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What wine would you buy right now if you had $500 to spend on it?
I mean, let’s say you were given $500 cash, right now, and told the only condition upon receiving it was that you had to spend that money on wine, and you had to buy it right now.
What would you buy?
I’ve been thinking about this question for days and days, and it’s made me curious as to how the intelligent, witty, and better-than-average-looking 1WineDude.com readership would answer it.
Do you blow the whole wad on one wine, like a very-good-but-not-great vintage of Chateau Petrus, just to say t hat you did it at least once? Or go for two bottles of a classified Right Bank Bordeaux? How about dabbling in a little high-end Burgundy? Or take a dessert wine tour of the world, through Porto, Madeira, Hungary, Sauternes, Niagara, Jerez…? Or a bargain-end binge shopping spree, stocking up on fairly-priced wines
It’s a compelling proposition, isn’t it?
Here’s the part that will start to bake your noodle:
Once you’ve decided on an answer… ask yourself Why haven’t I bought myself that wine already? Is it because $500 isn’t exactly small change in today’s crappy economy? Catholic guilt preventing you from spending that kind of money on yourself?
I think reading each others’ responses to these questions would be fascinating.
I’ll kick things off – I’d blow the whole wad on one wine, the kind of cultish wine like Petrus that is supposed to blow your mind, just to see if it can really live up to the stratospheric hype factor.
How about YOU?
Here we go again. It is… that time.
That time when I present the 1WineDude.com Top 10 Most Interesting Wines of the Year. Although I tried last year to set proper expectations around this year end recap of tasty vino, that didn’t stop my Top 10 Most Interesting Wines of 2008 list from being used as a bit of media-fodder “best of” list – which it wasn’t.
For those of you new to this annual list, here’s how it works: it’s NOT a list of the best wines released in 2009. It is a list of wines that I tasted in 2009 (that’s the only qualification for inclusion, by the way), and that I personally found to be the most interesting of those wines. The list is presented with my twitter mini-review, and reflections on why each wine was included.
I just want to caution everyone not to take this list too seriously. Because, well, it’s not meant to be taken too seriously. Which doesn’t mean that a lot of serious thought didn’t go into the compilation of this list. It did. As I mentioned in preface to the 2008 list:
“…there was nothing easy about compiling the list that I’m about to give to you, and I’m sure the inclusions and omissions will piss some people off somewhere. That isn’t my intention, and this is not a best-of list by any stretch of the imagination.”
That was even more true for this year’s list. For one, the ‘competition’ (if it can be called that) was stiffer – I tasted more wines, and more wines of higher quality, than I ever have before. I had access – through the kind generosity of many, many people in the wine industry – to more wines than I had in 2008, much of them of high quality. Trying to nail this down to 10 wines was, at times, downright agonizing. Many wines, made by people who in some cases I now count among my friends, that just didn’t make it but were ohhhh sooooo clooooose.
The list is not based on any numerical rating. The wines were chosen based on my tasting notes from all of the wines that I tasted this year. Since I am not employed as a wine critic, I do not taste thousands of wines per year. I do, however, taste well over an amount of wine than (I think) is normally accessible to the average wine lover.
The differences between the 2008 and 2009 lists are exciting for me:
As much as I consider myself a ‘red’ wine drinker at heart, the majority of the wines that made the cut are whites, with at least one of them being a grape that you probably haven’t had before (let alone heard of… or can likely pronounce). The top 3 on the list are very, very exciting wines and I’m particularly stoked to hear (read) what you all think of those.
Sadly, I’m not sure that any of my picks are budget-priced wines – there’s something we can discuss in the comments! As with the 2008 list, and despite the high(ish) price tags, my aim is to expose you to something unique, different, and of (what I feel is) exceptional quality for the price – you can comment and let me know if I succeeded.
Enough of my yakin’ – let’s boogie! I give you –
The 1WineDude.com Top 10 Most Interesting Wines of 2009…
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What do you do when you and your spouse / significant other /favorite pet / whatever find yourselves double-booked for holiday party engagements?
If you’re me, you declare defeat, play holiday party hooky and instead grab three bottles from the samples stash and go out for a “date night” dinner alone to reconnect. That’s what we decided to do last Friday evening (with apologies to anyone involved in the two holiday parties that we ditched – it’s nothing personal), and the time away from the holiday hustle & bustle allowed me to make a few reflective observations about the more recent ‘state of things.’
For instance: reconnecting with someone isn’t simply a matter of having great food and really good wines – though those two thing help immensely in the process.
But you’re not here for the Dude personal matters, you’re here for the wine, right? Well, I made some reflections on that stuff, too:
- Napa has gone almost ‘all-in’ when it comes to wine blogs, and is sending more and more stellar, low-production wines our way – another big change from 12 months ago. I say “almost” because the cult-iest of the cults are probably not going to divert any stock away from the allocation to the world’s yacht-owners to spare a bottle or two for me.
- South-African wine has really, really impressed me lately, and this is the first year that I can remember not having any wines from South Africa that I didn’t like. Which, upon reflection after 12 months of tasting is really a bit remarkable.
- From what I can discern, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator might have given 92 points to a flawed wine.
Let’s address each of these tidbits apiece, shall we?…
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The November 23, 2009 edition of the New Yorker contains a fascinating article by Evan Osnos titled “Letter From China – Reds: The creation of a wine-loving class.”
The article recounts a short period in the history of the A.S.C. Fine Wines company based in Beijing and run by two Canadians (a father-and-son team by the name of St. Pierre). Just as interesting as the trials and tribulations of the St. Pierre clan is the clear picture that Osnos’ article paints of fine wine consumption in China.
I’ll share some of those numbers with you in a moment, but before I do, let’s get the bottom line conclusion out of the way now: anyone who doesn’t think that China is not among the major players – if not the major player – in the world fine wine market needs to have a belly-button window installed (think about it… you’ll get it).
In a less than 15 years, China’s upper-middle class has gone from a “let’s mix red wine with soda” drinking culture to a group of savvy if star-struck fine wine and dining folk right out of a hackneyed, First-Growth-worshipping Wine Spectator lifestyle piece.
Welcome to the new world of international wine…
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