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Everything posted by Carema

  1. I just sampled this blind and thought it was just another uninspiring California Merlot. The bottle we had, if any indication of the wine, had no defining characteristic of Sangiovese. Perhaps Mr. Parker had an extra delicious bottle, or perhaps he should stay out of Italy. Perhaps it was his 900th taste of the day, who knows. In any event, just more proof how the numerical scores are meaningless. I too just learned that the Domaine Dujac Chambolle Grenecheurs (I think I mispelled the cru) 2002, which was in my estimation a profound burgundian experience, only recieved an 89. I still would rather have one bottle of that over 16.87 bottles of that wretched sangio!
  2. Colline Lucchesi 1998. A dark brooding Sangiovese from up near Pisa. It makes me want to change my name to Lucchesi. It is difficult to describe its depth, its magical prunes and brett nose, overripe and falling off the trees cherries, humungo acidity. So dark and inky one immediately gets clown mouth (when red little circles from the glass stain the thin skin above the lips). we all have to brush our teeth. I bought the last 4 cases to give to my employees during the xmas season, when they are overworked and emotionally exhausted. It is like the Turley of Italy. Where the hell did you find this; and can you get us more??????? Oh I got it for 12 bucks a bottle. The best $576 I ever spent. PS Mak says dark and earthy, but really smooth too. She is moving to arizona. I will miss her. edited for drunken 4 pm mispellings
  3. Carema


    Gaia Gaja came into the shop, not too long ago, with some lovely wines. The 1999 Barbaresco was stunning, as was the Alteni di Brassica 1999. These are well crafted wines, loveingly created, well thought out, balanced etc. The 1996 Sugarille Brunello wasn't to bad of a mouthful either. But Perfection? Perfection is the first sight of your son's just born skin, taught and waxy, holding in the soft bones of his beautiful face. Great wine can catapult ordinary moments into extraordinary moments. You would be unhappy to taste this 2000 Costa Russi until it was older. Too young and it will remind you of cherry cola in the mouth. Perfection lies in the pople around you, the ones you love, you hold them tight, good food on the table (if you are lucky) and good bottles of wine, some not 350.00 a pop, some 350.00 a pop. If you have an extra 350, buy one for yourself. the man does not make bad wine.
  4. Carema

    White or Red?

    What is this, Sophie's Choice? Somedays the fence hurts and we gently climb off of it. Somedays we want to loll around sitting all day. Why must one choose? If you want the purity of a crystalline lake filled with apricot, you turn to your old friend J J Cristoffel. You say "white" I want riesling please. If you want something thick and sweet with the texture of blood, you turn to Kay Brothers in Australia. Delicate days require a creamy white, Henri Bourgeois' Monte Damnes Sancerre. Days in which a klunk on the head and near asphyxiation is necessary, some young, unready to drink California Cabernet will do (hopefully overpriced so one can brag about the gratuitousness of it all). maybe the Veraison 2001 which stopped us in our tracks last week and made us remember why we love California. Maybe it is the flux and turn and moony derision of my entire being, but I would have said take us all, there is no choice. there is no way to decide. None.
  5. Carema

