Tag Archives: Roederer Estate

personal wine reviews


SAM_1082 SAM_1083

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Coming back down from a rather hectic weekend, the countdown over at Wine Spectator has just begun (although after my list and Wine Enthusiast’s came out, why bother, right?).  Numbers 7 through 10 have been posted, and the tease continues up until Monday, November 18th.

Yet rather than bore you with anything regarding Wine Spectator’s impending list, I’d rather talk to you about a few things that have happened since I published my own list last Saturday.

First off, my wife, ever-so-sneakily managed to plan a small dinner at this new local restaurant – Nuvo at Greenup, in neighboring Covington, KY.  Co-owned by one of my old friends, Marie Anderson, along with Chef Mark Bodenstein, they have put together a solely pre-fixe menu concept that is bold and adventurous, exhibiting a tremendous amount of balls for this part of the country.  Joining my wife and I were Mama Jesse and her new husband, and through 8 or 9 courses, and 3 bottles of wine (Lapalu Brouilly, Vieux Telegramme and Chanson Vire-Clesse) and a glass of sparkling wine (Saint-Hillaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut NV), we were spent.  It was an incredible evening, the likes of which neither my wife nor I have enjoyed in some time.

Secondly, my birthday was spent working all day at TPS, followed by a bit of work-and-play at The Taste of the World, a charity event for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, and hosted by the Newport Aquarium.  Goldbeard and I hosted an “early-bird” cocktail hour for the big contributors.  Being my first time at the event, I showed off my geekness for Washington State alongside Danny’s beer enlightments – we poured K Vintners Viognier Columbia Valley 2011 and Gorman The Devil You Don’t Know Red Columbia Valley 2011.

Sunday brought a day to recuperate somewhat, a long, drawn-out date with the Sandman, as well as gifts from the wifey (including a new chess board) and some very cool wine geek stuff made from refurbished oak staves.

I feel pretty good these days, ready for the challenges ahead, hopeful that my wife and I are getting to a better place, and excited for a change about the coming holiday season.

In the meantime, Lady Linda dropped in with some cool new wines:

Healdsburg Ranches Chardonnay North Coast Unoaked 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.  Really creamy for something completely unoaked.  Tasted like poached pears with marscapone.  Delicious!

Healdsburg Ranches Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.  Actually shows more acid than the Unoaked.  Still creamy with tropical fruits, butterscotch and vanilla bean.

VML Gewurtztraminer Dry Creek Valley 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.  One of the prettiest bouquets I’ve come across in some time.  Just explodes with spring flowers, litchi fruit and white peaches.  Easy on the sweetness, showing nice acidity.

Roederer Estate Brut L’Ermitage 2003.  Grade=Amazing.  Apple brioche, d’Anjou pear mousse, light and airy notes of lime, vanilla and allspice.  Arguably the best sparkling wine out of California.  Simply gorgeous!

Fogdog Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011.   Grade=Outstanding.  Expressive red and black fruits, solid grip, jammy notes of cherry mocha, cigar box and black pepper.

wine reviews


SAM_0524 SAM_0530

Back in the swing of things, I’ve been honed in on marketing strategies over the past several days, much to my chagrin.  Me, the former mind-hellion lead singer of a hairslinger band from the late-80’s-early-90’s, thinking about marketing, the campaign of the damned.  Now, no offense to my marketing friends, but marketing isn’t necessarily the most noble of pursuits.  But then again, neither is retail wine sales.

Yet in speaking with my boss, the Mighty Jon Stiles, I found myself thinking about what it will mean to market the very department I work in here at TPS.  I mean, for all intensive purposes, The Party Source will be the largest, single-unit, family-owned retail beverage store in the country.  What does that mean?  Well, for starters, this place is gonna be one big, fucking adult beverage store, the veritable IKEA of adult beverages.  Pack a lunch when you come folks, it’s going to be referred to as the Party Source “CAMPUS.”  Now that’s a big fucking store.

But what will that mean for the customer?  That’s the real question.

In many ways, the Party Source Wine Department will have to take the approach of being a “store-within-a-store.”  And with the addition of an actual tasting bar, we’ll take on the personae of a winery tasting room, with our gallant TPS Grand Crew manning the bar as if we were some adult beverage “pop-up” store, like a wine version of a Martha Stewart pop-up in JCP.   Our staff will need to become even more welcoming, more friendly with our customers, transforming the experience from the overwhelming adventure it has been notoriously misperceived into something akin to attending a Reds or Bengals game, being invited into a luxury box complete with your best friends and all the amenities, a kind of family reunion you happened to stumble into, and we are all so glad you could make it.

