The Dialog Wines Blog

Monday’s Randoms

 Published on: Monday, August 23, 2010

A few random thoughts as Monday comes to a close…

Great to see Marques de Riscal back on the shelves in Newfoundland. One of Rioja’s oldest and best known wineries is still making Spain proud. While so many other Rioja producers are trying to make their wines with a new world flare for the dramatic, Riscal is like an elderly woman behind a counter in a small town… in other words, the 2005 Reserva changes “by not changing at all.” Okay.. did my Pearl Jam reference confuse you (as if wine isn’t confusing enough)? What I’m trying to say is that a lot of producers in Rioja are making their wine to taste more Californian or Australian in style. I’m also going to suggest that a lot of newer French oak is used in the winemaking process…words like vanilla, toast and caramel will come to mind. Riscal still uses traditional American oak barrels (think earthy, coconut) and is still unmistakably old world wine. Subtle, elegant and spicy but not a wimp either…Kinda like James Bond if he was Spanish (does that make any sense?).Newfoundland readers – get to the NLC and grab a bottle for $26. It WILL work with dinner and a little Eddie Vedder in the background just to set the mood. So to conclude my review of Marques de Riscal 2005 Reserva, its just like Pearl Jam blended with Spanish James Bond . Okay, moving on..

There is also a Marques de Riscal Rueda available soon. 100% Verdejo in that bottle with a convenient screw cap. Bright, fresh, floral with good acidity…. for under $15 its a bargain thats almost as good as the deal I got on my new Rolex that I picked up in Soho yesterday… only $50 bucks. It was hard to tell with his thick accent but I’m pretty sure the guy who sold it to me said it was real…. I’ll probably go back to see him tomorrow to get Christmas shopping out of the way nice and early. Rolex for the whole family this year!

The Tangled Vine Wine Bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is a pretty cool spot. Really a solid wine list – that is to say that its not average. The wines are good and there is plenty of adventure. Go and pick a region you haven’t tried before… how about Bandol? A feel good vibe carries throughout the bar as the staff is very friendly and very helpful. The place doesn’t look cheap either. The back bar looks great with wine displays and the walls are decorated with modern art as well as maps of wine regions. Its a little hazy but I do believe I was looking at a map of Spain last night. Small plates, good for sharing and its not so loud that you can’t have intimate conversation. My rating: I’ve been there the last two Friday nights and I’m hoping to make it back again soon… Its pretty, pretty, pretty good…
I spent a bit of time tonight on the Wine Spectator website (http://www.winespectator.com/). Its really a pretty great site with a lot of interesting articles about some very fascinating people. When I see those beautiful pictures of estate wineries and vineyards, I must admit that I sometimes have an urge to go back to school, become a winemaker and move to California…. But then I give myself a shake and come back to reality. How could I possibly give up summers in New York City? Sure it smells like baked garbage and July was the second hottest month NYC has ever experienced but at least there are rats all over the subway!! Hmmm…. okay, maybe I could become a 49ers fan.

So, back to Wine Spectator. I think that if you have a strong interest in wine, a subscription to this website is a good idea. Good reading, good pictures and what I like best is that there is an opportunity to educate yourself with endless reading, self testing and quizzes. At this point you’re probably saying “Quiz myself? Why would I do that? I hate quizzes. I did those in high school and college.. I always failed… I am a failure in life!” To which I will tell you (write this down and don’t forget it!), “Yes, you probably are a bit of a loser. But remember, even someone as pathetic as yourself can look cool with a good bottle of wine.”

– GW

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