Jury still out on Matthews-Veeder venture

October 15, 2012

News flash, Chardonnay drinkers. The Bianchi Signature Selection Santa Barbara Central Coast Chardonnay 2010 is on sale; it was rated 92 points in WS and compared to a village Puligny Montrachet by Suckling. While I found that a bit effusive, it was indeed a nicely made Central Coast Chard. Pale golden, ripe peaches, a hint of apple and well-integrated oak, it finishes cleanly due to bright acidity with a touch of chalky minerality. You should be able to have your local purveyor bring this in under $160/ case and still eat.

While I am on Central Coast, let me answer one of my younger readers, named Ashley, who asked about Dave Matthews’ (for you old folks he is an accomplished South African 12-string guitar player, singer and the headliner of the Dave Matthews band) venture with Sonoma wine guy Steve Veeder. The initial release was 2009. Ashley, I would like to hold off on a review. The collaboration is new. Veeder, the winemaker, is very talented, though, and I’m guessing the wines will improve. For those who wish to know more go here: They do have a nice website. Those who like Matthews may also wish to know he gave another song title to Ben and Jerry’s One Sweet World/Whirled for an ice cream. Mathews is a noted environmentalist as well.

I am feeling a bit out of sorts today. Whenever that occurs, I try to recall writers who I admire and their thoughts on the subject at hand. Following are three I turn toward most often. These are from memory. So, they may be a bit off.

Hemingway - “Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

Jack Handey - “When I consider all the wine I drink, I feel shame. I look into the glass and think about the vineyard workers and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink the wine, they might be out of work. Their dreams would be shattered. My rationale - it is better to drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."  Handey, who wrote for SNL for about 15 years on and off, has written several books. He is always a fun read. Start with "Deep Thoughts." This quote often uses beer rather than wine.

H.L. Mencken (my, how the Baltimore Sun has fallen) wrote: “The mean but useful things men do such as pulling teeth and digging potatoes are best done when starkly sober. The lovely, charming, exhilarating and useless things are best done by men, as is commonly said, a few sheets in the wind.” Mencken was a very controversial writer. To get an idea of his irony and why he was and remains so controversial to this day, read “In Defense of Women,” the 1918 edition. A subsequent edition in 1922 was dumbed down, due to the firestorm the original created. In order to enjoy this it would be very helpful to get a good bit of context. The U.S. was decidedly different in those days. Or so I have read.

I tried a bottle of Jacuzzi Family Vineyard’s Carneros Estate Merlot 2008, on the  strength of a recommendation from a Snooth article. I found it a great value. Decidedly better than I was expecting. I rate it 92 points if you can buy it under $16. Deep garnet colored, it opens to a bouquet of dark cherries, cocoa  and a hint of green olives. These continue on the palate with juicy cherry, green olive and a hint of chocolate; smooth, proper tannin extraction. Good acid levels provide expected structure. This goes perfectly with linguine Bolognese (does not mean “with baloney,” Paddy.)

Dear Dewey residents, vote an appropriate property tax and close all the businesses and bars. When they round up many of the anti-noise ranters today, they will be ”all the usual suspects” from the '70s and '80s.  I was there then. Although I no longer benefit directly from the party atmosphere, I also realize you won’t be getting younger. So, following are some possible answers for those grim-lipped fogeys who hate the noise. Stop renting your properties to businesses and party groups; pay enough property tax to support your own model of a town or move to a quieter neighborhood. There are plenty of large parcels surrounded by peace and quiet nearby. The increased property values that party atmosphere has brought to you will easily allow the move to quieter locales