Thursday, June 17, 2021

By the Bottle: Ron Washam

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.


Ron Washam is an acquired taste, like a fried brain sandwich, or Rigatoni con la pajata, made with the intestines of an unweaned calf, only fed on its mother's milk. A long-time sommelier in southern California, Ron is now superannuated in Sonoma County where he lives undisturbed with his wife, who is the love of his life. She has taken the vows, for better or for worse, to be a solemn oath. As they say in Venice, "Love is blind."

 

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Well, I’m not standing up right now, I’m sitting here filling out this stupid questionnaire which I intend to use to demonstrate my superior knowledge of wine because that’s what this kind of thing is about. The truth is, we all drink lots of wines we’re somewhat ashamed to admit we drank. Like wines we got on sale at Safeway, or were recommended by some beauty blogger on Instagram. That said, I couldn’t quite finish the bottle of ’85 Chave Hermitage I opened last night to go with my fish sticks, so that’s standing up right now looking really embarrassed.

 

What’s the last great wine you drank?

Is there an adjective more abused in the wine business than “great?” Maybe “natural” or “yummy,” which are polar opposites. Greatness is hard to measure, like your own inseam. Also, whatever it was, I hope it wasn’t the last great wine I drink. I’d like to have more great wines. Mainly, yours. I did recently drink a 2010 Dom Perignon that would make a blind monk see. I suppose the Champagne could have been better, now that I think about it. It could have been Dom and Dommer.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

2021-The future of wine wholesale distribution – Post Covid 19

Thursday, June 10, 2021

By the Bottle: Alder Yarrow

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.


I made Alder’s acquaintance through wine blogging, and have spent time with him in Napa and Italy. Alder is considered one of the pioneers of wine blogging with Vinography, and
has been a columnist for Jancis Robinson, since 2011, at jancisrobinson.com. He has traveled the world, to quench his thirst for wine and beyond. Alder is moved by wines that “have distinct personalities, strong voices, and reveal themselves in layers."

 

What wines do you have standing up right now?

At the moment I’ve got a bottle of 2019 Sandlands Red Table Wine in the fridge preserved with the new Coravin Pivot system, which is proving to be quite a handy device for keeping weeknight bottles fresh. In any case, Tegan Passalacqua has been making such wonderfully delicious wines under his Sandlands label, and this old-vine field blend from Contra Costa county is deliciously gulpable. It’s 55% Carignane and 45% Mataro and weighs in at only 12.8% alcohol. I like to drink it with a slight chill on it, and man, is it great.

In addition to that bottle, I’ve got the dregs of a couple of press samples that have been sent to me lately, a white Pinot Noir from Anne Amie Vineyards called “Prismé,” and a Vermentino di Gallura from the Sardegna producer Surrau.

 

What’s the last great wine you drank?

I’m not fully vaccinated yet (10 days and counting), so I’ve been easing my way back into social dining. I have a group of friends that have all been very careful and are partway through their vaccination regime too, and so we decided to go sit outside at The Morris restaurant in San Francisco a week or so ago, and we ordered some lovely wines. The star of the night was a 2011 Domaine du Collier “La Charpentrie” Saumur Blanc from the Loire Valley. It was just singing.

 

Describe your ideal drinking experience (when, where, what, how).

There are few things better than a long afternoon sitting around outside with good friends and great wine. If we’re talking ideal, it would be Spring, where the air is cool enough to keep the wines from getting warm, but warm enough to be comfortable. We’d be in the shade, at a picnic table, with an epic view, maybe of mountains or of the sea, and enough to eat so that we can keep drinking without needing a nap or to break away for a big meal.

I think if you had asked me this question 2 years ago, my answer might have been more grand, but right now, what I really want to do more than anything is just enjoy the company of great friends with no other encumbrances or obligations.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

10 Wines that Forever Changed the How the World Sees Italian Wine

From 8½ by Federico Fellini
Italy was once a forlorn country, vinously speaking. The wines were made haphazardly. The flavors were sometimes off, especially the white wines. They didn’t “travel” well to foreign countries. And the producers and the importers thought, in order to get a foothold in the market, that the wines had to be cheap. So they were. And, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, they “didn’t get no respect.”

We’re talking the 1960-70’s here, which is a universe away from the world we live in now. But to get from there to here took a revolution that hammered away at the commercial, cultural, logistical and financial worlds that prevailed. It was a long, slow climb to the top, where now Italian wine enjoys a reputation as one of the great wine producing countries of the world. No longer is Italy in the shadow of France, as it was when I started out. But it took some dogged determination, and the blood, sweat and tears of a diverse group of producers (and importers) in order to pull this revolution off. Here are ten of those fomenters who created a new reality for Italian wine, and changed forever how all of us see wine from Italy.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

By the Bottle: Ian D'Agata

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