Posts Filed Under wine news
Staying Classy with bubbles in San Diego
Once again, I had both the pleasure and the honor of judging at the annual Critics Challenge wine competition, held in (stay classy!) San Diego and helmed by WineReviewOnline.com‘s Robert Whitley. This year, I was paired up with talented author Linda Murphy (whose book American Wine you should absolutely check out, because it kicks all kinds of ass).
Critics Challenge is top-notch, with excellent, experienced judges and a killer-good volunteer crew (yeah, I don’t understand why they keep inviting me back, either). So the results should, I’d argue, be taken seriously, and you can check out the full list of 2018 medal winners right now at http://www.criticschallenge.com/results.htm.
I wanted to highlight the wines that Linda and I collectively awarded Platinum, as there are some fantastic wines – several of which are surprising bargains – in that lineup of winners. This is why we judge them blind, folks! Fortunately for all of us, picking up many of these wines won’t make the bank account seem appreciably lighter…
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One of the worst aspects of the current state of political “discourse” in the USA is the penchant of leaders in our government towards vocalizing complete and total falsehoods, whenever and however it furthers their individual and/or party agendas, with seemingly little consequence for their actions.
Where they deem it necessary, they also repeatedly use this tactic to undermine the credibility of any ideas or expert opinions that they find inconvenient to the forwarding of their agenda, even when those ideas and expert opinions are based on (as in the examples of climate change and global warming) data that are incontrovertible. One need not search far, wide, or for long to find examples of this, many of them technically qualifying as libel, slander, or defamation.
Just as the U.S. wine world is not immune from modern cultural and technological shifts, it is, alas, also not immune from this ridiculous embracing of falsehood over fact, or the downward spiral into the cult of “fake” news wherein “truthiness” trumps (pun intended) actual truth in a disgusting sociopathic display of partisan greed, good old fashioned idiocy, or (too often) both.
Interestingly, this trend may be more a factor of generational social shortcomings now that the Baby Boomers are more-or-less in charge of everything political in the USA (an argument made in a cogent and convincing – though albeit overly-opinionated and overly-lengthy – way by Bruce Cannon Gibney in his book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America). Having said that, in my view, analyzing the reasons behind this worrying trend isn’t nearly as acute a need as is applying the disinfectant of attention. I.e., calling out and rejecting the behavior adamantly and quickly; consider it the intellectual and moral equivalent of weeding, or maybe playing Whack-a-Mole.
Thankfully, that’s just what happened recently when Naked Wines was more-or-less forced to apologize for going as low as the current U.S. political discourse in some of its most recent marketing efforts…
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I’d fully intended to provide some peripatetic and yet somehow also sublimely insightful wine review action for you this week (and I’ve much to tell you about my recent jaunt to Israeli wine country, too). But nature has intervened, once again declaring herself the boss, and me her beeeatch, by providing me with a cold/fever combination, and a broken toe.
Anyway, I’m going to actually listen to that harsh task mistress and get up off of my feet for once and just rest and heal. Which means I’ll be delayed in getting things written up here. In the meantime, however, I’d encourage you to check out Wholesale Protection 2018: A Report on Alcohol Wholesaler Campaign Contributions, a new report by the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR), whose Executive Director is my friend Tom Wark. According to the press release, the report “examines the amount of money America’s alcohol middlemen give to state political campaigns, to whom they give it and the differences on a state-by-state level.”
Which basically means that you can see which of your state’s politicians actually kinda-sorta works more for the Booze Wholesaler Man, political-swamp-style, then they actually do for you. Two quick takeaways from my perusal:
1. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America has some cash, baby, and they are not afraid to use it.
2. Repubs have the edge in accepting the coin when it comes to these donations, as do incumbents; in the case of the latter, it’s a a whopping 76%, strongly suggesting that the focus is keep the status quo…
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.