Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remote Tasting

Last Tuesday, my friend "themostrighteous" and I did a remote tasting of the 2005 Titus PS, drinking and sending notes to each other over gchat. Here's the transcript, with the extraneous bits of conversation and personal stuff removed:

Themostrighteous: yo

Loweeel: hermano!

10:27 PM Themostrighteous: bout to pour myself a glass...

Loweeel: just poured mine
have steak and spinach
candied blackberry
10:28 PM blueberry, boysenberry
little tiny bit of shoepolish :)

Themostrighteous: little bit?!?
10:29 PM it sits pretty but prominently on the nose

Loweeel: yeah

Themostrighteous: i love this nose...

Loweeel: understatement :)
oh, fucking lovely
we nailed the decant [2.5 hours]
a bit flabby on the finish
but the fruit is great
10:30 PM I think it's not all back together yet

Themostrighteous: yes
and yes
flabby & just a bit hot
but the fruit makes up for it

Loweeel: almost like a zin

Themostrighteous: nice all around

Loweeel: this one is adolescent
all elbows and knees
10:31 PM it will probably grow up to be hot but isn't there yet

maybe it will spur you to get a job
10:40 PM Loweeel: wow, the sip of this after the palak paneer was damn right
just cleansed it right out
10:41 PM Themostrighteous: i think i'm going to cry...
10:44 PM this Titus is growing on me
a lot
god i love PS

Loweeel: :)

Themostrighteous: yeah
i will always owe PS to you

Loweeel: it's ok

Themostrighteous: and i won't forget it

Loweeel: when you come visit me in nyc
I'll open up a scholium
10:45 PM my cellar is always open completely to you (other than my last villemaurine)
you're right -- this is getting better -- acidity is more in balance

10:47 PM Themostrighteous: wow
i'm planning on drinking the whole bottle tonight
so i plan on seeing it evolve!

Loweeel: you just can't say no to shoe polish

10:48 PM Themostrighteous: some folks can
i'm not one of them
time to pour glass number 2
one glass
10:49 PM and my tongue
is almost coated

Loweeel: yup
this tastes almost calistoga-y
I think they said their ps vineyards were near but not in calistoga
the shoe polish would confirm that

10:50 PM Themostrighteous: oh this is funny
i just popped over to w[ine].w[oot] for the first time in a week
saw the offering

Loweeel: oh man the nose is even better
Themostrighteous: and thought to myself
that is SO PALE
and then looked at my glass
10:51 PM that is SO DARK!

Loweeel: PS is amazing.

Themostrighteous: yeah nose is definitely dancing now

Loweeel: I can't wait for PSymPoSium

Themostrighteous: should be a blast man!

Loweeel: too bad you can't make it

Themostrighteous: c'est vrai
10:52 PM i'm saving my non-family travel dollars to visit you

Loweeel: are you having food w/ this?
Themostrighteous: no
ate earlier
wish i had a fat juicy steak with me though

11:00 PM Loweeel: getting more plummy

Themostrighteous: yeah
11:04 PM btw
i'm torn between smelling this wine
and drinking it

Loweeel: I know
nose is GREAT

Themostrighteous: the nose is getting to be that good
Loweeel: not '02 rattlesnake great
but not too far away
11:05 PM that's still my best wine ever :)
that one was even crazier on the palate than on the nose
remember our teeth?

Themostrighteous: black
11:06 PM we looked like monks from the dark ages
[wife] says hi
11:07 PM she was laughing at me about our “date”
she asked me if we were having phone sex
i told her that we were having PS

Loweeel: oh yeah, hot rattlesnake acres '02 action

Themostrighteous: so almost like having wine sex
call me a lush
11:08 PM but i'm pouring number 3
(and i'm using my huge ass vinum extreme too!)

Loweeel: i'm about halfway down the decanter
11:09 PM errr.... more
such a nice nose

Themostrighteous: i love the fact that when you pour yourself a glass of a good PS
the bubbles that form on top are almost as dark as the wine itself
11:10 PM only with PS
must be cuz i'm the dark skinned brooding type
what's your excuse?!?

Loweeel: haaha
my freckles are dark and brooding!

11:11 PM Themostrighteous: oooh
the mouth is starting to catch up to the nose
glycerin levels off the charts
end less flabby
more full
(prob could have decanted for an extra hour b4 starting)
11:12 PM black fruit really showing

Loweeel: very nice for $38!

Themostrighteous: no shit

11:13 PM Loweeel: oh yum

Loweeel: 11:24 PM black currant RIPPING MY FACE OFF

Themostrighteous: you are SO GV!!!

Loweeel: jersey, yo

Themostrighteous: YES!!!!
11:25 PM i will say this
to those who criticize PS

Loweeel: fuck em, more for us!

Themostrighteous: about being somewhat monodimensional

Loweeel: btw, I have a new everyday drinker champion
and you GOTTA try that shit

Themostrighteous: fire away

Loweeel: see blog :)
dr debs (good wine under $20) gave it 90 on ct

11:28 PM Themostrighteous: shite
it's been a while
you've been busy blogging
The Crusheer heh?

Loweeel: yup
GREAT stuff
really fantastic at that price
such great fruit
no phenolic shit like this
but $13!!!

11:29 PM Themostrighteous: just goes to show
you look at the stats
(high pH)
and you might not take a swig

Loweeel: not THAT high for ps

Themostrighteous: but if you do
you get surprised

Loweeel: yeah

Themostrighteous: just making a point that you can't always judge the book by its cover
11:30 PM wait...

