. Stuff you can't buy elsewhere.</blockquote>


Then I would definitely recommend a Lompoc trip with a visit to Ampelos (and Dragonette, if they are still sharing the facilities), and the wine ghetto with Fiddlehead, Palmina, LaVie (who are a bit hit 'n miss, but I like the '05 Black Mountain), and Nicolaysen, among others. Lompoc alone could take up one day. Palmina and Fiddlehead are not small, but still worth a visit.</blockquote> I second the recommendation for Ampelos, but make sure you call ahead to ensure they're open. The owners run the tastings and will tell many stories if you ask engaging questions. If they haven't bottled their 2007's yet, he'll let you barrel taste. If you go, ask for some 2007 Fiddlestix Pinot...
 
Memphis wine dinner info for October:



<img src="http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb27/evalseraphim/MemphisOct09winedinnermenu-1.jpg" alt="" />



I don't know anything about any of the wines, but the food sounds good.
 
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