Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

"Whatever happened to..."

Posted by dmcker, Jul 12, 2016.

Post here about wines that used to satisfy, but for whatever reason (corporate buyout, founder dying, price gouging or other repositionings resulting from lusting lunges towards greater monetary reward, etc., etc. ad nauseum) have either disappeared or now become a disappointment. The more story, the better.

I'll get the ball rolling with some simple examples in the wine context:

  • Chalone. 'nuff said.
  • Martini and Sebastiani. Used to be daily quaffers or more that were interesting and punched way above their weight across a number of varietals. Good wines that were fairly well distributed. Corporate buyouts and new management approaches have meant they've become simpler, more homogenized, less interesting wines, even if more widely distributed.
  • Paul Masson and Christian Brothers and Italian Swiss Colony.
  • Caymus. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
  • CA chenin blanc and charbono.



Reply by rckr1951, Jul 12, 2016.

Deux Ami Winery - After the change over there are no where to be found, except on line. Never hear of them at all. Used to love their big, ballsy petite sirahs.

About Sebastiani, they make a Gravel Bed Red Blend now, '13 flew out the stores and people are buying the '14 in anticipation the same way.  Tried to buy the '14 through KL - was there one day, the next gone.

Reply by dmcker, Jul 12, 2016.

Now for broader context (and the de rigeur tangent). Whatever happened to...


Bitcoin--assassination by vested interests?



Leia & Luke?



The Bell Beef & the KrispyKreme Triple Cheeseburger? And the 'yo quiero' chihuahua, for that matter?


Ultraman & Sponge Bob?

Baby Jane?



Progressive taxes and the American middle class?



To jazz music?


To Jugula?



To The Future?


Reply by Really Big Al, Jul 12, 2016.

I loved the Thunderbirds as a kid.  Talk about great puppet action!

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 12, 2016.

Nice idea...

Hopefully we don't see Vietti here in time..

Reply by dmcker, Jul 12, 2016.

Well Al, it was a choice between them or Disney's 'TomorrowLand' or Superman's 'Man of Tomorrow' when I wanted to point to the innocence in the '50s and early '60s discussing how wonderful the world of The Future would be.

BTW, there's a good article linked off Jazz music postulating, amongst other things, that the Beatles killed jazz while Elvis couldn't.

Reply by GregT, Jul 13, 2016.

Nah, jazz killed jazz. Same as classical music killed itself. Once it stopped appealing to our emotions and started appealing only to our intellect, it became irrelevant.

But I had no idea who those people were - had to look again. Cripes!

As far as food items, I remember when Good Humor had real ice cream. Then they came up with this stuff that doesn't drip when it melts. No idea what it is now.

And yogurt. I remember a Greek girl bringing to school some that she'd made at home and the rest of the kids had no idea what it was. Then Dannon appeared on the scene and Americans took a liking to it. It used to be real yogurt with some fruit preserves on the bottom. Then they added starch and gelatin to the fruit and it became a kind of thick goo. And then they added it to the yogurt and it got all stiff and rubbery. And then they shrunk the size of the container. It used to be milk and culture. Now it has ingredients.


Reply by dmcker, Jul 13, 2016.

Yeah Greg, the thing about Cinema is we unconsciously think the actors and actresses continue to look as they did in the movies we saw them in. Am sure it took a lot of physical training and dieting and makeup to get the two as presentable as they were in the most recent Star Wars iteration. Harrison Ford, plane crash and all, seems to have weathered time and gravity better. In the other two's cases plenty of stress of all sorts, including no small amount of dissipation, contributed to the crumbling of the edifices. Though it may not seem all that long ago in our memories of certain cinematic experiences that they looked different as they pranced about, as with everything else sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, and time's flying has facilitated plenty of real world crumbling. I'm not just talking about the usual translation where missed opportunities are regretted, but also the inevitable leveling by time.

My first encounter with yogurt was at the dinner table of a friend of my mother's. Dense, dark brown bread with dense, semi-solid Greek-style homemade yogurt (those were fine but when boiled cow's tongue hit the table that quickly grossed me out). No one else in earlier generations of my family, and almost none of my friends' families, ever had the stuff. This was before Knudsen (in CA) or Danone or anyone else had any fruited yogurt on the market. Now, of course, Greek yogurt commands a serious premium. And there's rarely a day or two that goes by that I don't have plain yogurt in some part of my diet. Haven't been able to eat that sweet fruit-flavored goop for decades, though I did freeze them and take them in my sack lunches back when I was working summer jobs in high school. Could eat anything then and required caloric volume, but still managed pretty healthy diets because it was before too much junk food saturated the marketplace,and I grew up in an agriculturally inclined extended family.

