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Posts Filed Under Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Here’s A Lie: Wine Critics Offer Everyone The Best Wine Picks

Vinted on August 21, 2012 under best of, going pro, Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Two weeks ago in my Playboy.com Wined Down column, I interviewed two friends for whom I have mad respect – wine writers and educators Mark Oldman and Leslie Sbrocco – to put together a list of what we considered the top five “wine lies.” The idea was to bust up five of the most prevalent myths permeating the wine world, and offer some advice on how to avoid being ensnared by said lies.

You can read our list of those top 5 wine lies here. Leslie and Mark each contributed two wine lies to the list, but after you read their great contributions, please make sure that you click through to Page Two of that article and read the fifth wine lie, which is the one that I contributed to the piece. Namely, “Lie #5: Wine Critics Offer the Best Wine Picks.”

This isn’t an ego play (personally I think Mark’s and Leslie’s input was better than mine!) – I just generally want to discuss that one in more detail than is afforded to me in the interests of keeping the Playboy.com column to a reasonable length. I won’t re-frame the entire argument here, but want to build a bit on what I wrote in that column; because the further down the rabbit hole that I travel when it comes to wine reviews, the more clearly I realize that blindly following the ratings is a lie, a lie that’s been perpetuated in media and at retail for as long as I’ve been an avid wine consumer. Wine critics do not, in fact, offer you the best wine picks with their reviews… at least, not at first

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Poetry Inn And Traveling Like A “One-Percenter” For Playboy.com

Vinted on August 8, 2012 under going pro, Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Last week, I made a foray into a (sort of) non-wine related piece of writing for Playboy.com’s Nightlife section, contributing to what they call the “1% Travel Guide.”

The idea behind that guide is to feature travel destinations so remote, or so extreme, or so exclusive, or so expensive (or some combination of the four) that 99% of us will likely never get to experience them.

Some of us get to piggy-back on that world, though. We usually go by the title of “winemaker” or “wine media,” and I fall into the latter category. Which means that occasionally I get hosted in surroundings that are ridiculously beautiful and/or ridiculously expensive, because I’m not fitting most/any of the bill myself. When I visited Napa as a guest of C. Milan Communications earlier this year, that’s precisely where I found myself, so I pitched the idea to Playboy about giving my hotel at that time – the Poetry Inn, owned by Cliff Lede (yes, that Cliff Lede, whose Stags Leap wine facility is visible from the Inn’s hillside perch, so this is actually a little bit wine-related) – a possible feature in the 1% section.

Since I got paid for the Playboy.com piece, I can now afford what I’d calculate to be a few minutes stay back in the Poetry Inn’s suite…

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How To Put Up With Wine Lists (Wined Down)

Vinted on August 1, 2012 under Wined Down (Playboy.com)

Last week I was interviewed by the IntoWine.com folks (these are the same folks who engendered a great deal of controversy in the wine world when they released their first annual list of  the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry“).

IntoWine.com was (overly) kind in their introduction of me at the start of the piece (thanks, guys!), but otherwise you might find it readable so I’m mentioning it here. I’m not sure why I was so frank and edgy in my responses, maybe the Playboy.com gig is rubbing off (ha! sorry, couldn’t resist that) on me.

Speaking of the Playboy.com gig, my latest article in the Wined Down series posted last week, an interview with Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer on how to successfully navigate a restaurant wine list (for more on Fred, check out the video interview I did with him a few weeks ago).

I mention the latest PB column not only because it gives you an excuse to go look at pictures of beautiful, scantily-clad women for a few minutes, but also because I happened to pen it and PB happened to launch it the same day that a minor sh*t storm broke out on Tyler Colman’s excellent DrVino.com, around the comments made about modern wine lists by NY Post restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo. If you think my take on retailers, distributors and importers was harsh in the IntoWine.com interview, wait until you see Cuozzo’s remarks in the comments of Tyler’s post

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Wined Down: Gulping With A Mastodon For Playboy.com

Vinted on June 21, 2012 under kick-ass wines, wine review, Wined Down (Playboy.com)

In what’s become a surreal state of affairs, the list of California cult wines that I’ve yet to try in some way/shape/form is dwindling. Quickly.

The surreal part is that there is no way that I could afford these wines on my own, and in some cases I wouldn’t want to pay the money for them, anyway.

That’s not quite the case for one of the newest wines to join the cult cadre, the worst-kept-secret Napa Valley Cab that I featured in the latest Wined Down column over at Playboy.com: Tusk, a new partnership with what-a-surprise-okay-not-really Philippe Melka at the winemaking helm.

The story over at Playboy.com has the whole, well, story on my initiation into the Secret House Of Tusk, from the former movie mogul mansion they are converting into their annual party crash pad, to their play to be one of the first real “populist” cult wines by eschewing ratings and implementing a “two degrees of separation” member list policy; so I’m not going to repeat it here, and will instead urge you to go over there and read it, and then buy 700 subscriptions for all of your friends. I will provide you with a bit more on the tasting note front, though, in case you’ve got a serious amount of wine fund money burning a hole in your rich-ass pockets…

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