11:31 PM Loweeel: last glass :-)

11:32 PM Themostrighteous: ah shit
not for sale in IL

Loweeel: I am happy to pick some up for you, give to octocat on sat

11:33 PM Themostrighteous: not sure when i'm going to see her next
what with her visiting her man in TN
and with the Chicago w.w. community MIA
just poured one more
but still have one left
you sped by me!

11:44 PM Themostrighteous: and i quote
"your teeth are gross!"

11:45 PM Loweeel: :-D

Themostrighteous: ah the sacrifices

11:47 PM Loweeel: :-D :-D

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crushing It!

No, this isn't about my buddy Gary Vaynerchuk's new book.

It's about this phenomenal PS I tried from the Sebastiani family wine conglomerate, THE CRUSHER, which my friend Sonadora received as a sample from the producer. And while its name denotes a grape PreSs, its connotations were accurate as well -- this was a very enjoyable PS, and one hell of a deal at MSRP of $13 (putting it in the Concannon-Bogle range).

Here are the PStats:
  • Vintage: 2008 (by far the youngest PS I've had -- I have to suspect that this used microox, given the relative softness of the tannins)
  • Released: 04/2009
  • Region: Clarksburg AVA
  • Alcohol: 13.5% ABV (low for a PS, especially from Clarksburg, which is where Bogle gets its PS Port grapes)
  • pH: 3.77 (a bit high for my taste for PS)
  • TA: 5.8 g/L
  • 8400 cases produced
On opening, the nose was GREAT -- blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, dark ripe plums, and hints of dill and mint. On the palate, those flavors are joined by cassis, hints of cocoa and tar. You can barely taste the oak in this wine, which is a good thing, as it allows all the delicious fruit to show.

The wine is a bit flabby on the attack; the acid doesn't really start to appear until the midpalate or really take hold until the finish, and the tannins are not immediately evident (again, I suspect heavy microox), but do coat the mouth nicely upon swishing. The finish is pretty lengthy most of the time (but it comes and goes) and has great pure fruit that lingers in the mouth.

We PoliShed off this bottle pretty quickly -- which indicates that it's more medium than full-bodied (i.e., light for a PS), and did not decant. This is a tamed PS. The uPSide of that is that you actually don't need to pair this one with the biggest, gamiest, hunk of meat you can find. You (i.e., people are aren't tanninophilic like I am) can even have this by itself, or just with crackers and cheese. On the other hand, I would not age this for more than a few years -- it doesn't have the stuffing for it.

The extraction is fantastic, especially given the relatively light body -- it borders on getting fake, but does not go over the top. This is a great value, and a fantastic PS to introduce newbies and tanninophobes to the PSychos' Path. I highly recommend seeking out this evening "PSipper" from the well-regarded Sebastiani family.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"PaSsionate" requires PS

Richard Auffrey, aka "The PaSsionate Foodie" tries 6 different PS wines with his friends! Click on over for the full notes and pictures

The wines were:
  • 2006 Michael-David Petite Petit (Lodi; 85% PS, 15% PV) -- "I was very pleasantly surprised that this wine was so delicious."
  • 2005 Michael-David Earthquake PS (Lodi) -- not a fan, a bit too medicinal and eucalyptusy for him
  • 2005 Stonehedge Reserve PS Special Vineyard Select (California) -- also too strong and eucalyptusy for him
  • 2005 Stonehedge PS Terroir Select (Mendocino) -- "It was a very big and bold wine, with a complex melange of flavors. . . . The tannins were prominent so this is very much a food wine. It had a long, satisfying finish . . . . [T]ypical Petite Sirah. . . . an appealing model for that grape."
  • 2005 Lava Cap Granite Hill PS Reserve (El Dorado) -- "another big wine with intense flavors. . . . tannins a bit more pronounced [than Terroir Select] . . . almost a bit sweet, which turned off some of my friends but which I enjoyed"
  • 2006 Victor Hugo PS (PaSo Robles) --"very smooth . . . lengthy and PleaSing finish . . . good value "
Richard's conclusion:
Overall, I found some impressive Petite Sirahs, enough to make me seek out more of them to taste. If you have never tried this grape, you should do so. Even if you think you know Petite Sirah, you might benefit from trying different Petite Sirah wines as you might be surprised by what you find.
The one note I would offer is that I don't know how long Richard decanted his wines, if at all, or even if he let them breathe in bottle. Because the two "biggest" wines were the ones that he liked the least, I suspect that he just popped and poured. The more structured, larger PS will benefit even more from air, so I'd urge Richard to give those two another try after a 3-4 hour decant. I bet it will make quite a difference. I didn't particularly care for the one stonehedge I had, but I wasn't taking formal notes on it. I do remember that the Earthquake benefited enormously from decanting -- the tannins appeared as if by magic.

Friday, July 10, 2009


My good friend Sonadora tries the Seven Artisans PS. Sadly, she didn't wait for me. It's ok, though -- I get to raid her cellar on PSaturday :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Gregory Dal Piaz at Snooth had some tasting notes and recommendations for PS a few months ago.

Correctly describing it as "California's Unsung Hero", he offered notes and reviews for 4 grouPS -- Budget, PaSo Robles, Lodi, and Napa, his favorite being the Mettler 2005 that I enjoyed about 6 months PreviouSly.

He also offered some of those for sale, along with others (and more tasting notes) in an accompanying article.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More RounduPS

A nice article on one of my favorite surPriSes from PSILY 2009, Miro Cellars PS.

A review of some of Judd's Hill's wines, including their PS.

The $25 2006 Clayhouse PaSo Robles PS beats the $139 Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne and wins best wine in a blind tasting.

Jo Diaz queried the PSILY members to find out how they typically do in competitions, and it's pretty imPreSsive.