Friday Lunch with Massimo Marinucci, Dr Vino and Mark Franks!

So, Tyler (Dr. Vino) and I put this on the calendar about a month ago. We added Max to the party, since while I had come up to see his beautiful store, he had not yet checked out my more beautiful store. Since Mark Franks does nothing all day, I invited him to tag along. I had never met Dr. Vino before and since we are forever tied together for attempting to overhaul the Monkton Mafia, it was only fitting that we broke bread. And, of course, we had an agenda.

Nola Palomar, frequent poster here, and owner of Veleta, a Bodega in Spain, had sent me some samples of her wines to taste. Tyler had received some samples of Viu Manent Viu 1 (a vertical of 2004-2006). The Veleta was of keen interest to myself as Nola has been very vocal about her inability to get Jay Miller to take note of her wines, since she does not go through a major importer of Spanish wines (which puts her a disadvantage according to Miller). Viu 1 is of interest because, while I have never even heard of these wines, Jay Miller scored the 2004 a 92+, the 2005 a 92 and the 2006 a 62!!! This is a $60 Chilean wine and we were curious to see if the 2006 sucked as much as DrJ thought.

I invited Max, because, well, I like Max and while his palate sucks, it would be interesting to see what he thought. Mark Franks tagged along to show that we were not cheating to write this report. And I like Mark, so what the heck.

We went to Milonga, a Mediterranean Tapas place that recently opened in North White Plains, not far from Grapes The Wine Co, the greatest wine store on earth. We popped 10 btls of wine for lunch and they charged us $30 to do it. The food is basic, inexpensive but pretty good. I have been 3 times in the past 6 weeks (since theyopened) and have no complaints, although they just raised their food prices, which I find odd.

First flight: Veleta whites and Rose

  1. 2008 Veleta Vijirieja: A fun wine for me. Inexpensive and a good summer sipper. Nothing exciting about it, but knowing the pricepoint, a perfectly good value.
  2. 2008 Veleta Chardonnay: No one particularly enjoyed this one. I think Max mentioned KJ Chard look alike. Max sells a lot of KJ, so he would know. It was okay, but not for me.
  3. 2008 Veleta Rose (Tempranillo): This was 13.5% alcohol, and you could feel like it was a bit more. The alcohol overwhelmed any potential good fruit for me.
  4. 2006 Veleta Tempranillo: Mark and I thought that this was slightly corked. I will reserve judgement, as I felt like it could be better
  5. 2006 Veleta Noladas: Now we are talking…a blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Tempranillo, this was a wine that I would happily enjoy many times over. Rich and concentrated, this had layers of fruit and a nice finish. A pretty serious wine for the money. Good match for the foods we were enjoying.
  6. 2006 Veleta Cabernet Sauvignon: This was a good wine, albeit uninspiring. I kept going back to the Noladas, and considering that they are probably around the same price, this one suffered for me, because of the Noladas.

It should be noted that Josh Raynolds has reviewed these wines and given them all about 87-88 points consistently. They are worth seeking out, considering the low prices, in particular #1 and #5.

Ok, onto Chile…Viu Manent…Tyler poured these vintages blind for us (good idea),
As a whole, these wines were not enjoyed by the group. They were inky, dark, and brooding…
First wine…This was the best of the bunch for me, showed a lot complexity, good fruit, good balance and a wine I would drink again (although not at the price)…it was the 2005 (which was my guess)

Second wine…very similar to the first wine, similar nose but a little more tobacco there. In the mid palate is where I saw a flas as compared to wine#1…there was no fruit there…maybe suffering from age, but not likely. I had a feeling it was 2004, but I saw the quality as a whole suffer here, so I was hoping it was 2006…alas it was 2004

Third wine…the oddball, which made it easy to see the difference when compared to the the other wines, so it has to be 2006, right? Well, it was, but there was no way this was a Jay Miller 62 pointer. In fact, I think we all agreed that it was right up his alley. This was straight out of Barossa style. Clearly, something has changed in the winemaking, but I would have thought, interms of WA review, for the better. I hated this wine. It showed no nuances that the first wine showed, it was way more spoofilated than the others.

