White Pinot Noir – A Rare Style – James Melendez

I love White Pinot Noir or Pinot Noir Blanc.  I am fascinating with this wine style… no I am obsessed with any of these wines that I can find.  There are so few examples in the world today.

In my review of Torti Pinot Nero Bianco, I stated that “…in my universe it would be every single Pinot Noir producer would set a little bit (Pinot Noir) aside for a vinification in white…”  I wish that would happen or that more producers would consider doing this.  The reason is simple–Pinot Noir fruit is expensive and consumers might not be willing to pay a higher price point for this special white wine.  And well to a certain extent this is potentially correct.  You can look at Domaine Carneros has their White Pinot Noir called Pinot Clair at $58.00 a bottle which is higher than some of their red Pinot Noir wines.

There is a reason to produce and equally important to taste White Pinot Noirs. They are a distinct snapshot of Pinot Noir sans skin contact.  I am not the only person to find admiration and fascination with Pinot Noir–haunting, compelling, distinct and cannot be mistaken for any other variety.  Even a wine drinker without a lot of tasting experience could pick it out easily.

Now fascination of Pinot Noir is not just the experience from each bottle but also its unstable genetics.  The instability is noticeable–the many clones that exist–no other Vitis vinifera grape has more and eventually more to come.  No other Vitis vinifera has more synonyms with 291 names.

Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris are not Pinot Noir but a genetic mutation. And that Pinot Meunier is a chimeric mutation.  And well Pinot Noir has been parent to many other varieties as well.  Mutation from Pinot Noir don’t necessarily taste like Pinot Noir…. they are distinct and each beloved.  Pinot Blanc does not taste like a White Pinot Noir and vice versa.  The only thing that is the same is the genetic material are very close but the colour is what they absolutely have in common.  The flavour and nose of Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc don’t have the same characterization of Pinot Noir.  The reason is simple–each is a distinct Vitis vinifera grape.

White Pinot Noir on the senses level does have a distinct characterization.  The casual taster might not realise on a blind tasting if the wine is White Pinot Noir.  The experienced taster will pick this out as a White Pinot Noir.  It is reminiscent to it’s red wine brethren but chilled and no maceration.  The weight and mouthfeel are heavier–almost like a Chardonnay in it’s richness.  But Chardonnay would never be mistake as White Pinot Noir.  And White Pinot Noir for any other white wine variety.

A lovely wine style and if you haven’t tasted this wine seek it out.  A nice way to treat yourself to the richness of our modern wine world.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, map of Sicilia/Sicily, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Advertisements
Posted in Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Nero, Pinot Noir, White Pinot Noir | Leave a comment

Review: A Perfect Score – Craig & Kathryn Hall – James Melendez

I love books.  I love the physical books and I don’t tire of them.  I do have a vast collection of books in the cloud and I appreciate the non-virtual kinds very much in my library.   I am even more thrilled when I have a signed copy such as this book.  This was a gift by one of my favourite people on the planet Robert Hernandez in Dallas, Texas.

I collect books because I love the specialness of a book.  I look at them as devices of the past but of the future or of the possible.  Books mean so many things to me.  I love my cookbooks–obscure, unusual and important to preserve cookeries of the past that are needed to inform today’s many cookeries.  My wine books inform me of new thoughts and perspectives.  I also have books on so many categories but not limited to the arts, history, design, travel, fiction, photography, science, mathematics and so fourth.

A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery by husband and wife Craig and Kathryn Hall is a nice look behind the curtain of Hall Napa Valley.  I have been fortunate to taste and visit Hall in Napa Valley but haven’t been to the new tasting room.

I like the book for it’s honesty and the Hall’s disappointments, difficulties and of course successes.  Napa Valley does have a long lineage in the new world for wine making even when crossing paths with prohibition.  But I am reminded on my earliest visits to Napa Valley how the valley is still the same and changed considerably as well.  Napa Valley has to balance great wine making tradition and continuing the excellence of great food and hospitality.  So many places around the world want to be Napa Valley.  But I always say if I have an opportunity “you need to be who you are.”

