Video Transcript 1. We review Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback and have engaging conversations about wine and life.
Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback
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This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. You can watch the video here and go subscribe to our Youtube channel; we put up a new video each week, and plan to post the transcripts a week later.
Warren: Welcome to Warren and Will’s Wild Wine Reviews. I’m Warren.
Will: And I’m Will.
Warren: Let’s see, [you] probably want to know a little bit about us before we start drinking. I’m a featured user on Vivino. I’ve had over 2,000 wines in the last five or six years. I love all kinds of wines. I travel a lot to check out wines in different places and that’s who Warren is.
Will: My name is Will. I’m a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. I worked for a long time in the wine industry. I worked in retail wine stores, I spent two and a half years at a winery, and for about a year I was employed as a sommelier of a local wine bar here in Southwest Virginia where we both live. I got into wine I guess my senior year of college. One of the things I tell people is that there are basically two different reactions to wine. One is that oh my gosh there’s too much I could never learn it all; or oh gosh there’s too much I’ll never learn at all, it’s a never-ending adventure. Part of the reason that Warren and I became friends was we bonded over a mutual love of wine and a mutual love of finding new and interesting wines.
Warren: I just don’t like to drink alone. I’m always looking for somebody to have fun with and share wine with. What you’re going to see here is very organic; it’s the way that we tend to drink and talk. We drink and we know things and we’re going to share those things with you. Will knows more of the technical aspect, I’ve had a lot of wines from a lot of places—I bring them back and make sure I get to share them. That’s one of the reasons why people would always say—when we’d be hanging out at parties—I never thought it would be interesting to listen to two dudes talk about wine but that was riveting. I can’t promise riveting.
Will: Perhaps it’s because no one’s ever tried.
Warren: Well this is true. We’re not going to be your typical wine reviewers. What we are not going to do is focus just on this wine. Boy are we going to focus on this wine, but we are also just going to let the conversation go and anything that kind of pops into our heads as we talk it over will come out. Now hopefully you’ll find that enjoyable. If you don’t we’ll miss you. Because that’s who we are and this is what we’re trying to do here. I’ve never seen a wine blog or a wine reviewer who just talked. It’s always that they’ve got a subject. We have, we have a starting off point right here. We have Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback. That’s where we’re going to start. This has been decanting for about an hour and 10 minutes. What we’re dealing with here is Doubleback. It’s a 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla. According to Vivino it gets four and a half stars with about 2,200 ratings. The price right now is $141.00 a bottle. It was $80.00 when I bought it. It’s going up pretty quickly. I’ve also had the 2018 which I really like. The 2016 however is less young so we’re gonna start with that now. As I said, this has been decanting for an hour and ten minutes. I’ve had it before; this one is worth the decanting.
Warren: So I’ll tell you the story of the vineyard and all that happy stuff in a bit.
Will: Wild, jammy fruit right off the bat.
Warren: Really, really big nose.
Will: I remember being surprised that this was from Washington. I mean it definitely has aspects of what I consider to be Washington cab; but I mean I would not have guessed blind that this was a Washington Cab.
Warren: This is as big as anything you’re gonna get from Napa.
Will: Ah absolutely.
Warren: I saw some guy review this and he said “oh it’s overpriced because it’s owned by a celebrity winemaker.” You know, this is stunning, I haven’t had my first sip yet.
Will: Had he tried the wine yet?
Warren: Oh yeah, he was just complaining about the price. I was like, you know this is what you get when you pay 150 bucks a bottle; this is what you should get; this is not overpriced for what I’m drinking.
Will: I will say where the Washington character really shines through is on that first sip. I got this bracing acidity. It’s just like this wine grabs you by the side of the tongue. Washington is a cooler climate than California. Whenever you have a cooler climate, by and large, you’re going to get higher acidity and you’re going to get a different type of acidity than you would.
Warren: Now acidity isn’t what you think it is. It’s not like, oh wow that tastes like acid, it actually smooths it out, makes it easier to drink.
Will: And also one of the things it does is it makes you salivate. There’s a reason that wine and food go together so well. Wine will provoke your taste buds and provoke your salivary glands. When your mouth starts watering we’re all dogs to some kind of Pavlovian Bell. When you ring that bell your stomach starts thinking it’s time to eat.
Warren: All right, so what we have here in a fairly attractive, it’s heavy in a, yes we think we have a good wine here, way. The interesting thing about Doubleback is that the owner of the vineyard’s name is Drew Bledsoe. Some of you will recognize his name.
Will: I did not.
Warren: Many of you will not. He was a quarterback for the New England Patriots, then went on to the Buffalo Bills, and finished at his career in Dallas. The name of the Doubleback comes from when he was done with football he doubled back and he purchased property in his home town Walla Walla Washington to do the wine. The really amusing thing for me is he then hired a very well-known winemaker named Josh McDaniels. Not to be confused with the offensive coordinator for New England and now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s a different Josh McDaniels
Will: Was he with the New England Patriots at the same time?
Warren: Yes, so it’s very amusing.
Will: That is amazing.
Warren: He knows both Josh McDaniels fairly well, I would guess. Now Josh McDaniels is a very highly thought of winemaker who is one of the top wine makers under 40. Let’s see where’d my little notes go? They called him a game changer of Washington wine; a Washington prodigy. Taste Makers of America from Wine Enthusiast called him a boss. This is shockingly good.
Will: Yes, the nose is just immediately like perfumey.
Warren: Lots of lots of fruit, but also floral.
Will: The thing that really stands out for me on this is like a sort of rosy violet.
Warren: With some spices underneath.
Will: Definitely, absolutely.
Warren: Very gentle but they’re there.
Will: It’s interesting because when I think of Cabernet Sauvignon you know the eucalyptus and mint are some herbal characteristics, rose and violet aren’t.
Warren: They’re both here.
Will: They’re definitely both here. You might try a thousand Cabs and then have one that does something completely different and yet it still feels like a Cab.
Warren: I would guess Cab if I drank this blind. I would guess Napa Cab, but I would guess Cab.
Will: I would definitely guess like a cooler climate Cab. I’m not sure I would have gone as far North as Washington. But then again I had L’ecole Number 41, Syrah, which was absolutely magnificent and very perfumey kind of in this way. So apparently there’s something about this, whether it’s the climatic conditions in Washington or something that can lead to this kind of perfumy character.
Warren: One of the things we often talk about is I own 55 acres and I’m never going to grow wine. I love wine. I would probably really enjoy owning a vineyard, but I want to like my wine. I live in Virginia and I don’t like Virginia wines. I’m a big Cabernet fan. I also love Syrah. Those are two grapes that are not going to grow well on the side of my mountains and hills that I own because I’m at 2600 feet and it rains all the damn time.
Will: The main thing to note here is whether you love Virginia wine or hate Virginia wine there are good places to grow grapes in Virginia and there are bad places.
Warren: I live in a bad one.
Will: Well, it’s mostly bad. Yeah you have to search hard to find a good spot which is part of the reason Virginia wine has the iffy reputation that it sometimes does.
Warren: I’m gonna champion that iffy reputation. I’m very sorry, Virginia, I didn’t grow up here, I moved here.
Will: I would just like to say, as someone who is from Virginia and who likes Virginia wine, that Virginia does have a problem with being willy-nilly about where grapes are planted and where it comes from. Part of that is that instead of thinking about how is this going to impact our wine—wineries and tourism have always gone hand in hand and the idea is that if you can just bring people here and the vast majority of them don’t know enough about wine to know that it’s bad, a lot of people just assume that if they don’t like a wine that is just a personal preference as opposed to a quality designator about a wine. So if you bring a tourist into a winery and they try a bunch of wines they don’t really particularly like any of them they don’t necessarily think Virginia wine is bad. They’re like, yeah the wines weren’t great.
Warren: I mean for me it doesn’t matter what the varietal is; I’ve never tasted a Virginia wine that really knocked my socks off. I’ve had a couple that I didn’t think were horrible, and occasionally there’s a good year like 2005. Which, you know, 2005 was a good year everywhere. The vineyard up the hill—I live seven miles away from a vineyard that makes wine I won’t drink—however in 2005 they had a kick-ass Cab Franc. Yes it happens now and then. They didn’t do anything different that year. 2005 was just a great year.
