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Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Burgundy)

Vinted on February 16, 2009 binned in commentary, twitter taste live

Heart breaker, pain maker
Stole the love right out of you heart
Heart breaker, heart breaker
You stole the love right out of my heart
Heart breaker, heart breaker
I wanna tear your world apart
Doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo doo…

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) by The Rolling Stones

wwwlayoutsparkscom-brokenheart-2This is an article about heartbreak.  Consider it a sobering day-after revelation after amorous and Champagne-filled Valentine’s Day celebrations.

It’s a tale that begins with a warning, hits the low of ultimate disappointment, and offers the possibility of redemption.  It’s also about the Rolling Stones, twitter.com, and Jermaine Jackson.

Oh, yeah – and wine.

Here’s the deal (and the wine part): Burgundy is a heartbreaker.

This is especially true of red Burgundy, which is made from Pinot Noir – a neurotic diva of a grape if there ever was one. White Burgundy, made from the relatively heartier Chardonnay grape, tends to fair better but is just as susceptible to Burgundy’s sometimes-unpredictable climate.  Throw in an insane set of laws (established under Napolean) that allows small plots of the same vineyard to be farmed by different owners, and you’ve got a recipe for wines with psychotic multiple personalities, despite the fact that winegrowing has probably been going on here since the time of the Celts.

But when those neurotic wine divas are feeling good – when the weather, microclimates, and stars align – these wines are so on that the best of them will blow your mind (as well as your bank account).  They can be fruity, sensously smooth, and deeply complex – as well as low-production, which means extremely high prices (some of the highest per bottle in the world).

2990087683_0205cb7e7cThere are, of course, less expensive Burgundy wines to be had, but decent ones are still upwards of $40 per bottle – just cheap enough that the brave of heart might take a chance, and just expensive enough that when those wines are on the neurotic side of inconsistent, those brave hearts are breaking hard, just like the Stones sang about on Goats Head Soup.

Actually, it’s more complex than that.  It’s more like in that video by Jermaine Jackson, “Do What You Do,” where he is wearing suspenders somewhere that looks like the FL keys, and he’s totally in love with his woman…  Only she has been hired to kill him, and she is totally torn and broken-up about it… And she comes in to the bathroom with a gun to kill him while he’s in the shower, only he knows she is trying to kill him and he’s not in the shower, he’s waiting in the wings with the police ’cause it’s a trap.  You are sooooo Guilty, beeeatch!  But you can tell by the way he furrows his brow and looks downward while he’s singing that the whole experience will haunt him for the rest of his life.

It’s that kind of heartbreak.

The problem with Burgundy is its inconsistency.  You can buy a wine that borders on sublime perfection one year, only to find that the same wine in a subsequent vintage tastes like left-over cabbage water that someone dumped into a urinal. Not that I know exactly what that tastes like, mind you.

At some point, budding wine lovers may find themselves asking the question, how best to navigate the dangerous waters of Burgundy?

splendorsofeuropecom-burgundy-29-approved-flickr-felicity-and-phillipAnd it’s a trick question, because Burgundy is land-locked.  Ha!

Anyway, the best way to avoid Burgundy heartbreak is to get to know some reliable Burgundy producers.  To do this, I often rely on people smarter than me (it’s not difficult to find these people) who can steer me towards Burgundy producers who are producing consistently emotionally stable wines.  This means you should talk to the experts at your local wine shop to help you select producers (actually negociants) that are not too expensive but are making consistently good quality Burgs and are looking to constantly improve.

Which brings us to twitter (and you thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you…).

Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in yet another Twitter Taste Live event hosted by BinEndsWine.com, with the featured wines being from Burgundy.  Fortunately, the wines were from producers who are churning out consistently tasty vino.  Case in point: the much-improved wines of Nicolas Potel, which aren’t exactly cheap but are by no means over-priced for their quality.  I found Potel’s Volnay to be particularly tasty and complex – my mini-review:

05 Nicolas Potel Volnay Vieilles Vignes (Volnay): Berry cobbler w/ bacon. A finish so smooth, you could slip on it. But it sure ain’t free.

2449165Certainly worth the cash if you’d like to see what all the Burgundy fuss is about without getting your wine-loving heart stomped on.  For maximum effect, I recommend drinking this wine from a huge, pretentious-looking red Burgundy glass (while watching a Jermaine Jackson video to remind yourself of how it could have been much, much worse if you’d not heeded the Dude’s advice…).

——————————————————————

Cheers!

(images: layoutsparks.com, splendorsofeurope.com, 1winedude.com)

Burgundy on Foodista

Reminder: Wine Knowledge Makes You a Sexy Beast!

Vinted on February 14, 2009 binned in commentary, wine news

Happy Valentine’s Day, all you hot-blooded lov87ers out there!

