Randall Grahm from Bonny Doon has a blog worth reading

October 7, 2013

I’m trying to write this after watching my three favorite teams stink up the joint: the hapless Giants, the Ravens (none of whom are worth “quothing” even if the message is “Nevermore.”) and the Washington Native Americans, who won in spite of themselves. The sadness this engendered caused consumption of mass quantities and may result in more confusion than this column normally provides. Recently several have written with questions, and their answers are the grist for this column.

Renee asked, “Please name some 2010 Bordeaux with good price/quality.” Chateau Poujeau Moulis haut Medoc can be found at Mac Arthur’s under $35; 91-93 points. Needs two or three in cellar. Better buy and ready now are the half bottles of 2009. Same rating, $17. Always remember the smaller bottles age faster than large. Another good deal can be found at Millesima in NYC. A case of 2011 Chateau Olivier Pessac Leognan is going for $360.The ratings on this went from 86-94. I’m claiming it a 91-point ready to drink in 2016. Be careful to ask for red, as they also produce a white. Finally, Chateau Teyssier St. Emilion Grand Cru 2009 is rated 90 by most. It’s in its drinking window, and you can find it under $40. Medium ruby-colored, opens to fruit nose with spice, floral and chocolate notes. Full-bodied, still a bit tannic but improving, black cherries, good balance and ready now but a few years won’t hurt.

Andy asked, “Why no Graacher Himmelreich reviews, used to be your favorite?” It still is one of them, Andy. You have a very good memory. I finally capitulated to those who asked for low-end and high-end wine. The name means Kingdom of Heaven. For my money, the Bernkastel-Graach region of the Mosel is home to some of the best Riesling, the finest white wine in the world at the price point. Light, low in alcohol, well-balanced acidity and sweetness, intensely fragrant with pretty floral and mineral notes; I prefer the spatlesen in most vintages. J.J. Prum; Dr. Loosen; Kees-Kieran and S.A. Prum are some of the best producers. Expect to pay $25-35; best QPR of recent vintages is 2008. It will keep through 2024. Keep in mind German Mosel cellars well, for the most part.

“How come you never write up Randall Grahm from Bonny Doon anymore?” asked Nate. He is just too cool and needs no ink. If you want to check him out go here: Following is an excerpt from his blog: “I expect that on my deathbed, as I gather my last breath, my protestation that ‘This time I’m serious’ will be perfunctorily dismissed as a mere attention-getting device.” You truly should visit the page. It is worth reading for those who have a sense of humor and enjoy wordplay. If you enjoy Rhone-style wine, Bonny Doon has some of the best made in the U.S.

Jennette asks, “What do you know about Selene?” This is the label for one of Cali’s standout women consultants, Mia Klein. Mia has a blog and web presence here: The primary reason I have not written up her wine is that it is nearly impossible to get. A law-abiding citizen, she does not ship to Delaware. I have sampled the 2008 Selene Dead Fred Vineyard Cab. Notes read big, raspberry oak-driven spice; could use time but be sure to review Selene Merlot Frediani Vineyard 2010. Top-flight Cali Merlot. The problem for me is that the QPR is just average. Dead Fred is north of $540/case and the Merlot near $400 with shipping. Klein began her career as a chef, found she was interested in wine and enrolled in enology at UC Davis. After working for such as Pepi, Chappellet, Araujo, Spottswoode and Viader, she made her bones by succeeding Heidi Peterson Barrett as winemaker for Dalla Valle.