Posts Filed Under best of

The Lazy Abuse of Wine Scores: A Glimpse Into One Producer’s Market Struggles (and a Glimmer of Hope)

Vinted on January 5, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, on the road

No matter how far one travels in the wine world, there is no respite from the rampant abuse of the 100-point wine rating system.

The harsh reality of this fact was driven home to me while visiting the (relatively new, at least when it comes to their modern table wines) Cima Corgo producer Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo during my recent sojourn to Portuguese wine country (while the vineyards have been long-standing and the location making wine since the mid 1700s, the modern winery was built in April 2003).

Quinta Nova’s rather long name is the odd result of a merger of sorts; from the website:

“The name ‘Quinta Nova’ (meaning new farm) was the name given to the new Quinta after the two Quintas were joined together. Nossa Senhora do Carmo is the patron saint of the seventeenth century chapel on the margin of the Douro River. In this particularly dangerous bend of the river, the crew of the Rabelo boats would stop at the chapel to beg protection from their patron saint before carrying on down the river.”

In their efforts to get their table wines a bit of market share outside of their Portuguese home base, it seems that Quinta Nova could use some assistance from their canonized namesake – because the abuse of the 100 point system, which has led to what have to be some of the laziest business practices in modern history, is making their journey into the world wine market a treacherous one indeed

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Not Quite Readers’ Choice: Top Ten Articles of 2010

Vinted on December 30, 2010 binned in about 1winedude blog, best of

As New Year’s Eve approaches, we are greeted with the familiar sights of fireworks, the sounds of annoying Vuvuzela-like party favors, and the coming of cheesy year-end recap. posts!

So today, we’re not ranking wines, but articles. I had fun pulling together the 2009 recap. of the most-commented posts on, so I thought I’d do the same for 2010, using the totally unscientific method of listing all of the posts form the Archives page and ordering what looked like the ones with the most comments.

The rationale of course being that these are the posts that you, the extraordinarily talented, modest, and altogether too-good-looking 1WD readers felt were most worth the effort of contributing your time, passion and opinions.

As was the case last year, controversy (and Robert Parker – honestly… I’m starting to wonder if you folks are obsessed with RMP… you can probably seek help for that, you know…) won out.  I consider the majority of the topics covered in the round-up below (two were giveaways, which weren’t controversial but did turn into interesting discussions on how we take tasting notes, and our preferred methods for cork extractions) to be at least somewhat controversial in the wine world.  And then there’s what seems to be the holy triumvirate of wine controversy: namely, BioDynamic winemaking, The Wine Trials author Robin Goldstein, and uber-critic Robert Parker

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Testicles, Terraces and Red Tape: The Trials of Port Production in the Douro (1WineDude TV Episode 24)

Vinted on December 23, 2010 binned in 1WineDude TV, best of, kick-ass wines, on the road, overachiever wines

“Lagare volume dimensions are naturally dictated by the lowest testicles of the shortest man.”

Lagares, of course, are the long, low vats in which Port grapes were once (and sometimes still, though rarely) crushed by foot. The quote above is from the straight-shooting Miles Edlemann, the straight-shooting viticulturist for some of the Symington Family estates in Portugal’s Douro region. It was during a visit to one of those stunning Douro properties – Quinta da Cavadinha – that I met Miles and where he demonstrated one of the more… uhm… intimate aspects of Port wine production by climbing into one of the Warre’s wine company empty lagares and imitating an exaggerated, wide stomping stomping motion with his feet (pants still on, of course!).

You see, the dimensions of the workers stomping grapes were quite important, because the shortest of them had to be able to walk somewhat freely through the volume of grapes in order to crush them efficiently without certain anatomical aspects being compromised… or compromising the crush, as it were, and so… errr… you get the idea. Today, most Port grapes are crushed via large machines that emulate quite effectively the pressure of the human foot (though the machines lack testicles – or, at least, if they have them I didn’t see them and I’m not in any hurry to do so)…

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