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Archive for the ‘Corks’ Category

Saturday was a good day. It was a sunny spring-like winter day in Brooklyn, and I just walked. My buddy Matt took me on a 4 mile wine store trek that swung us through Green Point at the midpoint, which is where his favorite wine store, Dandelion Wine, is located. Wine shops in BK aren’t big, but boutique by default, and shelf space is at a premium. It’s interesting to see the styles of wine they choose to stock. One thing is certain: France is big, and Burgundy is the star. Old world reigns supreme, California cult cabs hold little appeal, and Australia is relegated to the suburbs. It was fun to see and I was ready to participate.

I picked up 2 half bottles at Dandelion Wine. A Sancerre Pinot Noir and a Domaine Rollin red Burgundy. (more…)

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If you’re not familiar with the story behind these little frames, it all started with a cartoon from Paul Noth that my Aunt cut out of The New Yorker, stuck in a little antique frame to give to me as a gift. It went over quite well, with me of course, and to my surprise, 3 more wine-related cartoons have surfaced since. My collection is growing. I realized I forgot to photograph #3, so as soon as it comes out of storage it will be the first thing I do.

I dare you to come up with an argument.

[“When a wine rates over ninety, this is not alcoholism.” by William Hamilton, Mar. 7, 2011, The New Yorker]


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At 2,640 feet, the site is covered with black, glassy obsidian rock — surely Cabernet country. So, we planted 105 acres of Bordeaux clones on a piece of land that was formerly an abandoned walnut orchard. –Tricycle Wine Co. (more…)

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iPhone Cellar app.

I’m about to wrap up my 3rd day of iPhone ownership, and I am only now discovering the possibilities of cellar and tasting-note management. I’ve joined a few online wine websites over the years, but never managed to stick with it. Inventories quickly became inaccurate due to laziness and wine I drank away from home was usually overlooked for entry. A simple notebook and pen was just easier—something I could carry with me.

Cellar iPhone is my new best friend.

Instant label cropping and uploads, customizable bottles shapes and colors, and drop-down information fields for quick data entry makes cataloging a wine very quick. Organize the wine you own, want, and want to avoid with ease. Check it out here.

[My first 3 entries—one of which is currently almost empty]

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If there was ever a wine that I could really enjoy endorsing to readers, this would be it.

I learned a long time ago, that despite the uncontrollable determinants of grape growing, winemaking is generally in a constant state of improvement. When I first started collecting wine, I was constantly buzzing about after good deals and good wine as if it would elude me and disappear forever; it ultimately made me a bit nuts. Now, I have no interest in hoarding cases of solid $14 Rioja—instead, my search for the next best thing never stops. Rarely do I buy more than 6 bottles of anything anymore. Unless you’re purchasing legendary wine from the most sought-after vineyards in the world, it’s best to keep the wheels turning, let your palate grow and expand; we’re not at the top yet. (more…)

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to suck. For years I was a bit of a loner so I didn’t have to battle for dinner reservations and overpriced roses, and I never went to Jared. Now, it’s not so bad. I still don’t buy cards, and Carey doesn’t care about chocolate. But when February rolls around, my mouth does start to water at the thought of plumping goose livers and grass-fed beasts. I realized this is a holiday I could truly enjoy, and I can still avoid Build-a-Bears, pajama-grams, heart-shaped anything (most importantly, gold-dipped roses). Basically, any hyphenated gifts. (more…)

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From my tasting notebook:

Intensely colored, smartly polished. Toasty oak? Yes, but expect more—something herbal, something minty, and something sooty. In the nose resides an intense deliciousness. Explosive berries, brown sugar, and chocolate.

Despite my persistent Merlot advocacy, I have scared up some sweet, rotund dogs lately. If this was one of those stinkers, it certainly would be softer—boasting a sweet attack, cushy, poke-able midpalate and flabby, out-of-breath finish. The kind of wine that can stain teeth, jazz a party, and split a head. Thankfully, it doesn’t. We’re safe. (more…)

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[Brian Doyle, Chris Jiron, Christine!!!, me, Rob, and Jesse Lange of Lange Estate Winery]

I’m a firm believer in following your dreams. No dream is too big or too small! Sometimes my lifelong dream is to sleep in. In more ambitious moments, I dream of being able to drink Gatorade while running without getting it in my eye. Other dreams include: writing a book, playing the bass guitar in a band, visiting the Caboodle Ranch, and trying my hand at musical theater (Ha!).

Dreams I admire the most are the ones that require a lot of risk, and thus a lot of heart. A vision to honestly make something out of nothing—adding something to the fabric of the universe. And if you’re going to add something, please God, let it be more wine. That’s why I’m totally happy to ask that you go log onto your Facebizzle and Like this page, and vote for this business plan.