Will: The weather did something different that year.
Warren: That year they got a great varietal. In fact I’ve had some others from 2005 they were all better. None of them were ones that made me happy, but they were all better than earlier versions and then in 2006 they reverted back to mean.
Will: It’s also worth noting that up until, I don’t know exactly when, I grew up during a partial drought in Virginia. So for the first time basically ever, Virginia was kind of producing wines that were a little bit better than they had been. Mostly as a result of the drought.
Warren: You want to stress the hell out of your berries.
One of the cool things about being on Vivino– I’m a featured user as is Will, so follow us on the Vivino. If you don’t have Vivino, get it you will be able to avoid bad wines, you will be able to find good wines. It is wonderful. That scan—you go into a store, you take a picture of the label and it gives you all the information you could ever want. You won’t over pay for wines, it’s just perfect.
Will: One time I was shopping and, this is back when I first started using Vivino. I had bad service, for whatever reason, and all of a sudden I felt like my flashlight had gone out in the basement. I knew I was in a grocery store where none of the wines were particularly good; but I knew that if I had Vivino I could find like that one diamond in the rough that was slightly better than the rest and that’s what I wanted to take home. If I just shoot from the hip, I mean they’re all Cabernet Sauvignon, how do I choose one?
Warren: I was at the beach on vacation in Beaufort which is in North Carolina and there was this really expensive wine shop that looked like it had a great selection. Lots of wines, really well put together, looked pretty, great labels. I walked in and I didn’t recognize a single wine. Right now that set a lot of alarm bells off. I should not, since I’ve had 2,000 wines at Vivino, I should not be able to walk into your wine shop and not recognize a single wine. I pop out my phone, I start taking pictures and I discover he doesn’t have one wine in this place that goes for more than 12.99 nationally. He’s charging 50 bucks and more. He doesn’t have any inexpensive wines, well he has a ton of inexpensive wines, what he’s not doing is sharing that price with the customers, because this isn’t a town where he’s expecting anybody to come in again. This is a vacation town.
Will: He’s got a captive audience he knows you don’t know those wines right or that he’s the only person in town selling them.
Warren: I went right next door. They had several much better wines.
Will: Uh interesting.
Warren: Yeah, there was a wine bar that also sold retail. I walked in, I’m like oh we got The Prisoner, this was a few years back when The Prisoner was still quite good. We’ve got Mollydooker’s The Boxer. There’s a 30 dollar bottle of wine I’ll drink all day. So I was golden, but I might have made a mistake. The guy [at the first place] was telling me about how exquisite some of these wines were and that they were real high-end. Bull! Guy was just making it up because I wasn’t coming back. I’m on vacation, he knows it. This app cuts through that.
Will: The flip side of that is if you’re at a wine store and you’re on a budget or you’re like me and you’re just looking for a bargain, what you can do is find that depending on your own personal preferences. You’re looking at a $10 bottle of wine you see it’s rated 4.2 then you start looking through the reviews and seeing whether or not they’re worth anything. Because I made this mistake on 19 Crimes. The thing is what I realized is it was getting five star reviews from people who buy 19 Crimes every day and love 19 Crimes. If I had actually read the reviews I would have probably stayed away from it.
Warren: The other thing that I would suggest is that when you’re looking at your stars the minute the bottle hits 50 bucks add a half star because people are taking a half star off. They want more for the money. When you see a 50 or 100 dollar bottle of wine with the same number of stars as Apothic Red let me assure you it’s not because anybody thought they were just the same.
Will: Well and also people who are drinking Apothic Red might not necessarily like those fifty to one hundred dollar wines.
Warren: They probably won’t. That’s why I suggest you follow people. Learn which ones have the same palate as you. Who enjoy the same wines that you enjoy.
Will: Follow them and look at what they have to say. Like their like reviews and comment on their reviews.
Warren: I have a group of people and if they like it, then I know I’ll like it. That helps me a lot. I’m followed by over 3000 people, but I don’t follow that many back. If somebody drinks primarily whites I have no reason to follow them. We’re gonna do some whites, but if you’re like all about whites we’re probably not going to make you happy—we will throw some in, I mean I’ve got some awesome 10, 15, 30 year old Riesling we’re gonna get to. I love Riesling it’s the one white that just cuts right through and I love it as much as I love Cabernet or Syrah, I just love it, but only when it’s from Germany and occasionally from France and it’s 10 years or older; because then it’s really complicated, really complex, there’s a lot going on. As a wine drinker, what I’m looking for most is I want that subtle play across my tongue. I want to feel the tannins in the back, or I notice the tannins—I feel them on the sides on this one. And then the fruit, you can taste that on different places and that’s what I’m drinking for.
Will: It changes over time, the evolution of the wine.
Warren: I don’t want the wine to be the same an hour later. There are some—because you can put so many additives in the wines today.
Will: You’re legally allowed to do that.
Warren: They add a ton of mega purple which, you know, really darkens the color, and liquid smoke and a couple of other things. You can decant it for three hours, it’s going to taste the same until you can’t drink it.
Will: Right because the primary flavor component won’t—
Warren: They don’t break down.
Will: Yeah they don’t break down and they taste the way they taste regardless of their exposure to oxygen.
Warren: That’s what that winemaker was after, he’s not trying to sell me wine. Because if he was he’d be making Doubleback.
Will: Well if you think about it this way, it’s just like there are some people out there who might like the fact that their wine isn’t changing.
Warren: Not might. There are people who bitch when it changes. I liked the first glass.
Will: But all of a sudden it’s different. Yeah it got oxygen.
Warren: But that’s what we’re looking for, nasty oxygen.
Will: Lots of dark fruit—pretty much I would say—all dark fruit on the palate. Just blackberry blueberry. Jammy without being too jammy, because this is Washington, this isn’t gonna get into that overblown—but definitely a lot of sweet character.
Warren: Fruit forward is just a little too strong to describe it; and yet, you know, if you like fruit forward wine let me posit that you will like this.
Will: It’s less fruit forward than you would think from the aroma, but more fruit forward than you would think for Washington.
Warren: As I say, people are forever trying to grow wine wherever they are. This guy, Drew Bledsoe, because he made a lot of money playing football, managed to buy land in the right area. He planted the correct—went out and got very expensive, very good vines, and then hired one of the best wine makers in the world. That’s how you make a good wine. You don’t just go out there plant a bunch of grapes and watch Youtube videos. You’re not gonna win.
Will: The other thing is that as much as I dislike that some vines are more expensive than others—they’re supply and demand. Some clones or some strains of certain types of grapes. I mean it’s Cabernet Sauvignon is Cabernet Sauvignon the world around, it’s genetically the same thing but different clones exist of the same grape—some of them are numbered, some of them have their own names.
Warren: We’ll be doing Wente and the clone of their Chardonnay is the one everybody wants.
Will: It’s been used to plant many more modern—you and I talked about this one time, we heard that they were one of the oldest vineyards.
Warren: The oldest continually run vineyard. They didn’t stop during Prohibition because they had a contract that allowed them to sell sacramental wines to Catholic churches and so they were able to function. Most of the others had closed down.
Will: Neither you nor I had heard of them.
Warren: Neither you nor I are Catholic.
Will: I was raised by a Catholic.
Warren: Well there you go, good enough.
Will: I’ll tell you who else they sold sacramental wine to, and that was synagogues.
Warren: That’s cool.
Will: The two groups of people in America during prohibition that were legally allowed to consume wine—
Warren: Everybody who belonged to the Yale Club because they bought it and they were grandfathered in. They could go to the club and drink anytime they wanted.
Will: I should rephrase that. The funny thing about Prohibition in America was that you could make the stuff you just couldn’t sell it.
Warren: If you were rich you did not have to live with it.
