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 9/16/2009 (Atlantic City, NJ)


This is a side of the wine business I'd never seen, having only been to Vias and Martin Scott. Lots of well-known brands. Big, high-throughput wine stores that live of RIP's are the main consumers. Most of the people were there to party, though. Glasses were sub-par. The food was terrible for tasting (curry? strong cheese? wtf!!!). Some tables were outside, where the wind was so strong it blew glasses off the table. White wines were chilled to pieces (can't blame the pourers, given the quality of the wine). The level of intellectual discourse was generally low or nonexistent. Periodically the lights would go off, and a huge light/water show would commence, spraying everyone with chlorinated water. In short, it was a total shitshow and very difficult to actually work. A challenge, to be sure :)

NOTE: VINTAGES ARE NOT NECESSARILY EXACT. For the higher-end offerings, vintages were listed. But for many wines no vintage was listed in either the tasting guide or the book, and I neglected to write down the vintages (oversight on my part). But seriously, you'd think an importer would care about vintages.


Hess Family Wines

First stop of the day. Tent outside. Windy. Met Janet F. of Daniel, III somms! Layers was good.

Huneeus Vintners

Amusing story about legal battle with the high-end Primus. These wines were all over-oaked. Apparently the Primus got a R0P.

Cline Cellars

Bad fruit. Fake wines.

Rodney Strong Wine Estates


Canopy Management Wines

tasted because of the labels. terrible wine, though.


Currently (formerly?) LVMH.

Jordan Vineyard and Winery

Chard sucked. Cab was good.

Kobrand Wines

Woman knew Birk (though no longer with us). Directed me towards some less-distributed labels.

Constellation Wines

Yes. I tasted wines from The Man.

Trinchero Family Estates

Didn't taste the Terra d'Oro (I seem to remember it being crap/oak bomby when I visited.

  • 2006 Folie à Deux Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Green olive, hint of Brett. Upon re-tasting, all brett. decent palate though, not over-oaked. Unimpressive fruit. (70 pts.)
  • 2007 Folie à Deux Merlot - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Something is very off in this nose. Can't tell what. (55 pts.)

R&R Marketing, LLC

R&R's own wines? Did this quickly. Some of these were nose only if they didn't pass muster.

Raptor Ridge Winery

About 2K case production on some of these wines. Spoke with the marketing director/wife of winemaker. First year with R&R. No idea why they were with R&R. Winemaker could do events. Good wines. Of course.... this isn't the brand power we were going for. This is really a fluke: a CV-style producer in R&R.

  • 2008 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    A little yeast on the nose... makes sense given slight re-fermentation. A bit frizzante with decent acid and med- bitterness. Slightly off-dry, but pleasant chilled. (75 pts.)
  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Nose... indistinct. maybe good? P: good acidity, just touch oaky. (73 pts.)
  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
    slightly oxidized. Both bottles. med+ body. med+ oak. good acid. 78? 80? (FLAWED)
  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir Reserve - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    too much oak, manifests as wood/sawdust rather than secondary oak flavors. (65 pts.)

Freixenet USA

Overall a pretty impressive lineup. Maybe too present for us. Nice verdejo, but wrong season for it perhaps. Daniel said those verdejos with good acidity are a dime a dozen. Maybe I should explore more verdejo!

Michael-David Vineyards

Wines had been open for ~4-5 hours. All were soft and lacking tannic structure by now.

Raptor ridge winery, and some of Freixenet's selections are probably our best bet. To be honest, this is not our world and it should stay that way.


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