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

Two Years Before The Masthead (Reflections On Becoming A Professional Wine Writer)

Vinted on April 22, 2014 under going pro
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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!

“You should write about being a professional wine writer.”

That’s the advice I got recently from a close friend, after we’d somehow gotten on the topic of picking writing topics. “Why the f*ck would anybody want to read that?” was my response, to which I added, “I’m not even a professional wine writer.”

My friend’s response: “oh, really? Say, what do you get paid to do nowadays?” (the “, dumbass” ending was, apparently, implied, and was further underscored by my realization that content about changing careers was exactly the sort of stuff I’d been finding such compelling reading on finance blogs lately.

To which my only (sheepish) answer was, “uhmm… writing and talking about wine…?” (you know you’re f*cked when you express a statement as a question).

The realization that I make my living (the bill-paying part, anyway) primarily by writing about wine – which by definition now makes me a professional wine writer – was apparently obvious to everyone else but me, presumably because I was too busy trying to make a living as a professional wine writer to notice (please feel free to insert the implied “, dumbass!”).

But facts are facts, and those are the facts. I’m officially two years into Going Pro in the wine biz, two years since I bid the Corporate America day job life adieu and finally took the leap into the freelance world (itself taking place a good two years or so after initially planned), Two Years Before The (1WineDude) Mast(head). And so… how has it been? What’s it like?

It’s pretty f*cking awesome!…

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

Vinted on April 21, 2014 under 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 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Like a china doll, it's almost too fragile too handle. $28 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alta Maria Vineyards Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Like a department store, there's perfume going for days $48 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Alta Maria Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Barbara County): "Why am I so soft in the middle, the rest of my life is so… grassy." $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Truchard Cabernet Sauvignon (Carneros): Acting like a fitness trainer in the midst of an overweight California Cabs convention. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Truchard Pinot Noir (Carneros): Eschewing glamour, pomp & circumstance, instead focusing on over-delivering on tangent alone. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Truchard Roussanne (Carneros): Yes, it dresses rich, flashy, and opulent, but there's simply no escaping outs pithy upbringing. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Beatty Ranch Vineyard Howell Mountain Zinfandel (Napa Valley): If it's intense focus U want, then intense focus U shall get! $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie White Hawk vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County): Dark of fruit, but still bright of character, & almost overly fond of mint. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Las Madres Vineyard Los Carneros Syrah (Sonoma County): …And so I'll have to saaaay olive yoooou, in a sooooonnng… $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vie Melange Maison I House Blend (California): Hell bent, hell bent for leaatherrrrr…. and rustic, tasty, brambly fruit, too. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Vie Belle-Amie Rose (Santa Barbara County): Hey! Hey guys! Guys! Seriously, watch me do my Tavel impersonation, it's killer!!! $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Vie Roussanne (Lake County): Might be just a biiiiiiit too rich for your blood; but fakin' it this puppy most certainly is not. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<

Vying For Napa’s Best Reds, By Way Of Hungary… Oh, And Bordeaux, Too (Kapcsandy Family Winery Recent Releases)

“Our competition isn’t Napa Valley; it’s Bordeaux.”

That’s how Lou Kapcsandy sums up the goal of his 3,000 (ish) case production winery, a building that nestles up to about 15 acres of vineyard land that formerly went into Beringer’s `75 Private Reserve (“we purchased it in 2000 without them knowing anything about it,” he told me), and which might best be described as ‘polished-industrial.’

But that kind of upscale nondescript casing is fitting for the no-nonsense Kapcsandy, particularly when you consider that he’s a former chemical engineer and wine importer (not much use for flash in those endeavors).

But just wait until you get a load of what Hungarian-born Kapcsandy has going on in the vineyard and inside that Napa Valley production facility; you engineering types are gonna get a slice of geek heaven out of this.

Let’s start with the land: the Kapcsandy’s had 34 (!) pits dug into the vineyard for analysis, concluding that “literally within fifty yards, the growing conditions are different” on the heavy clay-ladden former riverbed. “At one point,” according to Kapcsandy, “it was 118.5F in the vineyard; the next morning, the same spot was 50F.” NASA-style satellite imagery was employed, convincing them to plant the vineyard along a magnetic north-south orientation, and dense plantings. Fruit is dropped, pesticides are avoided when possible, and generally Lou Kapcsandy frowns a lot when talking about “”what he calls “vineyard gymnastics.”

The results are mostly red blends that, in my experience, stand up to Napa’s best (and particularly shine come Premiere Napa Valley time – those tastings are what prompted my visit to the Kapcsandy’s in the first place). Expensive, for sure, but ludicrously good. Which is why I am waxing poetic about them here in the first place, of course.

So… yeah, let’s geek out on the in-winery stuff now…

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Win Tickets To #RiojaWeek Tapas Fest 2014 In NYC!

Vinted on April 15, 2014 under giveaways, wine industry events

Two words: Jamon Galleria.

That’s just one of the culinary delights that you can experience at the upcoming Rioja Week Tapas Fest and Grand Tasting taking place at Weylin B. Seymour’s in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 1PM ET. The event will also feature a Casa de Tapas, a Paella and Vino Garden, a Cheese Cave, and something like 200 Rioja wines.

And three of you are going to get to go for free. Who loves ya, baby?!?

I’m excited to tell you that this month I’ve got a (paying) gig with Rioja Wines in which I will be taking part in Tapas Fest in NYC (mostly as a panel moderator for both geekified and introduction-style panel sessions about Rioja wine) as well as hosting a #RiojaBuzz Tweet Chat on April 24th at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST (during which we’ll start tasting through some Rioja goodness in lip-smacking anticipation of the NYC event).

I’ll naturally not be formally reviewing any Rioja juice here on 1WD until after that gig has ended. And at this point I’m not sure if I’m in it more for the excitement of how awesome this NYC event is going to be (I’ve seen the insider details on the culinary coolness that will be on hand, and my keyboard is wet from the Pavlovian salivation responses), the fact that I am getting paid, or just the chance to taste Rioja jamon again. Anyway, check out the crazy lineup for this event and you’ll see what I mean.

Now, me being me, I kind of forced my hand with the amiable Rioja Wine folks in order to get some of you at this event (you know, for moral support and all that)! So three lucky 1WD readers will get two tickets each to the Tapas Fest on May 3 at 1PM ET, along with a groovy gift bag of food-related goodies (see inset pic, total value about $150).

Wanna shot at winning? Here’s the skinny…

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