At 24, I’m the youngest person in Oregon with a winery license. I’ve poured my meager savings and energy into my wine brand, Cipher Cellars, and am awaiting my 1st release of 100 cases this summer. With this money, I’d not only like to increase production and marketing, but I’d launch Southern Oregon as the next BIG wine region. Raise a glass to no longer making wine paycheck to paycheck!

See, we met Christine out in Oregon and if her wine is anything like her personality, I’m all for it. She’s energetic, enthusiastic and all-around awesome. Go like her plan. Now!

-Carey

p.s. From the first time I met Christine… and the awesome night we all spent in Oregon, including an incredible dinner.

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I’ve met many winemakers. They are an inspiring lot, willing to wear as many hats as required to bring their babies to market. That is essentially how they feel about their labor once corked, labeled, boxed, and being loaded onto a truck—sending their babies out into the world hopefully to be loved.

The good ones hopefully succeed, but not always; some are overlooked, the bad ones weeded out and tagged as losers, and the process starts over. But what happens when you have succeeded as winemaker, your wine is great; in fact, it has arrived at its destination ready to be sold—and finds itself being held hostage by a grouchy old Fraulein with a sharp tongue and dominatrix-like impulses? This is just something no winemaker can prepare for—and precisely the situation a lot of bottles of Pat Green Estate find themselves in today.

I managed to rescue of one bottle before being driven off the premises, which you can read all about in the epic post, Wines by George: The Winter Offensive.

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Guest WCW post from C-dubs:

This feature from Country Living is magnificent. Obviously, this basement-turned-dining room-turned wine cellar is a highlight, but the entire story—especially the “Old Rule”/”New Rule” concept—is full of incredible small space ideas.

Don’t hide your light wine collection under a bush!

I think of all the rooms in the house, people forget the dining room needs the most TLC. I mean, formal dinners are rough enough, do we have to conduct them in rooms designed to make our pits tingle in anxiety? But this… this is a dining room I could embarrass myself in:

Every room is magical, though. Favorites?

-Carey

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A goodbye to a good town. Carey fired-up the stove for the last time tonight and I picked the last bottle of wine out fridge. I poured a glass and sat down on the couch and asked Eli to join me for a talk.

“E, it’s time we told you. If you haven’t noticed, the reason we have been packing the boxes you’ve been chewing holes in for the last month is because we are moving away. That’s right; this is our second to last night.”

He did not react well:

[What…?]

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For a brief period, Seghesio Family Vineyards offered a 50 ml tasting flight—6 wines portioned in mini glass bottles containing just shy of 1.7 ounces. Unfortunately, by the time I recapped my experience for the blog, the flights were sold out.

Despite seemingly reluctant participation from wineries, the idea remains genius. Genius.

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Found via Book Cover Archive, a site I drool over daily. Since I’ll never have the time to read them all, I might as well judge them by their beautiful covers.

And, I mean, the fact that this faux red wine spill isn’t giving me hives of anxiety is a testament to its creativity. [Typed while sipping an inky Tempranillo on a creamy carpet that’s about to belong to another homeowner.]

-Carey

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A worthy wine and a pretty lady on a snowy Vermont night. Not so bad. I like photographing wine bottles—they stand still and don’t talk back—but it can be predictable so I turned my camera on the crazy Aquarian. (more…)

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What started almost a week ago with a craggy finger to the face and a dismissive shooing motion ended this morning in a face-off between myself and an elderly lady in a pink tweed pencil skirt. Sit back, relax, and let me tell you a tale of one very brave wine blogger who stood in face of serpentine wine snobbery and a touch of pure evil.

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A sinister snowflake? A sparsely-spined sea urchin? A magnified mini Koosh?  Nope!

The artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders in Santa Maria before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced, machine-cut nails. Despite its lowly function, each nail is unique from the next according to the conditions in which it was made and the expertise of the craftsman.

I can’t remember the last time I hefted a bottle with such artistic presence: lower-case, undersized embossed text on a heavy, matte-finish label with rounded edges, a weighty, sweeping bottle of green-yellow glass, and v-notched accents highlighting the vintage year on the label’s flanks. Badass. (more…)

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Gypsy Dancer first caught my eye when a glut of bottles, the A & G Estates Pinot Noir and the Cuvée Romy Pinot Noir, appeared on WineBid.com. They sat for months, getting chipped away at, before I plucked a bottle for myself. It wasn’t until it got home did I realize what that atypical quantity available for auction meant.

Sadly, with the passing of Gary Andrus, Gypsy Dancer founder and winemaker, the label will be no more. Inventories are being sold off. Ironically, I came across a paragraph on the Gypsy Dancer Facebook page written by Katherine Cole from The Oregonian.[Katherine recently wrote a blurb on  C+C , also in The Oregonian.]