Will: Not at all. It’s just like anything else. It’s like healthcare or drugs, if you’re rich you’re gonna be able to find it and it’s gonna be good. One of the reasons that Americans to this day love Italian food was that in the 1920s the clause that they left in—because if they hadn’t put this clause into Prohibition there would have been a full scale rebellion—they said you can make up to 150 gallons worth of beer or wine a year. Every individual, every adult can. You just can’t sell it. You can give it away, and you can drink it yourself, but you can’t sell it.
Warren: They would give it away with the meal in the Italian restaurant, you could have a glass of wine with your meal.
Will: Well actually the original Italian restaurant wasn’t even a restaurant. People would hang a sign out front of their brownstone and you’d go into the first floor of their apartment building, they’d cook for you. They made enough money during Prohibition selling the food—and the wine was free and they were very clear about this the wine was free and you paid for the food—they made enough money during prohibition that a lot of them then did start restaurants and so by the 1940s the Italian restaurant was a cornerstone. All it took was just that 10-year period during Prohibition for Americans to decide that they really like tomato sauce and pasta.
Warren: The alcohol content’s a little lower than I would have guessed. It’s 14.4. It tastes more like one that’s usually around 15 or so. It’s not hot.
Will: It’s that incredible perfume at the beginning. The perfume at the beginning might seem to suggest to you that this wine is more high alcohol than it is. It’s not, that’s just how incredibly floral it is.
Warren: It’s just really well made.
Will: Yeah, there’s a lot of vapor in this wine.
Warren: Anyone who’s like, oh well, it’s just because it’s Drew Bledsoe—these are not people who’ve had a lot of high-end wines in my opinion. I mean, the only wine I can think of that we’ll actually review sometime—probably in the next six months—is the Wraith. This compares to that, I don’t know if it beats it or even ties it, but it’s in the same conversation.
Will: For me it’s one of those it’s one of those subjective versus objective. Subjectively, I like this better than the Wraith. Objectively I’m not sure which is the better wine, but I just know that in general pound for pound I’m probably gonna like Pacific Northwest wines better than California.
Warren: I didn’t used to drink Washington wines. I remember when I realized that I just like Washington wines.
Will: The thing about Washington is it has the same—I won’t say the same, but has a similar kind— Washington is to America what Bordeaux is to France. I don’t necessarily mean in terms of the overall quality level or the prestige, but the growing conditions. It has some of the coolest climates that you can still grow good heavy red grapes. I mean there are cool climates that you can grow you know like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio and make sparkling wine and stuff, but to have a cool climate where you can—especially that far north—where you can grow things like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and not only do them decently, but do them really well—it’s a special region of America.
Warren: Now these guys make a lot of other wines underneath their Bledsoe/McDaniels line which are apparently more approachable. I don’t know, I haven’t had them. I probably will just keep drinking Doubleback.
Will: It might be fun to grab some of them. Do they sell—do they distribute them here in Virginia?
Warren: As far as I know, they don’t distribute this [Doubleback] in Virginia. I ordered this from—I think—wine.com…. If you go there and buy the wines we may get a percentage and that’ll make it easier for us to keep doing great reviews for you. And these long winded—long winded is the wrong word—well extended conversations where Will will throw out a bunch of really cool facts and I’ll make shit up. And I’m honest as all get out.
Will: If I ever say anything that I find out later is incorrect, I will try to come back and correct it.
Warren: If I ever make up anything that’s untrue I will let you know when I find that out. Just think of us as a couple of drinking buddies. We know a lot about wines, or Will knows a lot about wines. I know a lot more about wine than most people who haven’t gotten certified or taken courses.
Will: Once you know a certain amount imposter syndrome kicks in real hard.
Warren: I do a lot of blind tastings. I find blind tastings really valuable because that has taught me over time—you know you sit down you do 10 wines and you discover that the thousand dollar wine came in last and the top one was like 70 bucks. So after a while when you do this and you do your notes before they unveil what it is you really start to learn to not pay any attention to anything other than how the wine tastes in the glass. That’s all that matters. Which brings me to a big point. You want to know what a good wine is? Do you like it? If you like it, it’s a good wine. Now it may not be a good wine for someone else, they may not like it, but don’t let anyone tell you not to like it.
Will: We’re not here to gatekeep anything. We’re not here to tell you that because we’re drinking a 150 dollar bottle of wine that only expensive wines are or only Cabs are—the thing is that we’re very particular and we’re opinionated, but that doesn’t mean that our opinion extends beyond the two of us.
Warren: We will occasionally surprise you. And probably a few more early on to give you an idea—also because one of the things is that I’ve discovered a lot of really good inexpensive wines that we’re gonna review once and then until I can get my hands on another year that’s as good—or I can get my hands on some more of it we won’t. The bottom line is that there are—we’ve had 25, 30 bottles of wine that were just as good as any hundred, two hundred dollar bottles of wine. I’ve got one from 2012 that we’re going to do fairly soon and you’re going to be—if you can get your hands on it—really impressed. Our price point—because I like these wines and it’s easy to find good ones at 100 bucks—50 bucks you got to work hard to find the others. It’s worth the work if you—especially if it’s tough for you to buy a hundred dollar bottle of wine every week. When I first started drinking wines I couldn’t afford a nine dollar bottle of wine every week. I could do it once a month, now I can afford it every day because life has changed. So we may be doing more expensive wines than non-expensive wines but it’s not because we’re snobs—we are snobs.
Will: We are snobs.
Warren: We’re still going to do less expensive ones.
Will: You can be snobby on a budget.
Warren: Here’s the thing, you may be thinking, don’t these guys dislike anything? They love everything. Well, mostly we know what we’ve reviewing. We’ve had these wines. I’ve had two thousand wines. It can be hard to go into a shop, even a big shop, and find a wine that’s a varietal that I like that I haven’t had.
Will: Right, but it would be fun to talk to somebody—whether it’s Randall at Vintage Cellar or a distributor—and give them an idea of what we’ve done so far when we’ve been doing this for a while and say, hey throw us a ringer, one that we haven’t had something that they have right now.
Warren: One of the things we’re going to ask you guys to do is let us know what you’d like to see us review. Is there a wine you’ve been trying to decide, am I gonna blow that hundred bucks on this wine? We’ll tell you if it’s worth it. Most people don’t want to just drop a hundred bucks on a bottle of wine, I look forward to it. So you know if you email us—say you know there’s one—and we may, if I can get my hands on it, if it looks like something I’d enjoy—which brings me back around to that point I was trying to make earlier, it’s not that we’re trying to only review wines we like or that if we don’t like a review we won’t run it or if we’re just trying to make advertising dollars. We’re not doing that. If we don’t like the wine and we open it and we start drinking it we aren’t gonna cancel that review. We’re going to do that.
Will: If this bottle had been corked we would have told you.
Warren: I wouldn’t necessarily blame that on the producer, and in this case we would have immediately opened the 2018 that I have in my cellar compared how that is. We’ll be getting to the 2018 in a bit. I actually really, really really like the 2018. But this one has a little more age on it so we’re doing it first.
Will: That being said, I think this one is just as good.
Warren: I don’t know if I’d go that far.
Warren: Really. I really like the 2018. I really liked it.
Will: As I’ve said before, my memory is not identical.
Warren: Now that said, this is outstanding.
Will: I remember the 2018 being very perfumey.
Warren: it was a little bigger in the mouth, which is a thing that I’m looking for. I love a big mouthfeel.
Will: Overall what really hits me about this wine is the flavor/mouthfeel combination. There is a silkiness of the wine that matches the richness of the fruit.
Warren: And I like a silky mouthfeel. Silky, satiny, this just nails that. If this were a baseball player it would have hit three home runs—Babe Ruth—boom. Or if it were a quarterback it might have gone in when the starting quarterback went down in the AFC championship game and the team was down by 10 points and Drew Bledsoe took the Patriots to the Superbowl that he didn’t get to play in and should have because he deserved it. They never would have gotten there because Brady was completely baffled by that defense and Bledsoe went in and lit it up.
Will: So if that had happened would he have ever made this one.
