Archive for July, 2013

What Do You Wish You’d Learned About Wine Sooner?

Vinted on July 30, 2013 binned in commentary, learning wine

I’ve spent the better part of the first half of the year learning about… finance.

That is, now that wine is my “job,” (it feels really cool to type that) I needed another outlet, something about which I’d been passionate and wanted to learn more, to idle away the time learning during the down time (not that there’s much of it) when I’m traveling, or unwinding during the several seconds it takes me to fall asleep at night after chasing around my five year old daughter for the better of the day.

You know… a hobby.

Because I’m a geek (and for other reasons that I might get into here at a later date), I chose Finance. It’s amazing how deep the financial rabbit-hole goes, how much of it is related to human psychology, and the volume of parallels I’ve found in, for example, the world of investing with the world of wine media and wine scores.

During my drinking-from-the-Financial-knowledge-firehouse, I encountered this thread on the BogleHeads.org forum, titled What do you wish you had learned sooner?

It’s an amazing little forum thread, full of life, savings, and investment lessons gleaned from the cruelly sharp-focused prism of the kind of hindsight that can only come from mistake-making, coupled with the heat-induced etching into one’s memory that is the hallmark of losing one’s money to a stupid idea. I became somewhat fascinated by that thread, and it “bleeds yellow,” as in yellow highlighter, the kind of thing that you read and want to highlight because there’s so much to learn form it that it can only really be digested in chunks.

And it got me thinking, what did I wish I’d learned about wine sooner?

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For July 29, 2013

Vinted on July 29, 2013 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 Ponzi Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Sometimes, you just want the softer, silkier, spicier side of things; let's chill, shall we? $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Ponzi Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Welcommme to dee tropics, mahhhhhhnnnnn! Have a fruity drink, or two. Or twenty! S'all good! $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Tartan Cellars Tempranillo (Willamette Valley): Que puedo decir, ella vive en Oregon, pero ella pasa a hablar espanol muy, muy bien $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Tartan Cellars Dolcetto (Willamette Valley): Oh, sorry, from behind you so totally looked like this friend of mine from Italy. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Torii Mor Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills): Sinewy, svelte elegance; do you really need any more info than that? $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Torii Mor Deux Verres Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Full-on country picnic, & someone brought all high-end accessories. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Torii Mor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Be careful, this one's spry, and will corner you with pepper & clove. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Torii Mor Pinot Blanc (Yamhill Carlton): Today's plan is get to the Flower shop, Apple stand, spice rack, & then citrus orchard. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Troon Vineyard Syrah Reserve (Applegate Valley): Old School spicy, structured, & demanding; you'd better bring meat, & lots of it. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Troon Vineyard Old Vine Meritage (Applegate Valley): Crushing dried herbs with modern, funky, attitude-filled dance floor moves. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Troon Vineyard Kubi Bench Zinfandel (Applegate Valley): Graphite and jam that are almost trembling with edgy, lithe nervousness. $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Troon Vineyard Foundation 72 Vermentino (Applegate Valley): Serious take on a serious white grape, but you'll be pining for Corsica $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Troon Vineyard The River Guide Dry Riesling (Applegate Valley): Not just the guide, but includes the salty river stones, too. $16 B >>find this wine<<
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Who’s Buying Ultra Premium Wines? Not Millionaires (Tasting The 2011 Cloudburst Chardonnay)

Vinted on July 25, 2013 binned in kick-ass wines, wine review

I was recently contacted by a PR person who didn’t want to send me samples, but instead wanted to interview me about a wine.

That probably sounds odd (it certainly feels odd to type it). I suppose that it is kind of odd. But it’s not freakishly walk-away-and-phone-the-authorities-because-this-person-is-totally-psycho odd, when you consider what the PR person told me: “from what I can tell, you’re one of the only people in the Northern Hemisphere who have actually tasted this wine!”

The wine on her mind was the 2011 Cloudburst Chardonnay from Margaret River. It retails for about $150 USD, assuming you can find it. The PR person wanted to get my thoughts on the wine, and if/how it could be marketed in the States. There have only been a handful of vintages of the wine to date, so the pedigree isn’t their (yet – more on that in a few minutes), but it’s (obviously) the kind of wine that carries an exclusive price tag, which means that for maximum payoff, Cloudburst ought to be marketing the wine to… you.

Yes, you. The non-millionaire reading this.

You see, from what I can tell, you’re actually the target market for this wine.

Sure, we wine geeks like to jokingly moan that wines priced in this Cloudburst-ing cateogry are purchased by the case-load by trust-fund-baby, yacht-racing, endagered-species-cabob-eating richie-rich types who got thirsty when racing their yacht against their trained great white sharks, and so decided to swing by Margaret River for a quaff of some Chardonnay en route to spending the Summer on their own private islands. But while those jokes are funny in a gather-around-the-water-cooler kind of way, they bear little resemblance to wine-buying reality.

That reality suggests that you and I – the wine geeks – are the ones most likely to buy the type of exclusive, very good, and rather expensive wine like the Chardonnay on offer from Cloudburst. Not millionaires; you and me…

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Are You Wine Trainable, Or Wine Intelligent?

Vinted on July 23, 2013 binned in wine appreciation, zen wine

My oversized dog, Brunello – so named because he’s big (well over 115 lbs) and Italian (a Cane Corso) – is one of the most trainable dogs I’ve ever owned. 

He’s also dumber than a bag of hammers.

Bruno is sweet, fairly gentle, and learns quickly; don’t get me wrong here, we love the big lug. But as far as being able to exercise independent, intelligent, problem-solving thought, I know furniture that might be able to give him a run for the money.

Contrast that with our previous dog, a fleet-footed (and equally as sweet) weimaraner named Samson. Sam always knew what he wanted, whether it was sneaking from his floor bed into into our cozy (and, presumably, warmer) bed while we were asleep, or “liberating” some of his expensive pet food from one of its metal can prisons on his own (I once came home to an empty pet food can that Sam had opened up like a rose petal, having devoured all of the contents inside without once cutting himself on the remaining bent metal). And he was adept at trying to get it. Want to go outside and join the family while they’re working in the yard? NO problem… I’ll just use my paws to wiggle the door handle and… hey everybody! here I am!!! Let’s run out into the street!!!

Sam, possessing a large volume of independent thought and spirit, always made training a bit of a chore. “Why the f*ck should I do that?” seemed to be his primary reaction to training sessions; “can you just give me the treats already since that seems to be what all this about anyway?” But he could assemble input from his surroundings into the ability to get himself into trouble by going after something that he wanted but knew he wasn’t supposed to have. Now, that isn’t being trainable, but it sure as hell is being intelligent.

Okay, so now those of you who’ve asked for more blog posts about my dog are happy. But what’s this got to do with vino? More than you’d think, actually; you see, the wine biz would happily like you to act a lot more like Bruno than like Sam. And I’m here to tell you why that makes you the wine biz’s figurative “bitch”…

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