Wine Time

Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

Blue State Carpetbagger's Red State Wine Blog: When Tom "Bighouse" Casagrande's brother comes to town for a visit, the Houston-based wine blogger pulls out all the stops. But that doesn't mean that good value wasn't on his mind.

Tom opened some good stuff for his bro, including a 2007 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Mayacamas Range, "a real treat, showing ridiculously pure cherry/black raspberry fruit, excellent stony minerality, and no noticeable oak intruding on any of its inherent virtues" -- a wine he had picked up for around $30 at Spec's.

Click here to read about the other wines inspired by Tom's brotherly love.

Wine Thoughts: Speaking of value, we rarely think of H-E-B as a resource for fine wine, but Sandra Crittenden, author of Wine Thoughts, writes this week about a Napa Valley "cult" Cabernet Sauvignon that she found at her local supermarket: "Since the majority of [Peju Province] wines are sold directly through their Rutherford tasting room, I was surprised to find the 2005 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon at my local H-E-B grocery store which I purchased for about $45. It was a deep garnet color in the glass with pronounced aromas of dark berries, cocoa powder and a touch of cigar. Rich flavors of mixed ripe berries, chocolate and baking spices were balanced by soft ripe tannins, medium+ acidity and a comfortable 14.1% abv [alcohol by volume]. The finish was deliciously long. Highly recommended!"

TX Wine Lover: And speaking of wine shopping, "Where do you buy Texas wine?" asks wine blogger Jeff Cope. "Obviously," he notes, "if you live near or are visiting a Texas winery that is the best place to get Texas wine. The wineries should have all their wines available and you will not have to search for it. For the rest of us, we need to go to a retail store to buy Texas wines."

Click here to check out his top resources for Texas wines in and around the Houston area.

Big Think: A subway-inspired wine map of France? We say, génial!

"Wine regions are a mess to map," writes Frank Jacobs over at Big Think.

"In winemaking, the hyperlocal is paramount. Soil type and microclimate, production and processing methods, taste and reputation -- not least the type of grapes involved -- all help explain the widely differing oenological appreciations of relatively small, often adjacent plots of land. This is why traditional wine cartography resembles a map of rampant feudalism, with a confusing jumble of tiny dominions ineffectually jostling for the attention of the map reader. That defect is brilliantly resolved by this map, which borrows its clarity from the metro map."

The map was designed by historian and enophile David Gissen, professor at the California College of the Arts.

Chapeau bas, David!

On the Wine Trail in Italy: We're not the only ones who have Brunello di Montalcino on our minds. In one of his most moving, lyrical elegies for Italian wine, the "Italian wine guy," Dallas-based wine blogger Alfonso Cevola, pines for the wines of yesteryear: "Brunello was so beautiful when young. Stylish, but strong. Complex, but not confusing. Rich, but accessible to the other 99%. And then somewhere Brunello tumbled on a slippery path in the forest. And she has been spending more than a few years trying to get back up."

Check out his post "Burden of Beauty" here.

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Jeremy Parzen writes about wine and modern civilization for the Houston Press. A wine trade marketing consultant by day, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy. He spends his free time writing and recording music with his daughters and wife in Houston.
Contact: Jeremy Parzen