I was talking about wine lovers, of course… what were you thinking??

Given all of the Dude’s travel and wine blogging migration work recently, I will be spending a nice quiet night at home with my ladies (Mrs. Dudette and our little Dudette-let).   And of course a special bottle of wine (probably C. Donatiello‘s Rose – don’t look for it, they only give it out to friends of the winery).

I wanted to take the time to remind you all that wine knowledge makes you sexier.  Read the linked post – I’m not makin’ this stuff up!

Cheers – and Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Mile High (Wine Disappointment) Club

Vinted on February 9, 2009 binned in commentary


Flying back to the States from the U.K. this past weekend, visions of Steelers touchdown passes dancing in my head, something occurred to me.

Actually, a few things occurred to me:

  • Flying West into the sunset (or East into a sunrise) at several thousand feet is a visual treat of unmatched proportions, with the cloud horizon fading gently from burning orange to pink, purple, blue, and finally the star-speckled obsidian black of space. Sort of like the visual equivalent to the flavors in a glass of sublime red wine.
  • Business and First class aside, the wines offered on most airlines totally suck.

At least, this has been my experience.

Not that I haven’t had decent wine while flying in an aircraft – it’s just that I’ve onl had decent wine while traveling in First or Business class.

What I don’t quite understand is, given the proliferation of very good wine at very low prices, why the stock isn’t better. Just because those in coach class are resigned to the fact that they will be herded around like sky-bound cattle doesn’t mean that they want to drink like sky-bound cattle.

Not that I’m 100% sure exactly what wine a sky-bound bovine would drink… but let’s just agree that it probably wouldn’t be a discriminating choice, ok?

International carriers seem to have a leg up (glass up?) in the area of better-than-average in-flight wine offerings.

The venerable UK wine icon Jancis Robinson had been making wine picks for British Airways. Interestingly, some of the best wine choices available mid-flight are offered by airlines operating from countries that are not known for their wine – or so say the results of a 2007 wine competition by Global Traveler (which, also interestingly, only covered Business Class). Tops in that group were Taiwan’s EVA, Thai Airways International, and Gulf Air (from the Kingdom of Bahrain). Not exactly powerhouses on the world winemaking stage (at least not yet).


Still, it’s not all gloom and doom (and plonk), I suppose. Canadian wine writer Natalie McLean has detailed some of the better in-flight wine options offered (mostly on international long-haul flights), and last year the much maligned US Airways upgraded their wine list.

What’s
YOUR experience? Have you had more plonk or more perfection a mile high?

Cheers!
(
images: travel.webshots.com, tonyrogers.com, popsop.com, tinnong24h.com)

The Rise of Snooth.com (or "Get on the Virtual Wine Bus, Already!")

Vinted on February 4, 2009 binned in commentary, wine buying


Now this is interesting. Well, interesting to me, anyway:

Venerable Internet tech. news site TechCrunch recently profiled Snooth.com (I’m an affiiate, so it caught my eye), detailing its growing popularity, and its impressive ability to secure angel funding during a very dank, dark, and dastardly economic climate. Getting featured on TechCrunch is newsworthy enough in and of itself, and the whole event garnered the attention of Kaz & Randy at WineBizRadio.com. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting (I say “chat” because he’s British) with Snooth.com founder Philip James on a few occasions, and he is a generally approachable and nice fellow, so Snooth’s success has been fulfilling to witness from a distance.

Apparently, according to TechCrunch and Snooth.com itself, Snooth.com is now the largest and fastest growing (in terms of website visits) wine community website. SNooth is now even bigger than Wine.com, which lacks the social media aspects of Snooth, and is still battling perception issues from over a year ago when they arguably put their own interests well above those of wine consumers and retailers.

What I found most interesting about the recent Snooth.com lovefest was not Snooth’s success, but how the website has been classified.

TechCrunch called it a social wine review site.”

While this is certainly true, it’s not the complete picture.

Folks, let’s be clear: Snooth is in the business of selling wine. I know that it says on their home page that they don’t sell wine. And they don’t – not directly. But the fact is that they are in the business of getting wine into your hands, through retailers whose selections are featured in their search results.

And they do it well enough – and integrate it so well with the best aspects of social wine networking (sharing reviews and recommendations) – that they are seeing huge success during a time when being relevant on the Internet at all means being involved in social networking.

Snooth.com is not the Future of Internet wine salesit’s the Present. If you want to sell wine on-line (despite the headache introduced by arcane and unconstitutional state-run alcohol distribution monopolies getting in your way), then you’d better well understand the model that Snooth.com is quietly (well, not so quietly now I suppose) perfecting.

The King (wine.com) is dead. Long live the King (Snooth.com)!

Cheers!
(images: snooth.com)

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