Archive for August, 2012

Weekly Wine Quiz: Serve ‘Em Up, Paaaahrdner!

Vinted on August 31, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz, amigos!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I supply the quiz question each week, but do *not* supply the quiz answer directly in the post – YOU supply your best guess for the answer in the comments, and then tune back in later today in the comments section for the official answer. I might be delayed yet AGAIN in getting around to posting the answer since I’m on the road (in Sonoma… again…) this week – your patience is most appreciated!

Here’s another tricky one for y’all, inspired by my recent Wined Down column interview about local wines with AZ winemaker and bona fide rock star Maynard James Keenan:

Serve ‘Em Up, Paaaahrdner!

Arizona now has almost fifty licensed and bonded wineries, but its wines have been served in a few high-profile places. Can you guess at which of the following events Arizona wines have NOT been poured?

  • A) James Beard House dinners
  • B) The White House
  • C) The 2010 Oscars

Cheers – and good luck!

9

 

 

Modern Wines, Old School Humility, And… Tank Hosing (Tasting Miguel Merino Recent Releases in Rioja Alta)

Vinted on August 30, 2012 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines

“In Spain, when you’re fifteen, sixteen years old, you have to decide what you want to study: Science or Humanities,” joked Rioja’s Miguel Merino.

“I chose Humanities… so I can’t let the wine go wrong, otherwise I won’t know what to do to make money!”

The diminutive Merino, who spent twenty years in various aspects of the wine business before deciding to try his hand at his own wines, is like a breath of air that’s fresher than the scent of the roses that line the experimental vineyards in front of his winemaking facility in the Rioja Alta area of Briones. While medieval town and its Moorish architectural influences are thoroughly traditional for this area of Spain, Merino’s wines are made with a decidedly modernist stylistic twist.

But these are not the boorish, overly-extracted oak-monsters that have come to symbolize Rioja’s modern red wine bent – they carry the charmingly poised sense of reverently balancing on the shoulders of Rioja’s best traditions when it comes to winemaking; and their acclaim (Merino now exports to over thirty countries) is, as you will shortly come to read, well-deserved. And it helps that Merino himself is just about as humble, and about as far removed from the overblown, removed sense of self that marks some of Rioja’s biggest modern winemaking stars, as one can get

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The 4 Most Frequently Asked Questions From #WBC12

Vinted on August 29, 2012 binned in wine bloggers conference, wine blogging

During the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, I talked.

A lot.

And I talked to a lot of people. Some just wanted to say hi, some wanted photos with me (still trying to figure that out… because I’m not really a photogenic subject!), and others wanted my advice or thoughts on various wine- and blogging-related topics (also filing those in the “still trying to figure that out” category).

Given that I received similar questions from dissimilar people at the event, in good real-life sort-of-SEO-oriented fashion I thought I ought to craft something more generic out of those conversations, in the hopes that it would be useful to those WBC-ers who wanted to talk to me but didn’t get the time, couldn’t be bothered because they were drinking at the time and so was I and I didn’t shut up for enough time to allow them a word in edgewise, or who just want the money-shots without having to deal with me in person (I know what it’s like… I even have to live with me!).

And so I present the Four Most Frequently Asked Questions proposed to me at various points during the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference

Read the rest of this stuff »

26

 

 

Wined Down: Catching Up With Rocker Maynard James Keenan On Local Wine

Vinted on August 28, 2012 binned in Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Last week, my latest Wined Down column for Playboy.com hit the Global Interwebs, and authoring it was an experience I won’t soon forget.

Firstly, it involved me interviewing someone over IP phone software using my laptop. I had to use the laptop becaue I needed a battery. I needed a battery because I didn’t have much faith that my house would retain electrical power given the size of the thunderstorm that was sitting almost directly overhead of my snug little neighborhood at the time. I was Doubting Thomas of the powergrid because the last time I’d seen skies that black, I ended up with a flattened garage, a broken deck, a dead lawn (utterly killed off from having a couple of tons of horizontal 110-year-old oak tree deposited unceremoniously on top of it), and no one within an eight mile radius could use electrical appliances for the better part of a week.

Secondly, it involved interviewing a Grammy-award-winning rock-star-turned-winemaker (again): Maynard James Keenan, the man behind Arizona wine brand Caduceus, and someone who doesn’t give the impression of suffering fools lightly. Oh, and he’s someone who’s rumored to be fairly reclusive when off stage, for just about anything other than the topic of wine. This is sort of what was running through my brain at the time, as I crouched on the floor coordinating notebooks, laptops, and headset while the sky outside took on a purplish hue that would have thrown a cheap Argentine Malbec into fits of jealous rage:

Please, please, pleeeeeeease UPS backup battery, keep the f*cking Internet connection online if the meteorological sh*t hits the fan…!

Thirdly, it involved Playboy, a gig for which the coolness factor is hella-far from running out for me (truth be told, I’m not sure the coolness of it has actually sunk in yet). And finally, in it Keenan talks about Grenache being a “panty-dropper” (and as rock-star as the wine world can sometimes get, I’m not sure the wine world gets a whole lot more rock-star than that).

The result of my excessive worrying (the power didn’t even blink, by the way) is Wined Down: Exploring The Sexy Side of “Local” U.S. Red Wines With Rock Star Maynard James Keenan. Not all of the conversation between Keenan and I made it to the finished article, so I thought I’d share some of the geekier wine tidbits from MJK here, as a bit of a follow-up on what’s been happening with Keenan and his wine brand, Caduceus Cellars since the last time we talked

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