Archive for September, 2012

What The Recent Debates Over Low/High Alcohol Tell Us About The Future Of Fine Wine Buying

Vinted on September 5, 2012 binned in commentary


That’s the short version.

Here’s the slightly longer version:

Seriously, the debate (10 million plus search results, and counting!) over the perceived consumer trend towards lower alcohol wines (I’ve yet to see any convincing, hard data supporting this claim, by the way, in terms of any significant percentage shift of sales towards lower abv wines specifically because they’re lower abv wines) tells us precisely bupkis about the future of fine wine purchases.

We live in the golden age of consumer choice when it comes to fine wine sales, with more wine available of higher quality than at probably any other time in human history. If there’s a shift in U.S. wine consumer preferences, let’s hope the continuing democratization of that tastemaker opinion leads it towards favoring balanced wines, wines that taste great at 16% abv or 8% abv. (I’ve had wines that do, at both abv points, by the way).

There’s certainly research on public opinion seemingly favoring low alcohol wines, yes, and for sure there’s a shift in tastemaker opinion towards lower abv wines (to the point where some consider it “a mistake that is not recognized by most wine critics”), all of which eventually will probably sway a small percentage of the market (the tiney percentage that follows these things) towards buying wines with more restrained alcohol levels. But high abv wines – just like low ones – are not going away anytime soon. Debating whether or not one is superior to the other is a waste of time.

I’d rather spend that time drinking a balanced wine, despite the fact that even that pursuit is under attack already. Or several of them, actually, all finding their vinous fulcrum points at various places along the continuum of fruitiness, raciness, booze, grip, and what-have-you. Because like porn, we know balance when we encounter it, and we know when it’s poor, decent, or extraordinary attempt (okay, so the porn comparison doesn’t quite go the whole distance here…). No two wines are going to achieve that true balance in quite the same way, and it’s in the encountering of those differences where we’ll find some of the most potent spells in all of the slightly-mad but thoroughly-magical bottled world we call fine wine.





Wine Between The Covers (3 Wine Books For Oenophiles To Grab Before The Summer Reading Season Ends)

Vinted on September 4, 2012 binned in book reviews, wine books

There’s still time, people.

Summer’s muggy, sunny weeks are not yet entirely on the wane. They’re just mostly on the wane. And so those bibliophile oenophiles who are looking for last-minute beach-side vacation or porch-side stay-cation reading to accompany a cold glass of Italian Vermentino in the hazy heat (you are drinking Vermentino, right?) still have time to indulge both of their passions before the leaves turn brown.

Which all felt like a reasonable excuse, I thought, to take a swipe at the growing stacks of wine book samples that have been piling up on my office floor (not quite as bad as my stacks of wine bottle samples, but it’s getting close!). I.e., let me trudge through the drudge so that you won’t have to!

That swipe yielded three books worth mentioning, all of which avoid being weighty tomes or polemics on wine philosophy, and are light-hearted enough in tone and design to fit right in with the collective American penchant for light Summer reading

Read the rest of this stuff »




Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 3, 2012

Vinted on September 3, 2012 binned in 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!

  • 10 Uvaggio Vermentino (Lodi): Well, look at Lodi getting’ all seashell, pear-and-limes refreshing (& overachieving) on us like that! $14 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Quivira Syrah Wine Creek Ranch (Dry Creek Valley): Still shy, not quite yet revealing its true age-worthy, tart red fruited colors $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Bastianich Vespa Bianco (Venezia Giulia): In 6 yrs when it’s delivering the nut’n’honey you’ll know why you forked out for it now $36 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Torii Mor Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Sophisticated, light on its feet & dancing a pithy jig finish for hours $60 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Torii Mor Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Making beguiling tropical & citric promises that its palate just can’t quite keep. $18 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Mazza Vineyards Pinot Grigio (Pennsylvania): 1 of PA’s biggest wineries delivering 1 of PA’s biggest (& solidly pithiest) PGs. $14 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Allegro Trio (Pennsylvania): 3 winemakers, 3 grapes, & 1 entire fun meal of blueberries, balsamic, meat, herbs & chocolate dessert. $29 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Manatawny Creek Meritage (Pennsylvania): Toast, currant jam & smoked bacon clearly aren’t just for breakfast anymore, are they? $22 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Crossing Vineyards Cabernet Franc (Pennsylvania): A savory & aromatic ride piloted by structure w/ an austere sense of purpose. $22 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Pinnacle Ridge Pinot Noir (Lehigh Valley): Hot-as-hell vintage births stubborn-as-hell, but herbal-ly fascinating, right coast red. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Blair Vineyards Pinot Noir (Pennsylvania): Solid combo of structure, juiciness, & silky smoothness; thnx 2 whoever brought the tea! $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Nimble Hill Cabernet Franc Rose (Pennsylvania): Spices & refreshment rescue basket of slightly candied (but abundant) red berries. $14 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Blair Vineyards Pinot Noir (Pennsylvania): Muscular hand, leather glove, fist full of brambly dark red berries, mints, & herbs. $25 B >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Pinnacle Ridge Late Harvest Vidal (Pennsylvania): From the ridge drops a showering of peach, honey, sweet lemon & grapefruit. $20 B >>find this wine>>



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