Introduce Yourself

Snooth User: Al the First

Hello Enophiles!

Posted by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

This is my first post. I'm not sure this is for me but I'm giving it a go. on first blush this looks like it could be fun and educational. 

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Replies

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 22, 2015.

Welcome Al from Santa Barbara,

It's always nice to hear from new people on the forum.  Feel comfortable and ask any questions.  What wines are you enjoying now?

Nice cellar!

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

Thanks DVogler, I just had a PlumpJack Cab 2011 which was outstanding. I have been enjoying wines from the Santa Ynez Valley mostly. Santa Barbara County wines are excellent. 

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Reply by Really Big Al, Feb 22, 2015.

Interesting wine rack; is that in a basement, under a chimney?  Anyway, welcome to the forum.  I don't believe I have tried a wine from Santa Barbara County but if you recommend a few reds I might look for them in one of our Total Wine stores out here in Virginia.

 

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Reply by outthere, Feb 22, 2015.

Another Al, this could get confusing. Welcome SBAl, have you enjoyed any of. Larry Schaffers wines from Tercero up in Los Olivos?

 
 
 
 
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Reply by dvogler, Feb 22, 2015.

OT is like Neo, and the Al's are Agent Smith.  Pretty soon there's going to be a mob of Als.  We'll have to see if Al the First sticks around. 

Altf, it looks like you have a half-case of something on the left, about four rows down.  Something you liked enough to splurge on?

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 22, 2015.

Which part of Santa Barbara, Al, do you live in? And which Santa Ynez wines are you enjoying most?

I grew up in the Tri-Counties area, and still visit from time to time.

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

DV you may be referring to a half case of Sunstone Chardonnay which was a gift from the winery and winemaker Bion Rice on the occasion of my retirement from teaching. Bion was one of my students. He is making wine at Sunstone and at his first winery Artiste in Los Olivos. Artiste is actually my favorite winery in the valley that specializes in blends. He makes small bottlings of blends that are influenced by local artist paintings. The wines celebrate the creation of fine art on canvas and fine art in the bottle. Each blend bottled features a label with a local artist painting. It's very cool! DMCKER, when not enjoying Artiste wines I enjoy Scott Cellars Sangiovese. Winemaker Peter Fraser specializes in Sangiovese small lots from some of the best vineyards in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys. Like Bion Rice, Peter is passionate about making wine. He is usually pouring in his tasting room and teaches as he pours. You will learn a ton about winemaking by visiting him in Lompoc. For those asking about my cellar it is one of only 5 Cold War Era Fallout Shelters in our community. It is underground and maintains a fairly constant 58* thanks for welcoming me to this forum. 

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 22, 2015.

Well I'm glad I asked.  Nice story!  And damn cool cellar.  Please chime in anywhere you feel like it.  We need fresh blood, er...I mean perspective!

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

Hi all, I recently bought someone's collection of wine for a ridiculously affordable price. Many wines retail for over $100 per bottle and I paid far far less than retail. It is a total crapshoot that the wines were stored properly. So, I gambled and bought the lot of 30 bottles. It was evident that a few bottles were questionable. Last night I opened a 2011 PlumpJack Napa Valley Cabernet that showed a drop of seepage when I cut the foil. It was fabulous. I had caught it in time. So, tonight I pulled the worst of the lot a 1995 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages which is a Cabernet Sauvignon Blend of 5 varietals. The cork was horrible. The wine should have been spoiled but it was not. In fact it is very good. My wife who is more critical than I am also pronounced it excellent. My question to the experts is why? This should have been turned. It  is clean, is soft in the mouth but still with enough tannin to make me think the wine is younger than it is. Notes of vanilla and stone fruit and a hint of smokiness and leather. and it has a nice lingering finish. I am shocked. Has this ever happened to you? Wow. 

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 22, 2015.

I've had some corks that disintegrated and poured the wine through a sieve, some where the cork was red nearly all the way to the top and they were fine.  The funny thing is the wines I've had that were off, seemingly had perfect corks.

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 22, 2015.

Thanks DV I wouldn't have guessed it. What a wonderful surprise to find the wine as good as it is. Thanks for the response confirming my experience

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 23, 2015.

Nothing particularly horrible about that cork. Still fully extant, though with the seepage you mentioned. Wasn't pristine storage, but wasn't a total disaster either, as you found when you drank it. Have seen worse corks after 19 years (well within Chateau St. Jean's drinking window, especially for wines from that era and earlier, and it would be hale and hearty longer if it had been stored better), though better ones, too. Welcome to the world of aged wines where all sorts of excellent synergies beguile your nose and  dance on your tongue. It's a different world from infanticide pop and pours where you bring the most recent releases home and pull the cork that night.

Keep a look out for such purchasing opportunities as you mention, often in the form of estate sales. Really fun treasure hunts...

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Reply by EMark, Feb 23, 2015.

Let me add my belated welcome, Al.  I was visitiing friends in Los Osos, this weekend, and drove through your patch.  I was hoping to stop by one or two wineries, but it just did not work out.

I have to say, I am quite envious of your cache.  Please continue to report your findings as you explore these and your various local producers.

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 23, 2015.

Thanks Emark, there is plenty to explore in my area. It really has been coming into its own lately. The Paso Robles area is killing it in Rhone inspired wines and the Santa Ynez Valley has some excellent Pinots and Syrahs. I'm not a white wine drinker but many of the Chardonnays, Viogniers and Pinot Blancs are amazing. 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 23, 2015.

Really would be great, Al#1, if you could provide us with the specifics on those killing it or even not. Have been missing good on-the-ground reports from your area...

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 23, 2015.

Al1,

I've not had the up-front dough to devote to an estate sale, but I'm guessing it's like picking stocks with a dartboard.  EMark has had some nice scoops but also some stinkers.  I'd be willing to bet though that you'll come out ahead.  Nothing better than a nice old wine that you didn't sit on for 20 years and didn't break the bank.  Interested also in what's new in lower California.

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 24, 2015.

After rehearsal tonight I opened a Brewer-Clifton Mt. Carmel Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Rita Hills vineyard and although I think it is a bit young it is very enjoyable. Brewer -Clifton is located in Lompoc, Ca. In what we call the Wine Ghetto. This is a very fruit forward mid range tannin Pinot that indicate to me that this could lay down five years. I'm loving it! Juicy black cherry hits you in the nose and palate. Hints of Carmel come through and the finish is earthy warm with a touch of astringency. The Santa Rita Hills appellation is where some of the very best Pinots in our part of California come. This Pinot is big for our area and is reminiscent of the Pinots of Sonoma County that I grew up drinking 35 years ago. This is the first Brewer-Clifton that I think I have ever had and it shames me that I haven't visited their tasting room. I will do that soon. The price point on this wine I think is $50.00 - $60.00 per bottle which is beyond my normal price tolerance. This is one of my recent Estate purchases and I paid far less than the $60 price tag still on the bottle. 

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Reply by outthere, Feb 24, 2015.

The Sonoma reference to 35 years ago... Did you live up here?

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Reply by Al the First, Feb 24, 2015.

OT I grew up in St. Helena and moved to Santa Rosa in 1973 where I lived until 1980. I worked at Korbel and then at Chateau St Jean where I helped set up their Graton facility and through their first crush. They bottled their first sparkling wine under the label of Shadow Creek. I moved to Santa Barbara in 1980. Are you in Santa Rosa? 

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