And Then, Apparently Everyone Went Insane (Wine Competitions 2016)

Vinted on February 10, 2016 binned in going pro, wine industry events

“As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy… me… or everyone else.”

– Max Rockatansky, Mad Max: Fury Road

TexSom 2016

image: texsomiwa.com

I think the wine judging world has officially gone batsh*t crazy. More on that in a minute.

As many of you might have already surmised from my recent updates on The Book of Face, my recent press jaunt to Madeira was, from a tasting perspective, extraordinary. So, there will likely be much more info. to come from that trip soon (after I catch up on writing up some Napa shizzle from the fourth quarter of 2015).

Today, however, I am still reeling (in positive ways) from finally getting my hiney to Madeira, and am just dropping a quick line to let you know about two upcoming wine competitions in which I’ll be playing a small part.

First up: the TexSom International Wine Awards, taking place later this month. This is my first judging stint with TIWA, the organizers of which have apparently lost their minds entirely, as evidenced by my inclusion on a judging lineup consisting primarily of baddass wine people with either “MW or “MS” after their names. I know, I don’t get it, either, but I’m excited to check it out and to return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area (despite the spot being overrun with Cowboys fans).

Critics Challenge 2016

image: criticschallenge.com

Next, I’ll be returning as a judge to the venerable Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition, this year moved up to March. This will be, I think, my fourth stint with CC, and as always I considered myself blessed to be able to work with such a professional, well-organized, and fun group of organizers, volunteers, and judges. I have been lucky enough now to have judged in a not-insignificant number of wine competitions, and I would easily rank CC as one of the best worldwide; it has become one of my favorite long-weekend work gigs of the year.

I know, I know… that was all way too much positivity for a single 1WD post. In fact, we might have just fulfilled the feel-good quotient here for the entire first quarter…

Cheers!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 8, 2016

Vinted on February 8, 2016 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 Rodney Strong Alexander's Crown Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): A ripe, juicy, displaying-its-power kind of a crown. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Robert Keenan Winery Mailbox Vineyard Reserve Merlot (Spring Mountain District): Wait for this dark, juicy fist to slowly un-flex. $68 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Middleton Family Wines Inconceivable Queen of Tides Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley): It's conceivable you'll empty this bottle. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Donnafugata Sedara (Sicilia): Italians like to argue, but there's little serious argument to mount against serving this with pizza. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 P. J. Valckenberg Gewurztraminer (Pfalz): Need your spiced-up, slightly sweetened lychee fix? Here's a capable, steady-handed salve $10 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Zenato Alanera Rosso Veronese (Veneto): Funk, smoke, and dried fruits, but in all the right amounts & in all of the right places. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Lamberti Rose Spumante (Veneto): Perennially consistent, for better & worse, but mostly for the better; fun, if not too charming. $14 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Wittmann Riesling Trocken (Rheinhessen): Lemon rind bite, & salty demeanor, because it shouldn't be opened for about 2 more years. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Jean-Claude Mas Cote Mas Brut (Cremant de Limoux): Withhold judgment – but not enjoyment – until you empty an entire vibrant glass $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Ridgeview Cavendish Brut (England): As proper, capable, & well-behaved as Britain's finest, but not nearly as complex as her best. $36 B+ >>find this wine<<
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January 2016 Wine Product Roundup (A Bit Late…)

Vinted on February 4, 2016 binned in wine products
UPDATE: The Decantiere folks at unbiasedwine.com have offered 1WD readers 10% off the Decantiere if you purchase it at this link and use the coupon code 98NFUCQW at checkout.

Ok, so I am a weeeeeee bit late on the wine product round-up for January 2016 (I blame travel, and drinking, both of which constitute “work” in my bizarre-but-fantastic life).

This month, I’ve got only one product to feature; a small one, with a relatively big price, and even bigger aspirations: Vagnbys Wine Decantiere ($44).

Vagnbys Wine DecantiereThe Decantiere is billed as a “7-in-1” wine accessory, but I am having trouble fulling understanding what all seven of those functions are supposed to be, so I will rattle off the ones that I am sure that thing does after giving it the once-over in the 1WD test kitchen:

  • Non-drip Pourer
  • Aerator
  • Filter (for sediment, etc.)
  • Stopper (for storage)

That’s probably good enough…

Anyway, it’s made of stainless steel, TPR, PP and silicone, and seems pretty easy to clean (though I’ve not given it a go with a wine that had serious sediment, so your mileage may vary). From a design standpoint, the thing definitely looks good. It’s also light, and doesn’t make the bottle top heavy when you use it.

Too often, multi-use wine accessories end up not being very good at any of their functions, but the Wine Decantiere is a nice exception to that rule; while the aeration isn’t superb, it’s more than good enough to handle young red wines in need of some O2. The filter is a nice touch (though I suspect it will become difficult to clean with heavy usage), and works well, and not having to clean up pouring drips is always a welcome feature in my household. Finally, the stopper is, indeed, air-tight, which will help prolong the drinking window of an opened bottle maybe an extra day or so.

All in all, the Wine Decantiere is worth a serious look, but you’re paying a premium for the construction material and the stylish design.

Cheers!

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