Warren: Oh, if he’d gotten to play in that Super Bowl. I don’t know. I mean he would have won that Super Bowl too. He literally was better at reading defenses at that point than Brady was and he had a bigger arm. I didn’t think there’s any reason he would have lost that game.
Will: I assume the name Doubleback was a play on halfback?
Warren: No, he played quarterback. I mean twice what he’s doing at quarterback. I don’t know, but he hit this out of the park just like he did when he won that game. One of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. Just cold off the bench, won the damn game.
Will: I never knew there would be such a football wine overlap.
Warren: I know, who knew? I am not a huge sports geek, but I do love NFL football. If Tony Romo puts out a wine I’ll see if it’s any good. I really am not a fan of Tom Brady’s. So if he puts out a wine I’m probably not going to drink it. Who am I lying to? I’ll drink it, try to taste it. I would tell you, I would at least try it, but it would be flat. I’m sorry, that’s terrible.
Will: No oxygen in it whatsoever, they lowered it.
Warren: If you need to know, I don’t want to go into it, just Google Tom Brady and flat balls. That’s all you need. Well maybe deflated—deflated, you’re gonna have fun tonight.
Will: Be careful when you Google that.
Warren: Make sure that you put yourself into incognito mode. You don’t want to explain that to your significant other.
Will: Why did that pop up on the autofill?
Warren: Oh boy! I had not planned to go there.
Will: This accurately captures how we do this when we’re not being videoed.
Warren: Exactly, oh and you ought to see us when we’re on our second or third bottle. You won’t actually get to see that because we’re just going to do one per because it gets a little out of hand.
Will: That being said if you’re looking for a mountain vacation and you come to Floyd look us up online.
Warren: Let us know you’re coming in the comments.
Will: It is very easy to find us because there’s only one town of any size so it’s only 400 people in a county of 14,000. There’s basically very few places to go. If you are a tourist in Floyd, if you go to the various businesses that are serving food and alcohol you might run into us.
Warren: It is very likely. But if you’re gonna be here drop me an email. I’m an extreme extrovert, I want to meet everybody and we would love to know that people are watching this.
Will: If you do want to take a mountain vacation, there are fewer places you can go that are more beautiful than Floyd. Floyd Virginia is amazing, great hiking spots, great camping spots. I went out to visit some friends who are staying here in town for I guess at least the summer. They’re from New Jersey and their son just graduated from Roanoke College and they came out basically in February to stay through May and then they were planning on going to Florida.
Warren: Why would they want to do that?
Will: Right? That’s what they figured out, they shouldn’t, and so they’re basically staying in Floyd through the end of the summer.
Warren: I don’t blame them.
Will: They were just marveling. They’re staying at what used to be Chantilly; they came around completely. But they’ve just been marveling. It’s just like oh my god we didn’t know. I was like yeah you got here in February kind of a different landscape icy and gray and not all that much to do.
Warren: The one thing I will warn you, none of the restaurants have a knock your socks off wine list. Unfortunately they really can’t because there’s like three people in Floyd that will spend the money on great wines, especially at restaurant prices. It can be hard anywhere in Southwest Virginia because it’s not just the money. It’s the population.
Will: It’s the interest, the people in Southwest Virginia who like good wine are often a little more, I don’t want to say conservative, less adventurous and how much they’re going to wander outside of something.
Warren: Conservative’s not that bad a word.
Will: But it brings up unfortunate implications. The thing about, and I know this from personal experience, because I ran the wine list at a wine bar in Blacksburg.
Warren: Blacksburg has two great wine stores and several restaurants with top-notch wine lists. That’s only 30 miles from here, 30 minutes.
Will: Which I am really pleased to see, because when I was going to grad school there that was not happening.
Warren: Let me give a shout out to my two favorite stores in Blacksburg. That would be the Vintage Cellar and the Blacksburg Wine Lab. That is where I get—I order a lot of wines—but I get the vast majority of them at one of those two stores.
Will: It should be noted that while Vintage Cellar is a brick and mortar store, Wine Lab is actually a restaurant, well it’s a wine bar restaurant, but they have a retail operation.
Warren: They’ve actually put in a little café at Vintage Cellar. They haven’t really gotten that off the ground yet, but they’re going to. Those guys were going to be banging heads. They really want to kill each other but I love ’em both.
Will: In a small town, especially with something like wine.
Warren: Although fortunately it’s a college town. A small town that consists of lots of professors and students coming in and out and all of their parents. So unlike Floyd where there’s 14,000 people in June and in August and in December—it just doesn’t change and there’s just not enough people. The other thing that often makes me sad is the average income of a family of four in Floyd is like $24,000. You’re not selling that family of twenty dollar bottle of wine, never mind a two hundred dollar bottle. It’s not happening. It would be nice if wines were, the really good ones, more accessible. Unfortunately it’s just not.
Will: Wine has always been the least accessible of the three. Beer, wine, and liquor because with liquor if you’re spending 40 on a bottle at least that bottle is going to give you on average 15 or 16 individual glasses of that. A beer you can just buy one even if it’s really expensive you can just buy one you don’t have to, but with wine you only buy one but it’s still you’re only gonna get four, five, or six glasses out of it and depending on who you’re drinking with.
Warren: If you’re drinking with me it’s four, maybe three. That’s one of the reasons that we are using 500 milliliter glasses.
Will: I sent Warren a picture recently, I went to the local thrift store and they had just one, but it was this very wide-hipped red wine glass from I think like Crate and Barrel or something and I picked it up for I think a quarter. My friend Mike and I were talking about it. I said you know I bet you this is one of those gag gift glasses.
Warren: We’re only having one glass of wine today.
Will: It holds a bottle. It holds an entire bottle.
Warren: Normally we’re gonna usually break off at the end of a full glass. But this wine is a little too good for me to Bogart it all by myself. It’s just such a good wine and it’s our first one so we wanna just keep talking.
Will: The color on this is also amazing.
Warren: It is very deep purple, I mean it’s deep.
Will: Basically I can’t see my fingers through it.
Warren: Drew, you nailed it.
Will: He really did and I have to admit it.
Warren: Josh, you did too.
Will: I’m really glad that you introduced me to this because I’m not going to say that when I see somebody who owned a sports team or did something like that and they opened a winery my first instinct isn’t like, oh it’s terrible. My first instinct is like are they riding on their name and their cash. It’s nice to know he’s also riding on the quality.
Warren: I always liked Drew Bledsoe. The persona that he projected. The only quarterback that I ever liked more was Roger Staubach because I was a little kid. He was Captain Comeback. I’m a little bit older than Drew and so when he was drafted by the Patriots, who until they started cheating, were my second favorite team behind the Cowboys. He just seemed like a great guy. I was happy when he ended up on the Cowboys. At any rate, the bottom line is he seems like a really nice guy and I’m glad that his wine is good.
Will: From my perspective as a wine lover and I would imagine Drew is too. If he got a world-class winemaker to make his wine.
Warren: He’s also a native of Walla Walla Washington.
Will: Really, that’s awesome. If I had retired from a job like that and were making wine like this it’d be like this is a pretty okay place to end up. The owner of this winery. I don’t know what else he’s doing for personal projects.
Warren: If I had that kind of money I’m not sure what I would do. I say that, but you know I own a publishing company. I publish books and I’ve done very well at it, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to quit. I mean, I won’t need the money going into my old age. What the hell am I going to do with myself? Sit on a porch and go I used to be somebody? So I understand, you know when you’re done with one career you move into another. I was in hair bands all through the 80s and then I moved—
Will: Then you went into sci-fi publishing.
Warren: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror is what I’ve done primarily, also rock and roll publishing. I was partners with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. I did the official KISS Magazine. So I’m not far away from being at a point where I could just stop. I just don’t know why I would. What would I do if I had the kind of money he makes, which is a lot more than I made. I still made a lot more than most folks. I suppose I would want to do something. You can’t keep playing quarterback unless you’re—well never mind that—you just can’t.
Will: The thing is that I mean if you can generate a passive income through investments and you’re no longer as concerned about whether or not a business venture works out in the short term.
Warren: Every single book is a passive income stream forever with today’s technology.
Will: A permanent residual.