Ok, now onto the “extras”

Max brought a delicious btl of 1976 Lopez y Heredia Gran Riserva Bosconia. After a few minutes of funk, this blossomed into a beautiful wine. Showed no oxidated qualities that I have not liked in other Lopez wines. Very fresh, very light in color and very good.

I brought a 1996 Ponsot Clos de la Roche. I know Mark never drinks Burgundy, so I put in a ringer. Mark said it was his favorite wine of lunch. Not sure if, in context, that says much, but the wine was tasty. Not a great wine for me, but very good. It was just missing that next dimension, that I would expect from a 1996 Red Burgundy.

Overall, a great 3 hour meal, with good people, on a Friday. Love this Job!

Dan, sure hope that you stuck Max with the bill.

He offered the restaurant a few cases of 2006 La Vieille Cure, said something about stolen goods.

[rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] Surprised on that offer, I thought that he was gonna give them some of his 2008 Bordeaux futures! [gheyfight.gif]

To have been a fly on the wall to hear THAT conversation… (And I’m not talking about the wines)

What’s really ironic is that I’m drinking the 2006 La Vieille Cure as I type this, and I like it, so there.

Dan, I had a blast! I want an invite to the next one, and I promise to bring a wine that will be “worthy”. It was great meeting Max and Tyler, both good people with a great knowledge of wine and the business of wine.

The food was pretty good, not great as stated, but good. I’d go back again.

On to the wine:
2008 Veleta Vijirieja: I like the nose much more than the palate, a simple but satisfing wine, but nothing too special.
2008 Veleta Chardonnay: Not a real fan, some vanilla and roasted nut, seemed like a healthy dollop of new oak, not much happening elsewhere though .
2008 Veleta Rose (Tempranillo): Interesting wine, I could see enjoying this on a hot day instead of grabbing a beer, but again, nothing too impresive here.
2006 Veleta Tempranillo: As Dan said, we thought it slightly corked, but still an ok wine, probably would be better if not for the slight taint
2006 Veleta Noladas: I enjoyed this the most out of the Veleta wines, tobacco leaf (which when I saw there was Cab Franc in the blend made so much sense), a fairly complex wine that was vastly better than the other wines, this would be close to a 90 pt wine for me.
2006 Veleta Cabernet Sauvignon: I thought this was ok, in a $15 Aussie kind of way, although the oak was not nearly as pronounced as in those wines, fairly simple and straightforward, a decent quaff no doubt.

Viu Manent Viu 1 Blend - these were served blind. I had never had these wines and didn’t know the backstory on them, but Dan and Tyler were very proficient at filling me in on the gory details.

All three wines were clearly cut from the same cloth, the only one that stood out at all was the 06 (last one poured) as it was the most spoofilated and thus Dr Jay friendly wine of the three. These were wines that I would have loved when I first got into wine, gobs of black oozing fruit, dripping with confectionary sugar and new oak, high alcohol and ripe beyond all measure. I tire of these wines now, they are heavy and manipulated and don’t offer me enough terciary pleasure to consider them for my cellar any more. Don’t get me wrong, I love my big, bad Cal Cabs (Schrader, HSS, etc), but these weren’t anything like that, these weren’t serious, they were the side show act at the carnival, sure you’re going to stop and stare, but are you taking any of the freaks home with you?

1976 Lopez y Heredia Gran Riserva Bosconia - this was a pleasure to drink, nuanced and complex, a hint oxidised in my opinion, but for 33 yrs old, very fit and verile, lots of spicy notes, some brambly fruit, hints of tender beef as well. Very nice.

1996 Ponsot Clos de la Roche VV- it is a strange day indeed that sees me liking a Burgundy above all other wines, I am no fan, nor friend of Burgundy, but this wine had a certain something, that just hit a note for me. It had verve and good depth of fruit while not being overbearing in the least, lovely balance and focus of fruit were this wines strong points and it hit home for me. Well done Dan, but don’t think you’ve turned me to the dark side of the force, I am strong enought to resist.