Cheers to the memory of Gary Andrus, the former Olympic skier who founded Archery Summit, and later, Gypsy Dancer, in the Willamette Valley, before dying last year. -Kathernine Cole The Oregonian (more…)

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Riedel didn’t seek the help of California Pinot Noir vintners when this outstanding glass was produced a number of years ago; in fact, it was the Oregonian vintners that curried favor. The result was this monolithic glass—in every tasting room we had the privilege of entering on our trip last year.

A monster bowl for swirling, a tapered rim that creates the perfect chimney action for sniffs, the thinnest of crystal for a great mouthfeel, exceptional balance, and the best part: it’s American wine that inspired it. How we went this long without them, I don’t know, but when I arrived home from work today my very own set was waiting for me—a Christmas present from Carey that had been delayed en route (or perhaps delayed in ordering). Either way, I’m thrilled to pour something into ’em. (more…)

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Beep, bop, bop! Translates to —> Words fail me!

We are so psyched the lovely Katherine Cole chose to mention Corks + Caftans in The Oregonian’s FOODDay article ‘What we like to read, watch click’!

Corks + Caftans: This blog is the online wine-and-fashion musings of a cute young couple in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Confession: I’ve stopped reading Rob Burden’s wine reviews, because wife Carey Wodehouse Burden’s caftan-heavy style shoots and goofy commentaries are just too much fun. In short, I came for the corks, but I stayed for the caftans. Check it out at corksandcaftans.wordpress.com. –Katherine Cole

Man, we love Oregon even more now—didn’t think that was possible.

Check out past posts on Oregon—its vineyards, its people, wine we’ve reviewed, and more. Like our stop with our good friends, Vista Hills Vineyard & Winery, meeting Michael Lundeen of Genius Loci, a reading of The Grail by Brian Doyle at Lange Estate Winery, which segued into an amazing dinner with new friends, authors of the Southern Oregon Wine Blog, how spoiled we got at The Allison Inn & Spa (a personal favorite post), tastings at the picturesque Stoller Family VineyardWillamette, Dammit!, and observations on why Oregon is such an awesome state.

-Carey

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This intensely fruity and distinctive Port was produced from a specially selected section of our home vineyard on Taplin Road and bottled December 2007. Bottle no. 7446 of 8026.

I have to admit, when Carey and I arrived in Napa on the 3rd day of our honeymoon, I really had no concept of the scene we were stepping into. Months before our arrival a close family friend and restauranteur had arranged tours and tastings throughout the valley. In my head, the lead-up felt like we were being granted permission to pass through the gates of a tightly guarded club, which only proper tugs on proper strings could initiate. This was the allure and mystique Napa Valley held in my imagination. (more…)

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It came down to 3 wines, including an ’05 Justin Isosceles, an ’05 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir from Foxen, and the Groth, also 2005. I hemmed and hawed, so Carey decided. This was our first Christmas away from the folks in 29 years, so we had to do something special—and this happened to be one of the bottles I lugged home from Napa after our honeymoon. Tonight it sits proudly in a specially made Nantucket wine basket given to us moments earlier by Carey’s parents. Our initials are scratched into a bone medallion on the underside. (more…)

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This is awesome:

First, if you are anything like us, you need to be reading this hysterical blog. Drink champagne every day for a year? That sounds like the perfect yin to our impotent, weekly yang—“I should take a night off.”

Such a cool honor. And to have someone recognize all the effort (I believe) that Rob puts into every word he writes in a review is so rewarding—both as his blog partner, his wife, and his copyeditor.

Again—thanks to Dale! And thanks to Kiira of the fantastic Eat & Greet, who put our name in. Merry Christmas, indeed.

-Carey

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Le Goût du Vin—a romantic, old world shop selling the grand wines of France on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies. This was a very big deal for me. I scouted it earlier in the day from the back of a Mini Cooper while whirring around the narrow, scooter-laden streets of town. (more…)

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Shea Wine Cellars, Ken Wright, St. Innocent, Penner-Ash, Alexana, Panther Creek, Berström, Auteur, Sin Qua Non, Loring Wine Co., Raptor Ridge, J.K. Carrier, Elk Cove, Patricia Green, Stevenson Barrie, Westrey, Rex Hill, Broadly and Beaux Frères. All these wineries have, or have had, something in common, and that is: Shea Vineyard, one of America’s great vineyards. I was pretty shocked by the length of the vineyard designation list; only 3 or 4 came to mind before I did some research. (more…)

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Go cheap. Go Washington.

If you find yourself in a grocery store with a $20 bill in your pocket and happen to need a six pack of Bud Light Wheat and a bottle of wine but just don’t feel like swiping the plastic, I have a solution. Actually, a few solutions.

Cheap wine is the most difficult to buy—especially if you don’t want it tasting like sun or sap, or as real as plastic surgery. Best universal bets: Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest Grand Estates of Washington or Bogle (namely the Petite Sirah) of California.

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