It’s time once again for our monthly roundup of those wine-related samples received here at 1WD HQ that aren’t actually wine. While the last few months have focused on wine book releases, this month features… well, a wine book release, but also some other stuff that involve your wine-lovin’ eyeballs.
First, let’s get the book thing out of the way; my friend and fellow Philly-area-drinks-type-guy Jason Wilson has a new tome available for your reading pleasure: Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine (Abrams Press, 320 pages, about $20).
The premise of Godforsaken Grapes is that it’s a wine book that isn’t really a wine book, focusing on fine wine grapes like Ramisco, Bastardo, and Mencia that just don’t see the luv in terms of production volume, mind-share, and media coverage. The book also favors a quirky travelogue format, offering chapter titles such as Chateau du Blah Blah Blah, How Big is Your Pigeon Tower?, and The Same Port Dick Chaney Likes; so you know at a glance that you’re in for at least a little bit of Gonzo-style journalism. In other words, regular 1WD readers ought to love this tome.
Next, we move away from books but stay on print in what might be one of the stranger recommendations for me to have made in the wine product roundups; at least, until we get to the last recommendation in today’s post. I was contacted several weeks ago by the folks at FreeArt.com, who sent me over some of their free wine prints for consideration (the only difference between you ordering the free stuff and me ordering it is that I didn’t have to pay any shipping because review guy!).
There are thousands of wine prints available on their site, with the deal being that they will not charge you for the smaller sizes of said prints (but will charge shipping, framing, etc.). Granted, there’s a lot of filler/fluff among those images, but some of them are pretty badass, and the quality of the prints is very, very good. If you’re looking to round-out the decor for your cellar, or are a winery looking for tasting room art on a budget, this could be an interesting (and cost-effective) way to go…
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- NV Aguila Brut (Cremant de Limoux): Fresh, toasty, clearly possessing talent and know-how, and maybe just a touch self-absorbed. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- NV Williams & Humbert Canasta Cream Sherry (Andalucia): Its soul is Oloroso, so don’t expect this date to be cloying despite the sweet talk. $18 B >>find this wine<<
- 17 Tasca Regaleali Bianco (Sicilia): The real question here, with all of that gulpable tropical action, is – Where the hell is my hammock?!?? $11 B >>find this wine<<
- 12 Howell Mountain Vineyards Petite Verdot (Napa Valley): Dark, sultry, floral, toasty, and all-around seductive; sic, btw – lol, ikr? $60 A- >>find this wine<<
- 16 Angeline Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir (California): Delivered with a cherry-fruity, citrus-pithy, soon-to-be-a-distant-memory type of simplicity. $15 B- >>find this wine<<
- 15 Georges Duboeuf Brouilly (Brouilly): A strawberry-laden, peppery, perky delight; for this price, you don’t really need more info than that, do you?? $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas (Gigondas): Haughty and hearty, meaty and meaningful, and even at over 30 clams a bit of a bargain. $35 A- >>find this wine<<
- 14 Maison Nicolas Perrin Crozes-Hermitage (Crozes-Hermitage): Earthiness and meatiness that are dutifully trying to put the Fun back in Funky. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 17 Urban Provence Rose (Cotes de Provence): Almost obnoxiously floral, but also un-apologetically fresh, zesty, lively, and drinkable. $23 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 17 Berne Inspiration Rose (Cotes de Provence): Tropical fruits, cherries, and roses, all arguing a bit too loudly in what’s supposed to be the Quiet Car. $20 B >>find this wine<<
One of the worst aspects of the current state of political “discourse” in the USA is the penchant of leaders in our government towards vocalizing complete and total falsehoods, whenever and however it furthers their individual and/or party agendas, with seemingly little consequence for their actions.
Where they deem it necessary, they also repeatedly use this tactic to undermine the credibility of any ideas or expert opinions that they find inconvenient to the forwarding of their agenda, even when those ideas and expert opinions are based on (as in the examples of climate change and global warming) data that are incontrovertible. One need not search far, wide, or for long to find examples of this, many of them technically qualifying as libel, slander, or defamation.
Just as the U.S. wine world is not immune from modern cultural and technological shifts, it is, alas, also not immune from this ridiculous embracing of falsehood over fact, or the downward spiral into the cult of “fake” news wherein “truthiness” trumps (pun intended) actual truth in a disgusting sociopathic display of partisan greed, good old fashioned idiocy, or (too often) both.
Interestingly, this trend may be more a factor of generational social shortcomings now that the Baby Boomers are more-or-less in charge of everything political in the USA (an argument made in a cogent and convincing – though albeit overly-opinionated and overly-lengthy – way by Bruce Cannon Gibney in his book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America). Having said that, in my view, analyzing the reasons behind this worrying trend isn’t nearly as acute a need as is applying the disinfectant of attention. I.e., calling out and rejecting the behavior adamantly and quickly; consider it the intellectual and moral equivalent of weeding, or maybe playing Whack-a-Mole.
Thankfully, that’s just what happened recently when Naked Wines was more-or-less forced to apologize for going as low as the current U.S. political discourse in some of its most recent marketing efforts…
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Albert Jané knows how to work a wine media crowd.
Acústic’s Albert Jané, who is *not* actually pretending to play bongos on an old barrel
If you want to quickly win over such a group of wine geeks and influencers, you would have had access to a minor clinic in such powers of persuasion had you tagged along during my recent media tour visit to Jané’s Acústic Cellar, in the Montsant town of Marçà.
The script went something like this:
Take them to your gorgeous vineyard, replete with panoramic views of the mountainous Catalan countryside; show off your small two hectare lot of 40- to 80-year-old bush-trained Garnatxa and Samsó (a.k.a. Carignan) vines; say things like “the best barrel is the one you don’t taste,” and “the best winemakers here are the vineyards;” and gleefully pour your vinous wares, which happen to be excellent. Oh, and also serve delicious Spanish cheese.
Jané describes his wines as “unplugged” (hence the yeah-yeah-I-get-it cleverness of his company moniker), and it’s a fitting term for a winemaking style that seeks to showcase the concentrated, small clusters/berries of the organic fruit that Acústic’s old vines produce. Jané’s approach is relatively old school, favoring hand-harvesting and minimal oak treatment; which seems fitting, considering that his grandfather was a winemaker, his cellar is an old textile factory, and much of the exclusively indigenous vines in his vineyard were planted in the 1930s. Here’s a look at the latest quartet playing the Acústic Cellars tune…
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