Posts Filed Under going pro
Last week, my little old hunk of the global interwebs was named one of the Best Wine Blogs in in the 2011 installment of Most Wanted’s 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition.
I’m honored to have been included, because their other blog selections are all great so I find myself dragging down the curve of the list, so to speak. But all those years of watching British sitcoms like Black Adder must have paid off, because apparently the Most Wanted folks also think I’m a Brit (I know… I don’t get it, either); to the tape:
“The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition is an online list of the most influential blogs in the UK (within their categories) of the past six months. We have painstakingly scoured the web to find ten publishing leaders in each of the ten categories. The Most Wanted 100 Essential Blogs: Christmas Edition aims to be a definitive list, a go-to resource if you’re looking for some inspiration about what to do, make, give and consume over the Christmas season.”
Hmmm… sorry, old chap, but I’m quite thoroughly American, I’m afraid. And it’s a bit early for Christmas, don’t you think? And don’t get me started on Christmas shopping – that shiz doesn’t start for me until December at the earliest. Anyway, don’t tell them I’m not British, otherwise they might take me off the list.
Speaking of the list, here’s the full complement of Most Wanted’s awarded wine blogs below (in what I think is no particular order, though truth be told I’m not so sure) – and it’s the real meat of this post, because if you’re geeking out over wine then you really ought to be checking out these sites on a regular basis.
Well… are they?
Some background: Wine critics generally use a 100-point scale when evaluating wines (I know most of you know this, bear with the exposition, people!). I don’t, because I think it implies a level of accuracy in evaluating a moving-target product (that can change within hours in the glass, let alone within years in the bottle) and so I (begrudgingly – hey, you asked for them!) use a “fuzzier” scale to evaluate the wine that I’m fortunate (and, ok, sometimes not-so-fortunate) enough to have cross my lips.
Generally, it’s assumed that many (probably most) wine critics reserve some part of their rating score for a wine’s color. For example, long-time Wine Spectator editor James Suckling once explained via video how he doles out his points when reviewing a wine, in which “things like color get 15 points.”
But is a wine’s color an important enough aspect on which to base 15% or so of one’s critical rating? According to a (very) informal poll I took recently via twitter and facebook, the answer is probably “No.”…
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Fitting squarely into the “Well, Now This Is Interesting” Department (I just made that department up, because it’s my blog and I can do that sort of thing, after all), I recently received a PR-style email about a new wine search engine called VinoMatch.
VinoMatch is not an all-things-wine-related search engine (good thing, too, since it’s likely that nothing can compare to AbleGrape.com in that department – and no, that’s not a new official department here at 1WD, okay?).
No, what’s interesting is that VinoMatch is a search engine that’s meant to connect the average wine consumer with wines that they like based on flavor profile. I.e., you navigate flavors and styles that you’re looking for, and VinoMatch presents you with wines that fit your criteria – theoretically linking you up with a wine you’re more likely to enjoy than a recommendation based on points from a small number of critics.
I love this idea, because I love the idea of people educating themselves about their own wine preferences and getting to the point where they can make comfortable wine-buying decisions on their own (sh*t, I wrote a short book entirely about how to do that!). But I don’t hold out a ton of hope for VinoMatch – at least, not just yet.
Why not? Well, the details behind answer to that question are even more interesting, I think…
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In part of his coverage/promotion of wine blogger Alder Yarrow’s new gig as part of Team Jancis over at JancisRobinson.com, wine blogger Tom Wark rightly points out that it’s almost paradoxically at once significant and also a natural, balladromic bit of evolution to have an established wine personality tap into the blog-o-world when seeking to add more wine writing talent to their publications.
Tom also claimed that “we are living in the Golden Age of Wine Writing and the Golden Age of Wine Writing Talent.”
I read those words during the same period of time that I was making way through a review copy of long-time wine scribe Gerald Asher’s new collection of writings, A Vineyard In My Glass (not literally at the same exact time, of course, I’m not Thomas Jefferson, so I’m not reading eight books simultaneously while also dictating correspondences and cataloging in detail how many of my goats died from frost exposure last Winter while slaking my thirst with Scuppernong , or whatever), and I can tell you that just about every page of Asher’s collection screams out (in a polite, congenial British scream, of course) that Tom is way off base in his claim. I say this with mad respect for Tom, of course, but…
Sorry, bro. We are not even close to being in a golden age of wine writing talent – unless you extend that Age’s starting point back far enough to include the writings of Asher and Hugh Johnson; because in terms of plying the craft of writing and applying the focused, dedicated talent of it to the world of wine, those two writers have NO modern equal.
If you’re reading this and you haven’t sampled the writings of those two stalwarts, then you need to do so with all speed. If you’re reading this and you fancy yourself a wine writer, I’m willing to bet a case of DRC that you couldn’t go toe-to-toe in terms of writing skills with either one of those gentlemen, even on your best day…
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