Napa Valley does get better vintage-over-vintage.  Some people I hear try to pin Napa against Sonoma and vice versa.  They are two very different wine worlds and ultimately they cannot quite compete on the same footing.  The variety sets might intersect sometimes but the excellences is say Bordeaux with a small amount of Rhone, Iberian and Italian, and Burgundy varieties in Napa.  Sonoma has a generous amount of Burgundy varieties in it’s AVA and there is a smaller acreage of the Bordeaux, Rhone, Iberian and Italian varieties.

I cannot say I prefer one AVA over the other because they offer different wines and different experiences.  Napa Valley has had the touch of Robert Mondavi’s vision that make’s the Valley what it is today.  Mondavi wanted world class food and art and well that is what we have today.

The Halls have an outstanding view of art and a great collection to share with their visitors.  Their passion is evident and assuring.  It is what I like to see and what I appreciate.  Bunny Foo Foo (the great and large silver rabbit) is a what the Valley needs – art that is playful and fun and is not shy and demure.  Napa Valley has had so many critiques who each want the Valley to be in a certain way and I am glad that there is no one way and the Hall’s have their own vision.  The book exemplifies the passion and drive is not a one time effort but a way of being for the Halls… it is an ever day, every hour and ever minute way of being.

The engagement of Frank Gehry’s design is highlighted in this book and I have seen the design.  The design would have been a great thing to have been realized but the wooden structure based on testing was very impractical.  The book highlights the “Not in My Backyard” syndrome that many people were protesting against.  Signum Architecture became the architect of record and is responsible for today’s modern adn world class facility.

The book highlights all aspects of their stewardship of this site as well as their vineyard site.  The book delves into the business side, the political side of Napa and also the magical happenings that occur:  the philanthropy and the people.

I do like perspectives of the Halls–completely real people who happen to own a preeminent winery and vineyard.  I have not had the privilege of meeting the Halls and I hope some day I will.  I like that this was not a ‘how great we are’ book but more depth, honest and very approachable experience of their lives.  Caring for the legacy of what the Hall Family are doing but also the employees and the Valley via philanthropy are highlighted in the book.

I appreciate the fine wines that Hall is producing and the work to refine each vintage.  I view wine as art.  I don’t think people view wine as art… I was in Alicante, Spain a few years ago and I was talking with a producer and talked about wines that are mass produced and those that are thoughtful produced as in art.  He thought it interesting in using the word art as wine and wine as art unto itself.

Art and wine is important on many levels.  Some people say wine is made in the vineyard–which is a pastoral concept –the reality is that yes great quality fruit is imperative.  There are so many ways to produce a wine–it is not just if it is sparkling or still or sweet but what is the toasting profile of the barrels, what was Brix at picking, you get the idea.

I appreciate this book as it helps me to encapsulate my thoughts on my first visit to Napa Valley and it helps to reinforce the magic of Napa.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, map of Sicilia/Sicily, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nine Hats Columbia Valley Wines – James Melendez

****

Nine Hats Columbia Valley Red Wine 2015

This wine is a blend of:

  • 50% Syrah
  • 41% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 7% Merlot
  • 2% Malbec

Scent characteristics: red cherry, blackberry, baking spices, violets and bay leaf

Flavour notes: Loch Ness Blackberry, cassis, pepper, tarragon and rose petal

And the ABV on this wine is 14.9%

***

Both wines are courtesy of producer.

