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Interviews | 1 Wine Dude - Page 10

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“The First Serious Wine Blogger”: The 1WineDude Robert Parker Interview

Vinted on June 2, 2010 binned in best of, interviews

For our latest 1WineDude.com interview, I’m tasked with the difficult job of introducing someone who requires no introduction (at least, not when it comes to the world of fine wine).

Today’s interview guest, Robert Parker, is arguably the most famous wine critic on the planet; what is beyond argument is that he is the most influential wine critic on the planet – his scores are capable of sending a wine’s market value into the stratosphere.  He is the founder of the consumer wine review publication The Wine Advocate, which, not unlike a blog, began as a self-published journal – it now has tens of thousands of subscribers in dozens of countries.  Parker is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the wines of Bordeaux, and his ability to taste (and recall past tastings of) wines is the stuff of legend.

Parker’s influence and fame at times makes him a polarizing figure (you knew this part was coming, right?).  He established the “love-it-or-loathe-it100-point wine scoring review scale. His preference for wines with bold, fruit-forward profiles has, some have argued, divided the wine world into fractions of those who religiously follow Parker’s palate, and those who religiously avoid it.  The divisive effects of his influence have been chronicled in both books and in film.

He has been described as a great equalizer of wine, liberating it from an era of poor quality offerings pushed onto the market at unfairly high prices; he has also been vilified as creating a market of “international style” wines crafted by winemakers attempting to solicit high scores from his reviews, at the expense of regional uniqueness and a sense of place in their wines.

Mr. Parker was a gracious interviewee, so much so that he has tied author Kathryn Borel for the quickest response to interview questions that I’ve ever received.  He even expressed concern that his responses might be a bit dull for the 1WD readers – “thanks for giving me an opportunity to respond to your questions. I’ll try and keep my answers as succinct as possible so your readers don’t nod off while reading them.”

As the Wayne’s World guys might put it – As if!

Below, you will find a fairly intimate glimpse into Mr. Parker’s views on wine blogging, Bordeaux en primeur prices, my friends Gary Vaynerchuk and Tyler Colman, the booming Asian wine consumer market, the Big Lebowski (yes, seriously), and his own influence and professional legacy. It is very likely a side of Robert Parker that few in the on-line wine world have yet seen.

I’m grateful to Mr. Parker for taking the time and opportunity for what might be his first-ever wine blog interview. I’m equally grateful to Jeff Lefevere of GoodGrape.com, who acted as contributing editor on the interview questions.

Ok – appetizers are over; let’s get to the meat-and-potatoes!…

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“A Wine for Any Food”: Master Sommelier Interview with George Miliotes

Vinted on May 3, 2010 binned in interviews

I first met Master Sommelier George Miliotes during  a press dinner at the Cherry Hill, NJ location for Seasons 52 (for whom George holds the beverage director chair).

George is a down-to-earth, affable guy with a clear passion for sharing the joys of our favorite beverage, and he has a wry smile that came out whenever I talked with him about wine; it’s the kind of smile that suggests that he knows some great insider information, the kind of smile that says “yeah, well, just wait until you hear about this…”

During the press dinner, I sat at the far right-hand corner of a table filled with a handful of journalists and “seasoned” Seasons 52 frequent customers.  George, directly on my right at the head of the table, picked up on my intense wine geekiness during the dinner and for a while I more or less monopolized his attention as our serious wine geek antennae came out and we spoke the enthusiastic but often obfuscated language of those for whom wine knowledge has become a borderline obsession.

In other words, it was great, and I instantly liked George.

I thought it would be fun to pick George’s brain about the life of an M.S., what it’s like to put together a wine list that has to pair successfully with a menu that changes frequently and incorporates different local ingredients by location, get his insights on blending wines for Seasons 52 and see what he thinks of important trends in the industry.

