Posts Filed Under wine products

We Two Kings (December 2016 Wine Products Roundup)

Vinted on December 20, 2016 binned in wine products
KingsBottle Mini

Mini me, peeps! (image: kingsbottle.com)

It’s that time of the month here on 1WD. The time when we take a critical look at some of the samples I receive that cannot actually be safely imbibed. And now that we’re closing up 2016, this also happens to be the last monthly wine products round-up of the year.

This month, both products come courtesy of KingsBottle (for which I found an admittedly modest 3% discount coupon, if you decide to pick any of these up to give yourself or someone you know a little vino-related holiday cheer).

First up is their Mini Wine Aerator/Decanter, which you can pick up now for under ten bucks. Generally, I’m a fan of aerating younger reds (and, in some cases, young white wines), so I was eager to put this little number (just over five inches high and weighing about an ounce and a half) through the paces…

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Because Some Of You Still Read, Right? (November 2016 Wine Products Roundup)

Vinted on November 29, 2016 binned in wine books, wine products

I’ve been inundated with wine book samples this month (which I’ll note is November 2016, for posterity’s sake, and for those of you still sobering up from Thanksgiving), both the electronic and the good, old-fashioned dead-tree varieties. And so, I’m going to use this edition of the wine product roundup to give you a little taste of the current wine book scene (all prices noted are for hardcover editions).

Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Guide 2017Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine 2017: 40th Anniversary by Hugh Johnson ($16.99, Mitchell Beazley)

Bottom line: highly recommended.

Every year for the last several years, I’ve received a sample of the latest edition in this series. Every year for the last several years, I think that this insanely useful little gem cannot possibly get any more insanely useful. Every year for the last several years, I have been wrong, and 2016 continues the trend. The high bar that’s been set for this go-to reference book for the last forty years has predictably been matched, but I’d argue it’s also been exceeded, in that the “If you like this, try that” and “wine stories” article themes that have been reserved for this edition’s color pages sections are superb (and make the book even more useful). If you’ve skipped the last couple of editions, it’s time for an upgrade.

 

24 hour wine expertThe 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson ($12.95, Abrams Image)

Bottom line: recommended, with reservations.

It’s not that The 24-Hour Wine Expert isn’t a very good wine book; it is, and Jancis Robinson brings her sharp prose and equally sharp mind to pop many a wine myth balloon within its short 112 pages. The idea, espoused by Robinson in the opening Welcome section, is to use the book to answer common wine questions (how is wine made?, how should one buy wine?, what hardware should be used?, etc.) as they come up. The trouble is, the book is positioned in a way that leverages the very kinds of sweeping generalizations and shortcuts that Robinson has spent nearly her entire career in the public spotlight battling against, and ignores a more comprehensive wine knowledge resource of which Robinson has become a particularly skilled champion: the Internet. There’s useful information here, no doubt, but the usefulness of a hardcover copy is debatable…

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Balancing Peanuts (October 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on October 26, 2016 binned in wine products

It’s once again time for the monthly wine product roundup here on 1WD, in which I delve into the sample pool of wine-related items that cannot actually be physically absorbed without serious risk of injury or death. Kind of like the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Anyway, this month brings us two totally-unrelated products, both of which I can recommend, but not without caveats (because, hey, that’s just the kind of gal that I am).

BalVino

image: BalVino Productions

The first item comes to us courtesy of BalVino Productions who, incidentally, are also offering a 10% discount on orders for 1WD readers (if you use the promo code 1WD2016 when ordering before December 31, 2016).  BalVino is a family outfit run by Jeff Burnett in Indiana, who crafts those insert-the-wine-bottle-neck-into-the-hole stands that can then be balanced if set on a flat, level surface.

Despite the too-clever-for-its-own-good company name, I thoroughly admired the quality and craftsmanship that went into the samples of the BalVino ($15.99 – $39.99, depending on the model) sent to me (one of which has a slot with a waiter’s friend corkscrew cleverly attached via magnet inside of it), both of which were hewn out of gorgeous cuts of wood. Personally, these types of balanced holders scare the bejeezus out of me, because I’m constantly worried that I’ll knock them over, but it takes a really good shove to get these things tipping if properly used…

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But First, Wine Books (August 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on August 31, 2016 binned in wine books, wine products

Squeaking this one in juuuust under the wire, here’s the August 2016 edition of the wine product roundup, in which I highlight non-drinkable wine products from the ever-growing sample pool.

Annoyingly, I’m not going to actually be reviewing this month’s products, only mentioning and recommending them. This is due to the fact that said products – both of them upcoming book releases – were authored by people that I consider to be wine writing friends and colleagues; so the potential conflicts of interest are of war-torn Bosnian proportions.

American Rhone

The first is American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink ($35, University of California Press), by Patrick Comiskey. The only thing that I don’t like about Patrick’s upcoming book is the lack of the word “that” in the title. I’ve known Patrick for several years now, though our paths cross far too seldom. In this new book, he takes on the struggles of the people behind the movement to produce and promote wines made from Rhone varieties grown in the U.S.

Comiskey has a skeptical reporter’s mind, a poet’s way with turns of phrase, an editor’s sense of conservation of words, and a keen (and deep) understanding of – and respect for – wine as a subject matter, all of which come to bear in American Rhone. I’ll just leave it at that…

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