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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker

Come Original (On Negative Reviews, #WBC14, Boring Wine Writing, & Non-Boring Wines)

Vinted on July 24, 2014 binned in commentary, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

“A warning to the crews out there who think they’re hot, if you’re not original rockers you will get shot
down by the kids neglectin’ your art, the stuff you did, eventually it get so bad puts you to bed
’cause when the lightning flashes sweet electricity, all the world then stands revealed with the clarity
of raw voltage, briefly we see and the hope is you’ll be able to tell just what dope is…”

- Come Original by 311

Earlier this month, I attended the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, CA, as a speaker on a panel titled “How The Pros Taste.” I was actually in town primarily to help a friend of mine, Wandering Wino, kick off  a post-WBC tasting event (called “Authentic Press”) that focused on small SB-area producers (happy to report that was well-attended, and nary a drop of under-performing juice was to be found among the stellar lineup that he selected to pour at the event), so the timing all worked out splendidly.

I enjoyed WBC14 (well, ok, apart from the big dinner, which always seems to fall flat at WBC for some reason, excepting Alan Kropf’s entertaining WBA presentation), and thought this was one of the best incarnations yet, particularly for those new to wine blogging. The WBC keynote address by Corbett Barr seemed divisive based on the twitter chatter, but I also enjoyed that talk; and for anyone who doubts Barr’s assertion that character trumps everything else when it comes to building up your brand online, consider as some evidence that what I make for writing about wine puts me in the top 5-10% of all U.S. wine writers (and it’s a sad commentary that amount is only bonus-level money compared to my previous corporate gig).

I won’t comment on the Wine Blog Awards. No offense meant to the winners (there are some fine blogs in that group), and I’m always touched to be nominated and to be named a finalist, but I’m still pretty “fringe” and gonzo when it comes to wine writing (which, after all these years blogging, is also a kind of sad commentary, when you think about it), so the things I value and want to see recognized (in almost any genre, not just wine writing) are usually not what get rewarded. Just imagine how I feel about the Grammy’s!

A few hiccups involving LA road rage delays impacting fellow panelist Patrick Comiskey aside, I also had fun participating on my panel (for those of you who were thinking that I was stroking moderator Steve Heimoff’s crotch under the table on stage, I was actually petting Steve’s adorable pet dog Gus, who was sitting quietly in Steve’s lap the entire time; that’s my story, anyway), waxing philosophic about how I go about critically tasting vino (and getting totally fooled by the final “mystery wine” of the lineup). I’m good for at least one or two re-tweetable money quotes per panel, and the one that got the most attention during the panel seemed to be my comment on negative wine reviews (“some wines need to be kicked in the crotch”), so I thought I’d talk a bit more about that stance here.

My view on negative wine reviews is that they, like serving rare vintages of the world’s finest wines, ought to be reserved for special occasions. I say this because only a few wines are epically bad enough –and were created with sufficient malicious intent – that they deserve your finest writing work…

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1WineDude.com TV Episode 61: “How The Pros Taste” From #WBC14

Vinted on July 22, 2014 binned in 1WineDude TV, on the road, wine bloggers conference

Some of you asked for it, so here it is: our panel on how the pros taste wine from the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Or most of our panel, anyway; as much of it as could be recorded before my video camera lost its juice.

More thoughts on the wines that we tasted during that panel, as well as on WBC14 itself, later this week. In the meantime, you now have about 50 minutes of vid to peruse if you’re curious as to how Steve Heimoff, Patrick Comiskey, and I suck the joy out of wine by tasting it critically!

1WineDude.com TV Episode 61: How The Pros Taste From WBC14

Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For July 21, 2014

Vinted on July 21, 2014 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!

  • 11 Raptor Ridge Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains): Vibrant, racy, pure, and with nary a score to settle with anyone. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Raptor Ridge Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Hearty is probably the right word for its largesse and its earthy appeal. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Fresh and tingly comfort wine, geared for fresh comfort foods. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Sweet melons and wet river stones, all temporarily acting as kissing cousins. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale): The sooner you admit that it is, in fact, sexy, the better off you'll be. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Gustave Lorentz Riesling Reserve (Alsace): Orchard levels of crisp fruit, car battery levels of acid; have crevice at the ready. $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial (Champagne): Is "sextural" a word? Let's just say for now it is a word and we'll go with that, okay? $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Uvaggio Primitivo (Lodi): If only more of its Italian brethren churned out Zin as tasty and zesty as this… sigh… if only… $14 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Uvaggio Vermentino (Lodi): One foot on California land, one foot on Mediterranean shoreline, head in the clouds and loving it. $14 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah (Walla Walla Valley): Asking no quarter for its dark ripeness, & giving none in its heat in return. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Chateau La Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne Rose (Cotes de Provence): It will explain why all rose journeys should begin in Provence. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<

“One Foot Old World, One Foot New World” (Quivira Recent Releases)

Vinted on July 17, 2014 binned in elegant wines, on the road, wine review

Ask Quivira winemaker (sorry, winegrower, as they prefer to call him) Hugh Chappelle for the Cliff Notes version of their style, and this is what you’ll get:

“One foot Old World, one foot New World.”

That’s a pretty darned good summation, based on my recent visit to their Dry Creek Valley winery. I should give you a similar Cliff Notes version of the entire Quivira story, before we get into the wines: A corporate drug company executive (Henry Wendt) gets attracted to a spot in Dry Creek Valley in the `80s, and as a avid fisherman gets upset at the decline in fish population in the nearby creek. Conventional farming is blamed, and a move to sustainable farming and Biodynamics ensues in the mid 2000s, after which Pete and Terri Kight purchase the place. Now they have 93 acres planted primarily to Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, along with a smattering of Rhone varieties such as Viognier, Grenache, and Mourvedre.

Quivira makes about 13,000 cases a year, using fruit from three estate vineyards, with a modest, restrained style that typically garners modest, restrained scores from mainstream wine critics.

Which, I think, means that those critics are missing the point of Quivira’s wines, which isn’t about conforming to a preconceived notion of how certain varieties – like Zinfandel – ought to be crafted (presumably into the highest bombast style wines possible). Maybe they’re taking the wild boar on Quivira’s label (a depiction of an adopted pet named Ruby who “died fat and happy” according to the Quivira staff) too literally, and assuming that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Whatever…

Much of what Quivira seems to be about is turning those conventional notions of Californian Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel on their (sow’s) ears…

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