Posts Filed Under going pro

Revisiting The Wine + Chocolate Pairing Mine Field

Vinted on March 28, 2013 binned in crowd pleaser wines, going pro, overachiever wines

About a year ago, I unwittingly unleashed a minor sh*tstorm when I taste-tested some very good chocolates and paired them with some very good wine and found the match up to be not-so-very-good.

The main issue then was that the very good chocolates in question were designed specifically to pair with wines. And yet, time and time again I find myself coming back to a conclusion that is almost as certain in the wine and food pairing world as death and taxes are to the “real” world:

Most wine and chocolate pairings simply DO NOT work.

The vast majority of the time, the chocolate is too robust, and it clobbers the paired wine. This is because most still, dry wines – even hefty, hearty reds – just lack the jabs to counter chocolate’s overall lack of subtlety and bitter power-punch. The match-up might work for some people, but probably doesn’t work for most people.

There are, of course exceptions – more on those in a minute – but they are just that: exceptions. You’re usually far, far better served enjoying the wine and then later enjoying the chocolate, keeping them as far away from one another in the process, lest they start the palate equivalent of a Ballroom Blitz.

So you can imagine the pants-crapping emotions I experienced when I was recently hired to choose the wines for a wine and chocolate pairing corporate event held in Philly’s iconic Curtis Center. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikeeeessssssssssssssssssssss!

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What One Wine Represents Your Generation? (Judging The 2013 Argentina Wine Awards)

Vinted on November 28, 2012 binned in going pro

This coming February, I’ll be representing Team USA in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards. No, I won’t be performing on the parallel bars – I’ll be the sole U.S. judge on an international panel that includes writers, sommeliers, and other geeky wine folk from China, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Switzerland and the UK (who somehow managed to get two representatives), all of whom will convene in Argentina to taste through something like 750 wines over the course of a few days.

To the tape:

“Designed to benchmark and reward the quality and advancement of the Argentine wine industry, the Argentina Wine Awards have established themselves as the most important event in the local calendar as well as being increasingly followed with interest by those in the wider world of wine. Over 740 wine samples participated in the 2012 edition.”

I’m stoked – and not a little intimidated (representing the country? no pressure!) – to get back down to Argentina, a place I haven’t visited in nearly two years (and where I ate well, drank well, and was unbelievable sick… there will be a Z-pack in the travel bag this time).

The reason I‘m telling you all of this? I need your help!…

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Here’s A Lie: Wine Critics Offer Everyone The Best Wine Picks

Vinted on August 21, 2012 binned in best of, going pro, Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Two weeks ago in my Playboy.com Wined Down column, I interviewed two friends for whom I have mad respect – wine writers and educators Mark Oldman and Leslie Sbrocco – to put together a list of what we considered the top five “wine lies.” The idea was to bust up five of the most prevalent myths permeating the wine world, and offer some advice on how to avoid being ensnared by said lies.

You can read our list of those top 5 wine lies here. Leslie and Mark each contributed two wine lies to the list, but after you read their great contributions, please make sure that you click through to Page Two of that article and read the fifth wine lie, which is the one that I contributed to the piece. Namely, “Lie #5: Wine Critics Offer the Best Wine Picks.”

This isn’t an ego play (personally I think Mark’s and Leslie’s input was better than mine!) – I just generally want to discuss that one in more detail than is afforded to me in the interests of keeping the Playboy.com column to a reasonable length. I won’t re-frame the entire argument here, but want to build a bit on what I wrote in that column; because the further down the rabbit hole that I travel when it comes to wine reviews, the more clearly I realize that blindly following the ratings is a lie, a lie that’s been perpetuated in media and at retail for as long as I’ve been an avid wine consumer. Wine critics do not, in fact, offer you the best wine picks with their reviews… at least, not at first

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