    Wine Judging Scales

    oh gosh I do not know... what about varietal correctness, regional considerations and all that? What about, does this make my heart beat? It has always seemed wretchedly inappropriate, to me anyways, to be judging Lambrusco and Volnay Les Fremiets all on the same scale. Quantification is such a linear, limited way to approach wine. It takes the mirth, emotion and artfulness out and lets the spread sheet deconstruction in. here's a good example: We did a Rhone tasting in the shop. At the end we showed a Gaillard Cote Rotie, 1999. It is an absolutely beautiful wine, smokey, terse, with raspberries and seeds, a little Viognier blended in just like they used to. The tasters loved it, bought all of it and now it is our go to Rotie. WS score- 84. A dismal score, for a great wine. probably much to do with this score was that it was tasted as an infant, and the color was not rich. Who cares the wine rocked.
  6. I have seen people attempt to do the "chez cuvee" but it begets the question "Why are not you buying better balanced wines in the first place?" Balance does not always imply costly. Balance can be found at any price point but it sometimes means inconveniencing yourself, instead of grabbing that two buck with your ten pounds of frozen shrimp and giant bag of dried cherries, drive once more, find a reputable wine merchant and let them help you buy a bottle that you won't have to doctor up when you get home.
  7. Indeed Brunello is made from a Sangiovese clone called Grosso, big with thicker skins. The first vintage of Brunello was in 1888 and the grosso is the only grape in the uvaggio. A pretty rigorous DOC law implementation in 1960 requiring 42 months of cask aging is partially responsible for the over the moon pricing of modern Brunello, who among us sit on merchandise for almost 5 years before selling it?!!? Comparing Super Ts and Brunello is sort of not such a good idea; the restrictuve DOC requirements imposed upon Brunello do not let it play in the same sand lot as sangiovcese that is blended with Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and god knows what else. Me, I prefer SuperTuscans with heavier Merlot content. Sometimes Tuscan Cabernet just seems to shut the whole book down; I am sure there are many who disagree with me. Maybe you could start by playing around with aging some young vines stuff, Ornellaia makes a second label (not La Volte, that is sourced fruit) with young fruit that is handled exactly as Ornellaia is. Rosso di Montalcino is young vines and not up to snuff Brunello. Age these guys for a few years see if you like it before dumping a bunch of money into other stuff. I think Gaja's Sugarille Brunello is sublime, ageworthy and incredible, and while you may need to take a second mortgage out on your house, it is well worth it. Good Luck. edited for spelling
  8. Today, at 2pm my son jumped off the schoolbus and into the arms of his father, who he hadn't seen in three years. How vicious and angry we were back then, and how he has suffered and now we are trying to fix it. I bought some lamb, because I remembered he liked lamb and later all three of us sat down at the dinner table for the first time in four and half bitter years and had...dinner. Simple. Potatoes will dill & rosemary, lamb ribs & and raw carrots with balsamic. I opened a few samples of Calabrian wines that I had been given for a tasting then went downstairs, returning with the 1998 Beaucastel, given to me by someone really wonderful. The Beaucastel is unbelievable a seamless stream of fruit so focused and perfect, balanced with delicate tannins, sweetness and weight. We finished the bottle in about fifteen minutes, and I looked at our little son, so happy to be near his Dad, how much they looked alike and felt a softening of hearts, that first melt of forgiveness... It still didn't make any of those nasty Calabrian wines any better (and lord know I love Italy) but the Beaucastel is now forever hinged in my memory. We will be able to sit together at graduations and I will be able to call Seattle when that tender heart is adolescent and first broken and it seems that as long as there is lamb and good wine we will submerge all our stupid anger and finally be able to call ourselves parents.
  9. For what it is worth here is mine: Tramein Lagrein Alto Adige $16.95 2001 a milk chocolate cherry acid bomb Le Fevre Champs Royaux Chablis 2002 $18.95 Not classic but rich, minerally and versatile for both burgundy lovers and americans chard people in search of acid Darting Riesling Kabbinet (Liters) 2001 Pfalz $14.95[/b] a terrific sweettart of a riesling with Pfalz dryness and happy dance fruit La Lastra Chianti Colli Senesi 2000 $14.95 Tuscany A silky, stewed cherry expression of sangio. Quality belies small price. Melodie D'Amour Chasclun 2000 $18.95 CDR Villages The winemaker at La Nerthe travels a few kilometers west and pulls out an intense bluberry pie crawling with density and appeal. Cesari Sangiovese di Romagna 1999 Emilia Romagne $16.95 From north of Tuscany comes a rich black version of sangiovese that makes pizza night a cause for celebration Handley Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Anderson valley CA $14.95The acidity is not superb but what an intoxicating medley of quince, papaya mango and pineapple. We swear there is a bit of gewurz but no, just a very atypical yet delicious SB. Chateau de Galoupet Cotes Du provence cru Classe 2000 $14.95 Some chateau neuf are not this good- just a phenomenal lustrous value chock full of garrigue, raspberries with their seeds, and a langorous finish like an afternoon in France. Chateau Freynelles Bordeaux Superior 2000 $11.95 Just a shitty french Merlot that lasts for days, makes you want to sing and goes with almost any food, but not tacos. I could go on and on. If you search hard enough and are picky enough, there is great cheap wine. I have a store full of these guys. Due diligence is key and never take the deal.....
  10. That was Dasche Cellars Zinfandel. Too bad their '01 sucks so bad. Here is a true story: We had the Hahn Merlot in the shop and I noticed an inordinate number of our gay customers buying this merlot. I said to the supplier "Why such a loyal gay following? He said to me "There's a cock on the label" And I thought it was just a nice rooster.
  11. Here are some of the things you need to know to understand all this nonsense: In order to continue to charge a million dollars a three pack your wine must meet the follwoing criterea: high scores from Parker a general unavailability and little retail presence Helen T knows how to make wines that please the Parker people, and therefore earn very high scores. It is just that overwrought california style, born of people who have lots of money and want that Napa lifestyle acclaim. She and Bryant had a feud and she walked out at a critical point, before the wine was made. Problem. The thing is I actually admire Helen and like her wines. But I like them at midnight, when I am allready drunk, there is no food around and I really want to "feel it". They are kinda like being clubbed over the head. I had a 1994 Bryant Family cab (no idea what price we can look it up) recently and it was a nice bottle of wine. I also just bought for the shop a Chateau de Galupet Cotes Du Provence Cru Classe ($12.00). That was a nice bottle of wine too. Both to have for free are great. But to pay? Who amongst us wouldn't choose that little rugged guy from CDP????
  12. Carema

