Archive for March, 2016

A Near Miss And A Potent Hit (March 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on March 30, 2016 binned in wine products

Forthwith, I present the March 2016 wine product roundup, this time on time, but only juuuuust!

This month, I’ve got two items from the sample pool to present, one of them a bit of a miss, the other potentially a hit (in both the it-totally-works and the painful-punch-to-the-gut senses of the word, which will make more sense in a minute or two).

sponti catalyst

Dialing it up? (image:

In terms of the near-miss, we have Sponti’s Catalyst Ultimate Wine Server, which as far as I can discern is not yet available for purchase. The idea behind the Catalyst is a combination of wine pourer and aerator, only the aeration is adjustable thanks to a nifty little dial on the back of the pourer.

As a pourer, the Catalyst works as well as any similar in-bottle-pourer, minimizing post-pouring-action dripping. As an aerator, I get decidedly mixed results from the thing. The adjustment of the dial is easy, but I had two issues with that: 1) the lower settings seemed to do very little in terms of actually impacting the aromas and flavors of the wines on which I tried it, and 2) it’s easy to go a bit wild and end up turning the dial so far that you loosen it entirely (adding a simple plastic notch in the design might prevent this, but might complicate cleaning the unit if it prevented the dial from being removed).

It’s easy to clean, but its plastic design also feels a bit on the cheap side. I’d have to wait and see the final price, but generally speaking I think more works needs to be done to tweak this item.

Now, onto the Potent Hit portion of this month’s round-up…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For March 28, 2016

Vinted on March 28, 2016 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!

  • 11 Castello di Uviglie San Bastiano Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese (Piedmont):  This featherweight can hit with some serious jabs. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Gaudio Bricco Mondalino Gaudio Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese (Piedmont): Pleasant palate hip-check, delivered by rosehips. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Tenuta la Tenaglia Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese (Piedmont): Roses are red, cherry is ripe, this is pithy… can I have more? $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Wente Eric’s Chardonnay Small Lot (Livermore Valley-San Francisco Bay): Bring forth the thirsty crowds, for they shall be pleased. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Riverbench Cork Jumper Rose Brut (Santa Maria Valley): Floral, lovely, & capable, and maybe just a little too sure of itself. $42 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Trefethen Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Flashy, but seriously skilled, and fitting the NV profile to a T. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Biblia Chora Ovilos White Assyrtico-Semillon (Pangeon): Oil & water don’t mix, but oily & piquant sure as hell do, based on this. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Wakefield The Pioneer Exceptional Parcel Release Shiraz (Clare Valley): Like inhaling the entire finals of a barbecue competition. $200 A >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva (Rioja): Spicy, plummy, & juicy waves that hit quickly, but slowly ebb on sweet mocha currents. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Henriques & Henriques 20 Years Old Malmsey (Madeira): If you can’t stand this fresh heat, you surely don’t belong in the kitchen. $95 A- >>find this wine<<



Big Hat, Big Cattle (Highlights From The 2016 TexSom International Wine Awards)

Vinted on March 25, 2016 binned in on the road, wine industry events
TexSom 2016

image: Texas Monthly

Ahhh, Dallas, where the rain is big, the convention center is even bigger, and the wine competitions are downright huuuuuuge.

I had such a splendid time judging alongside the consummate professionals at the 2016 TexSom International Wine Awards that I didn’t even mind that Dallas is totally dirty with Cowboys fans (Go Steelers!). Hell, I even had a date while I was in town (because, well, we are talking about my crazy life here).

The results of the 2016 TexSom competition have now been published in their entirety, so I am happy to share with you some of the highlights from my panels there. First, here’s the skinny on the results, as worded by the TexSom crew:

“Entries in the TEXSOM International Wine Awards were blind-tasted and judged by 67 internationally renowned industry influencers from 10 countries. Of these entries, the judges awarded 2,133 medals: 273 Gold medals, 798 Silver medals, and 1062 Bronze medals. Suggested retail pricing of medal-winning entries ranged from US $2.99 to US $770.00. Vintages spanned 75 years, with the oldest being 1941. All winners have been announced, and the winning wines are listed on the Texas Monthly website at”

Told ya it was big, pardner!…

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Catch My Thrift (Shopping For Cheap Wine At

Vinted on March 22, 2016 binned in going pro, learning wine
thrillist cheap wine


A quick update today to let you know that my inaugural wine piece for online food, drink, and travel juggernaut (seriously, their numbers are sick) is now available.

The article is a quick run-through of what to look out for when hunting down a good, inexpensive ($15-and-under) bottle of wine, and is geared towards the non-currently-geeky-over-it-but-hopefully-could-be-geeky-about-it-one-day drinking populace.

It’s by no means exhaustive, but it should give a fair number of shoppers an entertaining place to start. I’m excited about working with Thrillist, and hoping to have more content appearing their in the coming months. In the meantime, go ahead an pick my first piece for them apart (just drink something good while doing so, okay?).





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