I know what you’re thinking:
Man, I really hope that today’s 1WineDude post somehow combines the Acura Integra, InfoTech department payroll practices, farm animals, Lord of the Rings, marijuana, and estate-grown California Syrah!
What can I say? Who loves ya, baby?!?
On second thought, I might have painted myself into a serious blogging corner here… let’s just push on and see how all of this pans out, shall we?
You see, Pavo Wines Syrah is not my first run-in with a wild turkey (though this wine is no “turkey” – more on that in a minute or two; or three). No, not that Wild Turkey, either. No, what I’m talking about are the large and sometimes colorful birds that tend to roam on farmland across much of North America.
A little over 10 years ago, I was speeding through the backroads of southeastern PA on my way to work, just after dawn on a gorgeous morning, zipping through twisting, winding roads that bisected local farms. When I say “speeding” I mean speeding. As in, the kind of speeding that not only breaks local traffic laws, it borders on violating county moral and ethical standards as well. I was flirting with being late for work, and at that time my InfoTech day job had a punch-card policy – we ‘clocked-in’ for work just like anyone else on the site (which consisted mostly of factory floor workers). This policy managed to promote a few interesting behaviors, like creating a feeling of equity among the entire site staff, and also allowed the company to offer a ‘punctuality bonus’ if you showed up on time (which is a nice way of saying that if you are late, you’ll be docked a percentage of that day’s pay). In my case, it helped create unsafe roadways, since I was hell-bent that day on not missing out on some pay, if you catch my drift.
Hugging the road, I had but one stretch of farmland to cross before I’d be out of the woods (literally and figuratively). I took the final turn (blind, of course, as most of these turns are in PA) on the bisecting lane at ridiculous speed, steering for the apex and finding directly in front of me, just as I cleared the corner, two very large and very unsuspecting wild turkeys, making their leisurely way across the road. They couldn’t have been more directly in front of my oncoming road hazard.
SCREEEEEECH went the brakes. The car stopped so suddenly, and jerked forward so roughly, that I wasn’t sure if I’d hit anything or not. I peeked over the steering wheel. Nothing. A pregnant moment passed that couldn’t have been more than a few seconds but felt like a lifetime. A head appeared above the windshield. A turkey head. It was bobbing, clearly perturbed, offering up a “Beeatch – I’m gonna f—k you UP!” look, but it was a head that was otherwise unharmed. I leaned forward and saw its mate follow suit, but she appeared less agitated at the whole affair. They couldn’t have been more than 16 inches in front of my car.
To recap: that’s the Acura, IT payroll, and farm animals. Now, it’s time to talk about the wine (yeah, yeah, and Lord of the Rings – I didn’t forget); a wine that takes its logo from a wild turkey, and like a turkey is tasty, colorful, and dense (just not that meaning of dense)…
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Last week saw the continuation of the latest Twitter Taste Live experiment, which has a small number of bloggers tasting a selection of wines from Argentine producers, concentrating weekly on samples from select winemaking regions within that country. Call it a virtual tour of Argentina, lived vicariously through wine (and the 140-character portal-to-the-world that is twitter).
We’ve already been through the dizzying heights of Salta, where vines are planted 5,000-10,000 feet above sea level and Torrontes achieves styles that range from flowery to elegant. Last week, we ventured to Mendoza, the earthly dwelling place of the soul of the dense & dark Malbec.
Most Malbec fans know (and love) it in its tannic, concentrated, dark & lovely (and low-priced) form – an almost perfect accompaniment to hearty, grilled or BBQ meats. But the producers that were highlighted in last week’s TTL (Jean Bousquet, Trapiche, Zuccardi and O. Fournier wineries) showed more complex sides of the stalwart Argentine star performer. Just as the range of what’s possible with Torrontes stole the show in our Salta tasting, what shone through in last week’s event was just how well Malbec can reflect terroir when it’s put into capable hands.
How impressed was I? Let’s put it this way: I declared the 2006 O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec to be the best wine that we’ve ever poured for a TTL event, and I’ve participated in nearly every single TTL since its inception over a year ago. You read that correctly – the best wine poured at a TTL, ever. For the record, I was spitting and (mostly) sober.
It’s worth noting that, true to recent form, twitter’s search API puked all over itself just as the event was supposed to kick off. What should have ended in a premature disaster due to twitter’s inaccessibility and slow performance became a memorable and enjoyable tasting – which is a big credit to the TTL staff and participating winemakers who hung in there and rallied the bloggers once things returned to relative normalcy in twitter-ville. TasteLive.com are planning some changes that will help the events to carry on even when twitter isn’t cooperating – more on that in the near future.
Read on to playback a recap of the twitter stream from last week’s event…
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“Who cares what wine bloggers have to say, after all?”
That question has been posed (with full negative connotation) by at least two established wine personalities as recently as a few months ago – one the most influential wine critic in the world, the other a long-standing wine writer and editor.
Well, I have a answer for them. Rather, I should say that the established media has answered their question for me.
The question should probably be amended now to read:
“Who cares what wine bloggers have to say? Aside from two of the most preeminent newspapers in the United States, I mean? Oh… wait a second… Uhmm…”
Last week, wine bloggers were quoted in both the NY Times and the L.A. Times. In the case of the NY Times, two wine bloggers were quoted, actually, in a story about a wine video blogger that was written by someone who likes to think of himself as a blogger (but to be fair is paid by NY Times so some would argue it’s not a ‘true’ blog).
I think that my feelings were summed up best by the character Sydney Fife in the comedy I Love You, Man when he cheered on his best friend at a fencing match, heckling the opponent with the timeless phrase: “Suck it, Gil!!!”
Before I get too gleeful here, I should note that I understand that our place in the wine world, as bloggers, is still small. I’m not too big for my britches just yet. But… the tide is indeed turning, and the flood is indeed coming. Detractors, no matter how well-established, can no longer tell us that the flood is not coming, because the first wave has trickled onto their floor and even their socks are soaking wet…
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