Archive for September, 2013

Highlights From The 2013 Nederburg Wine Auction

Vinted on September 19, 2013 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines, wine review

Ok… so… South African wine is almost hopelessly underpriced.

As in, shot-themselves-in-the-foot-and-will-be-limping-through-the-U.S.-wine-market-for-a-few-more-years underpriced. Which means that exciting bargains exist for the budget-conscious wine lover who’s willing to seek out the best wines from SA.

That’s the big take-away for me from my time speaking at the 2013 Nederburg Wine Auction near Cape Town earlier this month. Of course, some touring of the region’s wineries went down on that trip as well, so there will be some features on the best of those visits coming your way here over the next few weeks. For now, I’d like to focus on some of the highlights of what I tasted during the two days of the Nederburg Auction itself.

Not all of these wines will be available in the States yet (alas), but those that are generally have price tags that goofily belie their quality and pleasure-inducing vinous super-powers Clark Kent style, which means it’s like bear-market prices on some very, very nice wines for those now in the market for the best that SA has to offer.

For the sake of the lovely people making wine there – many of whom I now consider friends after breaking bread, cracking corks, and eating strange game meats with them – I’d love to not have to say that about how they’ve priced their wares, and would love to say that their wines will command the prices that similar quality would demand from other regions… BUT… it just ain’t so.

The truth is that SA in a crappy situation market-wise on that front, and the declining value of the Rand versus the dollar and the euro isn’t going to help matters much. And of course they already know all of that, so this isn’t news for them – but it does mean potential bargains for you, if you’re the open-minded wine drinking type…

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The Punch Down Episode 7 Recap

Vinted on September 18, 2013 binned in The Punch Down

TPD Episode 7 is now in the books! This episode features something like several thousand dollars worth of free social media consulting from our multi-member panel of guests:

  1. Meg Maker (award winning writer of Makers Table)
  2. David Honig (editor of
  3. Ryan Opaz (co-creator of
  4. Rick Mulready (not in the wine biz but he sure knows his way around social media, and is the man behind the Inside Social Media Podcast).

Anyway, start watching to witness their smarties and social awesomeness!

The Punch Down Episode 7! A wine industry & social media roundtable!




Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 16, 2013

Vinted on September 16, 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 McGah Family Cellars Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford): Frankly, my dear, you ought to give a damn… & about eight years. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 McGah Family Cellars 1070 Green Sauvignon Blanc (Rutherford): Richly textured, and textured richly; consider it a guilty pleasure. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Blackbird Vineyards Arriviste Rose (Napa Valley): …And mad boy grips the microphone… with a fist full of… strawberries!!! $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Ma(i)sonry Hudson Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): Passion (fruit), turn to the left, Passion (fruit), turn to the right. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Graham Beck Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cuvee (Robertson): Like getting toasty, artisanal brioche for the price of Wonder bread. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Graham Beck Brut Rose (Western Cape): A serious flirt; keep drinking & he'll eventually seem less forward & his jokes will be funny $18 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Weingut Grans-Fassian Dhroner Hofberg GG Riesling Trocken (Mosel): SPICE! Ahhhhhh-AHHHHHH! Saaaaaviooooor of the Salted Pork! $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Schloss Johannisberg Grunlack Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau): Sometimes simple guilty pleasures border on mild spiritual experiences $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 06 Antonelli Chiusa di Pannone Sagrantino di Montefalco (Montefalco): Licorice whip? Licorice whip? Licorice whip? 3 licorice whips! $37 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 04 Carrau Vilassar Nebbiolo Limited Edicion (Uruguay): The fruit is soft, the acids punishing, the leather supple, the result focused $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Juan Carrau 1752 Tannat Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc (Uruguay): Salty, fresh & dark when it's hanging out, but leaves quickly $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Juan Carrau Chardonnay de Reserva (Uruguay): Hopping back on forth from the creamy leg to the crisp leg & not skipping a beat. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Carrau 1752 Petit Manseng Sauvignon Gris Gran Tradicion (Uruguay): Proudly sporting a Dr. Emmett Lathrop Brown mad scientist 'do. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Bodegas Carrau Suvignon Blanc Sur Lie (Uruguay): Luckily for us, it's stubbornly holding on to its mineral, herbal and spicy side. $15 B >>find this wine<<



Wine Doesn’t Sell Wine, Stories Sell Wine (Nederburg Auction 2013 Keynote Speech Recap)

Vinted on September 12, 2013 binned in commentary, going pro, on the road

I’m not-so-freshly back from Cape Town, where last week I delivered the keynote address at the 39th annual Nederburg Auction. Somehow, my back survived the jaunt (though the sciatica and disk issues did some relatively serious damage on my anxiety).

Since the Nederburg organizers don’t invite keynote speakers back, I felt even less pressure than normal (and I don’t start with much in this regard to begin with) to censor my thoughts… and so I think I delivered on the promised “tough luv” messages about the difficulty, complexity, and insanity of the U.S. wine market, and my ideas on how South Africa can still “win” there.

The organizers were absolutely lovely people, the event was top-notch, and the hospitality beyond any reasonable sense of expectation. Also, I’ve now officially tasted impala and can now tell you that I understand why the big cats prefer to hunt those suckers down in Africa (after the lunch of it I had at La Motte’s fabulous restaurant in Franschhoek, I was ready to try to run a few of those things down and eat them raw myself).

Anyway, the auction itself was successful this year, with price per bottle up over last year’s event. Some amazing juice got auctioned off on day two during the charity portion of the event (including two bottles of 1981 Hill of Grace that were generously donated to the auction by Nederburg in my name… and no, I didn’t get to drink any of it). Below are some images that pale in comparison to actually being in the beautiful country of SA, and (eventually… hang in there!) an embedded video of me getting all Southern-Hemisphere-Keynote on everyone…

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