The work we at TPS are met with, is the work of demystifying wine in general, and emphasizing of community and camaraderie over size internally at our store-within-a-store.  In short, our goal is to show our guests the undiscovered reality of our hearts and minds here at TPS.  It’s at once a monumental task, and a relatively simple one.

Over the next several months, there will be a lot of changes here at the store, yet at the heart of it all will still beat the core principle of great service, an awesome selection, and much, much more.

In the meantime, Lady Linda dropped in with longtime friend Roland Herrmann from Maisons, Marques & Domaines, who had a few little beauties from around the world:

Pazo Barrantes Albariño Rias Biaxas 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.   A bit of lees contact gives this some richness you don’t always find in Albariño.  White flowers, lemon chiffon and white grapefruit notes abound.

Ladoucette Sancerre La Poussie 2011.  Grade=Very Good.  More chalky mineral notes than fruit, this dry white is clean and crisp, with subdued hints of lime and melon.

Fleur du Cap Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.  Clean, crisp white wine with bright citrus notes, hints of lemongrass, cilantro and jalapeño skin.

Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Les Princes Abbés 2011.  Grade=Outstanding+.  Gorgeous white wine, lush notes of white flowers, stone fruit, white spice and dried dates.

Delas Cotes du Ventoux Rouge 2010.  Grade=Very Good.  Ripe, fruit-driven red blend of Grenache and Syrah.  Spicy, peppery with dark plum, black raspberry and red currants.

Castiglion del Bosco Rosso di Montalcino 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  Full-bodied Sangiovese with earthy black cherry, dusty tannins, black pepper and rose petals.

Podernuovo a Palazzone Therra Rosso Toscano 2009.  Grade=Amazing.  A blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Full-bodied, lush with black cherry, dark plum, tobacco and cedar smoke.

Roederer Estate Brut Rose Anderson Valley MV.  Grade=Amazing.  60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.  Gorgeous strawberry mousse, white chocolate, acacia and almond paste abound in this dreamy, dry pink sparkler.

Getting back to my earlier train of thought, you can see I have a lot on my mind.  Definitely a lot to think about for the future, and for now.  Change is good.  I often joke I eat change for breakfast.  My wife would probably say that’s why the bathroom smells so bad after I use it, though.


commentary recap


This week has been nothing short of what I believe warp speed is like.  For all you non-Trekkies out there, warp speed is what the starships travel at to get through large expanses of the universe in extremely short amounts of time.  It was as if I blinked once on Tuesday last week, and one more blink – BOOM!  It’s April 3rd!

In my professional life, I am trying to mend fences as it were, and putting to rest a lot of low-self-esteem demons.  I ran into a former colleague and still, good friend at the store over the weekend, and squashed the tales from certain folks that this person moved on because of me.  Now, I realize I can be a royal pain in the ass most of the time, but knowing that this person quit because of something I did has really haunted me.  The reason for this person’s departure was in fact, what makes most of us move on – money and opportunity.  A huge sense of relief hit me all day after talking with this person.  I have felt like a world-class prick for what has been going on 5, maybe 6 years.  And come review time, it has been eluded to me that I made this person head for the door.  Which has made the current situation with my current partner in the department all the more problematic.

Now, I have talked about how rough I have been on Shannon, and indeed it’s true.  It has been a really difficult adjustment.  I’ve worked in family businesses before, and have never seen them go anywhere but down.  Yet my attitude has become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and quite frankly has made me pretty tired of it all.  So I have made some considerable efforts to meet Shannon half-way, and with any luck, I think we will finally start making for a good team professionally.

Sometimes I can be a real stubborn prick (just ask my wife).

Wine Reviewed: 39 + 1 bourbon.

Wine of the Week: TIE:  Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva Finca Ygay 2005 and Vina Ventisquero Cabernet Sauvignon Grey Single Block 2009.

Good news in the wine biz: The folks over at VinTank have compiled the list of the 9 most important wine bloggers at this very moment – a list I am fairly certain will never boast my name.  Big cheers though for the mention of my West Coast wine brother, Jameson Fink, who was singled out as the one to watch.  Check out his blog at http://jamesonfink.com/.

Bad news in the wine biz:  The vine shortage in California may mean higher wine prices.  But then, this news story may be the product of a Republican writing staff, I don’t know.

