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Craig Camp

The Wonders of Winespeak

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i used "it tastes like *meat*" once at a winery in CA. the woman pouring was very pleased that i'd say such a thing.

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What about "wet wool" when describing some white Burgundies? I've never gone up to a sheep in the rain and smelt it, but I do have some idea of what is meant by the term.

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I've even heard of "wet dog" too. Wonder if that's similar to wet wool?

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Thank you all for your suggestions. Keep'em coming...

Howsabout some truly curious (read: appalling) wine descriptors such as:

ladies' underwear!?!

'63 Chevy Nova exhaust (arggh)

bubblegum (a tad sweet?)

old running shoes (eek)

and an old favorite:

crushed earthworms

If you want to see more, (16,000+) you'll just have to buy my book called WineSpeak next year!

Cheers,

ironmanstamford

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If you want to see more, (16,000+) you'll just have to buy my book called WineSpeak next year!

:hmmm: we gettin paid? :biggrin:


Edited by tommy (log)

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i used "it tastes like *meat*" once at a winery in CA. the woman pouring was very pleased that i'd say such a thing.

I think Syrah/Shiraz often smells (and slightly tastes) like a big pile of raw ground meat. Definitely an accurate descriptor for that. Was that what you were tasting, Tommy?

I think the dirty articles of clothing/lingerie descriptions are where I draw the line on whether I'm interested in tasting the wine in question :laugh:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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i used "it tastes like *meat*" once at a winery in CA. the woman pouring was very pleased that i'd say such a thing.

I think Syrah/Shiraz often smells (and slightly tastes) like a big pile of raw ground meat. Definitely an accurate descriptor for that. Was that what you were tasting, Tommy?

could have been syrah i suppose. not sure though. i've had a hundred syrahs, and never had this intense flavor come through. i'll try to remember the winery and wine.

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ladies' underwear
cat urine hasn't really ever appealed to me; i'm allergic. however some of my favorite bordeaux smell like pussy :smile:
Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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That's exactly why I don't sell any Mondavi wines.  :laugh:

Read your history, you owe him more than you probably think.

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That's exactly why I don't sell any Mondavi wines.  :laugh:

Read your history, you owe him more than you probably think.

The same could be said for E&J Gallo, as well. Pink Chablis provided me with my first hangover. :wacko: The wine list I supervise is built on small production artisan wines, and, as such, has no place for the giant producers. This is not to demean their products, I just don't feel the need to promote them anymore.


Mark

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That's exactly why I don't sell any Mondavi wines.  :laugh:

Read your history, you owe him more than you probably think.

What history? Before Mondavi set up shop in 1966, there were great wines being produced in California by the likes of Stony Hill, Ridge, Hanzell, Inglenook, BV, Louis Martini, etc. Today, what do we have? A relatively small number of good small and medium-sized wineries, and lots of industrial wine, whether from big or small producers. Mondavi is not responsible for the few good wineries.


Edited by Claude Kolm/The Fine Wine Review (log)

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One of the strangest, yet most unmistakable, characteristics I've ever experienced with wine was band aid. Took me straight back to my childhood with good ol' mom opening that tin box of band aids to patch up a skinned knee. Also vaguely doctor office-ish. It was amazing how much it smelled just like it. I wish I could recall what bottle it was. I couldn't drink it.


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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One of the strangest, yet most unmistakable, characteristics I've ever experienced with wine was band aid. Took me straight back to my childhood with good ol' mom opening that tin box of band aids to patch up a skinned knee. Also vaguely doctor office-ish. It was amazing how much it smelled just like it. I wish I could recall what bottle it was. I couldn't drink it.

Cotes du Rhone smells like Band Aids sometimes. That's possibly what it was.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I love cotes du rhone -- I'll have to sniff the next time I open a bottle to see if it's like a band aid! :biggrin:

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Further research has indicated that the tell-tale Baid-Aid aroma is from Brettanomyces yeast infection in the wine. My experience with it was limited to a certain Cotes du Rhone we had purchased for by-the-glass sale at one of the restaurants I order for. So apparently it isn't the particular wine, but the particular yeast that causes this aroma.

Further info is available (HERE)

Live and learn... :smile:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Further research has indicated that the tell-tale Baid-Aid aroma is from Brettanomyces yeast infection in the wine.  My experience with it was limited to a certain Cotes du Rhone we had purchased for by-the-glass sale at one of the restaurants I order for.  So apparently it isn't the particular wine, but the particular yeast that causes this aroma.

Further info is available (HERE)

Interesting article, thanks. I recently tasted a Sauternes that smelt heavily of plastic and it could have been this effect. I found the smell so off-putting that I didn't finish the tasting sample, which is something that happens very rarely!


Edited by StephenT (log)

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What history?  Before Mondavi set up shop in 1966, there were great wines being produced in California by the likes of Stony Hill, Ridge, Hanzell, Inglenook, BV, Louis Martini, etc.  Today, what do we have?  A relatively small number of good small and medium-sized wineries, and lots of industrial wine, whether from big or small producers.  Mondavi is not responsible for the few good wineries.

