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Commentary | 1 Wine Dude - Page 11

Posts Filed Under commentary

In Defense Of Natalie MacLean

Vinted on January 2, 2013 binned in commentary

Wait a second…

…you mean to tell me that Canadian wine personality Natalie MacLean’s probable plagiarism (or at the very least, insufficient, obfuscated attribution of others’ work), possible pay-to-play wine reviews / favorable brand mentions, on-line comment “sock-puppeting” (and iTunes app review sock-puppeting, while we’re at it) allegations, along with spam-botting (can I use that as a verb?), multiple accusations of comment censorship and what seems like outright lying isn’t defensible with a simple “oh, whoops, my bad! :-)” letter to her readers?!??

Really??

[ Editor’s note: Despite the author’s better judgement telling him that he ought to just forget all about this, he’s still pissed-off about it, and so has decided to help the cause in a small way by drawing a little bit of extra attention to this scandal and not letting it die on the vine. Look, he’s not saying that the average wine-loving person should care what he thinks about these things, but it’s his blog so he’ll whine, wine, and whittle away the time with this opinion on a scandal here if he wants. Thanks to those of you who will indulge him the time to dip into the wine media’s scarred underbelly. ]

Ah, and I forgot about the whole let’s-call-the-entire-wine-media-thing-into-question-because-we-all-look-like-a-bunch-of-douche-bags-for-bestowing-awards-on-these-people debate that gets stirred up every time that something like this transpires (which is way too often right now, by the way).

Oh, well – our bad, right?!?

The primary thing that’s got me riled up about this scandal is that, as the Hosemaster of Wine recently put it, MacLean “dared use dull and virtually interchangeable wine reviews from wine experts on her blog without attribution” (ouch!)….

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Merry Everything (Now, Go Explore The Infinite Expanse Of The Wine World!)

Vinted on December 25, 2012 binned in commentary

“‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!’”
– from How The Grinch Stole Christmas

[ Editor’s note: please substitute the Winter Solstice holiday of your choice for “Christmas” above; I’m not religious so I don’t give a hoot which one you go with, so long as you’re happy, okay? ]

This short blog post is, in part, a please for you to explore (and introduce others to) the near infinite expanse of the wine world. It’s also an excuse to post some 2012 family holiday photos of Mrs. Dudette and the Dudette-lette (more than a few of you have commented over the past year that you want to see more of them… and the dog… sorry I couldn’t get that over-sized mini-moose in there this year, but we did the holiday photos ourselves, and having an intelligence-challenged, 115lb dog on the loose when you’ve got an SLR on a timer and tripod is just a recipe  for having to buy yourself a new SLR for the holidays!). It’s also a sincere wish from me that, whatever Winter Solstice holiday you happen to celebrate, the season is treating you warmly, safely, and well!

The recent tragic events directly impacting the lives of dozens of families in Connecticut have reminded almost all of us – and particularly those of us who are parents – that we all take that warmth, safety and well-being for granted far too often. And so the family photos, psychoanalyzing myself for a second here, are probably my way of saying that I don’t take that for granted (at least not today). I know I’ll get weak eventually, but I can honestly say that I’ll be trying harder from here on out…

On a much lighter note, I also hope that, if there are wine lovers on your  “nice” list, that you’ve treated them (and yourself, for that matter) with the one gift that I urge wine geeks to go with this time of year: namely, wine from “someplace else.” Personally, I can think of no greater gift than potentially introducing a budding wine lover to wine regions that they wouldn’t normally have considered buying on their own.

That’s a true gift, the kind that cannot ever be taken away: the joy of experimentation, the hurts-so-good shock of seeing just how big the wine world is, and the visceral thrill of realizing that no matter how deep you go into the wine geek forest, there will always, always, always be caches left unexplored, exciting lessons to be learned, beauty to be found.

So here’s to you, here’s to family, here’s to the season, and here’s to daring to be different!

Cheers!

Varietal Is NOT A Synonym For Variety

Vinted on December 18, 2012 binned in commentary

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Cheers!

* – Don’t believe me? LOOK IT UP!

The Waning Of The Wine Critic?

Vinted on November 20, 2012 binned in commentary

Earlier this month, I was a guest lecturer at a wine class for undergrads at Drexel University in downtown Philly. The class is taught by Jason Wilson (author of the very entertaining spirits book Boozehound and who somehow Id never met in Philly; it took a chance encounter at one of the Professional Wine Writers Symposium events in Napa for us to become friends)

Talk about flashbacks (but not those kinds of flashback!) – the impressive great court of Drexel’s Main Building and its serpentine staircases leading to the back classrooms reminded me in no small way of trying to find the Philosophy classroom at my alma matter’s (SJU) Barbelin Hall. I got the sense that a lot of 21-year-old students would’ve been very late trying to get to that Drexel class for the first time (and if you can make it back out after tasting ten-or-so wines without spitting… more power to you).

I was there to talk about the wine regions of Australia (which I’d recently visited), and taste the class through a sampling of wines from those locales, the theme of which, as I tried to summarize early in the likely eventuality that I’d completely lose control of the class later, was “in America we tend to treat French wine regions as if they’re continents apart when in reality you can drive between several of them in a couple of hours; but Australia we treat as one big dessert, when in reality their wine regions really are continents apart!”

Jason has published a fun and insightful take on the class – and on wine talk in general – over at Table Matters (a story in which I play the part of a Brett Nazi, though my reaction to the Bretty wine might have been a bit over-emphasized in that tale… or not, I was onto beer by then, so who knows…).

Scanning the faces of those kids (I can call them “kids” now that I’m 40, right?), sitting in two rows against the long side of the cramped rectangular classroom, I got a microcosm of the East Coast wine drinking future. Some stared pretty intently, offering quiet comments when a topic or wine really struck them. Others were yawning (hey, Wine Appreciation is a better elective than “Math Models In Chemistry,” right?). And others were clearly having revelations about their own tastes and the at lovable madness that is the diversity of wine just within Australia itself.

None of them had any fear whatsoever of trying a new region, grape, or blend. None of them had any concern more pressing than the price point of each bottle ($12 and under seemed to be the realistic cut off for future purchases).

And none of them – not a single one – has ever followed the advice of a wine critic…

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