What A Trump Presidency Means For The Wine Business

Vinted on December 6, 2016 binned in commentary
Trump bird

Americans flipping the bird to the rest of the world

I travel the world. A lot.

For example, I was in Chile when Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America (and yes, I voted by mail before I’d left for the trip).

Since Trump’s election, I’ve traveled to other countries, all for wine-biz-related stuff, and the same question keeps being asked to me by well-meaning but concerned members of the wine biz. The same two questions, actually.

  1. How the f*ck did that just happen?!??
  2. What do you think Trump’s presidency means for the wine business?

I’m not only unequipped to answer the first question, I don’t think that, if I were, I’d have a decent, coherent explanation anyway (see the attempts by everyone else).

Regarding answering the second, I’ve got some good news/bad news for you. This is what I’ve been answering to everyone posing that second question to date:

Probably not much.

Since that seems a little (too) brief, I feel compelled to go into the details. But trust me, they won’t get us much further along the path to a viable answer…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 5, 2016

Vinted on December 5, 2016 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 15 M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc (Cotes du Roussillon): Long name, longer value, for a short stack of cash. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Domaine Laroche Saint Martin Chablis (Chablis): Floral, fragrant, flinty, fresh & fruity; so, there's not much not to love here. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 McCay TruLux Zinfandel (Lodi): Equating the words Zinfandel and Lovely in an elegantly concise winemaking – & drinking – equation. $32 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer (Sonoma Coast): Outsized, but absolutely no doubt that it's in fine varietal and imbibing form. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Etude Ellenbach Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Brought to you by the letter B – Bold, Big, Beautiful. As in, totally BAF. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Etude North Canyon Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Familiar enough to get close, darkly intriguing enough to surprise. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • NV Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs (California): Currants, class, and a handy penchant for being quite conversant at the dinner table. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Dutton Goldfield Azaya Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir (Marin County): Spot of blackberry tea. dear? You'd be a fool to refuse this one. $58 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Dutton Goldfield McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir (Fort Ross-Seaview): Yes, it will age well; no, you will not want to wait anyway. $62 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay (Napa Valley): A green apple goddess bestowing her mineral pixie dust blessings upon on you. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
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Don’t Pair Squirrels With Tawny Port… Or Beer… or Jeffs… (We Like Drinking Podcast #98)

Vinted on December 1, 2016 binned in 1WineDude Radio, crowd pleaser wines, wine review

We Like Drinking Podcast

It’s been a little while since I was a guest on the eminently entertaining and perennially NSFW We Like Drinking podcast, so I was all-in when they asked me to join a cadre of Jeffs (show hosts Jeff Eckles and Jeff Solomon, and former-Philly-wine-guy Jeff Kralik) for their 98th episode.

During our little virtual drinking session, we hit on the topics of $20K beer bottles sold in taxidermaled squirrels, the encroachment of marijuana on the wine industry in the USA, and my upcoming stint at the US BevX conference in D.C.

You can listen to the nearly two-hour drunken revelries here, or via the embed below… just make sure that you are well-lubricated before you do so.

Now, since this was a virtual drinking session, we of course all brought some libations. And given my recent deep dive into the world of Port, I thought it only fitting to sip (ok, maybe a bit more than sip) some Portuguese elixir during the WLD podcast…

crowd pleaserQuinta de la Rosa 20 Year Old Tawny Port (Porto, $50)

Quinta de la Rosa 20 year tawny port

image: quintadelarosa.com

One thing’s for sure about Quinta de la Rosa, they like their wines bold, but fresh, fruity, and decidedly un-cloying, even in the realm of their dessert wines. Such is the case with their 20 Year Tawny Port, aged in both 550L old oak pipes and tonels, which (true to form with their other Port offerings) is vividly brighter in color than most other Tawnies, and decidedly fresh in its palate vibrancy. Don’ get me wrong, we’re still talking about a pecan pie pairing wine, but even in its dried-fig-iness there are fresher fig and plum aromas and flavors peeking out.

Other than a slightly less oxidized profile, you get everything that you’d expect from an aged Tawny: palate richness, powerful alcoholic presence, baking spices, toasted almonds, liqueur and caramel notes. It’s just all delivered in a mouthfeel that has a lot more lift than one might expect, and, I’d bet, would be dangerously easy to imbibe for anyone within arm’s length distance of an open bottle.

Cheers!

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Because Some Of You Still Read, Right? (November 2016 Wine Products Roundup)

Vinted on November 29, 2016 binned in wine books, wine products

I’ve been inundated with wine book samples this month (which I’ll note is November 2016, for posterity’s sake, and for those of you still sobering up from Thanksgiving), both the electronic and the good, old-fashioned dead-tree varieties. And so, I’m going to use this edition of the wine product roundup to give you a little taste of the current wine book scene (all prices noted are for hardcover editions).

Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Guide 2017Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine 2017: 40th Anniversary by Hugh Johnson ($16.99, Mitchell Beazley)

Bottom line: highly recommended.

Every year for the last several years, I’ve received a sample of the latest edition in this series. Every year for the last several years, I think that this insanely useful little gem cannot possibly get any more insanely useful. Every year for the last several years, I have been wrong, and 2016 continues the trend. The high bar that’s been set for this go-to reference book for the last forty years has predictably been matched, but I’d argue it’s also been exceeded, in that the “If you like this, try that” and “wine stories” article themes that have been reserved for this edition’s color pages sections are superb (and make the book even more useful). If you’ve skipped the last couple of editions, it’s time for an upgrade.

 

24 hour wine expertThe 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson ($12.95, Abrams Image)

Bottom line: recommended, with reservations.

It’s not that The 24-Hour Wine Expert isn’t a very good wine book; it is, and Jancis Robinson brings her sharp prose and equally sharp mind to pop many a wine myth balloon within its short 112 pages. The idea, espoused by Robinson in the opening Welcome section, is to use the book to answer common wine questions (how is wine made?, how should one buy wine?, what hardware should be used?, etc.) as they come up. The trouble is, the book is positioned in a way that leverages the very kinds of sweeping generalizations and shortcuts that Robinson has spent nearly her entire career in the public spotlight battling against, and ignores a more comprehensive wine knowledge resource of which Robinson has become a particularly skilled champion: the Internet. There’s useful information here, no doubt, but the usefulness of a hardcover copy is debatable…

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