    Wine Paring

    FWIW , Colin Kay does not make his wines with RS. Well despite your picky picky response, here is your original contention. Colin does not make his wines with RS. Yet he has let us know that he does. The original point was not how much it was does he at all. I will grant you that those aren't gianormous levels yet nonetheless they are RS. Now on my end I did say some and maybe these levels do not qualify as some, but rather scant. So I too will concede that originally I did not use the proper adjectives to describe Kay Bros wines.
  13. Carema

    Wine Paring

    FWIW a note from Colin: Dear Sheb, Yes there is a little residual sugar in all the wines - 2001 Amery Shiraz 2.1g/l 1998 Amery Shiraz 2.5g/l 2000 Hillside Shiraz 1.7g/l Cheers, Colin.
  14. Carema

    Wine Paring

    FWIW , Colin Kay does not make his wines with RS. Well, they are so damned sweet it is hard to imagine it is not there. However phantoms pop up everywhere, maybe it is just imaginery RS, for my head only. However I am going to check a tech sheet anyway... I will get back to you on this one Scott
  15. Carema

    Wine Paring

    I disagree. Elk meat would be way too gamey for a lot of pinot noirs. The crabmeat bit is confusing but if you nix that you could do something nutty like stanky 'ol mourvedre from Bandol, so you get a strong-strong, stinky-stinky pairing that might be over-the-top but intersting. Other wise I might recommend an aged Rioja or some nice Nebbiolo, so there are more vinous notes than fruit. If you are grilling the elk, perhaps a structured aussie Shiraz with some RS (Kay Bros comes to mind) might work out ok. Serve the crab first course with some Pouilly Fume.
  16. Carema

    Corte Rugolin

    To add to the discussion, primary red grape varietals are Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara (I might have spelling issues here) Amarone essentially is a Valpolicella made from raisins, or grapes dried so that their sugar content remains the same but much of the water content evaporates. It is thus expensive to produce (you need a lot of grapes to make very little wine) and there is much must left over so what better to do with the lees than referment. The Ripasso style is a relatively newer technique. Some firms such as Allegrini actually do a cuvee of Amarone and Valpolicella rather than a refermentation. I think the Veneto is a great place to drink wine, there is much tradtion and there are madmen like F. Maculan doing all sorts of odd things and producing very interesting wines.
  17. Carema

    2003 vintage (France)

    I know it is hard to believe, but I am a she, I really am. They let women barrel sample in Burgundy too. they even let eight year old boys. My son preferred the 2002s. Some were so wound up tight and beautiful they were like having your mouth taped-up shut with a superball inside. From what I was gathering from the winemakers, 2003 was problematic as everyone was on vacation in August when picking time became dire a month earlier than usual, and the acidic struture isn't there to support long term aging, especially in the whites. In terms of the premiers crus, some suffered worse than others. Right out of the barrel they are certainly lush gorgeous and unrestrained. Drink up quick and love the moment you are in.
  18. Carema

    2003 vintage (France)

    I too just spent 4 days sampling 2003s out of barrel in Burg. I will offer this analogy: a fast sleek beautiful horse that jumps out of the starting gate right away and promises to win, only to grow tired halfway through the race and end up coming in somewhere in the thick of the middle.
  19. Carema

    Superbowl Wine?

