Tuesday, February 14

Wine Video - 2010 David Frost Shiraz South Africa

I taste the 2010 David Frost Shiraz and let you know what I think.
I apologize for saying "um" so many times!

Wednesday, December 21

My intro to South African Wine

My wife and I are both South African, her family still lives there so we try to visit them once a year or whenever time allows. On most trips we spend most of our time in Johannesburg or Plettenberg Bay, visiting family and friends. But this trip we decided to take some time to go visit one of our favourite cities, Cape Town. We spent one night in Cape and then spent one day and night exploring the Western Cape wineland towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, which other than being mouthfuls to pronounce are some of the most magnificent places in the world.

See I wasn't kidding!!!

I had some preconceived notions about South African wines, especially the truly South African varietal, Pinotage, that was invented in Stellenbosch by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault. Most of the major wine press can't stand the stuff, but I truly fell in love with the wines. Only being there for one day we were only able to visit a few producers but the two that we did were fantastic.
The first was Laibach which interestingly enough is on the same estate that was previously owned and managed by my family. My father spent his early childhood on the estate, it was called "Good Success" at the time. It was purchased by a german couple who renamed it Laibach and are producing some delicious wines. My favorite was a white wine called White Lady Bird, its an interesting blend of most Chardonnay with some Viognier and Chenin Blanc. However, I really loved their Pinotage's as well. Unfortunately their wines are not exported to the states.
The next place we visited is probably the most premium South African Pinotage that is available in the US, Kanonkop. They exclusively produce Pinotage from a low end $12/btl called Kadette to a super-premium Cabernet/Pinotage blend called Paul Sauer. I brought a couple bottles back home with us and I look very forward to a special occasion to open them up.
I loved the experience and this April a good friend of mine is getting married in SA. I look forward to exploring the SA wine country more extensively on that visit.
I highly recommend trying out some South African wines. Look for a Pinotage or maybe a Steen (what they call Chenin Blanc in SA) that is what the country is best know for but they also produce some fantastic Cabernets and Merlots.

Tuesday, March 23

Why I bought some cheap wine

I recently stopped by at whole foods for the single purpose of picking up a couple of bottles of cheap wine. All I had at home were "special occasion wines" so I had nothing that I was willing to just pop open for a glass of wine. My philosophy with wine buying is that I would rather pay more money for something I have tried and liked then less money for something I might not like at all, but that day I decided I would spend under $20 on some wine and if I liked one of them, that would be great too! With a couple of suggestions from the helpful guy in the wine section I left with a 2008 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, and a 2008 Borsao Campo de Borja from Spain.
Tonight I felt like a bit of wine so I first reached for the Louis Jadot, which seems to be a super-market staple, and could not stand it (I have kept it and will revisit it tomorrow), so I reached for the Spanish wine hoping for something better. This wine did not disappoint, it was fruity, a bit spicy and quite delicious.
The point of the story is I still don't know whether to pay a bit more money for a wine I know I like or buy more cheap wine and hope to be surprised by a quality affordable option.
I think it boils down too the fact that I paid $20 for two wines and liked one of them when I would have spend $30 or more on one wine that I knew I would like.
Then again I can think of many wines for around $30 that I like more than the Borsao Campo de Borja.
I think there is a happy medium there somewhere I just need to discover it.
Maybe thats the answer?

Wednesday, March 10

Its been a while

So I've been terrible at keeping up with my blog but I just watched a ridiculously inspiring Keynote from Gary Vaynerchuck and now its time to "hustle".
Talking about Gary V, he is how against all odds I managed to get a job in the amazing wine industry of Napa Valley. I saw a tweet by him that he would be coming into Houston and meeting people over at a wine bar. Me and a few others went over to meet him and my wife spoke about how we were moving to Napa (she is going to culinary school) and how I was looking for a wine job. Without hesitation Gary said I will get you a job! He asked me to email him so I did and he sent me about 15 of his contacts in Napa Valley. I sent my resume out to all of them and somehow the stars aligned and Palmaz Vineyards happened to be looking for a concierge at the time. For some reason they thought I was a good fit (luckily) and the day before leaving for Napa I was offerred a job with the winery.
By the way, if you haven't heard of Palmaz check them out, the winery is something to behold, the family are some of the nicest people I have ever met and they make delicious wines.
So that is where I am at right now, learning the industry from the inside.
I have learned more in my short time working at a winery than I have from reading wine many wine books prior.
I'm going to commit to updates way more often than it has been coming!

Wednesday, November 4

Sunday Wine Night

For the past few Sundays a bunch of friends, my wife and I have been going to a really cool wine bar called 13 Celsius. On Sundays they have half off of all the bottles that were opened on Saturday. It's super affordable and we get to taste a whole bunch of varietals for super cheap. Anyway last Sunday we broke with tradition and went to Block 7 Wine Company to go taste Educated Guess Cabernet, which a friend of mine has been raving about and we really wanted to taste. Unfortunately they were sold out and instead we got a bottle of 2007 Spellbound Cabernet, it really was not great and tasted strongly of fake lemon juice. I didn't think it was terrible but some people at the table felt it was the worst bottle of wine they had ever had. Strong words!
After that we decided to head over to our place to open a couple of bottles that we had at home. We had a great Beckmen Vineyards 2006 Purisma Mountain Vineyard Syrah from Santa Ynez Valley, which was a unexpected gift from an awesome customer of mine. It was bold and sweet and seriously delicious. After that we opened a bottle of Domaine Carneros Brut which was delicious and reminded me of Appletizer, my favorite soda growing up in South Africa. The Brut was delicate and I don't think it was a good idea drinking it after such a big Syrah but I think everyone still enjoyed it.
We really had a great night but I think we will stick to 13 Celsius on Sundays from now on.