Archive for May, 2013
The time has come once again for you to give your digitus secundus (that’s your index finger, by the way… you creep!…) a momentary workout by using it to click on your favorite finalists in the Wine Blog Awards voting, this being the 2013 version thereof.
I’ve got a long (in Internet time) history with the WBAs: I’ve been a winner, a criticizer, a judge, and an improvement-committee-member (yeah, I know, that last one does not quite roll mellifluously off the tongue, does it?). This year, I’m a finalist in the Best Overall Wine Blog category (thanks to the judges, and most especially to you for that!).
Please consider voting, as the recognition of hard work and efforts well-spent probably means a great deal to those who are among the finalists. Also, it’s the easiest way to fill your good karma quotient fit the day. And if you don’t vote, then the fleas of one thousand camels might infest your armpits [ editor’s note: this may not actually be true ].
You’re under no obligation to vote for me, of course, unless you want Ron Washam to lose a bet in which he will publicly sing classic Journey hits while wearing a baby costume – seriously, I swear that’s our bet! [ editor’s note: this may not actually be true ]. Whatever… look, just drink up and vote, okay? Following are the finalists in the Best Overall Wine Blog category:
Along with those mentioned above, there are some very interesting picks in the finalists across all of the various categories this year, and many of them are passionate and relatively new voices in the wine blogging crowd. Personally, I’m particularly pleased to also see academicwino.com, The Wine Curmudgeon, Hawk Wakawaka, Bigger Than Your Head, On The Wine Trail in Italy, Washington Wine Report, Jameson Fink, The Drunken Cyclist (despite his terrible taste in NFL franchises), and my Portuguese brother-from-another-mother Andre Rib also being recognized as finalists in various categories this year (though Andre’s listing was subsequently removed, for reasons not yet explained to me as of the time of this writing). If you aren’t familiar with them, go check them out.
Voting remains open through this Friday, May 24th, so… prevent bad karma flea-infestations and GO VOTE!
As for some personal thoughts on all of this WBA stuff (hey, it’s my blog after all)…
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A quick hit today to highlight a few of the Answers.com Wine articles I’ve posted for May. There’s a good chance that even the geekiest among you will find one of these in particular quite interesting, though I should warn you that you won’t be able to un-see it or un-read it, and so it should be totally avoided unless you want to start having nightmares about water (and not the kind where you’re abandoned at sea like in Open Water).
5 Producers to Watch in Lodi
I’ve been meaning to do something on this for well over a year now, so I’m happy to be able to give these winemakers some additional publicity as I really dig what they’re doing. I’m also hoping to make this a sort of regular series highlighting producers that I like but who haven’t received long-form features here on 1WD. Stay tuned…
Wine Recommendations for Beer Lovers
Beer (and wine) maven Ashley Routson and I worked on this one for *weeks*, and so I was really excited to be able to finally publish this wine-for-beer-lovers recommendation approach. I’m also really happy with the recommendations themselves, and the explanations that she chose, all of which show why Ashley kicks so much ass in the drinks world. If you don’t learn something new about beer, wine, and food pairings when reading this, then you probably aren’t paying enough attention (or you’re already a master sommelier… or both).
An Introduction to Uruguay wine
Because I did more than just eat and drink when I was down there… just not a whole lot more…; note that I would’ve liked to have included more stats on the country and its wine scene, but the Uruguayans, bless their hearts, didn’t get the additional material I’d requested back to me in time.
Book Review: Pairing with the Masters
My take on Master Chef Ken Arnone’s and MW Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan’s recent (and very technical) hardcover collaboration about food and wine pairing.
The Dos and Don’ts about Wine and Water
Look, just do yourself a favor and do NOT read this… Seriously, dude, you will never, ever look at a glass of water sitting on the same table as your vino the same way again without possibly going into an apoplectic fit about what type of water it is and from whence it came… you’ve been warned!
- 10 Tendril White Label Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Inching its way towards spicy awesomeness, should really bloom in 5 or 6 years $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 10 Euclid Sierra Foothills Syrah (Sierra Foothills): Not afraid of exploring the feminine side underneath the manly, smoky exterior. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 09 Z'ivo Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills): Juicy wild cherry, slathering itself in spices as it admires its own sexy-thang-ness. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Cloudburst Chardonnay (Margaret River): Like plugging into the Death Star's power generator, if made of lemon curd & stone fruit $150 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Altos Las Hormigas Terroir Malbec (Uco Valley): Argentina's silkiness + France's peppery spice and flowers = our crowd-pleaser. $17 B >>find this wine<<
- 11 Altos Las Hormigas Reserva Malbec (Mendoza): A well-lit view of a peppery, chalky and deep dig into their mysterious bit of earth. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 08 Nieto Senetiner Cadus Finca Villa Blanca Malbec (Mendoza): From 100 yr old vines, this gaucho has far to ride & ain't in a hurry. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Nieto Senetiner Malbec (Mendoza): High volume, high on the oak, but high on the quality, age-ability, likeability & nods to France $12 B >>find this wine<<
- 12 Nieto Senetiner Don Nicanor Chardonnay Viognier (Mendoza): Starts with honeydew, fnishes with grapefruit, cleans up along the way. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 06 O Fournier Syrah Cabernet (Uco Valley): Kind of like artisanal Spanish tailoring on some high-end South American threads. $95 A- >>find this wine<<
- 06 O Fournier Alfa Crux Red (Uco Valley): Savory, herbal, meaty Malbec meal served up on stylish and elegant earthen dishware. $48 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 O Fournier Urban Uco Torrontes (Cafayate): Floral, pithy, rich, structured, and coming to the rescue of your wine spending account $10 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 09 O Fournier B Crux Red (Mendoza): Leatehr-clad dark and light berries, duking it out over a span of austere, flower-laden territory $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 O Fournier Urban Uco Malbec Tempranillo (Uco Valley): Sweet, plummy, and a little forward, but underestimate it & you'll regret it. $12 B >>find this wine<<
- 11 O Fournier B Crux Sauvignon Blanc (Uco Valley): Melons & hay; also, about as sexy and heady as a passionate roll in that hay. $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
In Carmelo, about three hours drive from the bustling city of Montevideo in Uruguay, along the river that divides the country from Argentina, there exists the picturesque hamlet of Narbona, the kind of place with such overwhelming quantities of irony that it causes story-relating fingers like mine to nearly freeze at the keyboard.
Where to begin?
It’s probably best to start with Winemaker Maria Valeria Chiola. Female winemakers aren’t exactly the norm in the relatively conservative sphere of Uruguayan winemaking, but the ironic (or maybe just surprising?) thing is not her sex, but the fact that twenty-eight year old Chiola is, at such a young age, making some of the best wine that I tasted during my travels there. And she has almost no sense whatsoever of what a powerful example she could be for the promotion of wine in Uruguay abroad, mostly because the cult of winemaker personality that dominates the fine wine media in the U.S. is pretty much non-existent in that small country (another irony).
Chiola has some pedigree, of course: her father has a winery in Canelones and she’s worked at Miner (among other places). She claims winemaking duties fall exclusively to her, an intern, and infrequent consultation with Michel Rolland (Rolland himself meets with her only twice per year). She suggested that there is healthy tension between the winemaking styles she’s after and the styles that are being pushed by the Rolland consultants.
Whatever is going on between tenderfoot winemaker and veteran consultant, much of that tension seems to be working in the wines’ favor. More on that in a minute or two, after we visit some of the other ironies dripping from the Narbona story…
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