Hope you all agree about the fun part – and enjoy!…

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“Wine Is On The Move” – A Glimpse Into The World Of Fine Wine Collecting

Vinted on April 19, 2010 binned in interviews

Here’s something that you probably didn’t know:

Asia is now such a powerfully driving force in the marketplace for fine wine, that American collectors have lately been forced to bid bid in Hong Kong for the wines they they really want.  Which means that more and more rare fine wine is on the move (and therefore vulnerable), both from Europe and California to Hong Kong, then back to the U.S. when (or if) those American collectors score the winning bid.

That’s just one of the insights that you might glean from our latest interview, which comes to us from an area of the wine world that, like some kind of mysterious dark matter, is seldom-if-ever-seen but exerts a potentially huge influence on the universe of wine wine world.  This strange influencer? The world of fine wine collection and investment.

Few people know how to navigate this mysterious world as well as today’s interview guest: Katja Zigerlig, who is AVP of Fine Arts, Wine and Jewelry Insurance for the Private Client Group division of Chartis. In her role, she oversees the strategic growth of the “private collections” insurance portfolio for Private Client Group.  Much of her time is spent advising those clients on shipping wine around the world, inventory management and proper cellar management – exposing her to what are likely some of the largest and most expensive private wine collections on Earth.

Ms. Zigerlig has almost two decades of professional experience in the world of collectible art and wine. Prior to joining Private Client Group in 2004, she insured private art and wine collections, museums, galleries and exhibitions for AXA Art Insurance Company. She has a B.A. and M.A. in art history, specializing in twentieth century art (Dude’s personal favorite period), but her experience with fine wine comes via viticulture study at UCLA, and extensively touring Napa and Sonoma wineries. Ms. Zigerlig has gone on to teach courses on wine collecting, and you can find her quoted in recent CNBC and New York Times articles on art and wine collecting.

Ms. Zigerlig is also a good sport, as you’ll soon see in her answers to some of the more colorful questions that I posed to her (you know me… can’t take me anywhere, really…), and she has a thing or two to tell you about protecting your own budding collections.

Anyway, enjoy this rare glimpse into the world of rare wines!…

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Uncorking “Corked: A Memoir” (The Kathryn Borel Interview)

Vinted on March 8, 2010 binned in book reviews, interviews, wine books

Reading Corked: A Memoir, you may find that you don’t much like author Kathryn Borel.  And it will probably have nothing to do with her being a Canadian (sorry, Canada… just poking fun at you because you won all of those Olympic hockey gold medals…).

She is, by her own fearless admission, not the best of traveling companions. Neither is her father, with whom she travels to some of France’s most famous wine regions in an attempt to connect more deeply with him while they still have time together on this planet.  Even a healthy proportion of the storied French wine producers that the Borel clan visit in Corked are portrayed as, to put it mildly, difficult.

Corked isn’t about wine appreciation, but it touches on the topic frequently and views it obliquely, as if through a funky, tilted lens; it circles the topic as if both wine and Kathryn were old cats in some new territory – familiar, but with a sense of fight-or-flight caution.  Let’s put it this way: Kathryn describes her new book (also her first) as being about “wine, France, my father, existential dread, and death.”  So you know the viewpoint on wine is going to be different.

As it turns out, wine plays a minor, but important, role in Kathryn’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes quirky, sometimes painful recounting of her journey through French wine country – at turns a vehicle for connectivity, and an insurmountable and intimidating barrier.

And it’s exactly because of that unique viewpoint that I was so stoked to read Corked and to interview its author (if you need further convincing of Kathryn’s unique view on life, just check out how she introduces Corked on video, or visit her craftily quirky – or is that quirkily crafty? – blog).

If Corked reveals a truth about the human condition, it’s that coming to a shared understanding as adults – to a place where we can truly appreciate one another – isn’t always as simple as sharing a glass of excellent vino; sometimes it takes a gut-wrenching rite of passage.  That probably mirrors the relationship some of us have with wine at one point or another in our lives.

Read on for the interview, which is mostly full of wine-related topics but, thanks to Kathryn, is totally full of awesome – just prepare to be entertained, a little moved, and a lot impressed by his woman…

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