Warren: You can do the e-book and you can do print on demand. Every book I publish now can stay in print forever and I don’t have to take anything other than the initial risk when I publish a big book of printing the originals. Then they just go into the system and people can order them from Amazon and they don’t exist until they order them. Then they print it and send it to you so literally I can quit work tomorrow and probably my income won’t change much for a couple of years. But I keep doing it—
Will: because you like it.
Warren: Yeah, so Drew’s doing something he likes.
Will: The thing is they’re generating passive income for you to do the sci-fi stuff that you really really enjoy.
Warren: Right because that doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of money.
Will: But the thing is if I had a passive income all of a sudden I would care a lot less about whether or not it made me any money you know because the thing is that if you don’t have a large savings account or if you’re just you know you’ve got to hustle and all of a sudden you’re poised on a knife’s edge because the success of your business means whether or not you know you get to eat. I mean that’s it.
Warren: See we talk about stuff. We’re gonna range.
Will: We’re gonna, we’re range far.
Warren: Yes we are.
Will: One of the things we were talking about earlier was Wine Lab and Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg; when I worked for a year as the sommelier at Wine Lab I got to really see up close—it’s really different working in a retail environment versus working in a service like a restaurant service environment with wine because in a retail environment you can sometimes talk people into buying things that you wouldn’t be able to talk them into a service environment and vice versa. In a retail environment they might be buying a gift and if they’re like she likes this and this and this. How adventurous is she? Well she’s pretty adventurous she likes you know mountain climbing so it was okay she’s really adventurous.
Warren: Here’s Mad Dog 2020.
Will: Exactly, take your life into your own hands. But in a service environment the advantage that you have going for you is that you can, if you have it open, pour them a sample and let them try it in a way that you can’t necessarily do in a in a retail environment but you run into the same wall with wines that are by the bottle only past a certain price point. We would have guys come in, and I could know within about 30 seconds of talking to them that they were going to get a bottle of Cabernet. It was going to be higher end. It wasn’t like they were bad people or mean or rude or anything like that, but from just the way they were talking and how they were approaching the wine list it was clear I wasn’t going to be able to talk them into a South African Pinotage or even if we had gotten some interesting red that was very similar to a Cabernet in terms of body and style if it wasn’t a Cabernet they weren’t going to drink it.
Warren: Also when you’re in that environment you have to worry if I talk them into spending all their money on wine will they stiff me on the tip, that they no longer have any money for. That’s kind of a thing. I remember before the Vivino app I would ask, what do you think is the better wine and they would always just point at the most expensive ones. I was like, oh I have great taste. Either that or they just want to see if I’ll buy the most expensive wine.
Will: I always prided myself on not pointing people towards the most expensive wine. You know I worked for a place I wanted it to make money.
Warren: No? That’s selfish.
Will: We’re all self-interested somehow. The way I looked at is that making the wine bar money one day, but making the customer unhappy means that we won’t have that customer.
Warren: And you’re not at Beaufort on the beach. You need that customer to come back.
Will: The nice thing about Blacksburg is that if they liked it they’ll bring their friends with them.
Warren: If you get to—especially with the wine app Vivino—which again follow us get it, It can be interesting some of the experiences you can have. I walked into a wine bar in Vegas, in a really expensive casino. I went down there and I was freaking ignored. I was probably dressed with a shiny shirt like this and I’ve got the hair and they just write me off. I sit down and they give me a wine list and they have them set up in these different flights. You can have five of this one and five of this one, there’s about 20 of them that they’ve got selected and ready to go or you can pick five from out of all of them. So I pull up my app and I’m going through and I find the best one in each flight. They weren’t necessarily the one that was the most expensive bottle or the most expensive by the glasses it turned out. It was not set up that way. So I pulled what I thought were the five best after looking at the list. I spent like a half hour before I even made my order. I looked at every single one. I put the order in—I mean I am just in-freaking-visible in this place and then I hear a guy in the back who turns out to be the sommelier—he’s like who gave you this order? The guy over there with the long hair. The sommelier sat down and he didn’t leave my table all night. We spent the whole night trying to stump each other on wines we hadn’t had. That was a really cool, neat thing that this long-haired, hippie freak— and I’m not a hippie freak, by the way, I was a metal boy.
Will: You’re the opposite.
Warren: But that’s what people see when I walk in. I would never have had that experience.
Will: I told him when he told me that story is that having worked as a sommelier that is the kind of thing that he made that guy’s night.
Warren: He agreed with all my reviews or he would have stopped talking to me. Just because I drank all those wines doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Will: I also wouldn’t have left the table just because I didn’t agree with you.
Warren: Well no, but he wouldn’t have spent the whole night. He would have spent a polite amount of time and off he would have gone.
Will: One of the things that was so much fun working as a sommelier is that you’re basically like a professional schmoozer and you can choose who you want to schmooze and there are different people that you can schmooze. So you know I go up to a table and ask them how are you doing. Chat for a bit and if they seemed like they were just content just enjoying their wine I would chat with them for five, ten minutes and wander away. If somebody really wanted to delve into the world of wine I could do that too.
Warren: Of course you could.
Will: If I was there and I wasn’t serving, I was free to delve into as much as I wanted because I wasn’t on the clock. I wasn’t, you know, I didn’t have any other tables that needed my attention and that was one of the things I loved most about my job was that I could have a great time on my own and I could make somebody else’s night and make them want to come back.
Warren: Hanging out with the sommelier was the high point of that whole trip to Vegas.
Will: Absolutely, because you got a professional wine geek at your table.
Warren: Now another time I was in a very similar situation. I was in Myrtle Beach in North Carolina on vacation and I just went into a place and they had a tasting. I was like yeah I’ll do your tasting, but he brings out a set tasting and I popped up my Vivino and this was back when I was really heavy, well I’ll get to that in a minute, so I start looking up the wines. He’s like, oh you’re on Vivino. I said yeah and he said what’s your ranking and I said 23 in America. He’s like you’re in the top 2,300. I was like no, dude, I’m number 23. He’s like you’re not drinking any of this. He took it all away and he brought me a glass—two ounces of the six best wines he had. That would never have happened to me without Vivino. So at that point in my life I was the highest rated non-industry person on Vivino. I also weighed 250 pounds because I was drinking a lot of wine. I don’t know if you know, I hate to break this to you, there’s calories in this stuff. It’s worse than soda as far as calories go.
Will: Now correct me if I’m wrong, but at that point part of the reason you were so highly rated on Vivino was you went to a lot of tastings—like a lot of tastings—and you rated every wine that you tasted.
Warren: Yup, everyone, every single one.
Will: Even if you hated it.
Warren: The thing is you don’t remember—you cannot remember 2,000 wines. It’s one of the things that I like about Vivino. I’ll look at a label, I’m like “I kind of remember not liking that,” I’ll take a picture–four and a half out of five stars. No, Warren, you like that wine. Maybe another one, “I have fond memories of this.” No, look you hate this one. So you know, I’m getting older, I’m forgetting things. My phone and Vivino, they don’t forget a damn thing.
Will: Something people love to ask me—you know because it’s something you ask a wine expert—what’s your favorite wine. I’m like, well how do you—how do you rate that. So one of my fallbacks is—well, ever? And they’re like yeah. Well here’s the thing, I said if we’re not normalizing the curve if we are just ranking it on pure enjoyment alone. Back in early 2008 I had been working in the wine industry for less than a year and I was still—well it was kind of like I didn’t even drink—one it was like being a kid learning how to read being thrown into a library. It’s just like wander around maybe you can’t read every book. Maybe you’re six years old and you’re trying to pick through Crime and Punishment. You’re like that’s not really for me right, but um I had this wine called—the vineyard was Sineann and I believe if I recall correctly—I could have this backward, I think they’re based out of Washington, but their fruit is coming from Oregon. Like I said, I could have that backward because there’s a part of the Washington Oregon border which is basically—
Warren: I’ll just stop you for just a second. We don’t research this stuff because we don’t know where we’re going. That’s a big part of this. Sorry about that.
Will: No no no problem. It’s a good thing to know.
