Posts Filed Under best of

The Ten Most Interesting Wines Of 2012

Vinted on December 20, 2012 binned in best of, Most Interesting Wines of the Year, wine review

A vintage Sekt, a northern-Italian inspired Napa white blend, a Vintage Port from a sleeper of a producer in a not-so-sleeper of a year, and a single vineyard, old vine Chilean Malbec. All have taken the #1 spot in previous “vintages” of the 1WD Most Interesting Wines of the Year list. Believe it or not, the MIW list is now in its fifth consecutive incarnation, and it sure as hell ain’t getting’ any easier to produce each year!

Both the number and quality of wines that I sample increases exponentially each year, and so the competition (such as it is) for those that stand out as somehow being the most special in some way/shape/form increases dramatically as well.

Having said that, there’s a crap-ton of very good, but not very memorable wines out there… and I tasted a LOT of those to get to the ones on this top ten list.

Having said that, I feel somehow emotionally cheated with the list I’m presenting to you today… because so many excellent wines that I tasted in 2012 are missing… wines that could have been on here if it were a top 25 or top 50 list.

This list, as long-time 1WD readers already know, is not a “best of” or “highest rating” or “circle jerk” comparison (no mater what the PR folks do with it!). It’s intended to be a list of wines that stood out, to me, as being particularly interesting, high quality and full of complexity; an attempt to shine an additional spotlight on vino that I found to be among the most compelling drinking experiences I had this year.

A few more moments of preamble: these are not wines released in 2012 (though I try to favor recent releases, so that you have a chance of actually trying them), they are wines that I tasted in 2012.  Not all the wines I tasted in 2012 qualified – the wines have to be at least somewhat available (also so that you have a shot at trying them). Things got expensive again this year; not sure what that says about me, or the wine biz in general, but not all of the vino on this list is stratospherically priced (though a few are – sorry, I gotta call this stuff as I see/taste it!).

I invite you to take a gander at previous vintages of the Top 10, to see how things have evolved over the last five years: 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2008. Reactions, exclamations, bitching/moaning, exaltations, and the like are all, of course, welcome. But most of all, I hope you enjoy the walk down 1WD memory lane.

Oh, yeah – and this year, at one spot in the list we have a tie, so technically there are eleven wines in the list (go ahead… flame me up for it… you know you wanna…).

Enjoy!…

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Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety

Vinted on December 18, 2012 binned in best of, commentary

Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety.* Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety. Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety.

Cheers!

* – Don’t believe me? LOOK IT UP!

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A Millennial’s Open Letter To The Wine Industry: I Would Love Your Wine, If I Could Afford It (Guest Post)

Vinted on November 13, 2012 binned in best of, commentary, guest posts

[ Editor’s note: following is a guest post from the 1WD intern: the young, unpaid Shelby Vittek. While Shelby may be young, she’s got better creds than a lot of would-be wine media folks out there: she’s been writing about wine for the millennial set for the better part of a year, is already working on her first book (a guide to wine for college students), and has been published in the Washington Post’s travel section.  Her current writing gig is for the newly re-launched TableMatters.com. To give Shelby a break from having to catalog the small ocean of samples in my basement, we’re going to let her flex her writing muscles with guest posts centering on how young wine buyers view the wine world. We often talk about the Millennial wine buying generation here on 1WD, but this is a chance for you to get the scoop on Millennial wine habits directly from the source. You can follow Shelby on twitter at @BigBoldReds. Let us know what you think (but keep things civil, you opinionated b*stards!). Enjoy! ]

My usual cutoff price for a bottle of wine is ten dollars.

Yes, you read that correctly: $10 or less.

My problem isn’t that I don’t enjoy drinking higher-end wines, ones that are older or more intriguing – it’s just that frankly, I can’t afford them.

I’m part of the younger generation of wine-curious Millennials – the ones who have entered into the world of legal wine-buying and consumption age in the past few years. We are supposedly the generation of wine drinkers believed to be the almighty saviors of the wine industry. But finding an interesting, relatively delicious bottle of wine that doesn’t give me anxiety when I think about making rent at the end of the month is a never-ending challenge.

While I don’t anticipate these wines will blow me away the same way an older Barolo or an aged Riesling does, I want to be able to take pleasure in a glass alone after work (or rather, hours of organizing the mass amounts of wine samples in Joe’s basement). I want to share a bottle with friends without being embarrassed or horrified by the quality of my selection. (I have been deemed the know-it-all-wine-friend, after all.) And when I go home to visit my mother, I want to bring a bottle with me that impresses both her and her more sophisticated palate, without my budget-savvy ways being given away.

You may be shaking your head, or rolling your eyes at how frugal I am with my wine purchases. Maybe you think I’m crazy for expecting a ten-dollar bill to be traded for a beautifully perfumed wine that also delivers rich flavors. But I assure you, I am not insane, and I am definitely not alone. Many other younger Millennials are in the same boat as I am…

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Fine Wine Reviews Can Never Be Crowd-Sourced! Oh, Wait, They Already Have Been… For Years!

Vinted on October 10, 2012 binned in best of, commentary

About every other week, some friend or 1WD reader emails or tweets me a link to Matt Kramer’s “Drinking Out Loud” blog on WineSpectator.com. And about every other week, I have the same reaction after reading it: Kramer writes well, but his conclusions sometimes leave holes large enough that you could drive a steel tank full of Yellowtail through them.

Usually I simply shrug and ignore those conclusions, but Kramer’s piece (titled “Dubious Wine Achievements of Our Time: How smart wine people became boneheads”) published last week struck enough of a nerve that, Shatner style,  I just… couldn’t… let… GO!

It wasn’t Kramer’s near-total dismissal of both Bordeaux (maybe he should have called it “Bored-oh?”) as a region (points with which I largely agree, by the way) and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (points with which I largely disagree) that set me into a fit of head-scratching bewilderment, but his assertion that fine wine recommendations cannot successfully be crowd-sourced.

That latter conclusion flies so forcefully smack-dab into the face of reality that I can only categorize it as head-in-the-sand posturing. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but I see no reason to let something slide when it’s so far off the mark from reality.

Let’s break this one down, shall we?

First, by looking at what Kramer actually wrote, and then at the (potentially invalid) assumptions upon which those statements were based. C’mon, it probably beasts actually working over the next few minutes, doesn’t it?…

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