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Wineries that aren't about the wine

OK so I never said Sattui wasn't a cash cow, just that it wasn't started that way. The Castello never would have existed if it wasn't for the early success of Sattui.

I agree completely on the awards, however I don't think this is limited to Sattui. I think awards have been diluted by the massive amounts of this medal and that medal, and that the average consumer doesn't know the Orange County Fair vs. the Grocery Chain Gold. This causes all awards to lose credibility for the uneducated consumer, sadly.

There are indeed several purpose built "tourist destinatations" in the Napa / Sonoma area, and Viansa was built as such. However, they used to produce decent wine if you could get past the tour buses. Sadly, now that the Sebastianis don't own it any longer, this has changed and more tour buses are showing up, with the Jacuzzi (great wine terrible structure) building at the foot of the drive.

You are correct in that the less travelled roads in Napa are less Disney-esque, but let's be realistic. How many people traveling to Napa really visit those areas, and actually venture off 29? Not many. Certainly no one that is looking at Napa in the back of a travel magazine. We, as knowledgeable consumers. are aware of the wonders of the Silverado Trail and small roads between Mt St Helena and Kenwood. Joe Midwest is not. I am not sure that this is a bad thing, as if these ares were as well publicized as the main drag, they would be equally overrun. Don't get me wrong, I take issue with any major tourist trap, not just Napa.

Aug 28, 2008
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Wineries that aren't about the wine

Be careful with that assumption. Many wineries are in the direct to consumer business and do not sell through retailers due to the complicated 3+ tiered distribution system in the US.

V. Sattui has been in the wine business for over 20 years and makes many award winners. Not my style and definately on the tour map, but they are certainly a winery to be reckoned with. The deli was always there as an homage to their Italian heritage.

Many elite wineries are only available through the winery, and are, in fact, not even open to the public so not being in a grocery chain does not mean they are only in it for the tour buses.

Of course, that is a curse of going to the Disneyland-eque Napa Valley, but just my 2 cents.

Aug 27, 2008
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Sideways do-over????

Not exactly. Mondovino was about the Parkerization of wines and how critics impact development. I want to see David vs. Goliath ;-)

Aug 22, 2008
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Sideways do-over????

Constellation Brands vs 1000 case producer!

Aug 21, 2008
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What are your favorite wine blogs?

There are a ton -
http://www.wannabewino.com has great reviews as well. I also really like http://fermentation.typepad.com for it's wine news information.

Depends on what you are looking for. Do you want general interest, reviews, gossip, ?
I have a list! ;-

)

And yes - Chateau Petrogasm is a great twist on wine reviews!

Aug 12, 2008
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Great Value Reds... ($10 - $20 range)

goodwineunder20.blogspot.com

Aug 10, 2008
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Great Value Reds... ($10 - $20 range)

Not under $10, but there is an excellent blog for Good Wine Under $20 ;-)

Aug 10, 2008
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Great Value Reds... ($10 - $20 range)

Treasurehunting for wine is part of the fun!
Why don't you post the finished list - you can use our site to "hunt" locally and I'll taste some of these other great suggestions too!

Yum!

Aug 08, 2008
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wine.woot.com

Yes - it is clearly hit or miss, since they change their wines every Monday.
That said, if you are familiar with the wines being offered you are likely to get 20-50% off winery list, which even including shipping is a great deal.

Occasionally, they sell out early in the week and sub a new three pack.

Other sites with similar themes but post daily are

RadCru.com
And good wine until gone, but I can 't find the site at the moment. I'll research and post it when I can.

Cheers

FOUND IT

http://www.happyhourspro.com/store/wt...

Aug 07, 2008
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Great Value Reds... ($10 - $20 range)

Cameron Hughes Lot 71 Alexander Valley Cab
purchased from a producer who sells it for $50+ it is a dream, and a steal

as is Lot 73, Chalk Hill cab Sav

These are both amazing values, and are from well known Cab producers & regions (the other valley) that are renowned for producing killer cabernets. I tasted both at a pre-release party and they will knock your socks off.

Both $15 available online or at better Costcos.

Happy drinking!

Aug 07, 2008
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buying wine before harvest?

Seems dubious to me. Futures are common, but that generally is done in the spring after wine has been in barrel for a few months so you can get the idea of what the finished product will be like.

Future can offer substantial discounts as well, anywhere from 30-50% depending on the wine, winery, regions, etc.