Warren: That’s why he can’t spit that out, because we didn’t know.
Will: There are parts of Oregon and Washington where the AVA can be in either state. I think one of them might be the Columbia—there’s a Columbia valley AVA that’s in Washington, a Columbia Valley AVA that’s in Oregon. Anyway so Sineann made this Merlot and I swear to god one of the flavor descriptions I wrote down for the aroma was orange peel. It was at that very very early stage in my wine experience the most enjoyable wine I’d ever drank. I’m like—I’m not saying that Sineann Merlot would still be my favorite wine ever. I’d probably still like it if I went back and tried it, but also it was just that one vintage that one time that little particular moment. Wine is about moments, it’s not about wines, it’s not about vintages it’s not about grapes.
Warren: They’ve actually done studies that show if you drink wine with people you care about and you’re enjoying their time, the wine tastes better.
Will: Everything tastes better if you’re—if you’re having a good time.
Warren: But wine more so more so than anything else. I would say one of the things that enhances my enjoyment of wine is drinking wine around other people that know wine. That’s one of the reasons to do this kind of thing. That’s how we became really close friends.
Will: Wine is why we got introduced by mutual friends who knew that we both liked wine and introduced us for the specific purpose of introducing us because we like wine.
Warren: Slowly over the course of about a year—at the end of the year I’d say we were best friends.
Will: Pretty much yeah, but virtually less than a year.
Warren: We had very little in common.
Will: But then we discovered a whole host of other stuff.
Warren: And, of course, since then we’ve had almost a decade of just hanging out and doing stuff together and having experiences.
Will: I guess it was a little bit over here because we met in March of 2013.
Warren: It was nine years ago. I’m good at math, simple math.
Will: I want to say it was like may of 2014 that we get together at Riverstone.
Warren: Yes, I do remember that. I think that was it. That was the first wine potluck I went to. And then they started happening, if you can see that gazebo behind us—you’re going to see some wine—we’re going to do a lot of tasting in there. Certain times of the day don’t work. That is our normal hang out. We would have done it there, but the sun was shining in when we started and it was horrible.
Will: We could have waited, but we didn’t want to.
Warren: Because this wine was calling our names, man.
Will: We often make far too much noise for Warren’s wife to enjoy us drinking on the porch so the gazebo is our normal hangout spot.
Warren: I should build a gazebo farther away so we can be as loud as we want to be.
Will: But, honestly one of the things I’m fond of is—one of the things I’ve loved about that gazebo is that I can drink wine and swim at the same time.
Warren: Jump out, jump in. It’s eight feet deep, it’s a third of an acre, it’s beautiful.
Will: And it’s spring fed, not creek fed, so it never truly gets warm, but it never gets cold.
Warren: It is probably the coldest pond in Floyd in the summer, and it’s one of the only ones that doesn’t freeze solid in the winter.
Will: Now it’s great in the heat of summer because if you get out to the middle of the pond where you can feel the convection current of the water coming up if you want to get cold all you have to do is just submerge yourself and you’re immediately just in an icy grip and it’s wonderful.
Warren: When I was in a rock and roll band in the 80s and hair bands– I know it’s hard to believe that someone who looks like me today could have been in a hairband–
Will: He’s very inconspicuous.
Warren: Very inconspicuous. I didn’t drink wine at all. In fact I drank Keystone.
Will: I was gonna say it was embarrassing, light beer was your go to. I mean, I will say this about light beer if you wanna drink all night and not get super trashed light beer is a great way to do it.
Warren: I don’t want to do those two things combined, by the way.
So if you have an opportunity to get Doubleback—as I said we’re gonna have a link so you can go buy it. Probably wine.com. There’s a couple of others, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got it. If they don’t we’ll find somebody for you. In the future we’ll be way more prepared, but right now, as you know, this is our first. So we’re putting together a website and looking at which—how we’re going to try to monetize this and what we’re going to do for social media. So right now we’re a little loose, but we’ll be real tight real soon. Once we’ve got all that down.
Will: The other thing I want to suggest is that you know like I said a lot of people are drinking wine on a budget and 150 might be outside your wheelhouse. If you’re thinking about—like you really want to buy a higher bottle of wine and—or you would like to split the cost with someone. If you’re going in on a bottle of wine with a friend this would be a great bottle of wine to go in on because it’s one of those things where normally—would either of you split 150 bottle of wine? Probably not, but I guarantee you you will enjoy it. If you like Cabs, obviously if you’re you know a Chardonnay drinker or Riesling drinker and hate Cabs don’t do it. But if you are a Cab drinker and you like Washington reds this is one of those wines that I think would be a very special thing and that it would have a marvelous special occasion yeah and it would be one of the—like I said this is about moments because I still remember that Sinnean Merlot. I don’t have to look through my notes to find it. I still remember—you know 14 years later, more than 14 years later that wine without having to search through anything. I think this will be one of those moments, it could be one of those moments.
Warren: Speaking of moments, I still remember when I essentially became a red drinker. Now I was drinking beer and this is kind of a long story. I tore my rotator cuff off. I mean completely off. It was just hanging in there and they had to put it back on and that’s when I discovered that I have a pretty serious intolerance for any kind of opioid. They make me itch a lot and throw up a lot. Like enough you can’t keep the medicine down.
Will: You have no risk of becoming a heroin addict.
Warren: That will never happen. If it’s an opioid I’m never going to get addicted to it. I immediately started drinking the beer in my fridge. It wasn’t helping much, but enough that I didn’t kill myself, but it was really freaking painful. When they put that back on, the guy who did it was great, I mean he does NFL quarterback shoulders and I have 110% of my functional usage from before. I won’t go into why I know that, but I do know that for certain. So then I drank all the Bourbon in the house and that got me through my second night but it wasn’t good. I got on the internet and it suggested wine. I lived right around the corner—I was in Blacksburg—from the Vintage Cellar. Randall, one of the main guys there, and I are tight because we have the same favorite author and I publish that author. So he started me out on the kind of whites that I would drink. This is a sweetish Chardonnay, you’ll like it. And then, he’s like, you gotta try this Riesling that’s a ten-year-old Riesling. It’s a little expensive, but yeah and I was just like, ooh that’s really good. So then he started showing me nothing but expensive Rieslings and I’m just hooked on them. Then one day he’s like, you’ve got to try this and it was Rubus. They are a vineyard—they’re not a vineyard they’re a winery—they’re not even really a winery they resell. They’re a brand but the reason they exist is—and they never would say and we never found out [which one]—one of the really high-end Napa Cabs had a double yield on their grapes that year. They didn’t know why, but they weren’t willing to bottle it all because it would bring down the cost of their wine. Why it didn’t occur to them to create a separate label and sell it at half the price with a different name on it I don’t know.
Will: Might have taken too long?
Warren: But this guy bought all the extra grapes and then he launched Rubus. He was telling me it was $25 bottle of Cab. He said try this and I did. It was freaking stunning. I mean there was all this stuff going on. It was great.
Will: And it never happened again.
Warren: It never happened again. They’ve had some okay wines, but never had a great wine. Well, that was a great wine.
Will: They found themselves a brand model that would have worked really well if they had kept at it. Now granted, they might not have been able to replicate it in terms of volume.
Warren: You couldn’t get that good of wine every year.
Will: No you couldn’t, but it would be really fun to have a brand built around uh we go around buying grapes from high-end wineries who will remain a mystery. You can guess at it if you want or whatever. It’s probably the case that most high-end wineries aren’t going to be selling that amount of fruits.
Warren: Most are struggling to have enough grapes.
Will: Exactly, so it’s one of those sort of like one-time things.
Warren: What he said to me is the reason you like these wines is they’re really complex. This is really complex, and that was when it hit me. It really was and then I realized there was only one kind of white that was rocking my world anymore and it had to be 10 or 15 or 20 years old from Germany and a little small area in France that I was willing to drink. Otherwise it just tasted like sweet wine.
