Archive for March, 2013
Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!
This week, we are finishing up the series of questions focusing on Argentine wine (I’ve recently returned from a two week jaunt down there to judge in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards), all of which originally appeared in the newsletter The Juice. And we’re ending our S. American run with a tricky one… which red wine grape rules Argentina?
What is Argentina’s most-planted red wine grape?
Cheers – and good luck!
About a year ago, I unwittingly unleashed a minor sh*tstorm when I taste-tested some very good chocolates and paired them with some very good wine and found the match up to be not-so-very-good.
The main issue then was that the very good chocolates in question were designed specifically to pair with wines. And yet, time and time again I find myself coming back to a conclusion that is almost as certain in the wine and food pairing world as death and taxes are to the “real” world:
Most wine and chocolate pairings simply DO NOT work.
The vast majority of the time, the chocolate is too robust, and it clobbers the paired wine. This is because most still, dry wines – even hefty, hearty reds – just lack the jabs to counter chocolate’s overall lack of subtlety and bitter power-punch. The match-up might work for some people, but probably doesn’t work for most people.
There are, of course exceptions – more on those in a minute – but they are just that: exceptions. You’re usually far, far better served enjoying the wine and then later enjoying the chocolate, keeping them as far away from one another in the process, lest they start the palate equivalent of a Ballroom Blitz.
So you can imagine the pants-crapping emotions I experienced when I was recently hired to choose the wines for a wine and chocolate pairing corporate event held in Philly’s iconic Curtis Center. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikeeeessssssssssssssssssssss!…
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Just a (very) quick hit today to let you know that the nominations for the 2013 Wine Blog Awards are now open, so head on over and submit your favorites for consideration. It might be the easiest route to upping your good karma that you’ll encounter today. Just sayin’…
Now, the WBAs have been both lauded and criticized, sometimes in the same article and sometimes right here on 1WD, but having had some involvement in how they work (both as a member of an advisory committee and as a judge) I can tell you that they’ve improved substantially in some way/shape/form every year that they’ve been in existence. The WBAs are a nice approving-nod-of-the-head from the wine blogging community and wine consumers (who are very often the same people!) to acknowledge those who are really getting it right when it comes to wine blogging. And all of that starts with your nominations.
The favorite sideshow spectacle of the WBAs sometimes seems to be moaning and groaning about which blogs weren’t included, but the simple fact is that ONLY blogs that are nominated can be considered. And so, similar to the don’t-botch-if-you-didn’t-vote argument, the best way to give your favorite wine websites a shot at winning an award – and avoid the sideshow – is to go and nominate them in the first place. Since multiple nominations don’t help (and only make for a bit more work for the WBA organizers), it’s highly recommended that you glance over the list of websites that have already been nominated before submitting your faves.
Cheers – and enjoy the good karma!
We continue to live by the motto “Go Big Or Go Home” when it comes to guests for The Punch Down show (if you missed March’s guest – Gary Vaynerchuk, finally coming back to talk about wine – then get your butt to the video and get caught up), and it’s with great pleasure that we will host wine industry icon Jancis Robinson for Episode Four next week, April 2 at 1PM ET!
A Master of Wine since 1984, Jancis has authored over 25 books on wine, including The Oxford Companion to Wine (the hefty text that serves as the number one resource for WSET Diploma students), and the more recent (but equally weighty) tome, Wine Grapes – A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours.
Jancis has garnered nearly as many awards as there are grape varieties profiled in her latest book – she was Decanter Magazine Woman of the Year (UK) in 1999, won the Grand Award at the Society of Wine Educators in Sacramento in 2009, and in 2011 was voted third most powerful person in wine by Decanter.com.
I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Jancis a bit, and I think the best way to give you a glimpse into her personality is to recount the exchange we had when we first met (at an event in Portugal a couple of years ago; you know, in the time before Interest). It sent something like this: Jancis walked up to me and said: “Hello! I had to introduce myself, you’re ‘The Dude,’ aren’t you?” To which I replied, “Ohhhh, no, that is not how this introduction is going down. You’re awesome, and I’m just a bug!”
Jancis could probably be forgiven if she decided to put on airs and offer ivory tower pronouncements about what wines we all ought to be buying. She’s taken exactly the opposite approach, however, embracing social media full-tilt and engaging with wine lovers directly in two-way on-line dialog, as well as pouring much of her efforts into her online presence at JancisRobinson.com.
So… think we’ll have much to talk about? Follow along at http://www.1winedude.com/thepunchdown/ for details, and as always hit us up with questions beforehand.
See you on April 2!