Quantcast

Tag Archives: Fetzer

Mini-reviews 63: Da Vinci, Fetzer, Villa Maria, Santa Cristina

winereview

Mini-reviews 63: Da Vinci, Fetzer, Villa Maria, Santa CristinaReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

Da Vinci Chianti 2011 ($12. sample, 13.5%): Much, much better than the past couple of vintages of this Italian red, with an effort made to make it taste more like Chianti and less like merlot from California. This means less soft fruitiness and more earthiness, plus sangiovese’s tell-tale sour cherry.

Fetzer Gewurztraminer Shaly Loam 2012 ($8, purchased, 12%): This white wine won a platinum at the 2014 Critic’s Challenge, and  if that seems to be a bit of a stretch, it’s still an excellent example of an off-dry gewurtzraminer (though it could be a little more crisp), and especially for the price. Look for apricot fruit and white pepper spice.

Villa Maria Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 ($14, sample, 13%): Surprisingly dull white wine from an otherwise fine New Zealand producer, lacking fruit, crispness, and with a very bitter finish. If it didn’t have a screwcap, I’d think it was corked.

Santa Cristina Cipresseto Rosato ($12, sample, 11%): OK Italian rose made mostly with sangiovese, but nothing special, and especially for $12. Could use a little more interest, be it fruit or elegance or even a little acidity. More thin than anything else.

Is Fetzer’s Zipz glass the answer for portable wine?

fetzer zipzIs the Fetzer Zipz glass the answer for portable wine?

As usual, the answer depends on how much you pay for the wine. If you have to pay some concessionaire bandit $11 at a baseball game, absolutely not. But if you can find the wine in the plastic glass for $3 at a grocery store, and you’re not fussy about what it tastes like and you want the convenience, you could do worse.

The Zipz effort has 187 milliliters of wine, about one glass (one-quarter of a bottle). It’s a PET product, made with the kind of plastic commonly used for bottled water containers.

The Zipz looks like a wine glass, if a little clunky. It’s sealed with wrapping around the rim and stem, a plastic top, and pullback foil over the wine. The idea behind Zipz is to sell wine in places where it’s impractical for bottles and glasses, like ball games, concerts, and the like. Or, consumers can buy it at retail and take it camping or on picnics.

In this, the Zipz was surprisingly easy to open, even when I did it the wrong way the first couple of times. Tear the wrapping at the strip, gently pry the top off, and pull back the foil. I only spilled a little wine once. Plus, it was easy to chill.

The problem is that the wine is not Fetzer’s best effort. Something like House Band, a similar concept, is better made. The Quartz White (sample, 12%) was the better of the two, an apple-ly, sweet and sour blend made with more than six grapes and that tasted of moscato, though there was more chardonnay than anything else. It’s a bit sweet, which helps to cover some of the bitterness from what could be unripe grapes.

The Crimson Red (sample, 13.5%) is a lot of what turns people off of red wine – tannic and bitter, despite a slight sweetness. Both glasses I tasted seemed oxidized, and I wonder if the PET handles heat (which is one cause of oxidation) as well as glass. Or maybe both were just stored badly.

The wine has fake oak, zinfandel and syrah (plus at least four other grapes), but the blend is not greater than the whole. Having said that, if I’m at the beach, grilling burgers, only drink red wine, and I’m not picky, it’s OK. Adding an ice cube won’t hurt.

Winebits 169: Fetzer sale, Yellow Tail lawsuit, women and wine lists

Chilean winery buys Fetzer: Concha y Toro, a Chilean producer whose products range from grocery store wine to the the pricey stuff, will buy Fetzer Vineyards from Brown-Forman, best known for booze brands like Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort. Brown-Forman will get $238 million for Fetzer and a couple of other wine labels as it flees as quickly as it can from the wine business. The Louisville-based drinks giant is yet another multi-national that saw that wine was a little more difficult to manage than it thought, following Constellation and Diageo. At least Brown-Forman was moderately successful with Fetzer, where sales increased from 2 million to 3 million case in the 20 years that it owned the brand. And it apparently turned a profit on the sale, which is more than Constellation did when it sold its Australian brands.

What's a kangaroo? Depends on who you ask. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company that owns Australian wine behemoth Yellow Tail is suing U.S. wine behemoth The Wine Group over the animal on the latter's Little Roo wines. Yellow Tail says the kangaroo on the Little Roo label looks too much like the wallaby on the Yellow Tail label, and is suing The Wine Group in federal court for trademark infringement. As noted elsewhere on the blog, does anyone really care about this stuff except the high pockets lawyers who are paying for their second homes with these lawsuits?

Treat women better, please: This, from Lauren Shockey, a restaurant critic at the legendary Village Voice: "[S]everal recent dinners have irked me enough to rant about the way I'm treated when it comes to ordering wine. In short, sommeliers and waiters think that just because I'm a young woman, I'm incapable or don't possess enough knowledge to a) navigate a wine list b) order the wine and c) taste the wine. Which is downright insulting." And Shockey is absolutely correct. Too many waiters and sommeliers treat young women this way, which does seem kind of odd since women buy more wine than men. But, if it makes Shockey feel any better, too many of them treat the Wine Curmudgeon as if he is incapable of ordering wine, as well. I think this has as much to do with the general lack of wine skill that most restaurants expect from their employees.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: suv | Thanks to toyota suv, infiniti suv and lexus suv