“Quality over quantity.” The Week in Wine 24-30 July, 2017

“Of course you’re busy. We’re all busy. Don’t use that as an excuse not to get things done.” These wise words from a friend of mine have long resonated with me. I try not to use being busy, and I truly am most of the time, as the “reason” that I fail to accomplish the things I wish to get done.  This week was especially busy. As things get going at the end of the summer, I have classes to teach, meetings to attend, classes to prepare to teach, meetings to plan to attend. We have cross country practice daily, and I try to lift in addition. I cook dinner every night. I try to see my kids as much as possible. I submitted two articles for publication last week, and have one more to finish this week, and my parents are coming for a visit beginning tomorrow night. To say that things are “busy” is a profound understatement, but again, I try not to use that as an excuse.

If you regularly read this column, then you know it’s not uncommon for me to taste forty to sixty wines a week. In fact, I’ve tasted a few hundred on occasions in the past, which, as my friend Jay puts it, “tests the limitations of the palate”.  This week, I tasted a modest fifteen; with the school year gearing up and so much to do before then, I have little time for wine tasting save with dinner or at rare social gatherings. That being said, of the fifteen I tried, most of them were somewhere between good and excellent, with only a few outliers. What follows are a few brief notes on what was a truly excellent week in wine.

July 24-30, 2017


I wrote a whole post about this one earlier in the week. Simply put, one of the best cabs I’ve had in a long time, and that’s saying something. Sharing it with friends was a treat. Read more here, if you like:  https://itheewine.com/2017/07/27/perfect-pairing-review-yount-ridge-cabernet-sauvignon-2014/


I know I rave about Chateau Montelena a lot, but there’s a reason. Their estate cabs are profound, though if you’ve got one this young, I suggest you cellar it for a while. Read my full write-up here:  https://itheewine.com/2017/07/25/the-loner-review-chateau-montelena-estate-cab-sauv-2013/


Sandler is a new producer to me, or I’m new to them. Whichever it is, I tried their Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and this Cab, and enjoyed all three immensely. This cab in particular had a funky nose that I’d describe as walking through an herb garden. Terrific wine.


So what if you could have the gorgeous, floral nose of a moscato without the cloyingly sweet, honey-like body? Turns out you can… at least in Spain. We shared this one with friends and paired it with pad Thai and stuffed peppers. Nice wine, and a terrific QPR. Great to know that this varietal doesn’t have to suck.


I made coq au vin this summer, something I’d been meaning to check off of my list, and I needed a terrific wine to pair it with. Trefethen is a favorite producer of mine and of Sonja’s, ever since we stopped there early one day after a harrowing night in a San Francisco emergency room. It’s a long story — you can read my American Winery Guide review of Trefethen if you want a few more details; for the whole story, you’ll have to buy me a bottle of Trefethen wine!


This was served by our friends at a barbecue last night. I had actually sent Heather to this winery to meet Jon, the winemaker, a man I deeply admire. She brought this back from her visit, and I was honored that she chose to share it with us. Delicious stuff.


Cadaretta Syrah. I learned about this producer only a few months ago, but have been enthralled with them ever since. A terrific, balanced, dark purple beauty, I shared this wine with friends/fellow wine writers, all of whom unanimously agreed that it’s terrific. One of the best Syrah’s I’ve had, Cadaretta just doesn’t make mistakes. Beautiful juice!

Another week of wine in the books, and what a week it was. I could have reviewed most of the wines I tried this week positively, if only I had more time. That said, I’m done writing for now, and going to go make dinner for my wife and kids. I’ll let you know next week what I pair with it. As always, thanks for reading!



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