Last year, I did a sort of double-dip on the Italian wine community. I traveled on a media tour to Asti in the north (to eat fried cow brain and other fantastically odd delicacies, while getting immersed in all things Ruchè). And, since I was in Italy anyway, I was taken on another media tour with Zonin 1821, wrapping around the southern coast of Sicily on a trip with other wine writers and sommeliers. Because, well, Italy.
The Sicily jaunt focused specifically on pairing the various wine brands under the Zonin umbrella with artisan fare from producers of some of the world’s most authentic ancient grain pasta; its historic chocolates; its mind-(and-adrenaline-)blowing coffee; its unparalleled seafoods; and its almost life-alteringly-good cheeses.
I’d thought about if/how/when I was going to write about this trip, but Zonin one-upped me and put together this amazing video of the trip, which I’m happy to report they’ve allowed me to share with you (in which you can see Lorenzo Zonin go for a swim, and me doing my best Family Guy impersonation)…
During a speaking gig at Taste Washington, I remember seeing the beer brand stands at the event and laughing to myself. Someone next to me at the time (who was involved in the organization of the event) asked me what was amusing me, and I answered “the beer stands.”
“But why are they funny? They’re great sponsors!”
“I’m sure that they are,” I answered, “because this is one of the cheapest and best ways for them to steal wine customers that I have ever seen!”
For the impatient: the bottom line is that the a declining US wine consumption has been totally predictable for the last 3+ years, and the efforts required to reverse it have been around for just as long, and (it’s absurd that I even need to type this next part) it’s not the fault of the changing wine buying demographic for wines under $20.
For those wishing for more detail: we now have two interesting canary-in-a-coalmine examples to consider that suggest that is actually what is happening….
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!
14 Brennan Vineyards Reserve Viognier (Texas): Cantaloupe cream and vanilla bean; bring on the scallops, but maybe hold the praline. $25 B >>find this wine<<
13 La Pitchoune Holder Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Wanna catalog its red berries & spices? Plan on it taking a while. $68 A- >>find this wine<<
13 La Pitchoune English Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): The little one is ready to play ball with some of the bigger boys! $58 A- >>find this wine<<
13 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast): Already showing some wrinkles, but there's an elegant face underneath them. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
12 Pina Napa Valley D'Adamo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Savory steak & sweet berry compote, all U need is a corkscrew. $80 A- >>find this wine<<
14 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris (North Canterbury): If they keep this up, Alsace will start to have to start glancing over its shoulder. $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
14 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir (North Canterbury): Get ready to repeat the phrase "totally delightful" after pretty much each sip. $26 B+ >>find this wine<<
13 Red Rocks! by Cornerstone (California): If you don't want a juicy burger after sniffing this, have your olfactory setup checked out $15 B >>find this wine<<
14 Grip Sauvignon Blanc (California): Hearty and refreshing enough for those who are ready – and prefer to – just to grip it & rip it. $18 B >>find this wine<<
We’ve got a brand new episode in my ongoing Furmint Adventures series, this time exploring the modern-take-on-tradition that is Holdvölgy Winery.
That modern take on well-proven styles isn’t just part of the winemaking; it’s literally built into the winery operation itself, as you’ll clearly see from the video that the FurmintUSA folks have expertly put together (what you won’t see are the outtakes, in which we explored the massive cellar system at Holdvölgy, and filmed several takes of me running up and down long, steep, narrow flights of stairs… I swear that I will enact my revenge on the film crew in some way for this…). You will also get a glimpse at what might be one of the coolest label designs in the business right now.
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