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, map of Sicilia/Sicily, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in Columbia Valley, Red Blend, Riesling | Leave a comment

Amazon Prime Needs to Earn It’s Keep – James Melendez

There is an assumption that Amazon will own the world of retailing and entertainment and perhaps other business categories as well.  The endless articles about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods caught many people off guard but makes strategic sense for food.  Then food delivery, clothing and other sectors started to freak out.  But there are limitations even for Amazon.  I was glad to hear there would be a discount on food prices at their Whole Foods division.  I keep saying to myself — ‘my Prime needs to earn it’s keep’.  I had no interest in paying for the Amazon Fresh membership at an incredible $299.  The product offering was less than compelling and wasn’t missing anything by not belonging.  Daily goods is key but if it is more expensive than picking up in person – the equation becomes fuzzy.

And this year Amazon Prime is not earning it’s keep.  At $99 it is expensive for what I am getting.  I started to notice this in January when I assumed I would purchase a television from the online retailer.  And cost comparing I was attracted by Best Buy.  I never thought I would buy a television by any other retailer than Amazon.  But as it turned out Best Buy had a slightly lower price, better delivery options, I could talk with someone on the phone and all of my confirmations and requirements met.  While I have not always been a Best Buy shopper I got airline miles and points in their loyalty programme.  I also bought a computer from Best Buy and had a great experience.  I could have gone to the company store for the computer but Best Buy had incentivised me to think and act differently.  I also harkened back to a previous Amazon television purchase that was less-than-satisfactory as my television was delivered when I wasn’t home and left at my front door (in San Francisco that is a good as gone proposition).

When I need a product I don’t automatically think of Amazon now  It was my television buy experience informed me on another way to buy what I needed.  Just because Amazon has gotten into the clothing business doesn’t mean I am going to jump ship of the many brands and retailers I like and continue to seek out.

I looked at how I was viewing Amazon Prime for movies, documentaries and television shows but overwhelmingly I have been using Netflix at the fraction of the cost of Amazon.  I have found that I don’t always need a product within two days and that waiting 5 businesses day free no rush shipping is often incentivised with $1 credit for electronic media–books, movies, music and is not incentive enough.  More incentive and more compelling is say frequent flyer miles I might get with using a retailer like Crate & Barrel, Neiman’s, Bloomingdales, etc.  All of my airline frequent flyer programmes all have a way to earn miles with retailers.  I have found free shipping on almost all retailers–either because it is generally free or there is a small threshold to reach.  And almost all retailers have a loyalty program and I have had some benefit from belonging.

The prices I have found competitive with Amazon.  So right now – September 2017 – I am fading in terms of my love for Prime as it is less than Prime but more secondary.  Right now if I gave a score it would be Amazon 1; traditional and non-Amazon online retailers 3.

I have to see if there is a savings at Whole Foods because right now Amazon Prime is in the balance and may not make my cut. I need my Prime membership to earn it’s keep–there are always things I can buy and need with $99 that I spend annually with Amazon for just for a membership.  And the Amazon name is not magic for me to just keep paying for something and not realise more benefit.

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

I do not own or claim any copyright on Amazon Prime logo, image or anything else as it relates to Amazon.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in Amazon, Amazon Prime, Online Retailers | Leave a comment

Two Medias and Only So Much Time – James Melendez

I think when I am given a sample for some producer they have a written (online) mindset.  What I mean by this is that the written word is far more important than say the video world.   I have turned away samples from PR agencies because when I have done video reviews of the wines they represent I don’t even get as much as a retweet on Twitter or even a like on Instagram or LinkedIn.  After all it is to benefit the label I am talking about.  The lack of interest or engagement does speak volumes.  I think the mindset for the written word is at both the producer and promoter level (I am speaking about some and not all producers and promoters).  Attending past Wine Bloggers Conference there is an overwhelming portion of content that only talks about the written word.

We live in exciting times and video is a natural place for wine content.  I think a written piece on wine can rarely capture the emotion about wine.  Waxing poetically about wine in the written form only does have limitations.  I do love the written word but wine needs a point of difference and that point of difference I believe is video.

