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#WBW75 “Singles Night”: Pinot From Alto, By Way Of Norse Mythology

Vinted on March 21, 2012 binned in best of, wine blogging wednesday, wine review

Welcome to Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, people!

I’m thrilled to be hosting WBW this month, and I’m stoked to see what you all will be tasting throughout the day today, in keeping with our theme: “Singles Night!” For the background on the theme, check out the announcement post – the short story is that this month we are celebrating wines that are made from grapes grown on a single vineyard.

So get yourself some single vineyard wine, blog about it, comment here about it, or tweet about it (#WBW75)!

I’m kicking things off with a single vineyard wine that has been sitting in the bowels of the basement sample pool for some time, but that I’ve been excited about trying ever since I cracked the cardboard on its shipping box. It’s a familiar grape, and maybe even a familiar region, but not necessarily a grape/region combo that would be all that familiar for many of you…

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Do Wine Experts Taste Differently Than You (And Does It Matter)?

Vinted on March 14, 2012 binned in best of, commentary, wine news, wine tasting

I don’t mean here that if you lick a wine expert (something I do not recommend, unless you happen to be Heidi Klum and the wine expert you plan on tasting is me) they taste like chocolate-covered hazelnut while you taste like a dog coming out of the rain.

I mean, are wine experts hard-wired to taste wine in a fundamentally different way than you are, physiologically?

Sound crazy? Well, crazy or not, that’s the conclusion suggested by results published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, from a study performed by John Hayes (assistant professor of food science) and others at (WE ARE!) Penn State. Even NPR jumped in on this action despite the study results not having been repeated yet (see “Most Of Us Just Can’t Taste The Nuances In High-Priced Wines” – not that they’d stoop to using an incendiary title that insinuates the conclusions as unalterable scientific fact or anything gimmicky like that…).

The coverage of the study at PSU.edu is pretty sparse, and open to some rather gaping critical holes, but assuming the results hold up to further scientific scrutiny they will bolster the controversial position taken by Master of Wine Tim Hanni (and others) that individually we perceive wines differently based on a number of factors, some of them physical.

To the tape, quoting Mr. Hayes (emphasis mine):

“While learning plays a role in their expertise and other factors matter, such as how they communicate their thoughts and opinions on wines, some wine experts may have an innate advantage in learning to discern small differences in wine.”

The most interesting thing about this study? For my money, it’s the further implication that reviews from wine experts are actually even less helpful to the general public than previously thought

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This Is Me Totally NOT Lightening Up On Wine And Social Media

Vinted on March 7, 2012 binned in best of, going pro, wine 2.0

Actually, it’s not social media and wine that I’m going to be talking about here – it’s social media and engagement. Engagement with actual people who actually spend their actual hard-earned cash for the purpose of drinking actual wine…

It’s taken a while for me to respond to this plea for me to lighten up when it comes to social media’s place in the wine world. The delay is mostly due to me having been on the road, and otherwise waiting for the Universe to present a pertinent example of what I was talking about (it didn’t take long – more on that in a minute or two).

I’m not lightening up. If anything, I think we all should be making more of a fuss over this stuff, not less.

The best responses I can give to any challenge on the power of engagement in the wine world come from my own experiences. So let me talk to wine producers directly here for a minute or two (…or fifty), and share some of those experiences with them. It will sound harsh at times, but that’s because I keep hearing arguments that are the equivalent of telling me that my experiences didn’t happen, and I’m not a psychotic (at least, not yet) so there’s definitely something a bit screwed up here. And most of what I’m saying is not unique – it’s been said by others, I’m just culling many of the points together.

For those that don’t want to wade through the damn-near 1800 words that follow, the bottom line is this: if you are producing wine, and in this day and age you are letting someone like me (or any critic) dictate the majority of your brand message to current and potential customers in online engagement channels (twitter, facebook, etc.), then you need to audition for a Jim Henson Company project, because you’re acting like a Muppet

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Meet Playboy.com’s New Dot Com Wine Dude

Yep. Really.

I’m crazy excited to tell you that I will soon be authoring a freelance wine column on Playboy.com.

So now you have some legitimacy behind the “I’m just going there for the articles, honey!” excuse (you’re welcome!).

The folks behind Playboy.com reached out to me many moons ago, and the whole thing has been even many more moons in the making, so I’m thrilled to be able to get started – and humbled and honored by the opportunity to work with such an amazing brand. I don’t know how long this gig will last, and the column doesn’t have an official name yet (please shout out your ideas in the comments – I’ve got a feeling those will be very entertaining!), but we have some great ideas for content, which naturally will be exploring the more sensual sides of wine.

Now, I’ve never featured beautiful nude women on 1WineDude.com (though I’ve come close!), but I suppose you could say that there’s a bit of “spiritual alignment” in my writing style and the serious-but-accessible-and-slightly-irreverent take on the subject of wine that Playboy.com was looking for. To me, it’s a bit like Forbes.com bringing on Jeff Lefevre’s smart, analytical writing style, or how the populist, grounded voice of Vinography’s Alder Yarrow fits in so well with JancisRobinson.com. So you can add one more name to the list of home-grown wine bloggers being tapped by long-standing on-line brands.

There are a few things you probably should know about this Playboy.com gig…

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