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Reviews (And Wine Labels) ‘R’ Us (Answers.com Wine Article Roundup, July 2014)

Vinted on July 29, 2014 binned in going pro
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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!

We wind down yet another summer month (a scorcher for me, since we spent a good portion of it without a working central AC system at 1WD HQ), and so we have another round of Wine.Answers.com article highlights for your reading pleasure. I was in full-on review mode this month, in an attempt to make a dent in the pile of samples that were not actually wines (this isn’t as insane of a pile as the wine samples, but in its own way has been getting a bit out of hand):

Wine Book Review: “Native Wine Grapes of Italy” by Ian D’Agata – From a sample copy. A comprehensive look at the native wine grape varieties of a country that has a sh*t-ton of such varieties; this will appeal to a very small percent of the population, but among those geeks it could prove to be an indispensable reference.

Wine Product Review: Ravi Instant Wine Chiller – The short version of this review is that I had, at best, a tumultuous time with a sample of this rapid wine chiller; while it’s undoubtedly fast, for me it did always undoubtedly pour any actual wine (and, well, that’s kind of a show-stopper from a wine-pouring-accessory standpoint).

Wine Product Review: Riedel “Big O” Cabernet Wine Tumbler – Loved this not-so-little stem-less wine glass; it is not for small wines (or small hands… or small bank accounts…), but for those who go for big pours of big wines, this is a keeper. Another sample for review (duh).

Surprising Meanings Behind Common U.S. Wine Label Terms – it always amazes me how even well-heeled wine pros have no idea that some of these label terms are regulated (or aren’t).

Cheers!

 

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For July 28, 2014

Vinted on July 28, 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!

  • 09 Amista Gloeckner Turner Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockpile): Savory flirt! But don't underestimate the substance under the surface $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Amista Syrah (Dry Creek Valley): For those who prefer their meat be served with spices, a touch of delicacy, & a lot of care. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Amista Morningstar Vineyards Tres Red (Dry Creek Valley): Perfume spritzed on a bedrock of dark, peppery, brooding red fruit. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Amista Morningsong Vineyards Chardonnay (Dry Creek Valley): Bringing the flowers, the steel & the minerals to the dry creek. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Boschendal Appellation Series Chardonnay (Elgin): All dressed up to the nines, flaunting its wares, but also keeping its cool. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Boschendal Appellation Series Pinot Noir (Elgin): You could concoct a gourmet berry, bacon & herb dressing; or, just drink this. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Bellingham The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage (Coastal Region): Things at this barbeque just got very, very, VERY serious. $44 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc (Coastal Region): The term Full Monty doesn't really even begin to describe it $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Claypool Cellars CC Pachyderm Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): It's about as complex as a good prog rock anthem. $NA A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Prinz Salm Berg Roxheim Riesling Spatlase (Nahe): Green tea with a bit of honey? Stone fruit on a bed of flowers? Count me in. $49 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Lieb Cellars Blanc de Blancs Pinot Blanc Brut (Long Island): Yellow apples making most east coast bubbles green with jealousy. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<

Come Original (On Negative Reviews, #WBC14, Boring Wine Writing, & Non-Boring Wines)

Vinted on July 24, 2014 binned in commentary, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, wine review

“A warning to the crews out there who think they’re hot, if you’re not original rockers you will get shot
down by the kids neglectin’ your art, the stuff you did, eventually it get so bad puts you to bed
’cause when the lightning flashes sweet electricity, all the world then stands revealed with the clarity
of raw voltage, briefly we see and the hope is you’ll be able to tell just what dope is…”

Come Original by 311

Earlier this month, I attended the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, CA, as a speaker on a panel titled “How The Pros Taste.” I was actually in town primarily to help a friend of mine, Wandering Wino, kick off  a post-WBC tasting event (called “Authentic Press”) that focused on small SB-area producers (happy to report that was well-attended, and nary a drop of under-performing juice was to be found among the stellar lineup that he selected to pour at the event), so the timing all worked out splendidly.

I enjoyed WBC14 (well, ok, apart from the big dinner, which always seems to fall flat at WBC for some reason, excepting Alan Kropf’s entertaining WBA presentation), and thought this was one of the best incarnations yet, particularly for those new to wine blogging. The WBC keynote address by Corbett Barr seemed divisive based on the twitter chatter, but I also enjoyed that talk; and for anyone who doubts Barr’s assertion that character trumps everything else when it comes to building up your brand online, consider as some evidence that what I make for writing about wine puts me in the top 5-10% of all U.S. wine writers (and it’s a sad commentary that amount is only bonus-level money compared to my previous corporate gig).

I won’t comment on the Wine Blog Awards. No offense meant to the winners (there are some fine blogs in that group), and I’m always touched to be nominated and to be named a finalist, but I’m still pretty “fringe” and gonzo when it comes to wine writing (which, after all these years blogging, is also a kind of sad commentary, when you think about it), so the things I value and want to see recognized (in almost any genre, not just wine writing) are usually not what get rewarded. Just imagine how I feel about the Grammy’s!

A few hiccups involving LA road rage delays impacting fellow panelist Patrick Comiskey aside, I also had fun participating on my panel (for those of you who were thinking that I was stroking moderator Steve Heimoff’s crotch under the table on stage, I was actually petting Steve’s adorable pet dog Gus, who was sitting quietly in Steve’s lap the entire time; that’s my story, anyway), waxing philosophic about how I go about critically tasting vino (and getting totally fooled by the final “mystery wine” of the lineup). I’m good for at least one or two re-tweetable money quotes per panel, and the one that got the most attention during the panel seemed to be my comment on negative wine reviews (“some wines need to be kicked in the crotch”), so I thought I’d talk a bit more about that stance here.

My view on negative wine reviews is that they, like serving rare vintages of the world’s finest wines, ought to be reserved for special occasions. I say this because only a few wines are epically bad enough –and were created with sufficient malicious intent – that they deserve your finest writing work…

Read the rest of this stuff »

1WineDude.com TV Episode 61: “How The Pros Taste” From #WBC14

Vinted on July 22, 2014 binned in 1WineDude TV, on the road, wine bloggers conference

Some of you asked for it, so here it is: our panel on how the pros taste wine from the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, CA. Or most of our panel, anyway; as much of it as could be recorded before my video camera lost its juice.

More thoughts on the wines that we tasted during that panel, as well as on WBC14 itself, later this week. In the meantime, you now have about 50 minutes of vid to peruse if you’re curious as to how Steve Heimoff, Patrick Comiskey, and I suck the joy out of wine by tasting it critically!

1WineDude.com TV Episode 61: How The Pros Taste From WBC14

Cheers!

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