I wouldn't even think about it.

Aug 04, 2008
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Pinot Days - SF

Jason - I agree with you regarding the public portion of most of the larger tastings, however:
1. I am cheating since I am going for the trade session
2. I found Pinot Days to be much less of a zoo than ZAP, and other similar events. Not sure if it's because of the varietal focus, or the price, or what but...just my 2 cents.
3. There are events all week that aren't as nuts. Went to one last night that was nice.
4. It is one of the rare occasions to taste pinots for a variety of producers, not only CA but also OR and a few NZ producers, side by side (ok so one by one).

While I disagree that all mass tastings are table pushes - i find that more at winery festivals a la Wine Road bus tours - I do understand your reasons having been to few events that were not worth it myself.

Jun 25, 2008
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Pinot Days - SF

Oh no vinosnob! Sorry you can't make it. Yummy on the Inman, they are going to be a formidable player I think (hope they recover from the frost damage that hit them well).

thanks for the others - Swan is a favorite for zins, and I've had thier pinots a few times, and the others are unknown. Excited is me :-D Uh oh. I am starting to talk in JarJar speak. Time to open the wine I think!

Jun 13, 2008
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Pinot Days - SF

Thanks whiner!

August West*!
Davis Family
Eno*
Etude+!
Hartford
Ketcham^
Pisoni
Siduri
Testarossa

are known and loved for SURE and I'm interested in the others. I always love finding new favorites.

Good luck volunteering - grumble - the organizers to date have not contacted a single volunteer about assignments, and it's two weeks way! I'm sorry to say it, but this is the most disorganized large event I've been to.

Cheers!

Jun 13, 2008
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Pinot Days - SF

Who's going?

Who has favorites?

Who has a target list?

With over 170 wineries pouring 300-500 different wines, I am always looking for advice. I have my favorites, and favorite regions, but if you have a recommendations or want to taste together, let me know!

Cheers

Jun 13, 2008
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Corked Wine At An Event

You know, this entire story just gets me riled up. If you are waitstaff, or worse, a sommielier or wine staff, you need to respect the customer regardless of what your personal opinion is. There is such a big difference between "I don't like this, can I have something else" and "this is corked, please open a new bottle". At the very least, they should have offered to replace your wine with a different one entirely and if they really gave it to those poor girls, my sympathies!

When will restaurants learn 99.9% of the time, the customer really IS right.

Jun 13, 2008
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WineQ

I really enjoy Ceja myself, and the backstory is really great as well.
Being an ultrapremium winery, they have a large allocation list for the pinots but you can find them around here and there. They are fortunate to be at a point where they can pick and choose where they distribute.
Yum!

Jun 04, 2008
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WineQ

Exactly what Monkuboy said.
And yes, you can indeed see the inventory without creating a Q so there is no commitment. Personally, I was a lurker for over 6 months as I watched the wine inventory grow, and the community build.

To each his own I suppose, and if you're stuck on Parker / Enthusiast / Jancis scores, then yes. You should go to the wine shop where you can get personal attention (which I often do for specific purposes). As a community review & search site, we offer community reviews our selves, so I know the value of this type of free information when trying to find wine.

However, if you are interested in finding new wines and exploring flavors, or as the original poster pointed out, finding a wine club gift for Fathers Day, it's a great option because it's customizable. Other wine clubs choose the wine for you, whether it's a single producer or multiple producer, and that is what I find the most valuable offering of WineQ - plus the free shipping.

Cheers

Jun 04, 2008
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WineQ

I actually know of a lot of the producers, and have tried the wines before. That said, they do a great job of adding new producers frequently, so expect the various offerings to grow over the months.

One of the great features is that you can look at other people's reviews before you decide to add something to your Q, which is what I do if I'm less familiar with the producer. You can start to get a sense of what other people's palates are like and choose wines based on that. If find a palate buddy or you want to be adventurous, you can join their "club", adding their selections to your Q, and if you don't see anything you don't want to try, then empty your Q and hang back for a while. It's very much like Netflix, in that it is what you make it.

Everyone that I know that has used WineQ has enjoyed it, and how can you go wrong when you choose the number of bottles and the shipping intervals?

;-)

Jun 03, 2008
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The Golden Glass

Yep, I'm planning on popping by. There are some great NZ offerings, and I need to bone up on my Italian.