A great way to kill time, and as Dan pointed out, I have loads. Thanks again guys, let’s do it again soon. [cheers.gif]

Oh, and Wilfred - the conversation was absolutely better than the wine and food!! [1974_eating_popcorn.gif] [berserker.gif] [give_heart.gif]

Good times and yes, that’s why we love our job. We get to drink some decent wines in good company…and do some bashing… [wow.gif]

It was great to meet the good Doctor (who sends his neighbor to check his mailbox every day, just in case, and always peeks under his car before getting in) and Mark Franks. Great guys. And yes, it was also nice to visit Posner’s bomb shelter, although we had bit of a hard time getting access to his office as the facial recognition device was acting up a bit. You need to take a look at that, buddy, and also the security guard is an asshole. But I digress here…

The wines…

From Nola’s sampler package. The drier white (Veleta Vijirieja) was a very clean, crisp, refreshing, quaffer. Probably a very nice value for poolside sipping and hot summer nights. The Chard had too much RS for me and was tutti frutti, a la KJ. Not my cup of tea. The Rose was also unexciting, as it tasted like cherry 7Up…too fruity, candy-like and high alcohol.

The reds…we all agreed that the blend (Noladas) was the best wine, with the Cab a close second for me. The Noladas especially had a personality and was distinctive in a good way. Juicy, well balanced, not overdone, probably a very good value. I did not detect “the funk” in the Tempranillo and it was just ok.

The Chilean wines.…the restaurant had to trash 12 glasses after tasting those, as the stains would not come off with a sandblaster. When first poured, if no one had told me there were three different wines, I would have thought it was one wine in three different glasses. Slightly different personalities emerged after a few minutes but still…Fat Jay’s 62 pointer was interesting. How the hell do you give a wine 62 points and not explain anything…no tasting notes?? Ok, I am sorry, the guy is an asshole and Parker should fire him just for that…but let’s not do that again here.

Anyway, on this occasion, the 2006 was not a 62 points wine but I still wouldn’t buy it, wouldn’t drink it, and wouldn’t give it to my worst enemy as a recycled gift. In my view, all of these wines are the perfect example of what is wrong with much of today’s winemaking approach in regards to chasing points to sell the juice. The wines are undrinkable and wildly overpriced. So maybe they will slightly come around (strongly doubt it) in a few years but $60 per bottle??? Non-descriptive, no terroir, teeth staining, big blobby fruit bombs. Who buys this shit? The 2005 was the best of the bunch but unlike Dan, I would rather drink water if that was the only wine on the table.

Then onto some real wines…76 Lopez Bosconia GR was again a beauty. Classy juice all the way with grace, freshness and complexity to spare. I liked the '96 Ponsot CLR, although I am with Dan, as that wine should be better…but that’s Ponsot for you. Who else in Burgundy manages to screw up badly even in solid vintages?

  1. Why are you drinking velveeta? Do you heat it up first, to make the cheese more runny?

  2. How come nothing good?

  3. Where was my invite? I also do nothing all day (esp when it rains!)!!!

Hey, we thought you had a job. Now that we know, you can be a regular.
We didn’t drink anything good because Dan is cheap.

I believe the price point for the Veleta wines was sub $15, so in that context most were well worth their pricetags. The Noladas is a steal at $15.

The Manents are wildly overpriced, one could get the same effect from a cheapo bottle of Mollydooker. Tasted blind next to each other I’d bet they’d be difficult to tell apart.

That is why Mark is one of my favorite peeps on trips back to New York!!! [rofl.gif]
I feel like Maynard G. Krebs (for you oldsters) “Work?? Me work?”

Marshall [cheers.gif]

Next time, you guys need to invite a local that doesn’t have the educated palate that you professionls have.
Something about an opinion from an ordinary guy would be a good counterpoint. [cheers.gif]

In any event, you need an adult around to keep you all in line. .


You need to try and make the Lugeresque luncheon this time around, I’ll show you a real party! [drinkers.gif]


Every time I send an email to you , your away message is up indicating that you are at another porn convention in Vegas.

Heh, damn Id make the 7 hour drive to listen in…did you why they raised prices at Milonga? That does sound odd in 6 weeks…is it always packed?

Hah! It’s about time Mark drank some Burgundy and discovered what real wine was like. [diablo.gif]
Sounds like a nice lunch.

Max is rich, what do I care?

All you wine peddlers are…

Nice note. I never get invited to any place cool. [berserker.gif]

'cause it would take you two trains, a ferry, a donkey ride and two sherpas to get here.