Posts Filed Under wine publications
I’ll be “slumming it” at the Meadowood in Napa Valley this week, taking part in the 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium as a panelist and generally trying to figure out how I got so lucky that I can have opportunity to eat foie gras five times in one week.
What’s that sound…? I think I hear my arteries clogging… graaaaeeeeeeekkkk…..
Anyway, among the attendees at last year’s Wine Writers Symposium were folks from the magazine Sommelier Journal, with which I’ve had a bit of a love affair (that’s a figurative love affair with the magazine, people, and not a literal love affair with any of the people producing the magazine…) for the past few years. I was contacted last week by Sommelier Journal’s Business Manager Phil Vogels (an all-around nice guy and semi-frequent commenter here on 1WD), who let me know that SJ was recently honored with some (well-deserved) Eddy Awards.
To celebrate, the Sommelier Journal folks are offering 1WD readers free on-line (HTML and PDF formats) access to their January 31, 2011 issue for a limited time. Just head over to http://www.sommelierjournal.com/view/view.aspx and start reading! Punch in username firstname.lastname@example.org password sneakpeek if prompted for access.
If you like what you see, SJ now has an online-only subscription option available for $39 a year. Just sayin’…
1WineDude.com readers are no strangers to Sommelier Journal, the wine mag with which I started a bit of a wine-geeky-info-love-affair back in 2008 (I’m a subscriber). You may also recall that last year I took SJ to task (tongue firmly in cheek, of course) for their Top Wine Releases of 2009 (as chosen by wine personalities and pros invited to contribute to the list, choosing wines that were particularly memorable to them from those that they tasted during the year).
As many of you may also know, I’m a fan of that recap approach. But while I loved the selections and the manner in which they were solicited, I wasn’t a fan of the price tags to be found in the list – last year’s round-up had an average bottle price of $97.18.
Sommelier Journal’s Business Manager, Phil Vogels is a nice guy and a (semi) frequent contributor to the comments here on 1WD, and pointed out in the discussion that followed my critique that the average price was mathematically skewed by a small number of very pricey wines – and that the majority of the wines were actually quite affordable:
“You’d be hard-pressed to break down the list in a way that didn’t have under $30 as the highest category…”
Well, the 2010 edition has hit the shelves as part of Sommelier Journal’s December 15, 2010 issue. How does the new list fare in these belt-tightening times?…
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Full disclosure: Charlie Olken, the driving force behind The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine, is my dad.
Not my biological father, mind you. In fact, he’s not related to me in any way; he’s not my adoptive father, either.
It happened back in February: I was sitting at one of the evening dinner events at the 2010 Professional Wine Writers Symposium, and was talking about how I thought Charlie was awesome and that I’d recently commented on another website that I wish Charlie was my dad. Then, someone pointed out that Charlie was sitting about two places to my right, and Charlie kindly agreed to pseudo-adopt me on the spot. Highlight of the trip for me, in a lot of ways.
Charlie has a new version of his Guidebook to California Wine (The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wine and Wineries, of which I received a review copy), so we are (and by “we are” I mean “I am”) extending the theme of publication reviews this week by spinning some yarn about Charlie’s new book, co-written with Joseph Furstenthal (the book, that is, not this review).
The first thing I noticed about The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook is that it’s mildly addictive.
What I mean is, it offers up thoughts on the history and products almost 500 California wineries, which invariably leads to the following sequence of events (for me, anyway):
“I wonder if they cover [insert winery name here]?”
“Hmmm. I never knew that about [insert winery name here]. Wonder what they think of [such-and-such-winery]’s more recent releases.”
You get the idea. The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook is like searching the Internet on CA wineries, only in miniature (and in print) and guided by the expertise of people who have covered the winemaking in the state since most of us wine bloggers were eight year old kids drinking Coke from glass bottles…
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I receive quite a bit of wine for which I pay nothing. I have never bothered to measure the volume of influx of wine samples to my door, but it is high enough that whenever the doorbell rings in the afternoon, my toddler daughter now exclaims “more boxes of wine, daddy!”
Generally this volume of samples means two things for me:
- I cannot dream of complaining about the situation, even though it largely results in my basement storage space being taken up with shipping materials full bottles of wine that aren’t necessarily very good; and
- Whenever I receive a sample of something that isn’t actually a bottle of wine, I take notice immediately.
So naturally, the sample copy of Issue 29 of the UK-based publication The World of Fine Wine I received recently really stood out, as did the letter of introduction from its editor, Neil Beckett (and not just because it was printed on A4 paper). Here’s what Neil wrote to me (I’m hoping he doesn’t mind me reproducing it here):
“Some of my team here are followers of your site and we hoped you might like to see what we do in a rather more old-fashioned medium…”
That medium of course being a printed magazine, though calling The World of Fine Wine a magazine is a bit like calling the Bible a doorstop. It’s a gorgeous example of print, with stunning art reproductions and photography, and its 200+ pages put it more into the coffee-table-book species than what we in the U.S. customarily think of when asked to picture a wine magazine in our mind’s eyes. It also costs £30 per issue – or, roughly $170 for four issues. Ouch!…
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