Archive for September, 2012

Weekly Wine Quiz: Winning!

Vinted on September 28, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz, peoples!

Standard disclaimer: based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I supply the quiz question each week, but I do *not* supply the quiz answer immediately. YOU supply your choice for the answer in the comments, and then tune back in later today in the comments section for the official answer. Which might be delayed due to my travels (yes, again).

“Winning!” – The U.S. is no stranger to winning wine awards. One of the most decorated wines from the U.S. in the 1800s was made from what grape?

A. Cabernet Sauvignon
B. Norton
C. Chardonnay
D. Concord

Cheers, and good luck!




Art, Artemis, And A Cautionary Tale Of On-Line Wine Review Stickiness (Revisiting Etching Expressions)

Vinted on September 27, 2012 binned in sexy wines, wine products, wine review

I was recently contacted by the folks over at Etching Expressions, a service that provides custom etched wine bottles and personalized wine labels, complete with vino in bottle.

They wanted to send me a sample, but not for the usual reason of hoping that it might turn into a formal review. No, this was to potentially counter a review of their products that I penned back in June… of 2009.

In that post, I gave high marks the top-notch bottle etching that EE pulled off (a custom job, by the way, using one of the 1WD t-shirt logos). I gave not-so-high marks to the generic plonk of a wine that they used to fill that sample bottle.

And there, my friends, was the rub.

It seems that on the Global Interwebs (and no, I will NOT stop using that dorky phrase anytime soon), reviews can get to be sticky matters. Which is one of the reasons, I think, that wine and product producers of all stripes clamor to get folks on the web with half-decent following to cover their products: these things live virtually (in both senses of the word) forever. Of course, the double-edge of the sword that cuts you is the negative review that happens to get published, which is probably why most people steer clear of the negative stuff (I myself have just found too much good shiz to tell you about lately, making the potential negative coverage a lot more difficult to justify in terms of taking up virtual real estate here on 1WD). In this case, EE couldn’t seem to get a Google search result without my less-than-stellar 2009 review popping up front-and-center; not great for brand perception on-line, I suppose.

And so I gave EE the okay to send me another product sample for possible review, and told them I’d amend the previous review to account for the fact that their vino selection had been substantially upgraded in the years between my visits. And I can tell you that I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found both outside and inside that new sample…

Read the rest of this stuff »




Ranking The World’s Most Ass-Kicking Wine Regions (Wined Down)

Vinted on September 26, 2012 binned in Wined Down (

Last week, my column ran a list of The Five Most Ass-Kicking Wine Regions, which I dubbed “The 2012 Edition” because I hope to run the list annually, kind of like the annual Most Interesting Wines of the Year round-up that runs here every December.

I expect – and probably deserve – to take some flack for that list.

Why? Because like the MIWs, my list of vinous ass-kickers is somewhat arbitrary, in that it’s not based on any statistical breakdown, but on what my experience tasting and visiting wine regions during the year has shown me. It was not born in the fiery hot cauldron of intense scientific research. In other words, it’s a list of the wine regions that I’m personally really excited about right now. So not only is it a bit arbitrary, it also appeared on an outlet that gets a sh*t-ton of website traffic. Having said that, I’m still prepared to stand confidently behind the list, since it’s being provided under the assumption that I finally know what the hell I’m talking about when I offer up this kind of stuff.

The list highlights the five winemaking areas that are producing juice that has been giving me goose-bumps this year, and that gets me eagerly licking my chops in anticipation when wines that have those regions emblazoned on the label happen to cross the path of my stemware. As I mentioned in the column, the members on that list “give you a perspective on who in the wine world is really getting it right, right now.”

The list itself is below in the order in which I ranked them for, but you’ll need to go over and read the column to get the skinny on why each region was chosen – though if you’re like me (i.e., have a red-blooded pulse and find yourself attracted to females) then you’ll certainly run the risk of finding the surrounding scenery somewhat… distracting. Anyway, here ‘tis!

5) Champagne
4) Santa Barbara
3) Friuli
2) Barossa
1) West Sonoma Coast

Let the flacking begin! But before you unleash to tell me whether or not I got this list right, I should tell you that we’re working on some intensely cool material for Wined Down… not that I think that should cut me any slack…





Have You Ever Had A 16 Percent ABV Wine That Was Really Balanced?

Vinted on September 25, 2012 binned in commentary

With all my talk recently about alcohol not being anywhere near as important factor in quality wine as overall balance, I asked myself a tough question in the wake of that talk, and I couldn’t come up with a good answer.

When was the last time you’ve had a wine that was over 16% alcohol that seemed balanced?

Personally, I drew a total blank.

There literally isn’t one dry, still wine (non-fortified… Ports for example are definitely not included in this mini-analysis) I can recall that clocked in above 16% abv that on the whole felt compellingly balanced to me.

Anyone? Buehler? Buehler???

Of course, part of the reason for this is likely due to the fact that I just don’t record abv when I review wines… but I might starting doing exactly that, if only for experimental and self-education purposes. And the number of 16%+ abv still wines out there probably isn’t all that large, the majority probably clocking in somewhere between 12% and 15% abv when you’re talking still, dry fine wines. But having said that…

While I’ve also had plenty of juice in the 15%+ range that were great – big wines, no doubt, but also damn good ones –  of the wines that I can recall that clocked in somewhere in 16%+ booziness range, none of them were great, balanced offerings. In fact, most of them were way off the mark when it comes to balance; boozy, raisined, overly pruney, and a chore to drink.

So I’m hereby amending my previous diatribe, adding that there may actually be logical limits to balance. And while I won’t ever go on record as saying that great, balanced still wines can’t be made in that abv range, I sure as hell think it makes the job of achieving greatness that much harder.

What about you? Have you had a dry wine over 16% abv that you thought was balanced? Shout ‘em out!





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