Archive for December, 2014
Back in October (yeah, I really am about that far behind on things), the scientifically-minded Becca Yeamans-Irwin wrote on her blog about a research study that examined five influential English language wine blogs (including this lil’ ol’ one right here) using content analysis software called Leximancer.
As you no doubt already expected from the above run-on, complex sentence, her article caused some heated discussion regarding the merits of the study, most of which centered on what seemed like obvious conclusions one would draw from websites dedicated mostly to writing about wine (for example, regarding the website Vinography, the research conclusions included the realization that “’Flavour,’ ‘wine,’ ‘tasting,’ ‘adventures’ and other flavor-related terms were central themes of the blog.” Surprise! Not!).
Now, I’ve spent enough time in academia to know that obvious conclusions need to be treated as non-obvious, in that they still need to be formally stated and backed up by data. So my take on the research study steered clear of that criticism, but I did initially have concerns about it, which I stated in a comment on Becca’s blog post:
1) I am not clear if there is a causal relationship between the automated text analysis and the findings regarding each blog.
2) The conclusions seem like sane advice for *any* niche blog topic, rather than offering anything specific to blogging about the topic of wine.
It’s an interesting start, but I am not sure it tells us anything quite yet
I had intended to leave it at that, but since posting that comment, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart, and I think the conclusions, though somewhat generic, warrant emphasis for those who are considering (or have recently started) blogging about wine (and yes, writing that makes me feel kinda old, okay?)…
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Back in October, I spent a couple of very hectic but very rewarding weeks in Tokaji, Hungary, acting as on-screen “talent” for a promotional push of the region’s excellent dry Furmint white wines, aimed at the American market.
I had a fantastic time with everyone involved in the project, but aside from seeing a quick intro video we filmed for a couple of well-received Furmint tastings in the U.S., I’ve been out of the loop on the AV side of things of that project, my work for them having been done and dusted now for several weeks.
Well, it looks like those FurmintUSA folks have been quite busy themselves during that time, and have animated an intro. to the video series that I narrated on our last day of filming in Tokaji. You can check it out below, they did a fantastic job of telling the story visually (wait until you see the little phylloxera louse running around and performing its insidious “erasing” of the chalkboard vineyards of Europe, it’s priceless!).
This video officially kicks off the series, and the episodes (each of which focuses on one of the area’s pioneering Furmint producers) will be released weekly beginning January 5th. Let me know what you think (more to come on the series, and what the behind-the-scenes aspects were like, as the episodes are released).
FurmintUSA – The true story of Furmint
- 11 Bonny Doon Vineyard Bien Nacido X Block Syrah (Santa Maria Valley): Shiraz lovers will want to steer clear of this svelte beauty. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Bonny Doon Vineyard Cuvee R Rancho Solo Grenache (Monterey County): A vixen, infused with verve and comfy with its vivacious power $48 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Seco): Uhm… errr… so… wait a second, how much is this again? Really? Dang! $28 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Edetaria Seleccio Old Vines White (Terra Alta): She is liberally applying the heady, oily, rich – and beguiling – perfume. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Pina Ames Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville): Dark fruit & earth that start out broad, but lean in with focus at the end. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Castell Reitsteig Spatburgunder (Franken): Sporting dirty leather shoes, but still quite light on the feet that are inside them. $20 B >>find this wine<<
- 11 Santi Solane Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso (Valpolicella): Curt and demanding, almost to a leathery, dry-fruited fault $17 B- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Sojourn Cellars Wohler Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): You'd better like your cherries, & you'd better like them deep. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Sojourn Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Split personality; lovely, lingering, but also pithy and demanding. $54 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Sojourn Cellars Ridgetop Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Still a mere babe in herbal, peppery, spiced-fruit swaddling cloth. $59 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Helfrich Grand Cru Steinklotz Gewurztraminer (Alsace): About as crowd-pleasing as the Chinese food with which it should be served. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 09 Briego Crianza Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero): fruity, grippy, lively, leathery, and punching well above its weight class. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
The Most Interesting Wines of the Year – some of the more thought-provoking discussion here on these virtual pages have come courtesy of this annual list, compiled with a not insignificant amount of effort on my part in looking back on the crap-ton of wines that I had the pleasure (mostly, anyway) to have tasted over the last twelve months.
2013’s incarnation of the MIW list was expanded, and broken up into two parts (you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here). Regrettably, I did not have the bandwidth to offer an expanded list for 2014, so I’m reverting back to the Top Ten format for this go-round. Once again, the list offers some surprises (three Chardonnays? WTF?!??), and many wines at high-end price points (you ought to be used to that by now, right?). Napa Valley, the U.S. South, Sonoma Coast, Portugal, Oregon, Italy, France, Hungary, and Spain are all represented herein (some more than once).
As for the selection criteria, once again nothing has changed in this incarnation of the MIW list: these are not the “best” or “highest rated” wines of 2014, they are the wines I tasted from 2014 which most stuck with me during the entire year, those that I felt offered the most geeky, thought-provoking experiences. Please note, these are not necessarily wines released during the year, they are releases that I tasted during the year. Also, I once again attempted to select only wines that you’d have at least some modicum of hope of obtaining. Reactions, whether of the bitching/moaning variety or the exaltation variety, are of course all welcome.
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