Archive for December, 2014
A troubling trend is starting to appear in my Inbox.
[ Editor’s note: I wonder how many cheesy detective novels now begin with that premise… ]
Somewhat ironically, the troubling trend seems to mostly be coming from very well-meaning wine producers and their various public relations arms / firms / etc., and with very well-meant intentions. But the gameplan execution is all fumbled-at-the-five-yard-line.
What’s happening is that I am seeing a lot (LOT!) more wine brands clue into the fact that what differentiates them in what has become the single most competitive wine market in the history of mankind is, in part, their stories. So far, so good.
Some of them have even clued in on the other great differentiator in a market in which we are deluged with mostly non-human, robotic, advertorial interactions: the simple act of caring enough to deal with customers and consumers as real people, and giving them the extra love inherent in good service.
What they seem to be forgetting, however, is that the price of entry in this intensely competitive marketplace that is the modern wine biz is quality. If we in the media don’t get a chance to check out the wine, we cannot answer the fundamental question of whether or not the service and story are worth getting into in the first place.
The troubling trend? I am getting inundated with requests to talk about wine brand stories, connected to wines that I’ve yet to taste. Whoops!…
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- 11 Vie White Hawk Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County): Bold, meaty, dense, big, but above all else, waaaay to young for the now. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Vie Las Madres Vineyard Los Carneros Syrah (Sonoma County): Rugged & expressive, a lumberjack taking up Manhattan art residency. $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Cornerstone Cellars The Cornerstone Red Wine (Napa Valley): Still in the process of formulating its complex, engaging opinions. $150 A- >>find this wine<<
- 12 Fox Run Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes): Peaches, limes, and a strong preference for sweet and spicy Asian take-out. $14 B >>find this wine<<
- 11 Pina D’Adamo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Iron fist, velvet glove, and several handfuls of stones and garden herbs. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- NV Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi Brut 25 (Franciacorta): Sharp as a tack, crisp as morning air, aggressive as an angry bull. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Schloss Johannisberg Silberlack Riesling Trocken (Rheingau): Stone fruit that’s bruised but unbowed, toasty but still spirited. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
- 11 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Reserve En Bonbonne (Arroyo Secco): Funky, nutty, authentic & opinionated; you’ll love her, or hate her. $54 A- >>find this wine<<
- 13 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Secco): Inviting, and enticing, despite stretching the limits of the spandex just a bit. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 11 Laurel Glen Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Mountain): Sports cocoa, currants, & a butler-proper attitude. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
- 10 Emina Prestigio (Ribera del Duero): Unabashed and unapologetic; but it will reward those who like their wood front and center. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
As a general rule, I am not a fan of “phoning it in.” Not in anything, particularly in writing here on 1WD.
I’d love to tell you all that the demands of holiday planning with a first-grader around, hosting Christmas for out of town visitors, and various writing gigs are keeping me from writing up for you my thoughts on some of the recent visits to stellar producers that I have had, but it’s not the complete picture. I have all of that and other shizz going down right now, and I am finding it difficult to do anything requiring focus and producing interesting thoughts with regularity.
I’m not fishing for sympathy here (though I wouldn’t turn it down), but I thought that the collective 1WD readership ought to know that in the near term, I might not be getting to the things I want to get to within the time-frames that you or I might want.
And so, the producer deep dives are going to have to wait a bit, but I did manage to get stoked enough about two recent white wine samples, the kind that delivered a brief, warming respite during the Winter of my discontent, and overachieved at their price points, to boot. So consider this a post made from under the holiday-decorated emotional floorboards, with the hopes that I will be reconnecting with regular 1WD drinking and merriment sooner than later…
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While I love Thanksgiving (eating, football, family time), if it weren’t for my daughter, I would loathe the Christmas season. Shopping, pressure, tinsel, pressure, and freezing temperatures? And pressure? Sorry, that just doesn’t sound jolly to me.
All the more reason to drown out the din of the real world with the alcohol content of fine wine, I suppose!
Anyway, I’m late on this (I would blame holiday shopping, but we both know I do that shizz online in my pajama pants), but I present below the 2014 November Wine.Answers.com article roundup for your reading pleasure:
- An Introduction to Organic Wine (with Bonterra Vineyard Director David Koball): From a recent trip to Sonoma, I returned with a lot of new knowledge about organic grape-growing and winemaking from Bonterra, who have been doing that stuff for just about as long and at just about as large a scale as anyone in the U.S. The added bonus is that their vineyard director is opinionated, which made for an entertaining and informative interview.
- Three Things You Didn’t Know About Lodi Wine Country: One of the benefits of attending tastings of wines from historic Lodi vineyards is that you also get access to the people who know those regions best, which for me translated into a collection of what I thought were fascinating tidbits about the region (but you’re a badass, and already knew all of the trivia in that article, right?).
- Wine Book Review: “Barolo and Barbaresco” by Kerin O’Keefe: O’Keefe has been on a tear lately on the Italian wine region overview book front, and “Barolo and Barbaresco” is a fine addition to her lineup (and are regions that were probably overdue for another overview treatment), if you can handle her terse writing style.
- Finally, in a significant departure for me in terms of the types of wine accessories I try out, I gave the wine-themed jewelry from Olive & Poppy a spin. You can check out their high-quality, relatively-pricey, and non-kitschy wares at oliveandpoppy.com.