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Oregon, Unexpected (Answers.com August 2014 Wine Article Roundup)

Vinted on August 26, 2014 binned in going pro

Summer, we hardly knew ye…

August is drawing to a close, as is what felt like the briefest (and mildest, for us Communistwealth of PA dwellers) Summer on record. As we’ve been doing every month for quite some time here, we now take a gander back at this month’s Answers.com wine articles, which I humbly submit for your perusal (since I can’t yet give you any wine through your screen, this will have to do for now):

Pioneers In Oregon Chardonnay

The first of two things I didn’t expect from Oregon, both of which were highlighted at Answers.com this month. Inspired by my recent jaunt to IPNC, and the media tour that preceded it, I decided that Oregon Chardonnay was impressive enough (to me, anyway) that it ought to get some luv, and shouldn’t be treated as the next-in-line white wine grape behind the state’s previous pushes of Pinot Gris (not bad) and Riesling (in some cases, quite good). The handful of producers in this roundup are making Chard that resonated with me for its hedonistic pleasure and its not-at-all-flabby acid action. All told, a nice surprise for me during my visit.

 

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Oregon Wine Country

What can I say, I dig wine trivia, okay? This collection of surprising facts about OR wine country is the latest in the series of articles highlighting some of a given wine region’s trivia. If recent history on the reaction to this series is any predictor, you will read it, then become geekily upset about the fact you didn’t know some of the details, and then finally privately e-mail or DM me complaining that either the stuff was too obscure, or that everybody already knows it. Whatever.

 

Wine Product Review: Corkcicle Wine Chiller

Really… I just… didn’t get it. Apparently the Corkcicle is a brisk (ha-ha!) seller for some outlets. God bless ‘em, but I couldn’t get behind this sort-of wine chiller that requires some of the wine to be displaced first, sits in near constant contact with the juice I’d be drinking, and looks like a prop from the Harry Potter movies.

 

Wine Book Review: “Wine Atlas of Germany”

Now this I totally did get, though I am not sure a book dedicated to the wine geography of Germany is totally necessary in a world where The World Atlas of Wine already exists, and has been recently updated in such fine form. Having said that, the quality rankings of the various vineyards makes for delectably geeky reading for those who are in love with German wine in general (guilty!).

Cheers!

Well, That Was Easy. Not. (“The Once And Future Of Crete” In August 2014 SOMM Journal)

Vinted on August 12, 2014 binned in going pro, wine publications

My feature on the wines of the Greek isle of Crete is now available in the August 2014 issue of SOMM Journal.

That twenty-two word sentence belies what has to be one of the longest paths to seeing something published that I’ve ever had to walk.

Not that the folks at SOMM Journal / Tasting Panel were difficult to deal with; far from it (they have been a pleasure to work with, actually). And I loved getting to know the folks from Crete (and I was doubly-lucky in that I got to work with them this year in helping them present their wines and discuss their island’s native varieties at stops in both NYC and D.C.). It was everything that happened in-between and en route to working with those folks that required this article to be resurrected, phoenix-like.

Let’s just say this was not a quick route to publication, and I learned a valuable lesson in tenacity by pursuing this one. I was prepared to indulge myself in a litany recounting of the simple 4,422-step process constituting the in-between and en route, but I’ll spare you (you’re welcome).

The Cliff Notes version: I was originally “on assignment” with the Crete article for Sommelier Journal, after agreeing the concept with the then head honcho of the mag, during the 2012 Drink Local Wine conference (held that year in Colorado). Except about a year later, that that mag suddenly folded. Happily, Tasting Panel mag took it over, re-branded it as SOMM Journal, and was interested in the story…

Alright, so I lied about sparing you the litany.

Anyway, my Cretan sojourn bore additional tasty content fruit, by way of an interview with one of the island’s next-generation wine family members, and some thoughts for the Answers.com gig on three Cretan producers who are doing cool stuff.

The new SOMM Journal issue is worth checking out just for the map of Crete that Tasting Panel deputy editor Jonathan Cristaldi put together to include with my piece (see inset pic, which I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing, because it’s oozing with awesome).

Cheers!

Reviews (And Wine Labels) ‘R’ Us (Answers.com Wine Article Roundup, July 2014)

Vinted on July 29, 2014 binned in going pro

We wind down yet another summer month (a scorcher for me, since we spent a good portion of it without a working central AC system at 1WD HQ), and so we have another round of Wine.Answers.com article highlights for your reading pleasure. I was in full-on review mode this month, in an attempt to make a dent in the pile of samples that were not actually wines (this isn’t as insane of a pile as the wine samples, but in its own way has been getting a bit out of hand):

Wine Book Review: “Native Wine Grapes of Italy” by Ian D’Agata – From a sample copy. A comprehensive look at the native wine grape varieties of a country that has a sh*t-ton of such varieties; this will appeal to a very small percent of the population, but among those geeks it could prove to be an indispensable reference.

Wine Product Review: Ravi Instant Wine Chiller – The short version of this review is that I had, at best, a tumultuous time with a sample of this rapid wine chiller; while it’s undoubtedly fast, for me it did always undoubtedly pour any actual wine (and, well, that’s kind of a show-stopper from a wine-pouring-accessory standpoint).

Wine Product Review: Riedel “Big O” Cabernet Wine Tumbler – Loved this not-so-little stem-less wine glass; it is not for small wines (or small hands… or small bank accounts…), but for those who go for big pours of big wines, this is a keeper. Another sample for review (duh).

Surprising Meanings Behind Common U.S. Wine Label Terms – it always amazes me how even well-heeled wine pros have no idea that some of these label terms are regulated (or aren’t).

Cheers!

 

“Tough To Spit” (Dispatch From 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition)

Vinted on July 10, 2014 binned in elegant wines, going pro, sexy wines, wine industry events, wine review

Every once in a while, you get a gig that is so good, you just have to pinch yourself to test if it’s all real and you’re actually getting paid to have so much fun.

Such was the case at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition, which wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and recently announced its results. Over 30 countries and 26 U.S. states compete in this competition, which is billed as America’s largest such international vinous battle royale. The pinch-inducing vibe came courtesy of my lucky draw in amazing wine competition panel-mates, which included cult winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett (small tidbit of advice: do not get between her and shoe shopping!) and competition organizer Anthony Dias Blue. The latter meant, of course, that at some point our panel would probably be getting some of the better wines entered into the comp, and that indeed did come to pass when we kicked off the second day of judging and were greeted with the wine lover’s breakfast of champions: a stellar flight of mostly vintage bubbly.

Did I mention that I love my “job?” Well, I do.

As for the specifics: the judges were divvied up about 3-4 at a table, tasting several related flights blind, knowing basically only the residual sugar, grapes, and price points of each wine. A splendid time was had by all (at least as far as I could tell), and I was happy to have leant my judging palate to a competition that was so well-organized, well-run, and that represented such a stellar group of wine-biz-insider-type judges. As always, I felt that I was bringing the overall class levels down a few notches by my attendance, though I think I made up for it in humor (we laughed a lot at our table…).

Anyway, here are a few of the stellar picks from that stellar bubbly lineup that had my table more-or-less swooning..

Read the rest of this stuff »

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