Disturbing news in the wine biz: Actually this doesn’t fall under DISTURBING so much as SURPRISING, Banfi Vintners is expanding their international wine empire with the announcement of their impending acquisition of Kenwood Vineyards of Sonoma County.   After having been at this so long, this merger shouldn’t really be that much of a shock, but like a five-year-old at Christmas time, these news announcements never fail to surprise.

On the homefront: It seems like every morning, my wife and I talk about the same thing – what she did the night before in her sleep.  For those of you new to the Grape Tree, my wife deals with a number of health issues, and as part of her treatment, she has been prescribed many pills.  This in conjunction with a lifelong problem with sleep (sleep walking, apnea, fitful dreams, talking in her sleep, etc., etc.) makes for quite the interesting night on an almost-regular basis.

Last night wasn’t particularly event-filled; about all she really did was carry on as if to be in an argument with individuals who, in her words, “had British accents.”  99% of every night at the Keith house consists of only my wife and I, and the high energy play of 6 hyperactive cats (as well as our office, which hosts our two “old lady” cats who no longer like to socialize with their brethren).

She has seen doors that aren’t there, heard partying that wasn’t ever there, had conversations at length with people from all over the world, and tried to wander around the house as if she is foraging through the forest.  At times, it can be downright hysterical.  Other times, like when she has fallen down the steps (I’d estimate 10 times, half of those ending in a concussion, broken bones, or in one nasty case, 15+ stitches in her mouth) as well as falling in the bathroom and breaking the toilet once.

I sometimes think I am constantly being tested by the Man Upstairs on my endurance and patience, because though I project myself as being a patient man, sometimes I am far from it.  My wife has so many bruises and scars from falling down between nocturnal restroom visits, or falling off the bed in fits of unconscious panic, yet when I recount her bedtime shenanigans, she almost always finds them hilarious.  And she has given me carte blanche to retell those tales to you.  I think she’s gonna be sorry.

What is on my playlist?: I heard this band Halestorm on the radio the other day and I have become an instant fan.  They are simply awesome!  And I’ve been listening to old Flatt and Scruggs; reminds me of my Grandpa Keith playing banjo on his patio, which was on the other side of the lake from my house growing up.  The sound of summer coming…

What wine(s) is (are) impressing me right now at the store?: Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 (I am just as surprised as you are about this admission) and Roederer Estate Brut Rose Anderson Valley NV (a gorgeous pink sparkler from California).

Recommended reads, blog or otherwise:  Picked up FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S. Thompson again.  Just started rereading it.  A truly hilarious read.

What’s on tap for this week?: I have absolutely no idea, but isn’t that for the best?

wine reviews


We had but one lonely appointment booked in the Studio for #WineWednesday, as I – flying solo – met up with HG Money and Roland Herrmann from MMD for a bit of international flava:

Scharffenberger Brut Mendocino County NV.  Grade=Outstanding.  Wonderful cuvee blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, showing off creamy lime mousse, green apple skin, and a hint of buttered brioche.  A terrific value in Sparkling wine.

Roederer Estate Brut Rosé Anderson Valley NV.  Grade=Outstanding.  Beautifully-crafted pink sparkler, showing strawberry mousse, vanilla cream, hints of pomegranate, dragon fruit, mineral and creamy butter cookie.

Pazo de Barrantes Albariño Rias Baixas DO 2010.  Grade=Outstanding+.  Crisp, light and dry with bright yellow citrus fruit, mineral and slight herbaceousness.  Very nice.

de Ladoucette Les Deux Tours Sauvignon Blanc Loire Valley 2008.  Grade=Very Good.  Declassified Sauvignon Blanc blended from vineyards in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.  Still quite crisp, showing lemon verbena, melon, white grapefruit and chalk.

Domaine Ott les Domaniers Rosé Cotes de Provence AOC 2010.  Grade=Outstanding.  Fleshy pink wine, dry with strawberry, pomegranate, watermelon and slight mint and sweet talc undertones.  A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.

Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba DOC 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  Well-made, medium-bodied red with fleshy, inky red and purple fruit, fragrant floral notes, rich earth and zesty spice characters.

Marques de Marietta Rioja Reserva Finca Ygay 2005.  Grade=Amazing.  A gorgeous blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo, aged nearly 2 years in American oak, this dense, bold red displays black cherries, black currants, cedar, tobacco and sage, finishing up with underlying characters of bitter cocoa, cloves and caramelized vanilla.

Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  This Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend gives you heaping helpings of blackberry and black cherry fruit aromas and flavors, touches of black truffle, black olive, black pepper and slight hints of rosemary and cedar.

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