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Commentary | 1 Wine Dude - Page 5

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Anyone Else Notice That Bay Area Wine & Food Trendsetting Is Up For Grabs?

Vinted on February 4, 2014 binned in about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine publications

I was recently (ok, more like a month ago) Quick-Sipped (Supped?) by Jessica Yadegaran, in a profile/interview that ran online and in bay Area papers such as The San Jose Mercury News. It (very) briefly tells my wine backstory, and gave me an opportunity to implore people to drink more Vermentino (with fish tacos). So I didn’t squander the opportunity, Vermentines!

Interestingly, Mercury’s parent company, Media News Group, is expanding its food and wine scene coverage, at a time when most others are contracting theirs. MNG seems to be making a play for what will almost certainly be a media gap in the San Francisco region: trendsetting the wine and food scene, now that the #1 seed, the SF Chronicle, is planning to radially change its food and beverage coverage.

I’m not sure how else to take the comments from SF Chron managing editor Audrey Cooper, in her response to the NY Times breaking the news late last year on the SF Chron’s planned Wine/Food section shakeup:

“We are undergoing a newspaperwide section-by-section review with the idea that we need to reimagine sections to more intuitive cultural topics that are more aligned with how Northern Californians think and live.”

My translation: we’re not going to spend the money and effort to set regional dining and wine trends anymore, because it’s not working out; we’re going to react to the trends already being set by others, instead.

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Why Rare Wine Collecting Is Kind Of Like Having Sex With Animals (Thoughts On The Rudy Kurniawan Fraud Trial)

Vinted on January 7, 2014 binned in commentary, wine news

By now, you’ll probably have heard that alleged fine wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan has been found guilty of fraud in court (well, he was found guilty of wine fraud during trial in court, not found guilty within a court, although technically actually he was found guilty within a court room… oh, forget it).

You’ll also, no doubt, be nursing a raging New Year’s Eve hangover. So I’ll try to make this pithy since most likely I will also be nursing some manner of raging NYE hangover.

In the event that you’re a self-professed wine geek who hasn’t yet gotten up to speed on the whole Kurniawan Kerfuffle, I recommend taking a quick diversion over to the fine summary of Kurniawan’s alleged fraudulent activities at NPR, so that you can do a rapid catch-up.

All set? Good. Now I can explain why Kurniawan’s guilty verdict means almost nothing whatsoever to the fine wine market, and why I think it will almost certainly not even make a dent in the purchases of fraudulent wine worldwide.

But, in order to do that, I first need to explain why the collecting of rare fine wines is like having sex with animals

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The Wine Snob: A Short Field Guide

Vinted on January 2, 2014 binned in commentary

Instances and identification of the Wine Snob in the wild

The wine snob is easily encountered but often difficult to successfully identify in the wild. This is because the wine snob in almost all salient ways physically resembles the human homo sapiens. Often, the only way to successfully identify the wine snob is via verbal cues.

The wine snob, isolated, is rarely dangerous and poses almost no immediate threat apart from annoyance. There are cases in which it has been reported that the wine snob will “leech” onto an unsuspecting person and follow them incessantly, carping verbal nonsense – the phrase terroir (tear-WARW) is often repeated – and requiring the person to physically remove themselves from the area to abbey the threat. However instances of bodily harm in these cases is statistically quite rare, and most “threats” from the wine snob have been completely overblown in the modern, scandal- and –shock-hungry press.

Identification of the wine snob cannot be successfully confirmed based on the presence of wine alone. This is an important enough point that it bears repeating and additional emphasis: not all specimens possessing a wine glass in the wild are wine snobs. The instances of wine snobs within any given wine-drinking population are still quite rare. Again, verbal confirmation must be obtained, as the presence of the wine snob also cannot be confirmed via nesting ground, habitat clues, tracks, diet or scat.

Wine-stained urine is not a reliable identification measure.…

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Are Cute Wine Labels Sweet For The Consumer? (Publix Grape Magazine Winter 2013)

Vinted on December 17, 2013 binned in commentary, going pro

One of my favorite “pro” gigs is penning the In Focus section of Publix Grape Magazine, which I will happily continue doing for so long as they’re willing to ask, because I have so much freakin’ fun doing it. I learn more than I’d otherwise suspect every time I write for the seasonal magazine, both in researching and in trying to take complex wine topics such as yeasts, oak, and acids, and make them palatable (see what I did there?) to non-geeks. You know, normal people!

For the 2013 Winter edition of Grape, I solicited the help of my winemaking bud Steve Matthiasson in breaking down the topic of wine sugars, much like yeasts break those suckahs down in real life (see what I did there?… whatever…). Corkscrews are the topic for the Spring, so go subscribe (for free) if you don’t want to miss it.

But I’m not blogging to talk about that, I actually want to talk about another aspect of the Winter release of Grape, in which I’m quoted on the topic of cute wine labels. Namely, are they good or bad for wine, and would they appeal to Millennials?

I’m one of a few wine geeks quoted in that article, which understandably but unfortunately didn’t quote my lengthy caveat that if wine brands like Skinny Girl and Cupcake are selling, then there must be good reasons for that and it doesn’t really matter what I or any other critic-type-person thinks about them. Interestingly, the article also mentioned Gnarly Head and Smoking Loon, which I don’t consider as “kitschy” as Skinny Girl or Cupcake (loons are not cute, and neither are gnarly old vines), but I’ve long considered them decent bargains because they’re getting nice old vine fruit from places like Lodi at suppressed prices, which translates into really decent wines in some cases…

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