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On The Road | 1 Wine Dude - Page 15

Posts Filed Under on the road

Soon To Be A Cretin (Bound For Crete, Glossy Style?)

Vinted on July 5, 2012 binned in going pro, on the road

And you thought I was already there, didn’t you? About being a cretin, I mean.

This week, I head out (yes, again) on the road, this time bound for the Greek island of Crete, a trip that’s been in the making in some way/shape/form with www.allaboutgreekwine.com since 2010 (we last discussed it when I visited with them in Santorini almost precisely two years ago).

The interesting thing about this trip, in the Going Pro side of things, is that in some ways I’m “on assignment,” having preliminarily agreed with Sommelier Journal to pen a regional overview piece on Crete for their 2013 publication schedule.

I am hoping in no small part that my eventual appearance in a wine glossy will show that I’m not anti-wine-glossy (though I am anti-douchebaggery) and will help to temper what seems to be unhealthily strong reactions from other wine glossy staff whenever I mention the words “wine glossy” on these virtual pages, to the point where the critical mention significantly outshines the actual focus of the article (hey, weren’t we talking about somebody’s wine here, anyway?). The message, I think, being twofold:…

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The Strangest Day Of My Life. So Far. (Almost Getting Bulldozed By Chef Emeril)

Vinted on June 28, 2012 binned in on the road, wine industry events

The most awesome among you who read these virtual pages regularly might recall my brief mention of an encounter with Emeril Lagasse (yes, that Emeril) and other surreal experiences involving live animals and The America’s Cup from Auction Napa Valley 2012 that, taken together, might have constituted the strangest day of my life.

I had promised that the full story would be revealed as the first entry in a new content-creation gig on which I was working, and I’m happy to tell you that article is now live over at WineTasting.com.

While I’ve only penned a couple of pieces for WT, I’m really excited about the gig because they’re backed by wine lovers who also happen to be the founders of 1-800-Flowers, and who have hired some ridiculously smart and talented people (myself excluded – just a hired gun of probably average intelligence here…!) to help them launch both their on-line property and what promises to be an amazing downtown Napa destination.

I’m including some photos below after the jump that didn’t make it into that first WT article, so that you can get a further glimpse into the madness of the day that spawned my travel monologue for them. Enjoy!…

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Rioja Bound (And Why We Wine Geeks Have Short Memories When It Comes To Spanish Wine)

Vinted on June 27, 2012 binned in going pro, on the road

This week, I’m traveling through the Spanish wine region of Rioja (a guest of the Vibrant Rioja campaign), and will be attempting to report on events therein via twitter and FB as they transpire, Internet connectivity and available free time permitting, of course. It’s an all-blogger trip, which isn’t the norm for this sort of thing and so should be an interesting change of pace as I hit the apex of my 2012 Summer Of Going Just About Everyplace (after Rioja, I’ll be heading over to Crete after only a short break, presumably because I like visiting debt-ravaged European economies).

I’ll admit that I said yes to this trip primarily because Rioja is friggin’ beautiful. I’m also geeky over their white wines, which have funky, refreshing kung-fu. Also, apparently I’ll be participating in a time-honored tradition (that’s a European term for “huge party”) in which people douse one another with wine (trust me, I will be trying very hard to get that on video without rendering my vid cam totally useless), and have been advised to bring clothes “that I don’t mind leaving in Rioja forever.”

But I also accepted it out of regular ol’ curiosity, specifically around how well the Old School (roughly translated as “age the hell out of Tempranillo in big oak casks & then wait for it to mature in about a gazillion years”) and New School (“make modern, silky reds out of Tempranillo that are ready to drink now”) methods of fine red winemaking are (or aren’t!) getting along over there.

I think that we wine nerds are prone to pick on Rioja reds as being a bit played-out, and I’ve certainly done my fair share of complaining that lots of Rioja Tempranillo tastes less like Tempranillo than it does the oak that it’s been aged in for a gazillion months. But in doing so we forget that the “modern” Rioja wine industry is, from the point of view of the USA, hardly thirty years old…

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On Planting A Vineyard By Hand, And Not Getting Your Wines Reviewed By U.S. Critics (Yarra’s Giant Steps)

Vinted on June 14, 2012 binned in elegant wines, on the road, overachiever wines

“I can’t review your wines, they have too much acid.”

Those were words that a reviewer at one of the U.S. wine glossies told Aussie Yarra Valley producer’s Giant Steps head honcho Phil Sexton (according to Phil, anyway).

To which Phil’s reaction was, apparently, something to the effect of “but that’s the whole point!” Linear acidity, mineral liveliness, longevity – those are clearly what Yarra Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are all about, if you taste enough of the stuff to be able to formulate an educated opinion on them. So Phil’s response to that unnamed critic was certainly more… diplomatic than mine would have been.

Intrepid 1WD readers will know that Giant Steps Chardonnay has done very well on the virtual pages here, so when I traveled to the Yarra Valley to visit Giant Steps (also purveyors of Innocent Bystander wines and Little Creatures beer, as well as a bistro in the Yarra). So I was pretty keen to see how Phil’s single-vineyard wines were doing in the U.S. market.

“We’re likely to pull out of the U.S., actually,” Sexton told me over dinner. The running joke of the evening was that I might have helped to sell the other case of Giant Steps in the U.S. with my previous high praise for their Chard. That was small beer consolation, though, and I ‘m not talking Little Creatures; I was genuinely disheartened to hear that GS wines get little critical play, and few sales, in my home country, while the seemingly much (much) smarter Aussies are buying the hell out of them

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