    Last year we did a similiar line up (although I loathe football) and a high alcohol TAVEL (rose) actually worked quite nicely even with super spicy Mexican food and the horrible cheese dip that comes in those horrible jars. I got really drunk on rose and my son watched football with boys and everyone was happy. This year we will be in France, so although I still might get drunk on rose there will be no nachos. Hopefully there will be boys however
  20. We just got a whole bunch of swiss wines in. They make a lot more sense when paired with boiled potatoes, cheese and pickles, they really do. We have a white merlot, a Pinot Gamay blend, a Chesselas (of course) and a weird Charmant bubble made with hybrid grapes (Isabella) that is musty lusty and strawberry delicieux! Everything is under 20 bucks except the white merlot is 25. There is a guy in Wisconsin importing these. His name is Laurent crolla and his email is sales@swisscellars.com He is very resourceful. Another distributor is clearing his wines for him here in Illinois. Henry at Spiaggia has a few bottles on the list as well.
  21. Excuse me for jumping in here, but I am thinking your wine was white and if it were it was most probably Chardonnay grown near the Adige River, along with asparagus crops and kiwis (the fruits, not New Zealanders!) This property is located in the Bolzano area.
  22. Carema

    Pinot Grigio

    a} maybe you should keep shopping at the upscale because obviously you got something good b} I am happy to shop with you as long as we get to shop for boots as well c} if you are anywhere near Chicago I am happy to sell good Pinot Grigio to you d} look for very current vintages and Friulian wine zones on the label e} as with anything, the cheaper the worse. d} there is a lot of terrible pinot grigio out there, when it is really bad I just spit it on the floor and ask" why are you doing this to me". It took me a full year and a half before I could find one to put in the shop for 8 dollars and we have sold hundreds of bottles in the few months I have had it.
  23. Carema

    Pinot Grigio

    I am sorry but I am going to have to chime in here. Pinot Gris and Pinot grigio, perhaps once the same are about as comparable at this point, as Barrosa Shiraz and Hermitage or St Joseph. IMO Pinot Gris is undergoing a sad, dark period now. In Alsace they can't decide to leave in or out the sugar, ZH changes have sent everyone reeling, and frankly, much of what I have been tasting from Alsace is akin to weird beer. Frankly American Pinot gris are for the most part is yucky and die within 3 minutes in the glass. Pinot grigio is another story all together. Americans especially are forced to cut their Pinot grigio egg teeth upon Santa Magherita which all told is simply an affront to the mouth nose ears and other body parts. Get your hands on a small production Pinto Grigio, esp from Friuli or Alto Adige and you might understand the delicacy and fragility of a perfect white peach, or focused lemon, zinging with proper acidity and you will be given cause for salivation. Good, well-made Pinot Grigio has the bravado to cut through something as rich as a lobster bisque, could work with certain gastriques, and is the perfect pairing for a dish of simple white fleshed fish, seared perfectly and not too much, salted and then hit with EVO and a bit of lemon juice. That is my story and I am sticking to it!
  24. Here's the thing though: when you have TCA busters in the family like me & Jr Smeller- nothing gets by. They could prime the glass till kingdom come, we will pick up the TCA. It is our burden to bear and bear it we do. It is kinda like the mafia altough no-one gets killed; we just leave a lot of clueless restaurant personel in our wake
  25. Carema


    I get tons of free wine. And lots of it goes down the sink. There is no excuse for bad wine. Cheap, free or otherwise. Perhaps I could make this more diplomatic. But then I would lose my reputation as difficult
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