Featured User: Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal is an attorney. He has been married to Jane for 27 years and is a father of three teenagers from great vintages – Mateo (1999), Juliana (2001) and Helen (2002). The latter two were adopted three years ago from Colombia. He is founding chairman of a nonprofit safety-net hospital in South Los Angeles (MLK Community Hospital), which is his passion outside of family, work and wine. He lives in Altadena, California. Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Manny Abascal: Many years ago I was in a several months-long trial out of town that forced me to go out to dinner every night. At one of the first dinners, we had a bottle of Donnafugata Mille e Una Notte at a family run, Italian restaurant, and I just got hooked – the wine, pairing and setting changed the way I thought of meals and wine. From there I started tasting, collecting and researching. The more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew. The complexity of it all – the regions, makers, vintages – is fascinating but what has kept me passionate is seeing the passion that many winemakers put into their craft. I have had the privilege of meeting some of my favorite makers - Lafarge , Mascarello , Matthiasson , Corison – and knowing the effort they put into their craft makes their wines more than just a beverage for me. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? MA: Volnay in Burgundy has been my favorite region for years - floral, complex, balanced. Lately, I have also been chasing Pinot Meunier based champagnes, like Prevost , Brochet and Goutourbe-Boillot - linear, nice acidity and minerality. But truly, I am focusing on getting deeper in my collection with certain winemakers I love than any given region. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? MA: I had an Algerian Carignan. I appreciate what they are doing and the long history of winemaking there, but it was not for me. D: What is your golden rule for wine? MA: Balance. I don’t enjoy too much extraction or alcohol and want something that will pair with a meal. D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? MA: I would commence litigation against the person who told me I was not allowed to have wine. That is my only option because I do not drink any other alcohol, except maybe Saki , but then again, that is a rice wine, so I may still be in trouble. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine. MA: I would pair Forrest Gump with an aged Burgundy because life is like an aged Burgundy, you never know what you are going to get. The Princess Bride with a bottle of Champagne would be a close second. D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? MA: Most days I feel like something corked, but aspirationally I would like to be something from Santa Cruz, like a Ridge Monte Bello or a Rhys Chardonnay . The region is interesting, not as famous as others, has some well-established class (Ridge) but also relatively new innovators (Rhys), and the quality is there.

Patrick Piuze

Côte de Bouqueyreaux Bougros Chablis Grand Cru Chardonnay 2010

Lemon curd, honey, silky texture. Not fully characteristic of region, missing the saline and oyster shell. — a month ago

Ira, Ron and 8 others liked this
Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal Premium Badge

Thanks!!
Sharon B

Sharon B

Congratulations on your feature!

Château Léoville Poyferré

Saint Julien Red Bordeaux Blend 2000

Young, big, bold. My daughter Juliana holding bottle, she also is young and bold. — 2 months ago

Eric, Anthony De and 12 others liked this

Domaine François Raveneau

Valmur Chablis Grand Cru Chardonnay 2006

Life is short so why not open a Raveneau Valmur on a Wednesday night? — 2 months ago

Shay, Ira and 7 others liked this
Alan Weinberg

Alan Weinberg

I agree. Make the wine the occasion.

Domaine Henri Gouges

Les Pruliers Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Pinot Noir

Clean, fresh nose, vibrant blue and red fruits, silky texture, balanced, understated, long finish. Actually love this wine and wasn’t expecting to like it so much. — 5 months ago

Ron, Alan and 1 other liked this
Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal Premium Badge

2007, a good vintage in my view.

Rhys Vineyards

Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Rich, butterscotch, silky texture. Meursault like. Don’t know another California winemaker making Chardonnay like this. Five years too early. — 4 months ago

Ira, Shay and 13 others liked this
Alan Weinberg

Alan Weinberg

the only domestic list I am on—great wine. Very Meursault, as you noted.
Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal Premium Badge

I agree. Do you have older vintages? I have some 08 but even those are young.
Alan Weinberg

Alan Weinberg

been buying since the first vintage, mostly the Chardonnays.

Charles Krug

Vintage Selection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1965

1965. Birth year wine on birthday. Pronounced nose, weak in the middle, tired at the finish. But enough about me, the wine was great. Interesting at first with ripe strawberry, cherry, forest floor, cedar notes, long finish. After opening up bell pepper flavors emerged, which was fine but others may not like. I enjoy these old bottles made by the Mondavi family, this one signed by Cesare. Enriches the experience to know you are drinking an historic, old wine made by an iconic family. — 2 months ago

Shay, Ira and 7 others liked this
David L

David L Influencer Badge Premium Badge

I’ve had it. After all I read about the vintage. Couldn’t believe how well this stood up. I have one more bottle in my cellar. Cheers!
Mark Flesher

Mark Flesher

NICE! These seem to always drink well!! Looks like a great time!

Chateau Montelena

The Montelena Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Pronounced nose, blue and black fruit on palate, sweet, silky, long finish. Elegant, balanced, has life ahead of it. One of the first wines I started buying when I became interested in wine, always a treat. — 4 months ago

Shay, Ron and 3 others liked this

Bruno Giacosa

Santo Stefano di Neive Riserva Barbaresco Nebbiolo 1998

On back half of life. Exudes class. Pronounced balsamic and herbal nose, balance, long finish. — a month ago

Shay, Ron and 12 others liked this

Bruno Giacosa

Le Rocche di Castiglione Falletto Barolo Nebbiolo 1999

I sponsored a tasting of Giacosa wines in honor of his passing this year. His craftsmanship was on display with each wine showing its unique terroir while also showing the winemaker’s commitment to quality. This 1999 was the Wine of the night - all the characteristics of Barolo but in a racy, alluring, impeccably balanced style with an endless finish. Has many more years ahead. — a month ago

Shay, Mike and 13 others liked this
Ira Schwartz

Ira Schwartz Influencer Badge Premium Badge

@Manny Abascal very nice tasting 👍🏻. Was pleased to read the ‘99 comment as I own a bottle , my only Giacosa.
Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal Premium Badge

Ira - no rush on the 99. It has many years ahead of it.

Matthiasson

Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2013

Pronounced nose, floral, some pencil, red fruit - cherry - on palate, mineral, elegant, balanced, clean and endless finish. Best Merlot I’ve ever had. Will age the rest of my bottles, feel I had this one way too young. — 3 months ago

Ira, Ron and 6 others liked this
Larry Frierson

Larry Frierson

Trotanoy.
Manny Abascal

Manny Abascal Premium Badge

Ha! I knew I was taking a chance with the phrase “best ever had.” I’m happy to be proven wrong by anyone willing to share those bottles.
Larry Frierson

Larry Frierson

Clever retort.