Will: One of the problems with white wine—not problems with it—the problem with being an aficionado of white wine is that it doesn’t have the shelf life of red wine. Part of that reason is that red wine has more tannins. Which are going to keep—the tannins are a structural element that are actually used to bind proteins in plant systems; which is why cheese and red wine will always go so well most of the time.
Warren: When you find stuff that you think is vegetal matter in your wine, what it is is the tannins binding with the color pigments in the wine.
Will: The other is solid tartaric acid that has come out of solution and formed cream of tartar. The other thing is that red wines are often kept in oak. Yeah Chardonnay can be kept in oak.
Warren: And I like it to be kept in oak so it’s buttery. If I’m gonna drink it—if I’m gonna drink it.
Will: And that’s why some of the few white wines that can be aged that aren’t Riesling are White Burgundies or Chardonnay. Chardonnays in general because they are traditionally kept in oak. But, by and large, most white wines are not kept in oak. Oak is going to destroy whatever subtlety they might have and as a result they don’t age very well. You can’t hold on to them like the way you do a red. I know that you’re going why Riesling. Because Riesling’s not kept in oak. Here’s the thing about Riesling, Riesling has an extremely high acidity, German Riesling in particular. Anything can have a low acidity depending on how you grow it. German Riesling because of the climate and because of the conditions and when they harvest it, Riesling has a very high acidity, it has a very low ph, and a very high total acidity and that acts as a block to microbial growth.
Warren: That’s the reason microbes don’t kick its butt as it gets older.
Will: Yep, to put it in layman’s terms, I mean one of the things about wine is that the specific acid that is found in grapes and not much of anywhere else, tartaric acid, is the most potent antimicrobial acid of all the organic acids except maybe acetic—possibly I think might be higher, but in terms of acids that you want to be drinking that you find regularly in alcoholic beverages, tartaric acid is, and I’ve had people ask me, like, “Why is red wine the one they store vintages of? Is it just tradition?” I’m like no, no it’s literal chemical structure. The chemistry of wine is geared towards having a shelf stability that no other—very few other—beverages can have. You can age beers. I’m not saying that you can’t. There are certain ciders, depending on if there’s a whole host of factors, that go into this. Your typical barley wines can sit alone absolutely for certain. The nice thing you have going for you there is the alcohol content will keep bacteria away.
Warren: Between nine and 13 percent. Why do I know that?
Will: It’ll start being toxic to them so it’s not that it’s not that white wines aren’t shelf stable, it’s that they don’t really have anywhere to go. That gets back to tannins because over time tannins will bind to each other. They change the flavor and white wines start in a certain place and they might mature slightly and then it’s a steep downhill drop and it’s all downhill.
Warren: This will probably bore you to tears but one of the things that Will and I did a couple years back before I left the country. I was gone for about a year, we went to a tasting and we were tasting Napa Cabs from the 70s—early 70s—these were the Cabs that kicked the French’s butts in the blind tasting. What was that called?
Will: The something of 76. Not comp, no it’s the—
Warren: I’m sorry, man, I shouldn’t have asked.
Will: It’s called something like the Tasting of 76, the Trial of 76. At any rate, we’ll look it up and tell you another episode, everybody. [It was the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine) ]
Warren: In the blind tastings even the French preferred Napa Cab. Now we also had a lot of—at the same time in the same tastings—we were tasting the French wines from the same years. Mostly we’re talking Beaucastel and Chateau Margot. These wines had lost in the blind tastings to the American wines. The American ones [from the 1970s that we tasted in 2020] were freaking horrible.
Will: Well at 30 or 40 years. None of them had aged well. The French wines aged less poorly.
Warren: I’m not saying that those wines were bad and they somehow beat them out magically. They were better, 40 years ago, but they weren’t aiming for aging when they made them.
Will: Not only did they not age well we also have to look at back in the 70s. You know you had what we would now consider prehistoric bottling.
Warren: And no Mega Purple.
Will: Right, no Mega Purple. Their alcohol content was also hovering around 12.5. It was very low because it wasn’t as hot back then.
Warren: “There’s no global warming,” [he says sarcastically] but it’s hotter.
Will: Alcohol content is higher.
Warren: If I’ve alienated some of you I’m sorry. If that alienated you, boy am I sorry.
Will: The wines on average are higher in alcohol content. Part of that is due to overall rising of temperatures. Part of it is due to yeast that can withstand higher alcohol content without dying. Some of it’s just improved vinification techniques. The other thing to keep in mind is even if the world weren’t getting warmer or wine growing regions weren’t getting warmer there are things that you can do that stimulate sugar growth in grapes.
Warren: Leave them on the vine longer.
Will: Leave them on the vine longer. Remove the leaf canopy so that they get more sun before you turn them into wine.
Warren: Let them sit before you turn them into wine. If you’re Italian you do that on the rooftop if you’re French you do it on mats.
Will: There’s all sorts of stuff that you can do.
Warren: We know dumb stuff—not dumb, we just know stuff that you would probably never run into by accident.
Will: If you if you never have—or you don’t do it very often—go to wine tastings. They’re a lot of fun, yes, and you will learn extraneous things that you never heard of before. Like that the French dry their grapes on straw mats.
Warren: You know Amarone is one of my favorite wines. It’s Italian, they leave them on the vine later—they harvest them later and then they, as you mentioned, put them on the roof and let them dry.
Will: They raisin up.
Warren: Then you get more raisin, but you get more sugars.
Will: You get way more sugar and it’s also more extracted flavors with their dessert wines.
Warren: Whereas I would not call Amarone a dessert wine.
Will: But they do have a dessert wine they make from grapes that are dried in that style. They just stop the fermentation at a certain point.
Warren: They don’t call it Amarone.
Will: And they don’t call it Amarone. I can’t remember what the name is now.
Warren: The thing about Amarone is that’s changed a lot over the years too. Because we had a 75 Amarone a while back to kind of celebrate something or other that was going on. It wasn’t nearly as big as the current Amarones because in 75 they weren’t competing with Napa because Napa wasn’t worth competing with.
Will: And also everything was just cooler.
Warren: That is true, but I thought people are trying to make it bigger for the people who drink the bigger wines. Americans drink the most wine because there’s more of us. And we like really big wines because that’s who we are. We like everything bigger than it ought to be.
Will: I haven’t looked it up since 2013, but in 2013, that was the year that we became the world’s top wine consumer globally.
Warren: At any rate, I’ve had wines from that vineyard and they’re much bigger now. They compete with Napa Cabs as far as if you want that big mouth feel.
Will: What was the Vineyard? It wasn’t Quadretti?
Warren: No it was not Quadretti. I love Quadretti. That’s a great vineyard. If you can get your hands on it buy it.
Will: I didn’t know that they existed.
Warren: I could look it up. It’s like Bertani. It was a very good vineyard. Very good vineyard. Their 75 is just outside of my wheelhouse. Their current ones in it. Part of that is because people want the bigger wines in America and everybody’s making bigger wines than they used to.
Will: I find myself wondering if part of the reason that wine seemed to leave so many people behind in the 90s and the early 2000s is because of that shift. The shift away and by away I mean from people in general. The shift away from the old world style of winemaking to realizing that there was a new world style of winemaking. That it wasn’t just an accident or or that you could not just replicate that, but that it was reflecting a truth about wines
Warren: And about the consumers in the world’s biggest wine market.
Will: What a delicious wine.
Warren: That was marvelous. Thank you Drew Bledsoe. Thank you Josh McDaniels. You guys rocked it.
Will: And thank you for also letting me know that I should be less knee-jerk judgmental about seeing some kind of brand name on a wine. Whether it’s a sports star or or some other kind of celebrity that heretofore had nothing to do with wine, I should give them a shot because you never know.
Warren: You never do. You never do, though you know I’m never going to be a big fan of—
Will: The Wayne Gretzky Cab
Warren: The Wayne Gretzky Cab. You just can’t grow Cabernet Sauvignon in Canada. I’m sorry.
Will: He’s got to be having it trucked in.
Warren: I hope so, but it doesn’t matter. I had it right outside of his hometown. Horrible, just horrible. I don’t blame him for trying, but I probably would have moved to Napa if I were him. He’s got all the money in the world. He shoots, he scores—not this time.