I know that videos on YouTube, for example, are seen of little value by producers or even PR agencies.   I have written nearly exhaustively about wine and YouTube.  I have kept my channel going because behaviour on the consumption of wine video viewing is different than say vlogging.  I do have a modest subscription base but I find most of my videos are consumed by people who are seeking a thought on a wine or spirit they might have and they may not be a subscriber.  There are some peculiarities in the wine category that is different from any other category in the world and it extends in terms of video.

I think when I do a written piece for some people it is much more appreciated.  I don’t have any specific data sets to point to but only the anecdotal.  And I do think to a certain extent I have two different audiences.

I continue to write and do videos on wine.  And I do know many people think that is what I do for a living.  Some think I live a life of first class flights and Town Car rides.  But that is not really the life I lead.  Yes on occasion I do have a Town Car ride or have flown first or business class but I don’t do this all the time.  Getting time to write and do video is very hard.  I don’t have a ton of time and I do work seven days a week – rarely do I get a day off.  I think the wine category is amazing firstly but secondly it leaves a wine writer/reviewer with not just endless possibilities but just trying to do catch up work.

I do have some arm chair quarter backs who say I should do wine reviews in the field but the time to produce video is very timing consuming.  And yes I would love to do and hope to do wine reviews in the field.

A five minute video doesn’t mean that is what it took to produce/make it.  Even simple videos require setup, many tappings for one successful video, editing, file disposition and computer maintenance per each video.  Video is a storage hog and requires constant clean up on my computer.  I would say there is no such thing as getting a video done in less than and hour to an hour and a half for even a simple video.

I have been wanting to write this essay for sometime and have guilt because I cannot catch up.  Being a wine writer/reviewer I think means being constantly behind.  Perhaps I disappoint.  My intent is to cover and write and be thoughtful and not rush through and write or video with poor content.

I do have a core belief that people who are behind the bottle are not just a wealthy person but a team of people.  People who work in a vineyard, work painstakingly to produce a bottle of wine to the person who might pour at a restaurant or sell at wine store and many other people in between.  I am conscious and I hope I have taken the higher road.  I think I have.

Purpose of this is essay is to say I will continue to write and video on wine and hopefully some day I’ll catch up!

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, map of Sicilia/Sicily, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in Wine and Video, Wine Writing | Leave a comment

Susana Balbo Crios Rosé of Malbec and Rosé of Malbec – James Melendez

Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2016

12% ABV

Scent of Adriatic fig, just sliced Granny Smith apple, oyster shell, passion fruit, flowers and white tea.

Flavor characteristic: passion fruit, Meyer Lemon, comice pear, flowers and moist stones

****

Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec 2017

11.9% ABV; vibrant acid

Scent characterization:  Pomegranate, strawberry, white peach, flowers, and moist stones.

Flavour character: Mountain strawberry, ripe red cherries, graphite, white pepper and oyster shell.

Wine courtesy of producer.

Salute,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in Argentina, Malbec, Rosé, Torrontes | Leave a comment

Kovács Nimród NJK Nagy-Eged Grand Cru 2009 – 93 Points – James Melendez

I loved my Hungarian experience last year.  I call my journey’s ‘foot-on-ground’  While I explored Budapest–I didn’t get to explore it all.  There are still things I need to do on my next visits.  Budapest is both a place that met and exceeded my expectations.  But it also left me for a longing to explore more of Budapest and their wine countries.

On the Széchenyi Chain Bridge Chain Bridge on the Danube in Budapest

Back to the wine:

This wine is a composition of:

  • 73% Kékfrankos
  • 20% Pinot Noir
  • 7% Syrah

Spend 24 months in:

  • 70% Hungarian oak
  • 30% French oak

13.9% ABV

Scent characteristics of blackberry, black cherry, suede-leather, moist forest floor, pepper and spice notes
FL black cherry, boysenberry, moist earth, violets, red pepper and cardamom.

Egészségére,

James

James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2017 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

TWITTERFACEBOOKGOOGLE+VIMEOLINKEDFLICKRpinterestWordpressYOUTUBETUMBLR

Posted in 9.3, Hungary, Kékfrankos | Leave a comment