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High-dollar wine storage systems are expensive toys; your own fridge will do fine

October 30, 2017

Some good news out of California. Jim Caudill, communications director of Treasury Wine Estates, wrote to tell me not to worry about prices on 2015-16. I still have some reservations. However, I was delighted to learn that Darioush, Chateau St. Jean and Stags' Leap, although not unscathed, are OK. Mostly outbuildings and cosmetics damaged. W. Blake Gray reports of 900 wineries there, 10 destroyed and about 15 damaged. Net effect is about 1 percent. He did reaffirm my comments on smoke and electric failure. Also heard from Kathleen Inman. She escaped damage. Several employees and family members were evacuated and/or lost their homes. If any of you are feeling charitable go to this site: https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief. According to Kathleen, 1 of 5 residents were impacted. Kelleher Family Vineyard and Brix (restaurant) in Oakville are reopened and report little damage, mostly smoke. I spent a lot of space on this last week so I will shorten the verbiage and review more this week. At this point most readers are alert to the keywords. Any who wish more info may contact me at chjonmc@yahoo.com; please write wine info request in subject line.

Herencia Altes L'Estel Terra Alta 2015, 89 McD points under $15 is good QPR. Intense garnet center with ruby rim. Bouquet of black fruits, spice and gravel, sweet fruit and soft tannins riding a full-bodied, balanced frame. Will age but approachable now. Good complement for winter fare, stew, roast meat and red sauces. Suckling WS praised BV Tapestry Reserve 2014 and the price spiked from $40 to $60, so avoid. These will slide back. I did some research, and the best recent rating at 93 points was the 2007, available at $57. This is nice wine but poor QPR at $60.

Faiveley is a top Grand Cru Burgundy producer. From Corton to Corton Charlemagne, Mazis or Gevrey Chambertin, to Echezeaux, you would be hard pressed to find one better. If you want a Burgundy bargain, check out Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin Les Marchais 2012. This small parcel is across the street from Clos St. Jacques. I know terroir is all, but in this case the exposure seems true for me. For a comprehensive look into Gevrey Chambertin and Burgundy in general here is a great site: https://www.burgundy-report.com/summer-2007/gevrey-chambertin-village-profile/. Burgundy Report is an excellent research tool, by the way. The wine is delicately in perfect balance and a lovely expression of Pinot Noir, 90 McD under $70.

Justin Justification 2014 has returned to the high $30s. From the producer of Isosceles Cab, Justification is a Cab Franc, Merlot blend that was touted on release and popped nearly 50 percent. Herbal and fruit nose, berries, licorice, mocha palate riding smooth tannins, good acidity/fruit balance and clean, persistent finish, 91 points and fine value under $40.

Jake wrote to ask about Plum, the $1,500, 2-bottles at separate temp and argon-injected serving tool which keeps wine for 90 days. It also will scan the label to tell you which temps. Nice toy for big-buck buckaroos, but I think if you want that type facility, Coravin Model 2 is way less expensive, about $300. In fact, you can buy an excellent 172-bottle (14,1/4 cases) wine storage with two zones for about $1,600 with free shipping. For most of us there is this thing in every kitchen named the refrigerator that will do the storage job.

All that said, how many reading here have wine lying around opened for more than a few days? This question was answered through personal experience and research at Wine Searcher. A wino writing there made the comment that "these are hooked up to the net or Wi-Fi," and Everitt wrote, "Of course they are." The same article quoted Forbes, "time to toss out every wine gadget...Plum." My absolute favorite comment named the Robb Report as a magazine whose customers "see $1,500 as a gratuity-rounding error." I wish I were so clever as to have conceived that phrase.

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