Cheers

Jun 02, 2008
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why do some wines taste so strongly of alcohol?

High alcohol can do this, but more likely it's not a balanced wine. You can have a very high alc. wine that you can't taste the alcohol, and a lower % wine where it is just off.
It's all about how the winemaker made his monster.

May 28, 2008
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why do some wines taste so strongly of alcohol?

Really?

There are a LOT of people producing Barbera (and producing it well) in CA!

May 28, 2008
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Wine Club Ideas for Father's Day

You might consider something that includes several wineries, instead of just one.
For example, WineQ (www.wineq.com) is a great service that allows you to create a "Queue" of wine, and you can read other peoples recommendations.

Bottlenotes (www.bottlenotes.com) does something similar and you can tell it what price range you want to spend, and it will sort of Netflix your upcoming choices.

Also, there are many regional wine clubs that take the best of that region, like the Santa Cruz Mtn wine club, or California Wine Club.

Sunset Magazine has http://www.signaturewines.com/sunset/ which is a selection of thier favorites.

Great idea! I did this for my brother for xmas, it's been a lot of fun.

Cheers!

May 28, 2008
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what roses are you drinking?

I like Peggy Fleming's Fleming-Jenkins Victories Syrah Rose. Yum!

May 21, 2008
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Old World Wine in Sonoma

Gundlach-Bundschu, Cline in Sonoma Valley all make excellent old world style wines.

I'd suggest Sunce as well because of the variety and interesting things they do - you can get a big jammy zin, but you can also get a subtle, violet laced Pinot Noir and some excellent obscure Croatian influenced varietals

Let me know when you're in town ;-) Maybe I'll come taste too!.

May 21, 2008
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Leftover white wine

Great as the acid in a vinaigrette, also great to poach chicken with, use instead of water when making rice, etc. Adds some great flavor to sauces. Yum!

May 06, 2008
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California wine? Down the drain

Yes! This is a true must read. But indeed not ALL California wine is bad. Being a native, I have many wines that I love and many that I hate. While there has been some Parkerization in certain regions, the overblown tourism of Napa and the Sideways effect on Santa Barbara specifically, there are true gems in less discovered areas of northern Sonoma and Sierra Foothills. If you know what you are looking for, and what you like, then you can target those regions. Otherwise, you can experiment cheaply with the plethora of $15 and under wines out there without throwing too much money away.

Last night for example, I opened a $10 Sonoma zin that exceeded expectations and will be a return buy.

May 06, 2008
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Any good Trader Joe's wines lately?

I picked up a couple for Wine Blogging Wednesday last week.
An absolute steal was Ulrich Langguth Riesling (Germany) for only $5.99, and the Trimbach Alsace Riesling for $15.99 was also delicious (light and crisp, and similar to a Sav Blanc).

Enjoy!

May 02, 2008
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Crushpad Wines

I am currently making wine there and I love it. It's best if you are local, because you can be hands on. If you don't mind being a distance learner, then it's still a good experience but there are small custom crush operations popping up all over as personal winemaking gains traction among the drinking public.

It's actually not that expensive when you balance out the cost of sourcing grapes, education and facilities. Our wine this year is $26/btl which is cheaper than a lot of premium brands in wine country, and I know exactly what it tastes like and what goes in to it.

You have three options
1 - become a part of a group and buy in futures in case lots
2 - buy a ton of grapes and make your own wine (makes roughly 25 cases give or take)
3 - adopt a partially finished barrel if you are too late for harvest

If you are local, they host events that allow you to check it out more closely. Good luck!

May 01, 2008
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What all purpose red/white wine glasses to buy?

It's actually the same product, but either a set of 4 or a set of 6. Thier wording is a bit confusing.
http://www.worldmarket.com/kitchen-ta...
Set of 4
http://www.worldmarket.com/kitchen-ta...
Set of 6

Here is the article I was looking for and couldn't find before -
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
pointing out the Tritan Forte, Riedel, Spiegelau and Connoisseur.

I have some Riedel Burgundy & chardonnay glasses, and Connoisseur Bordeaux glasses, and at the last sale (6/$30) bought zin/syrah glasses and am very happy with them (can you tell I am a red wine drinker ;-) ).

Thanks Dan for the correction - I had forgotten that Riedel bought Spiegelau.

Cheers!

Apr 12, 2008
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