Mondavi IS deserving of major credit, Mr. Kolm. For one thing, he showed others that IT WAS possible to set up a NEW winery and start from scratch AND be successful in making good wines. He showed you could have a family enterprise, too.

Mondavi worked hard to raise the bar in Napa Valley winemaking and they took apart all kinds of French (and Italian) wines to see what made them tick. And he wasn't afraid to compare his wines to the benchmark wines from France.

He was a brilliant marketing fellow.

Mondavi also has been, as you know, a wonderful training ground for winemakers. And they've been open to exchanging ideas with enologists and viticulturists around the globe.

The quantity of "great" wine being made before 1966 by those wineries on your list is rather small.

The quantity of "great" wine being made today is far larger, wouldn't you agree?

I agree with your assessment regarding "industrial" wine...but the quality of that is far superior, today, to what California made 40 years ago, isn't it?

But I would argue that Mondavi helped plant a number of seeds over the past few decades and IS to be credited with some (not all) of the bright stars in California's wine galaxy.

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Thanks Echezeaux, good to see somebody else realises what Mondavi has done for California wine. With other luminaries such as Frank Schoonmaker of course.

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For one thing, he showed others that IT WAS possible to set up a NEW winery and start from scratch AND be successful in making good wines.  He showed you could have a family enterprise, too.

Well, I thought all the wineries that I cited that pre-dated Mondavi were started from scratch at one time, were successful in making good wines, and were family enterprises at the time. The last changed sooner for some (BV, Inglenook) and later for others (Martini) and not at all for still others (Stony Hill). Mondavi, of course, is a publicly-traded company today.

Mondavi worked hard to raise the bar in Napa Valley winemaking and they took apart all kinds of French (and Italian) wines to see what made them tick.  And he wasn't afraid to compare his wines to the benchmark wines from France.

And in the process of this deconstuction, totally missed the point of what made those wines tick. The co-owner of one of the most presitgious estates in the world told me a few years ago that Mondavi's people are no longer welcome as visitors because they asked so many silly questions indicating that they thought of making fine wine as a formula (i.e., industrial) and not as an expression of a particular place.

He was a brilliant marketing fellow

And still is. But what does that have to do with high quality wine?

Mondavi also has been, as you know, a wonderful training ground for winemakers.  And they've been open to exchanging ideas with enologists and viticulturists around the globe.

Again, I guess, it depends on your perception of quality.

The quantity of "great" wine being made before 1966 by those wineries on your list is rather small.

The quantity of "great" wine being made today is far larger, wouldn't you agree?

Absolutely not.

I agree with your assessment regarding "industrial" wine...but the quality of that is far superior, today, to what California made 40 years ago, isn't it?

To be honest, I wasn't old enough to drink wine 40 years ago, but going back to the 1970s, when I was drinking wine, I think the quality was higher back then, and that leads me to suspect it was higher in the 1960s and before, too. The old wines that I've had from those days would support my position.

But I would argue that Mondavi helped plant a number of seeds over the past few decades and IS to be credited with some (not all) of the bright stars in California's wine galaxy.

I suspect the stars that we'd pick would be quite different, so my answer is again, no. The stars for me are outside of the CA wine establishment that Mondavi represents. E.g., Ridge/Paul Draper, Littorai/Ted Lemon, Dominus/Christian Moueix, Edmunds-St-John/Steve Edmunds, Rubissow-Sargent/Tony Sargent.

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Thanks Echezeaux, good to see somebody else realises what Mondavi has done for California wine. With other luminaries such as Frank Schoonmaker of course.

I would agree completely that Mondavi has done wonders for the California wine industry, not only has he helped bring recognition to the great wines being made here he has also done wonders for the community. Copia is truly wonderful place and without Mr. Mondavi it wouldn't be possible, the same is true of the facilities he has helped build in Davis.

That being said, California was making great wine long before he arrived (Heitz, Martini, Inglenook, Krug, Ridge, etc), California is still making great wine and I find it hard to rank any of the Mondavi offerings into that category. Opus, Mondavi Reserve Cab, and the smaller ava cabs (SLD, Oakville,...) are all good wines but I don't find them compelling and the asking price seems unreasonable compared to Dominus, Caymus, Montelena, Quintessa, Ridge MB, and easily another dozen producers.

Without Mr. Mondavi’s efforts the California wine industry would not be where it is today. The quality of the wine that bares his name in no way accurately reflects this mans accomplishments, the California wine industry as a whole owes a debt of gratitude to him. I would be surprised if anyone in the industry thinks differently.

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Further research has indicated that the tell-tale Baid-Aid aroma is from Brettanomyces yeast infection in the wine.  My experience with it was limited to a certain Cotes du Rhone we had purchased for by-the-glass sale at one of the restaurants I order for.  So apparently it isn't the particular wine, but the particular yeast that causes this aroma.

Further info is available (HERE)

Live and learn... :smile:

Thanks for the info. Come to think of it, it may very well have been a Cotes du Rhone. I'm happy to know there is an explanation for it other than my entertaining the freakish possibility that the wine was produced by Johnson&Johnson and poured from a tin flip top box.


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I see from tomorrow's Times that Mondavi has hired on Michel Rolland.

I rest my case.

Seems he has been consulting at Mondavi for a couple of years now.

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