Posts Filed Under wine products

Pocket Full Of Passion (October 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on October 24, 2018 binned in wine books, wine products

It’s time once again for Ye Olde Wine Product Review Roundup, in which I turn my critical Sauron-like eye towards wine-related samples that are (usually) inedible. We’re back to hitting the books this month, because, well, I have a sh*t ton of wine book samples piling up at 1WD HQ. Like, seriously, I am tripping over some of them at this point…

Hugh Johnson 2019 Pocket Wine BookFirst up is the 2019 edition of the perennially (literally) fantastic Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book (Mitchell Beazley, 336 pages, $17). If it seems like I talk about this little marvel of a wine reference every single year, it’s because I do. Once again, Johnson’s cast of contributing characters packs an almost unbelievable amount of useful information on most of the wine world’s important releases/producers/vintages/regions into an equally nearly unbelievably small space. Yeah, it really needs to be an annually updated or subscription-style mobile app at this point, but still, there’s good reason this book sits atop the best seller lists for wine guides for those of us who still occasionally pick up these things made from dead trees. The rotating essay topic this year’s Pocket Wine is Natural/Organic/Biodynamic wines, and it’s well-written and interesting, bringing a refreshingly non-partisan analysis of those categories and making a good case that, when it comes to fine wine production, being sustainable is actually quite mainstream…

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This Time, It’s Personal (September 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on September 19, 2018 binned in wine products
Personal Wine 2018 1

Dude!

For this month’s edition of the Wine Product Review Roundup, I’m taking a break from the not-really-getting-any-smaller pile of yet-to-be-reviewed wine books, and instead tackling the wears of wine products that don’t come with bindings and covers.

Personal Wine 2018 2First up is a customized, 1WD-themed package of goodies sent to me by Personal Wine, longtime purveyors of personalized wine labels and etchings. The PW folks decided to take the 1WD logo and work some of their magic on a wine box, as well as four bottles showcasing the possibilities with their labels and bottle etching.

PW has a fairly wide assortment of wines available at multiple price tiers, from $14 all the way up to about a grand (labeling is included, etching runs ab out $15 extra per bottle); from my sample package, I enjoyed the Wildcatter Cab (think dark and silky) and the Conde Laurel Cava Brut (admirably piquant for the price). The box is, well, basically a standard wooden wine box, but the etching is clean and the wood quality quite good. Overall, PW seems like a solid option if you’re considering personalized gifts for the wine-obsessed this holiday season….

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Yin And Yang, Printed Style (August 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on August 22, 2018 binned in book reviews, wine products
Ten Grapes to Know

image: Amazon.com

As my pile of (admittedly somewhat neglected) wine book review copies is growing ever larger, this month’s wine product review roundup will focus on two soon-to-be-released bits of printed vinous educational resources. Both of these books will start to see shelf space in September, both are priced at $24.95, and both are about wine, and both were written in English by carbon-based lifeforms… and those are about the only things that they have in common stylistically. So if you’re up for a bit of an interesting Yin/Yang of vinous-related reviews, by all means read on and try not to get too dizzy.

First, we have Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis’s Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten & Done Wine Guide (The Countryman Press, 189 pages, $24.95). Ten Grapes is an unabashed attempt at simplifying wine for the uninitiated, the premise being that learning about ten key fine wine grapes (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel) will provide pretty much all that one needs to know to begin successfully navigating most wine store shelves and wine lists, with the encouragement to branch out from there (provided mainly through recommendations of similar-but-lesser-known grape varieties at the end of each dedicated chapter).

Each of the chapters in Ten Grapes follows a similar pattern: historical/geographical/taste background of wine made from each grape, followed by food pairings and a recommended price-based shopping list, all sprinkled with anecdotes and concluding with a short quiz. While Fallis’s approach might strike the nerdier among you as overly-simplistic, it works primarily because it mirrors how most normal consumers actually start to experience and purchase wine, and if it has a fault it’s in prose that might be too friendly and familiar. Specifically, Ten Grapes has an un-apologetically feminine stylistic bent. To wit: one of the sections of chapter six, on Sangiovese, begins “I had a nearly religious moment outside the Ferragamo shop in Florence.” If you haven’t shopped Ferragamo in Florence (guilty!), you probably won’t be able to relate, but then it’s hard to fault Fallis for losing some of the audience in brief paragraphs, since there are entire wine books whose prose loses most of the potential audience…

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Pricey Reservations (July 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on July 12, 2018 binned in wine products

This might be one of the earliest monthly wine product samples roundups here on 1WD, but I’m tending to a sick kiddo at the moment, and figured that I’d use the limited available writing window give you the lowdown on a couple of rather not-so-inexpensive wine products (no book reviews this month!) before I accidentally kill the brain cells housing my thoughts on them while they were still fresh in my memory.

The Wine Glass 1 Collection

Image: richardbrendon.com

First up is “The Wine Glass” ($112 for a set of 2), part of the 1 Collection, a collaboration between British Master of Wine (and friend of 1WD) Jancis Robinson and Notting Hill native designer Richard Brendon. The idea behind the glass, as per its creators, was to create a drinking vessel that can be used “for every wine, whatever its colour, including sparkling wine, port, sherry, sweet wines and anything else you want to savour and enjoy to the fullest… specially designed to maximise your enjoyment of all wines’ aromas, flavours and textures in the most practical way possible.”

That’s a lofty goal, and one that, in my testing experience, the glass mostly achieves. While I found it a bit large for dessert and fortified wines, it does a fair job on those, and an exceptional job on anything bubbly or still. Robinson describes the style as “gossamer-thin” and she’s right – The Wine Glass is so light that you might forget that you’re holding anything at all when it’s in your hand. This comes with the anxiety that it might break easily, but for its lack of thickness it is surprisingly durable, and handles stints in the dishwasher with ease.

It’s also a stylish item, and for that you are paying a dear farthing, my friends, at about $56 per stem. Is it worth it? I have serious reservations about answering that question in the affirmative; while The Wine Glass is superior in almost any measurable way to most of the stemware available designed for everyday use, it’s simply too luxurious an item to fit into such a category. This is especially pertinent considering that you can get nearly the same durability, style, and all-in-one applicability from Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson‘s The One stemware line, which currently goes for under $30 a pair. And lest you think $15/stem suggests an experience fit for inferior sipping, when I sat for the 2010 Romanée-Conti vintage tasting in NYC, they used Andrea’s glasses…

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