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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 1WineDude.com, 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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“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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In the (second to be recorded but third to be released) installment of my podcast thang, I interview Grammy-winning and platinum-album-selling artist Maynard James Keenan – who most will identify as the front man for TOOL, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, but wine geeks will also know as the founder and fledgling winemaker of Arizona’s Caduceus Cellars.
Maynard’s entry into the wine world was the focus of the film Blood Into Wine, and my personal take is that he’s onto something in AZ – and is not without talent in the winemaking department.
He’s also not without a sense of dedication, and certainly not afraid of learning things the hard way – that’s an aspect of his personality that comes through crystal clear in the course of this interview.
One could certainly be forgiven, after listening to this podcast, for developing the impression that Maynard is pretty (maybe too?) low-key for a rock star front man; but there’s no way you’re going to think his winemaking career is a superficial attempt to slap his name on a vanity project. If you’re a betting person, you’d best bet that Maynard is in the wine biz for the long haul – and while he may be a famous hard-rock icon, he views his early attempts at winemaking as a passionate and humble beginner.
Having said that… he’s at no shortage of strong opinions about how wine should be made!
Cheers, and enjoy!
1WineDude Radio: The Maynard James Keenan Interview