As you read this, I’ll be missing the after-after-after parties at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference (insert your preferred sad face emoticon here) so that I can… work. Sort-of.
This week, I’ll be undermining the previously stellar reputation of the commercial wine competition portion of the California State Fair, acting as one of the judges. This is my first time judging at the event, and I’m stoked because the list of judges contains the names of several people I’m happy to be able to call friends, and many more that I deeply respect. I’ll try not to piss too many of them off as I drag their reputations in the mud with my presence.
While we’re here, I thought I’d also point out that you might be able to tell whether or not some people wear underwear based on the wines that they like. So sayeth Master of Wine Tim Hanni, anyway, in his recently-released book Why You Like The Wines You Like (about $20 on Amazon.com – full disclosure, I received a sample copy of the book, and Tim mentions me favorable on one of its pages), and my latest published piece for Playboy.com is an interview I conducted with the iconoclastic figure. We chat about the implications of his research on relationships, wine buying, and wine criticism; go check it out (and try not to get too distracted by the pictures…).
Finally, I wanted to officially announce the long-overdue guest for Episode Five of The Punch Down! Get ready, this one is gonna be a bit off the rails…
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Long-time 1WD readers will recall the name of my buddy Jason Whiteside, who has appeared numerous times on these virtual pages playing the refined-palate-straight-man to my more… errr… slapstick approach to all things vinous.
I’m happy to report that since his last 1WD appearance, Jason has more-or-less been kicking ass and taking labels in the wine world, and is now preparing for the Masters of Wine exam (which I’ve little doubt he will pass – I know few people who can taste with as much focus and precision as Jason, and since I know a lot of people who do wine for a living, that might actually be saying something…).
Jason also has no shortage of practical, in-the-trenches wine director / restaurant experience, and so after enjoying some of his cooking over the holidays (and talking him out of a bottle of Gonzalez Byass 30 year aged Del Duque Amontillado “Muy Viejo” Sherry), I concocted a scheme to raid Jason’s brain about wine faults for my Wined Down column on Playboy.com. The result is our view of the wine faults that most normal people are likely to encounter “in the wild,” and – more importantly – what to do about them if/when they do rear their stinky heads; which you can now read over at PB’s website.
Even the more experienced winos among you might be surprised at what Jason considers the single most common/likely fault, which actually has nothing to do whatsoever with what’s inside the bottle (think dirty glasses)…
Anyway, head on over to PB and check it out, and feel free to toss your thoughts from the peanut gallery into the comments section.
We’re back to more controversial topics on my latest Playboy.com Wined Down column. Admit it, you like it controversial, don’t you…?
About two weeks ago, PB published my list of Four Wine Traditions That Need To Die. And the sooner that those traditions shuffle off their mortal coils, the better.
Those traditions are, in order of appearance:
- Sniffing the cork (isn’t that kind of like sniffing a jar lid?)
- Paying any attention whatsoever to a wine’s “legs” (especially when you could be paying attention to your dinner date’s legs)
- The overly-generous (but overly-stupid, for many reasons) “overpour”
- Going for a loud “pop” when opening a bottle of sparkling wine (you paid extra for those bubbles, so why the hell are you letting so many of them out when you open the bottle?)
I am absolutely serious about each and every one of them, too.
I’d add a fifth, which would be that online wine writing is just as valid and has just as much reach as writing that appears in print, but we both know that one is a losing battle at the moment, right? Ahh… maybe someday…
Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts on those long-standing traditions – so go on over and read the details, and come back here and let me know if I got it right (or wrong!).
When Playboy.com asked me to put together a primer on Champagne (for the NYE celebration holiday season), I was sporting a seriously large sh*t-eating grin on my face.
I mean, c’mon… the homework involved in that requires me to raid the sample pool for all of the Champers I could get my grubby little paws on; and while there are many strong contenders outside of the region, when it comes to sparkling wine, a strong argument can be made that Champagne still reigns supreme. Just try finding wine geeks who don’t like it… (now there’s a needle-in-the-haystack treasure hunt for you).
Put another way: there are far worse assignments, okay?
Interestingly, while the annual New Year’s Eve run-up on sparkling wine articles was in full-force (I think there were more of those in the last week of December than Lindsay Lohan rehab stints), the most interesting piece of bubbly news at the close of 2012 came from NPR, of all places…
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