Crash and Burn


I was recently fortunate enough to land an invitation to one of the largest distributor wine-tasting events in Manhattan. These freebie drink fests allow wine and spirit makers the ability to peddle their wares in front of restaurateurs, buyers, and a few select people who manage to weasel their way in. That would be me. I guess on paper I’m a good fit: trained chef, food and travel writer, face-that-can’t lie taste tester. But I don’t spit.

This has nothing to do with that fact than when tasting a 144-page portfolio I don’t want to spit. I pay no attention to the polished spittoon or the carafes of water intended to rinse my glass. I’m holding on to every drop. So for this momentous occasion, I gave myself three parameters:

  1. Red only (which I broke almost immediately).
  2. Choose wines based solely on their label design.
  3. Make sure to taste the expensive stuff, regardless of two previous rules.

So I could make some grandiose statements about the relative merits of all the different wines I tasted, but instead we’ll do this the ES way. I’ll just share my complete notes from the event.  They’re scattered at best—muddled descriptions easily influenced by knee-jerk reactions to those pouring and an over-consumption of pigs in a blanket and spinach dip. But I stand by them.

Backsberg, Pinotage, Paarl, South Africa 2008—$20

chocolate, tar, ass

Backsberg, Klein Babylons Blend, Paarl, South Africa 2005—$33

bigger chocolate, tar, ass

Neumeister, Sauvignon Blanc Moarfeitl Grosse Lage, Steiermark, Austria 2008—$64

Spiderman makes a fruit salad

Harlan Estate, Harlan, Napa Valley, California 2006—$900


Four Graces, “Dundee Hills” Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2007—$36

sticky icky

Bond, Pluribus, Napa Valley, California 2006—$433

wow wine

Futo, Napa Valley, California 2006—$300

really? whatevah. (apparently this catch phrase caught on, as it appears on multiple pages throughout my tasting notes)

Futo, “OV”, Napa Valley, California 2007—$144

melt mouth ocean nose

Ridge Vineyards, Santa Cruz, California — Zinfandel Flight:

“East Bench” 2008—$43


“Pagani Ranch” 2007—$50

Alicante Bouschet (how I overheard this or even spelled it correctly is beyond me—it’s a hybrid red varietal that was originally planted in California during Prohibition)

“Geyserville” 2009—$50

white pepper

“Lytton Springs” 2007—$50


Milbrandt Vineyards, “Traditions” Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington 2007—$22

yum dusty cocoa!

Clear Creek Distillery, Mt. Hood, Oregon — Spirit Flight:

Cassis Liqueur—$34


Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir—$72


McCarthy’s Whiskey—$34

shower curtain

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One comment

  • L. Denise September 29, 2010  

    Shower curtain? LMAO! I’m not asking.

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