Taking a break from posting about my trip to Italy to give a huge shout out to Texas wine legend (and now wine blogger) Bear Dalton, whom I met for the first time at a small Houston wine blogger summit that I organized last night at Tony’s Ciao Bello.
As you can see in the photo above, Bear is not only a wine dude (educator and industry veteran) but he’s also a cowboy (for real). And in true Texas fashion, he shoots from the hip.
On Easter Sunday, he posted these notes on his blog from tasting roughly 90 bottles of Guado al Tasso for the Houston Rodeo Champion Wine Auction Dinner.
- About 90 bottles of each. While I found only two technically flawed bottles (one of each wine, both suffering from TCA or “cork taint”), the exercise proved to be very interesting. In both wines, there was a LOT of bottle variation. The bottles ranged form sublime to, well, frankly earthy and a bit disappointing. While I wasn’t keeping formal score, I’d say that in both cases somewhat more than third of the bottles were lovely (which is to say better than expected), about a third were perfectly acceptable (about as expected but not so good-vibrant-alive as the “lovelies”) and somewhat less than a third were (in varying degrees) frankly earthy and even a bit funky (but not technically flawed in the sense of showing TCA, TBA, oxidation, etc.) but still drinkable and for the most part enjoyable. Some of my younger friends might say that the least desirable of these “tasted like ass”. Had I ordered either of these wines in a restaurant, I would have accepted (and likely drunk) all of them except the two corked bottles. However, if my only experience with the wines were the earthy/funky bottles (and none of the “acceptables” or “lovelies”), I might never have ordered them again. While the earthier bottles showed no obvious technical flaw, they were less good and did not justify their price.
Chapeau bas, Bear! Not only are you a Texas original but you are a righteous man! Few in our business would have the courage to publish such a painfully frank post and I admire you for it…
The wine blogger summit included myself, Bear, Wine Thoughts (one of my favorites), VineSleuth Uncorked (also a mommy and Bible blogger), and H-Town Chow Down (one of the leading food blogs in a city where food blogging is a highly competitive and often cut-throat affair).
Bear brought a bottle of zero-sulfur Bordeaux, the Château Penin above. I brought a bottle of COS Ramì, skin-contact Inzolia.
But it was Tony’s (in season, early this year) Gulf Coast soft shell crabs that stole the show…
In the early ’90s I was invited for dinner in a restaurant by the local distributor fro Krug Champagne. It was a pre-fixed dinner and we had Grande Cuvée, Vintage 1979, Vintage 1976 and Clos du Mesnil 1981. We have been charged for the meal and the wine but no limit for the wine. And I have to say that they have been very generous with the wine because as soon as your glass was empty they never hesitated to fill. This special traitment gave to me and to my host the opportunity to drink a lot of Champagne but especially a lot of Champagne from different bottles. At the end we estimated we drunk at least 30 glasses, all from 30 different bottles. What an experience! And not totally great. Because we found so many difference from a bottle to another bottle that we have been astonished by the variation of the quality one bottle from another. And no corky bottles were found.
Now think to Krug prices what kind of feeling we may had for this kind of unexpected experience!