Archive for January, 2012
Considering that I’ve been so surprised by the high quality of some Aussie white wines in the last several months, it seems surprising that I should be surprised at all when Aussie wine surprises me these days.
And yet, my mind is simple enough (and apparently entrenched enough in its own little preconceived notions) that the Aussie wine surprises keep coming (good and bad, but probably much more good than bad right now).
Such was the case at last week’s A+ Aussie Wine public tasting event at Espace in NYC, called “Around Australia In 80 Sips” and organized jointly by Bottlenotes and Wines of Australia (of whom I was a media guest). [ By the way, the “A+” thing is their marketing label, not mine. ]
The Aussie’s in the biz who attended refer to this sort of public tasting event as a “swim through” – I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks on what that means, but let’s just say I had to fight to make my way to poorly-placed spit buckets, and I was by far in the minority in terms of actually using them.
The volume of imbibing aside, it was great to see so many people (a few hundred NYCers) – and predominantly young people, who apparently haven’t heard (or are just ignoring) the misinformation that Aussie wine is dead – coming out to get a crash-course in what Aussie wine has to offer the U.S. market. Something like forty wineries participated – mostly the big ones, which very likely isn’t a true representation of the diversity of the Aussie wine market, but was certainly an accurate representation of the Aussie producers most people are likely to find available on our shores.
The surprises for me this time? The reds…
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I was recently interviewed by WineSpiralProject.com, as part of their series on wine industry innovation, in which they interview personalities in the wine world and ask them to share thoughts on the wine biz and how it can/should innovate.
Yeah, I know, I’m not 100% certain why they picked me either, but what’s done is done so let’s just roll with it, okay?
You can check out the entire series of interviews at this link; I’ll give the the super-short, edited-down-to-the-bare-bones-Cliff-Notes version of my interview right here:
Wineries are amazing at production innovation; Wineries suck at engagement innovation.
It’s not in bottling lines or fermentation vessels that we need an innovation push in the wine biz; we need innovation in adjusting the attitude that most wine producers have towards consumers. What do I mean by “engagement innovation?” Short answer: using the single most innovative outreach platform ever developed in the history of the human race – the Internet – to directly engage the people who buy their shiz. This may sound like common sense to you, but a lot of the producers I encounter seem to need reminding that those consumers – and not critics – are the ones who matter the most…
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With the buzz happening around the Weekly Wine Quiz, I’ve got wine trivia on the (vino-soaked) brain lately. So it seemed serendipitous that I was contacted by the folks at Trivia Knows to try out their new cross-platform mobile wine trivia game, Wine Knows Trivia.
They invited me to take a sample test rive of the game on the iPhone, and I can say that I am fairly impressed – the interface is slick, there’s a bit of game-addiction action as you rack up bottles that measure your winnings/progress (which you can then share via twitter, Google+ and Facebook for bragging rights among your social circle as to who has the most wine smarties). And we all know that wine knowledge makes you appear sexier to your potential amorous pursuits (just sayin’).
And now YOU have a chance to win a copy of Wine Knows Trivia for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, because we’re giving away a redemption code for the app to THREE lucky commenters this week! Here’s the deal: you comment on this post, and at 9PM ET on Friday, January 27th I will randomly select three winners from the comments who will receive a redemption code via e-mail (if you win, you need to act fast – after February 3rd, the codes evaporate into the ether, never to be seen again!). Comment discussion topic coming after the jump.
Some of the questions in the Wine Knows trivia game are pretty friggin’ difficult – I found a few that rivaled those posed within the exams of the certifications for which I sat over the years. so it should keep all but the most die-hard wine geeks entertained…
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- 04 Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): A Savory, black-licorice beauty sporting a serious ‘come hither, big boy’ stare. $39 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 10 Louis Konstantin Guntrum Louis Riesling (Rheinhessen): Sweet, but w/ a sassy spicy streak; like a mischievous kid you once babysat $13 B- >>find this wine>>
- NV Toso Brut (Argentina): Bushels full of yellow apples, especially for the price; but man, those are some gritty yellow apples. $10 C+ >>find this wine>>
- 09 Quivira Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): For those who prefer their Zin with plums, mocha & a hint of pepper. And a hint of awesome. $20 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 09 Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc (Capay Valley): Yeah, it’s pretty beefy; but it’s also not without some firm, sculpted muscle. $23 B >>find this wine>>
- 07 Otis Kenyon Matchless Red Wine (Walla Walla): Starring mocha, ripe plums &… soy? Yep, & the story has a happy ending, actually. $23 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Mercer Estates Riesling (Yakima Valley): Crispness so sharp & balanced, it probably ought to be registered as a deadly weapon. $14 B >>find this wine>>
- 06 Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Nice mix of silkiness & food-friendliness; kind of like high-end edible underwear. $45 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 08 Royal Tokaji Mad Cuvée Late Harvest (Tokaji): Orange peel & honey kicking dirt, transmogrified & manifest into dessert. $21 375ml $21 B+ >>find this wine>>
- NV Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace (Alsace): Light & tasty as gourmet meringue; & might has you feeling lighter than air in no time. $24 B >>find this wine>>