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NBA living-legend LeBron James appears to be the real deal. And I’m not talking about his on-the-court abilities, which are justifiably considered among the greatest of all time, or even his acting credentials (I dare you to watch his movie cameos and declare him un-funny), which are quite good.
I’m talking about his wine chops. Or, at least, his tastes when it comes to selecting wine (or drinking the wine that gets selected for him, maybe?).
Now, despite my near-endlessly professed love for the six-time Superbowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the world of professional sports doesn’t often cross our vinous paths here at 1WD; but I was asked by SBNation writer Tim Cato to provide my thoughts on some of the wines featured by James in one of his recent Instagram posts.
Said thoughts on this undeniably, incredibly important matter are included alongside those of winemaker Randall Grahm, writer Meg Houston Maker, and hospitality professor Dr. Han Wen in Cato’s article, which you can read at https://www.sbnation.com/2017/11/28/16710156/lebron-james-wine-incredible-taste-experts-agree.
The TLDR version: James’ picks are legit. They include an `07 Mayacamas Cab, a pretty killer Chassagne-Montrachet, and one of Cathy Corison’s Kronos reds.
But you can check out our quoted ramblings and decide about James’ wine-picking prowess yourselves.
In my latest piece for MyNameIsBarbera.com, we compare the top of the Barbera DOCG quality pyramid to a character who carries an actual piece; namely, 007 himself.
I hope that you’ll forgive the somewhat graphic JB image above… it’s one of my favorites, and it’s more dynamic – though not nearly as pretty! – as vineyard images from Nizza vineyards, like this one:
See? No real thrilling action going on there. That comes after harvest, oak aging, and bottle aging, after which Nizza DOCG Barbera wines ought to thrill lovers of Italian reds, because they are as serious, powerful, and age-worthy as Barbera gets. Hit up the link below for the details on that…
NIZZA DOCG, A SMOKING DRESSED BARBERA
By now, many of you will have heard of, read about, and/or actually watched the documentary Bitter Grapes, a film that examines harsh conditions for workers in some areas of the South African wine industry.
The Washington Post has an excellent summary of the film, its impacts on the image of South African wine worldwide, and the response by the region’s wine trade:
“Danish journalist Tom Heinemann… found that some workers were allegedly being paid less than the minimum wage, exposed to pesticides, consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol and discouraged from joining unions, among other problems.”
The WP piece also puts the film’s findings in important context: like the USA, South Africa doesn’t exactly have a great humanitarian record when it comes to how farm workers were treated in the past. In more recent history, there was the terrible “dop” system (now illegal), under which S. African workers were paid partially in wine.
I’m not here to discuss the implications of the documentary, though for sure I have opinions on those given my past visits to South Africa’s wine country.
What I want to talk about is the Wines of South Africa (WOSA, the promotional body for the region’s wine business) response to Bitter Grapes. Because their response tastes a lot like sour grapes to me…
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A recent spate of criticism levied against wine bloggers as a general group got me thinking that there actually isn’t a thing we might call “wine blogging” anymore.
Think about it this way:
Should – or can – we stop people from taking cell phone pictures?
Most of the photos taken by mostly everyone are terrible. Awful lighting. Laughable composition. Deer-in-the-headlights use of (the horror!)… a flash! And don’t get me started on the subject matter chosen for well over 95 percent of what will be the estimated trillion (yes, trillion) digital photographs taken over the next year.
Almost none of those images will even qualify as a mortifying embarrassment for any professional – or even semi-pro – photographer. So, why not rise up in protest, gnash our teeth, and collectively bitch and moan that “amateur photography” is a blight on the professional photography world?
Because that idea is ludicrous, of course. It’s full of faulty assumptions, not the least of which is the notion that amateur personal photography could be controlled – impossible on its face with the proliferation and ease of both its creation (try finding a cell phone without a camera option, folks) and its distribution and publication (flikr… Pinterest… Instagram… the book of face…).
Another impossibly stupid assumption: that all, or even a tiny fraction, of amateur photographers actually believe themselves to be performing at a professional level, and are taking pictures for any reason other than their own personal enjoyment.
If you’re still with me, I’m about to tie this back into the wine world (thanks for your patience… I owe you a glass of something decent)…
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