Will: Suspend your judgment, but don’t dispense with it entirely.
Warren: It’s the wine. The wine is what counts. None of the hype matters. I mean the price matters to some extent because that judges whether or not you can get your hands on it. There are wines I’m not gonna buy. You’re not gonna sell me a three thousand dollar bottle of wine. I could afford it. I mean I wouldn’t go broke buying it every now and then. But I’m not going to do it. The value—I’ve had thousand dollar bottles of wine—seven hundred dollars of bottles wine—the value difference between something like this one and that is minuscule. At best, because sometimes they’re doing it—oh we only made 2,000 bottles so you’ve got to pay us a thousand dollars a bottle because we’ve got a lot of expenses. Well that’s cool but I’m not getting anything for that. I’m just helping underwrite your vineyard and I’m not really in the business to underwrite other people’s vineyards if all I’m getting out of that is a bottle.
Will: That’s the thing is that the Rubus really indicates something very interesting about the wine world. Not just the wine world, this kind of thing in general, is that scarcity is in large part manufactured. They didn’t have to sell, they could have made twice as many bottles as they usually did, driven down the price a little bit, but they didn’t want to. They wanted to keep it at that level. They wanted to be exclusive and that tells you because the fact that Rubus could sell it at $25 and who knows what the mystery people were selling it for.
Warren: I heard over two hundred dollars and that was a decade ago.
Will: That just goes to show you that there is a large part of this that is arbitrary.
Warren: One of the wines I do enjoy is the www.hundredacre.com. We mentioned that, It’s 100 Acre and I’ve got a bottle of it in my cellar. I purchased four bottles of it at seven hundred dollars a bottle. 699.00. There were only six allocated to the whole damn state. I mean you want to talk about your scarcity and that didn’t happen by accident. However when we review The Waith I may not say those things. I probably will, who am I kidding?
Will: We can say that only six were allocated to the state of Virginia. I mean that part is definitely true and they’re not really hiding that.
Warren: They sell it in three-bottle cases. They sent two cases, I managed to get the full case of one and—they’re not supposed to break those cases but one of the distributors—was just like I am never gonna sell a $2100 three pack of wine in this market and so he broke it up. I got one and, interestingly enough, a friend of mine down the road got one of them. I don’t know who got the third one. Floyd had—this tiny little county—five out of six of the allocation to the state of Virginia.
Will: It’s funny how that works. Years ago Floyd used to have two of the top 100 Vivino users in America. Every time you and I got together at Dogtown—
Warren: At the particular place that I buy most of my wine there’s another guy named, Tom, and he was also in the top hundred. Each state should have two. We had three of them in the wine shop. That wine shop was part of why we were all so highly ranked.
Will: I have such a backlog of wines. If I’m just able to find the labels I could go back and retroactively review vintages that probably don’t even exist anymore.
Warren: That’s part of it. I could go back through notes on old wines and Facebook posts where I talked about them. But you know what? None of that’s relevant now, even if you can get your hands on that wine. It’s been in a bottle for another decade and what I had to say about it 10 years ago doesn’t have anything to do with it now because it’s aged. It just isn’t correct, it won’t taste like my notes. They won’t be correct, even though they were at the time.
Will: They’re only good for so long and probably another year maybe two. They’re really just there to anchor your memories as to whether or not—
Warren: Okay the Predator—you can review it and it could be 30 years old and it’s right because that wine does not change, that wine does not change at all. It has too much mega purple and too much liquid smoke.
Will: Zero evolution.
Warren: You can pour that puppy into a decanter and leave it there overnight and it will taste the same in the morning. Now if that’s what you’re looking for and you like the way that wine tastes rock it, buy it, enjoy it. I just don’t.
Will: I will say this, there have been times at a party where I poured myself a glass of wine and for whatever reason got distracted and left it and came back. I’m like, oh I really should have drank that a while ago.
Warren: That will not happen with the Predator. And to tell you about the difference of how people view that wine. I went to a party and this person knows wine. He’s a good guy. I really like him, I won’t name him because he could end up being a guest here sometime. I brought the predator because it was the best one I could find in Food Lion. Everything else was closed and I’d just been invited that day and I felt terrible about it. He took one look at it and put it up and said, that’s too good for this riff-raff. He was talking about the people who were at the party and here I am thinking, oh my god I’m bringing the Predator and he’s like it’s too good for the riff-raff. You know and this guy has a good palate. He knows wine and maybe he knows his friends better than I do. But that wine was never going to change. It’s just what it is.
Will: He should have popped it right then in there.
Warren: He could pop it whenever he pops it, it was gonna taste the same.
Will: That’s true, apparently that’s the nice thing about it.
Warren: He was like, this is an Apothic Red crowd. I don’t mean to bash Apothic…. Yes I do.
Will: Yes you do.
Warren: So follow us on all the different social media. We will have a list. We will get this actually professionally produced and we will have places for you to follow us. Go through all the different social media and if you really want to support us you know there will be a Patreon and there will be, believe it or not, and Only Fans. I don’t promise to keep my shirt on, but that’s as far as we’re going. We’re not there for the porn aspect of it.
Will: We’re there because Only Fans has other uses.
Warren: If you ask us to review a $150 bottle of wine because you’re thinking about getting it for your anniversary; and we do and you love it and you want to toss us 10 bucks to say thanks, that’s what’s Only Fans is for. You can’t do that on Patreon.
Will: You can only do like a certain amount.
Warren: So we’re trying to come up with all the different places so that you can support us. We’re doing this because we love wine, but you know, sorry.
Will: We want other people to join in.
Warren: I’m a capitalist. I monetize pretty much everything I do. Well not everything, but you know that’s what we’re here for. Again think of us as your wine drinking buddies. At some point we will start telling you ahead of time what wines we’re drinking and give you links so you can drink them with us. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re going to get there and you’re going to drink a lot of wine with us there.
Will: There was a guy—the T.C. Carter band at Dogtown—on Friday. He said hey uh y’all just to let you know we got the tip jars up here in case you want to give us a little gas money to get home. He’s like. I’m worried y’all like didn’t hear me.
Warren: Because we’re not getting home without that gas money.
Will: I liked his persistence. I like that he immediately—like he didn’t do it later—he did it like right away and I went and I got all the money that I had in my wallet and I went over it’s like, TC this jar right here. He’s like yeah yeah, that one. I was like are you sure that I put the money in. I appreciate that kind of person that’s cool.
Warren: It’s a tough world. Cash, right, who’s got that anymore? Yesterday I took my kids to an amusement park. It was cashless. I’m not sure that’s legal, but they don’t really care. What are you going to do, sue them? They would not take your cash. I mean as somebody who’s owned businesses I understand. The thing is, when you become cashless, money stops disappearing from the till. The amount of money I’ve heard can be as high as 20 to 50 percent on average for American businesses. Money flies out of the till if you don’t have a way to know it. So when you go cashless it saves you all the time of having the little camera up above it and spending hours and hours trying to figure out if your employees are ripping you off. If you don’t trust your employees they’re worse, and if you do there’s still too many of them. It’s a tough thing to do. Having to live on tips outside where they’ve got to be cash. When I go to a major city I stuff my pocket with dollar bills and anybody with a sign gets a dollar bill. And everyone’s like, well what about all the people who are ripping you off? I’m like, you know what I’m okay with losing the money that people are ripping me off for because of the people who weren’t ripping me off, and who need it.
Will: And by and large the people with a sign probably aren’t professional beggars who make 40,000 a year doing that.
Warren: Another tangent here we go.
Will: As the wine flows the tangents increase.
Warren: Count on it. Thank you very much for coming to the inaugural version of Warren and Will’s Wild Wine Reviews. Not sure how wild it is, but you know keep watching. This hair color will probably change, the shirts will get wilder, Will might wear a dress. I mean you just don’t know what’s going to happen.
Will: You really do not know.
Warren: Thank you very much, have a great night. Drink some wine. If you can get your hands on this one, drink this one.
Will: You really should.
Warren: Good night.