Read that jazz article and then let's discuss again. Will agree that's what killed Classical music, though. It was such a central part of my upbringing and I performed it on several instruments but now when my daughters have kids who knows how it'll be viewed by that generation (though their kids will listen to both Classical and Jazz, I'm sure, since their moms love the stuff). Nowadays, to put butts in seats, phenoms from countries with limited or no classical traditions, who have good technique but no soul to understand and express the composer's intentions, are thrown at the public and feel they need to pander through short, slitted skirts or flowery gesticulations to strengthen their brand appeal. As with most things these days including wine, 2nd-rate critics and bloggers play them up so the audience is primed to think they're better musicians than they are. Talk to the conductors after hours over drinks about how they really think of them and you'll hear a different story. Though those conductors also appreciate the butts in the seats.

Reply by rckr1951, Jul 13, 2016.

I, for one don't really care where the Krispy Kreme went as long as it's not my plate...and I still listen to jazz.

Reply by dmcker, Jul 13, 2016.

Back to wine, whatever happened to :

Wente and the Livermore Valley?

Showed so much promise three or four decades ago.

Reply by rckr1951, Jul 14, 2016.

Add Concannon to the LV list.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 14, 2016.

Thoma Coyne made wine in the LV and seemed like the best prospect, but they closed the business recently after the founder died.  That link will take you to K&L where they are closing out the wines.  On the whole, I think LV is too hot, always was, but now especially.  It's been paved over enough to be a heat island in a hot place, and California has moved on to care about quality more than reliably hot weather for ripening, so cooler areas are producing more of the quality wines these days.  L:V survives mostly because some people still like pruney wines, and because lots of people moved to minimansion developments there who want to feel like they live in "wine country."  So they drive to the local places, get on the mailing lists, and support bad local wines.  Just my opinion.  But there's a whole world in Alameda County just past the Castro Valley grade on 580 that supports a lifestyle more like Orange County than SF.  That area also includes areas of Contra Costa County from, say, Walnut Creek to San Ramon.  when I was a kid, there was wine out there, and lots of cattle, but we would never have gone there for the wineries, since we could get to Napa in only a little more time. 

Wente is a clone of Chardonnay now, more respected than the winery, The winery is known as much for its concert series in summer, its golf course, and the like as for wine.  However, the Wente family still runs the place, and they are very involved in local politics, at least when someone challenged the matriarch's ex-husband for his congressional seat.  (BTW, Stark's "new" wife is about 49 yo now, so maybe he will be on the lookout again. He's got a daughter my age and a son about seven years older than I am. Stark was elected when I was nine, so figure out the math.)

Reply by dmcker, Jul 14, 2016.

Good answer, Fox. Any other label that's in the lesser-of-all-those-evils category? Seems NapaGirl might have something to say here, too.

Reply by dmcker, Jul 18, 2016.

Whatever happened to Chateau Souverain and its most pleasant on-premises restaurant? Lots of lazy weekend brunches over sparkling or their chenin blanc way back in the '70s, then making an effort in the late'80s to go there for the food when Gary Danko was in the kitchen. My understanding is that Coppola bought the property a decade ago, but is he utilizing the restaurant in any customer-friendly way?



And whatever happened to the idea of being able to eat good food, not just taste whatever wine, on winery premises? Especially because so many are situated in such lovely bucolic settings. Why hasn't that taken off better in CA or OR or WA or anywhere else in the States?

Reply by vin0vin0, Jul 18, 2016.

Know just what you mean DM, we had one of the best lunches ever at Étoile at Domaine Chandon in Napa a couple years back. It didn't hurt that a really good friend worked for them at the time and comp'd us $100 on the lunch. We still had to put down about $50 on top of that but it was worth every penny. They paired either bubbles or wine with each course and the food and the drink were phenomenal. I still remember the lobster crepe app and the salmon that were incredible.

Reply by dvogler, Jul 18, 2016.

There's still some great jazz out there, whether it's original material or great singers covering the standards. I like Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Kurt Elling.  There's even some decent original classical composers.  For me, classical went weird with Stravinski and Schoenberg.  I have to be flexible though and realize even my tastes will evolve, even with wine.  When I first tried a warm Krispy Kreme, I admit it was nice, but I couldn't eat them all the time.  They opened in Canada in 2001 and by 2005 filed for creditor protection.  Sorry I've been drinking some nice wine and not telling you guys about it. 

Reply by dmcker, Jul 22, 2016.

So no help with current status of that restaurant at the former Ch. Souverain?

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