Email me questions at barb@vintagebarb.com and I will post a new batch of vintage answers every week.

Be warned: These are not going to be your typical newspaper column answers.  I don’t sugar coat, and I’m not going to waste anyone’s time with beginner nonsense like “How many packets of Kool-Aid are in an average barrel of Lindeman’s Chardonnay?”   But I love to research so please fire away!

Just remember: There are no stupid questions.  Only stupid people.

June 15, 2010

Q: What’s with all the talk about 2009 already?

A: Yes indeed.  2009 is shaping up to be quite the vintage.  In Bordeaux, experts are calling it the third classic vintage this decade (2000, 2005.) Many publications are rating Bordeaux’s top wines very highly, and one colleague tasted many out of barrel and has been raving for months.  California 2009’s should be a big hit, following a mostly mediocre 2008 crop, especially in Sonoma where the wildfires raged.  The 2008 pinot I have tried so far from Oregon have also been better than average.  In short, keep an eye on shelves in a couple years, when most of these reds will be flooding the market.

May 26, 2010

Q: What’s the best wine you’ve ever had?

A: About eight years ago I attended the Wine Spectator event.  Among the dozens of phenomenal wines that day was a 1977 Marques de Murrieta Gran Reverva from Rioja.  It might not have been the best I’ve ever had, but it was the most memorable.  So far.

Q: Do you prefer working in retail over restaurants?

A: Absofreakinglutely!

April 25, 2010

Q: If you could take a wine trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Spain.  Rioja if I had to choose an area, but I’ve always wanted to visit Barcelona as well.  I’ve always been drawn to Spain, I love the wines,  and I have studied the language on and off since I was about twelve.  Italy (Tuscany) would be my second choice, followed by France (Burgundy) then probably Argentina.

Q: What’s the best wine you’ve opened so far this year?

A: Trick question.  Best bottle I’ve had at home was my Merry Edwards 2006 Coopersmith Pinot Noir, a lovely gift from my brother.  But from what I’ve “opened” or tasted, I’d say it’s a tie between 2007 Justin Justification, 2006 Owen Roe Rosa Mystica Cab Franc, and 2007 Auteur Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Q: You haven’t posted about beer yet.  Will you?

A: Yes.  Settle down.

Q: Do you buy into all the hype of “classic” vintages?

A: Yes and no.  Yes, 2005 was an extraordinary vintage in Bordeaux.  Yes, most 2005’s are better than 2004’s or 2006’s.  No, they’re generally not worth spending twice as much.

April 15, 2010

Q: I’d like to give my boss a good bottle of champagne.  I don’t want anything cheap, but I don’t want to spend too much and look like a suck-up.  I’m thinking 40 or 50 bucks.  Any recommendations?

A: Sure!  Look for Heidsieck & Co Monopole Brut for about $35.  It’s a substantially better value than the far better-selling Veuve Clicquot for about the same price .  Or for a little more, Bollinger is about $55 and is a classic.  I’ll take one of each, thanks.

Q: How many posts are you planning on writing per week?

A: As many or few as I feel like! Get off my case! You’re not the boss of me!

Q: Can a wine with a screwcap be “corked?”

A: No.  A corked wine has to do with a chemical reaction called TCA (I’m not going to spell that whole freaking thing out) which only occurs with natural corks.  However, this doesn’t mean the wine can’t be flawed.  A certain type of yeast called brettanomyces (that one I know) can give off a funky aroma or flavor that people often mistake for TCA.  The wine can be damaged from heat or cold.  Sometimes the cap can be faulty and wine can leak out.  Or the wine could just suck.

Q: Have you filed your taxes yet or are you procrastinating by playing on your shiny new blog?

A: I don’t do taxes.  I have a guy that does that crap for me.

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