Posts Filed Under commentary

The Art of Random Wine Tasting (Visiting Whole Foods’ VA Wine Tasting Room)

Vinted on August 31, 2009 binned in commentary, wine tasting

Today we’ll be talking about listening to entire rock albums vs. individual MP3 song downloads, wine preservation systems, on-line store boycotts, Jenga, and Mozart.

Yeah, I know – how do I get myself into these messes, right?

Let’s start with the albums vs. individual songs thing.  At heart, I’m an album guy.  What I mean is, I find that on the whole, I prefer listening to an entire album of music vs. individual songs or best-of collections.  Some of the greatest rock albums of all time – Who’s Next, Moving Pictures, The Queen Is Dead, Woyaya, Close To the Edge, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Bleed – had an enormous amount of time and effort placed in the track sequence alone.  Sure, the individual songs are quite enjoyable, but over the course of listening to an entire hour of a band’s work, the pieces can sometimes become more powerful when taken taken together. In rare cases, the construction of an album is so damn good that removing or rearranging even one track would be like removing an instrument from a Mozart work – the remainder starts to fall apart, like a Jenga puzzle with a foundation piece suddenly torn away.  Sometimes, deconstruction isn’t worth it.

The funny thing is, when it comes to wine I’m in exactly the opposite camp.  I love going through a great bottle of wine with friends, really “listening” to what the wine has to say as it unfolds and changes over the course of an evening, but all things being equal, I’d rather sample and enjoy several wines in the same time frame.  And since they contain alcohol there is a simple biological limit to how many bottles can be opened and enjoyed in full by a small group of people in one evening.  Not that I’ve tested that limit, of course. At least, not yet this week.

Which is why I fell in love with the wine tasting bar at the enormous Fairlakes, VA Whole Foods ‘mothership’ store while touring the Loudoun County wine country recently.

So, to recap: that’s Rock albums vs. MP3 singles, Mozart, Jenga, Virginia, and Whole Foods.  Now we can talk about some wine!…

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Southern Hospitality? (Sampling VA’s Loudoun County Wineries)

Vinted on August 24, 2009 binned in commentary, on the road, wine review

Virginia, as the marketing slogan goes, is for Lovers.

VA may soon be for wine lovers, especially if you’re fond of Old World style  Cabernet Franc.

VA is not necessarily for wine writers, however.

Those are the tidbits of knowledge that I came away with anyway, after touring a handful of Loudoun County wineries with a group of other bloggers, sponsored by Reston Limousine.

To be fair, before I start making pronouncements on the state of wine in D.C.’s wine country – and I will make pronouncements about D.C.’s wine country, of course – my tour visited only a handful of wineries in the Harmony Cluster.  While it’s situated in close proximity to D.C. and Reston, Loudoun County gets particularly rural particularly quickly, and if you’re planning on a tour of the area’s wineries you could hardly do better than to hire someone else to navigate the narrow, twisting, unpaved roads between wineries, which I imagine would be harrowing to navigate in poor weather, darkness, or when you’re hammered.  Not that you’d do that, right?  Right?!??

I did come away quite impressed with Reston Limo, who sponsored our trip and offer public tours of the area’s wine trail.  Our driver was big enough to have been on NFL offensive lineman, and thankfully was quite funny, approachable, and talented (he possesses a very good singing voice, and is able to create – I am not making this up – cursive renditions of your name created from a piece of twisted wire).  So I came away from the tour fairly impressed by Reston Limousine.

The Loudoun country wineries, on the other hand, did not all impress me…

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Minority Report: Ethnic Diversity & Small-Production Meet Up in Napa Cab

Vinted on August 17, 2009 binned in California wine, commentary, winemaking

At a new, small California winery, an ethnically diverse pair are making low production Cabernet Sauvignon. Very, very good Cabernet, that is.

For those of you who are playing along at home, I’m going to introduce this article with a bit of background, because it’s several months in the making.  Also, if I don’t start out with some preliminaries, it’s going to confuse the hell out of me.

Also, since we’re going to end up connecting Oaxaca (that’s in Mexico), Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Opus One, Mario Bazán Cellars, and ethnic diversity, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page before we start.

Bear with me, you’re probably smarter than I am, ok?  Here’s the recap:

Right… that’s Twitter, TasteLive, Napa Valley SB, Opus One, the Wine Bloggers Conference, Toquade, ethnic diversity in winemaking, and my coverage of small-production wines.  Crystal clear, right?

Anyway… at that same dinner with Michael, I was introduced to another (very) small-production wine.  A red this time, from a winery owned by a Mexican-born immigrant who employs a young African-American female winemaker.

In other words, I’d hit the serendipity synchronicity jackpot.  Which means that this is the one chance I may have to piss off everybody in a single post… I cannot screw this up!

[ Editor’s note: for those who are humorless, the preceding statement is a joke; in fact, those who are humorless are probably reading the wrong blog and should leave immediately for the sake of preserving their own sanity. ]

Background setup complete – now, let’s get talking about the wine…

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