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Why Pennsylvania Liquor Control Is Doomed

Vinted on September 2, 2014 binned in commentary, PLCB
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

It has occurred to me recently that Pennsylvania’s monopoly control of the purchase, distribution, and sale of alcohol in the state is doomed.

I cannot tell you exactly when it will fall, or exactly how it will fall, but I think I can safely tell you that fall it will, and that we can safely speculate as to why it is doomed.

This occurred to me when I was being interviewed by Tricia L. Nadolny, the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer who covers Chester County (before you poo-poo that beat, you need to understand that Chester County is one of the nation’s more affluent, has nationally ranked public school systems, and is often cited in top twenty lists of best counties to live in the U.S.). Nadolny was interested in my thoughts about the fate of Malvern lawyer Arthur Goldman’s wine collection, which was seized when he was convicted in a sting operation of selling wines (that you can’t get in PA) to friends, pretty much at cost. Intrepid wine blogger and wine PR guy Tom Wark is also quoted in the article, accurately assessing PA as the single worst state in the U.S. to live for wine lovers.

Here’s the thing: the PLCB and PA’s liquor control are ultimately doomed because enough information on alternatives now flows freely and quickly enough that any PA resident with half a brain and an Internet connection can grasp that the PLCB’s monopoly constitutes a form of repression on free commerce for people who are budding wine enthusiasts.

The logic behind that is simple, and, I think, bolstered by the Inquirer article itself, and, just as importantly, the hundred-plus comments that followed it

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For September 1, 2014

Vinted on September 1, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 12 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling (Columbia Valley): Child of the 80s, but sporting overachieving Flower Power. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Owen Roe Willow Vineyard 1973 Block Cabernet Sauvignon (Yakima Valley): Pulling its high-end leather vest in tight right now. $72 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Walla Walla Vintners Sagemoor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley): Like 'em woody? Chop away at this powerhouse, then. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Barrister Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley): Has a lean approach, & most confidently knows where it's going. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Sleight of Hand Cellars Funkadelic Syrah (Walla Walla Valley): Savory, supple, silky, spicy and, yes, alright, also kinda funky. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Sleight of Hand Cellars Leviathan Syrah (Columbia Valley): Do we need 1 more example why Syrah is WA's best grape? Apparently yes. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Sleight of Hand Cellars The Conjurer Red (Columbia Valley): Peppery, plummy, pure, & pleasurable as a well-executed magic trick. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Sleight of Hand Cellars Enchantress Chardonnay (Yakima Valley): Not slighting whatsoever on the melons & creamy lemon curd action. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Lavau Tavel Rose (Tavel): How much can you squat? Because these cherries and raspberries can squat some serious weights, bro. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Vina Valoria Tinto Crianza (Rioja): That's one long, gritty, leathery, and grippy ride; for god's sake, someone bring the jamon! $19 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Bellingham The Bernard Series Small Barrel S.M.V. (Coastal Region): Imagine the film "Their Will Be Blood" only in bottled form. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<

The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke, Part Two

Vinted on August 28, 2014 binned in commentary

Back at the beginning of August, we generated a bit of controversy here (imagine that!) with my rant commentary on wine blogging, titled The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way). C’mon, with a nice, restrained title like that, who would’ve anticipated controversy?…

Much commenting, sharing, linking, and discussion then ensued.

I received an email from a friend of mine who is a journalist (we’ll call her “Elle Bee” for now, as she prefers to remain anonymous), spurred on by that comment storm discussion. In it, she reminded me of something very important that is at the heart of the wine blogging community’s sense of… well… community, and that didn’t really get addressed in detail in my original post or the comments that followed.

The important thing of which her email reminded me is that, individually, as wine bloggers, we have to represent. Like it or not, every one of us is, to the traditional journalist world, and to wine consumers at large who are not creating content about wine themselves, a representative of the entire wine blogging cadre. In other words, you (yes, you) for all intents and purposes are wine blogging.

Don’t like it? Tough noogies. That’s the stage at which wine blogging finds itself. If you want something more for your wine blog, or from wine logging in general, and if you take the wine blogging community seriously and want to see it increase its reach and influence, then please carefully read Elle Bee’s commentary below.

What follows is well-written, cogently-stated “part duex” to the wine blogging community discussion, and is another wake up call to those of us who want to see that community succeed and take things to the next level…

Read the rest of this stuff »

Oregon, Unexpected (Answers.com August 2014 Wine Article Roundup)

Vinted on August 26, 2014 binned in going pro

Summer, we hardly knew ye…

August is drawing to a close, as is what felt like the briefest (and mildest, for us Communistwealth of PA dwellers) Summer on record. As we’ve been doing every month for quite some time here, we now take a gander back at this month’s Answers.com wine articles, which I humbly submit for your perusal (since I can’t yet give you any wine through your screen, this will have to do for now):

Pioneers In Oregon Chardonnay

The first of two things I didn’t expect from Oregon, both of which were highlighted at Answers.com this month. Inspired by my recent jaunt to IPNC, and the media tour that preceded it, I decided that Oregon Chardonnay was impressive enough (to me, anyway) that it ought to get some luv, and shouldn’t be treated as the next-in-line white wine grape behind the state’s previous pushes of Pinot Gris (not bad) and Riesling (in some cases, quite good). The handful of producers in this roundup are making Chard that resonated with me for its hedonistic pleasure and its not-at-all-flabby acid action. All told, a nice surprise for me during my visit.

 

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Oregon Wine Country

What can I say, I dig wine trivia, okay? This collection of surprising facts about OR wine country is the latest in the series of articles highlighting some of a given wine region’s trivia. If recent history on the reaction to this series is any predictor, you will read it, then become geekily upset about the fact you didn’t know some of the details, and then finally privately e-mail or DM me complaining that either the stuff was too obscure, or that everybody already knows it. Whatever.

 

Wine Product Review: Corkcicle Wine Chiller

Really… I just… didn’t get it. Apparently the Corkcicle is a brisk (ha-ha!) seller for some outlets. God bless ‘em, but I couldn’t get behind this sort-of wine chiller that requires some of the wine to be displaced first, sits in near constant contact with the juice I’d be drinking, and looks like a prop from the Harry Potter movies.

 

Wine Book Review: “Wine Atlas of Germany”

Now this I totally did get, though I am not sure a book dedicated to the wine geography of Germany is totally necessary in a world where The World Atlas of Wine already exists, and has been recently updated in such fine form. Having said that, the quality rankings of the various vineyards makes for delectably geeky reading for those who are in love with German wine in general (guilty!).

Cheers!

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