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It’s with great pleasure (and after a sh*tload of hard work, not to mention wine tastings) that I reveal the 2011 version of 1WineDude.com’s Most Interesting Wines Of The Year!
The “competition” (such as it is, though it really isn’t such) was once again fierce, due to the volume of wines I tried in 2011 (up again from 2010 – considerably) and in the high level of quality of many of the wines to which I had the good fortune of being exposed through hundreds of samples, dozens of visits, blah-blah-blah.
The average price tag of the wines in this year’s list is once again on the high side (around $69), but there’s a price to be paid in creating a product that stirs the emotions, I suppose – the good news is that while several *very* expensive bottles are on the list, some of the best can be had for a relatively-reasonable $35-$40 per bottle.
For those of you who are new all of this and at this point are wondering what the hell I’m raving on about:
- I compile this list annually. It is NOT intended to be a “best of” or “highest rating” or “circle jerk” list (no mater what the PR folks do with it!).
- It is intended to be a list of arbitrarily-chosen wines that stood out, to me, as being particularly interesting for any number of reasons, not least of which are quality and complexity, and to call attention to those wines that I found most compelling this year – wines that make me want tot tackle the mountain of samples in my basement in search of another that might be somewhat like it. Actually, isn’t that how most non-chemical addictions start? Ah, whatever…
- These are not wines released in 2011 (though I try to favor recent releases so that you have a chance of actually trying the wines in this list), they are wines that I tasted in 2011. Not all the wines I tasted in 2011 qualified – the wines have to be at least somewhat available so that you have a shot at trying them.
- Also, the list of finalists included some wines tasted in late December 2010 (since this list is compiled in its final form in mid-December).
This year, I’m happy to also announce that the list comes complete with a new badge, created by Mofunsun Enterprises, LLC (a.k.a. design rock-star Jeffrey Sun) who also designed the badges I use each week in my wine reviews (see above). Producers included in the list below are free to use the MIW badge in any way that they see fit, so long as it is not modified (those interested can contact me for details).
This is, by far, the most difficult content for me to compile each year. No pressure, but if you don’t enjoy it then bah-humbug, you can go sit on an inappropriate wine-stopper. As in previous years, you will find some surprises in this list.I invite you to react, comment, and have fun, so long as you agree to take it for what it really is: a celebration of wine’s pleasure and subjectivity.
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Everybody knows that I “love” the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board [ Editor’s note: this is a boldfaced lie; I think the PLCB acts like a Communist monopoly and therefore I actually hate the PLCB ].
At least, I loved the recent move by Governor Tom Corbett to appoint Joseph “Skip” Brion (that’s his real nickname, by the way) the new PLCB Chairman, since both Corbett and Brion appear to be in favor of privatizing the state Commonwealth’s monopoly alcohol sales system – and they’re supporting House Bill eleven (HB11) which seeks to amend the existing Liquor Code “providing for the privatization of sales of wine and spirits in this Commonwealth through abolition of the State Liquor Stores.”
But as much as I’d love to see privatization take hold and the free market rein when it comes to alcohol sales in my home state Commonwealth, it’s become clear to me that, technically speaking, HB11 is actually not in the best interests of PA’s wine-consuming public; I would describe HB11 as Bull Honkey. As in, a big, stinking, steaming load of Bull Honkey.
Why? Two reasons, my vino-loving friends, neither of which portends any favorable outcomes from HB11 when it comes to actually letting the free market into the ring of PA’s liquor sales and distribution…
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Well… are they?
Some background: Wine critics generally use a 100-point scale when evaluating wines (I know most of you know this, bear with the exposition, people!). I don’t, because I think it implies a level of accuracy in evaluating a moving-target product (that can change within hours in the glass, let alone within years in the bottle) and so I (begrudgingly – hey, you asked for them!) use a “fuzzier” scale to evaluate the wine that I’m fortunate (and, ok, sometimes not-so-fortunate) enough to have cross my lips.
Generally, it’s assumed that many (probably most) wine critics reserve some part of their rating score for a wine’s color. For example, long-time Wine Spectator editor James Suckling once explained via video how he doles out his points when reviewing a wine, in which “things like color get 15 points.”
But is a wine’s color an important enough aspect on which to base 15% or so of one’s critical rating? According to a (very) informal poll I took recently via twitter and facebook, the answer is probably “No.”…
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In the latest installment of 1WD TV, I go backstage in D.C. to talk to rocker Les Claypool about his Claypool Cellars wines, eat the butterscotch cookies in his Green Room, and generally geek out about great Sonoma Pinot Noir. Les has just kicked off a tour with Primus in support of their new (excellent, dark & funky) album Green Naugahyde, a jaunt that will take them across a wide swath of the U.S., with stops in South America later this year and a stint at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall next April.
This is my second interview with Les (you can check out the first one here), and he’s still clearly very into the CC endeavor, and is quite the CA-boy homer when it comes to Pinot Noir. Words can not accurately describe the coolness of this interview for me, so just watch the friggin’ video already because it’s Pudding Time, children!!!
Mentioned in this episode: