Saturday, September 24

Priorat, it's the Schist!

by Alison Smith

Si ets Priorati, de les pedres treuras
- "If you are from Priorat, you will extract wine from the stones", or so the saying goes.

Handfuls of rocks filled my pockets, shoes and luggage during a brief 3-day visit to Spain's magnificent Priorat a few years ago. Beyond walking the vineyards, I had the special honor of breaking-bread with the pioneering winemakers and vignerons who lived in the tiny villages of Gratallops, Falset, Porrera, and the even smaller hamlet of Scala Dei that surround the region. I can still hear the kids laughing and playing outside in the middle of the village under the stars at night...

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Thursday, May 19

6022 Miles Apart

by Alison Smith

…is the approximate distance from Paso Robles, California to heart of the Rhône Valley in France.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, Spring 2011

Having just spent a week visiting Southern Rhône in March, I was eager to attend the 2011 Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles the first week weekend in May, hunting for deals to feature on Wine.Woot! The HdR (as we refer to it in the trade) was a world-wide lineup of producers from Spain, Australia, France, and America, of course. An incredible way to taste the world without having to deal with jet-lag. A total treat for me, I chose to spend the first afternoon focusing on producers who opened old & rare bottles. What a wonderful way to taste the age-ablity and quality of a few hundred wines in a few short hours - and yes I now have a few new favorites!

About 1/3 of my personal wine consumption is of Rhône varietals – soo many to explore. Check out this delicious list the fine folks at HdR provided… there will be a quiz tomorrow, class! (NOT.)

  1. Bourboulenc: (Burr-buh-lanc) light bodied, delicate floral, citrus, peach, melon, earth
  2. Camarese: (Cam-are-ess) firm, tannins, delicate aromatics, pepper, spice
  3. Carignane Noir: (Care-ig-non No-our) tannic, solid acidity, good color, cherry, raspberry, pepper
  4. Cinsault Noir: (Sahn-so No-our) elegant, soft & lightly aromatic, strawberry, raspberry, smoke, earth
  5. Clairette Blanc: (Claret Blan) big bodied, floral, aromatic, honeysuckle, tropical flowers, tropical fruits
  6. Clairette Rose: (Clare-et Rose) light aromatics, fruit notes, soft strawberry, cherry, rose petal
  7. Counoise Noir: (Coon-wahz No-our) lively acidity, spice, richness, raspberry, cherry, cranberry
  8. Grenache Blanc: (Gra-nash blan) big bodied, soft, delicate peach, melon, pear
  9. Grenache Gris: (Gra-Nash Gree) full-bodied, light in color, delicate strawberry, cherry, rose petal
  10. Grenache Noir: (Gra-Nash o-our) big bodied, supple, & rich strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, black pepper
  11. Marsanne: (Mar-san) broad palate, soft & rich, peach, nectarine, stone fruits, tuberose, sweet nuts
  12. Mourvèdre: (More-ved) tannic, deeply colored, aromatic, black currant, dark cherries, leather, smoke, earth
  13. Muscardin: (Mus-car-dan) floral, aromatic, firmly structured, rose petal, barnyard, earth
  14. Muscat a Petits Grains: (Mus-cat ah Pet-eet Grahn) elegant, aromatic, floral, musk, honey, honeysuckle, lily, stone fruit
  15. Picpoul Blanc: (Peek-pool Blan) floral, soft, aromatic, pear, earth, lily, daisy, wildflowers
  16. Picpoul Noir: (Peek-pool No-our) floral, elegant, aromatic, rose, violet, dark cherry
  17. Roussanne: (Roo-sahn) firmly structured, powerful, very rich, apricot, honey, almond, nutmeg, honeysuckle, iris
  18. Syrah/Shiraz: (C-rah)/(She-raz) highly colored, firmly structured and aromatic, plum, raspberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, violet, roasted meats, smoke, chocolate, pepper, anise
  19. Terret Noir: (Tare-it No-our) delicate, perfumed, bright acidity, rose petal, lavender, dark berries, spice
  20. Ugni Blanc: (Ewn-yee Blan) delicate fruit, good acidity, pear, honey-dew melon, earth
  21. Vaccarese: (Vac-car-ess) aromatic, firmly tannic, floral, pepper, spice, earth, smoke
  22. Viognier: (Vee-ohn-yea) big bodied, very aromatic, complex apricot, musk, peaches, grapefruit, lychee, papaya, mango, tropical flowers

Download the free and AWESOME HdR iPhone App for this list and more at your fingertips.

The Cellars of Chateau de Beaucastel (owned by the Perrin Family who also have Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles)

We see a smattering of offers on Wine.Woot! of a handful of Rhône varietals, such as the Davis Family Vineyards "Cote Rose" Syrah/Viogner blend, the Mathis Grenache, Pear Valley Vineyards Syrah, and of course Peter Wellington's Marsanne & Roussanne offering... so get ready to learn and taste some lesser known grapes coming your way soon! I’m keeping the list of my favorite producers to myself for now… see you on the boards.

Cheers -
TexaCali Ali

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Wednesday, May 04

Monkeys on a Train: Wine.Woot Rocks the Railroad Revival Tour

by Alison Smith

Today marks the Wine.Woot blogging debut of Alison Smith, National Buyer for our wine pals at Wine Country Connect. She’s been lurking since the Pellegrini deal - soaking up, learning, getting a feel. "Lioco’s mine, let me get in there." Winedavid 39, not in any hurry, wants to be sure. "Once you cross the rubicon of the woot forums you can never go back, you’re not ready." "But I’ve been here at Wine Country Connect for four months, not to mention a sterling reputation after 8 years of hard labor in the trenches of traditional ultrapremium wine sales. Let me release the hounds!" WD39 finally gives in with a sigh. "OK, TexaCalAli... introduce yourself with a blog post. But you’ve been warned..."

I'm just starting out here, but I’m guessing there are Wooters who love KILLER music as much as they love good wine and their big screen monitors... Right? I was hard at work last week spreading the Woot! love to one of the hottest music tours crossing America this year.

A couple of Thursdays ago, Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show embarked on a tour unlike any in recent memory: "Traveling exclusively in vintage rail cars, the three bands will journey across the American Southwest over the course of a week. The aptly titled Railroad Revival Tour features the three bands playing concerts at six unique outdoor locations along the route."

I was quick to step up when my dear pals from Austin who were in charge of the F&B for the Railroad Revival Tour told me "hey we need wine to stock the train bar car for the bands and guests for the 8 day tour." And I have just enough audacity being the new kid and all to ask Winedavid 39 for the good stuff – and SHAZAM!, TexaCali Ali to the rescue...

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