Ok, so I probably need to explain the (relatively) recent twitter update by VisitPortugal.com involving an interview with me focusing on my take on Portuguese wines.
Below is the tweet in question, which takes you to the Facebook Notes page of We Love Portuguese Wines. [ Warning: The Portugal promotion connections get a lot more complicated from here, so if you’re already as confused reading this as I was typing it, you might just want to pour yourself a glass of tasty vino and stop reading now. ]
The most interesting aspect of this interview (for me) was that I didn’t know it was an interview. I therefore had no idea that it would be published; my answers were part of an on-going conversation with Vini Portugal regarding my participation in the upcoming 2010 Wines of Portugal International Conference in Oporto this December. For those of you who are counting, this brings the number of seemingly-related Portuguese-promoting on-line properties to (at least) four.
I don’t mind at all that the questions I answered for Vini Portugal were used by VisitPortugal.com on the Facebook property We Love Portuguese Wines to help promote the WoPIC. Or, I don’t think I’d mind if I could keep track of all of this.
I need a beer!…
Read the rest of this stuff »
I like wine (duh). I also favor, and am often drawn to, personalities that are high-energy, engaging or highly-knowledgeable about their fields of expertise.
No surprise, then, that I consider Mark Oldman one of the most dynamic – and one of the best – wine educators in the world, since he’s got it going on all three fronts.
Most folks out there will recognize Mark’s face as the lead judge from the PBS reality-tv series The Winemakers, or will recall his name as the guy who makes the wine picks for the 15+ million readers of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. But I recognize Mark as the guy who wrote the beginner’s wine book that I’ve recommended more than any other wine publication – Oldman’s Guide To Outsmarting Wine. My standard line about Mark’s first book for years has been, "this is the one to try first for anyone beginning to get ‘into’ wine; it’s the book I wish I’d had at my side when I was first starting out as a wine buff." In other words, I thought it was an instance classic.
Outsmarting is still largely unmatched for its combination of verve, intelligence and accessibility – a lot like Mark himself, as you’ll quickly learn from our interview below. Mark has a new book on the shelves (I received a review copy) – Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine - and it’s geared towards the Intermediate stage of one’s vinous journey. In the pages of Brave New World of Wine, Mark offers up wine recommendations slightly off the beaten path, meant to expand your wine knowledge and delight without expending your bank account. For the most part, the new book is another stellar achievement for Mark, and more often than not I found myself nodding along with his recommendations and witty-but-wise takes on lesser-known varieties (turns out we’re both nuts for Nero d’Avola, ravenous for Rosé, and on a tear for Torrontés).
Mark took some time out of his busy book tour schedule to answer a few questions about his new book, the next season of The Winemakers, and how he got started inthe wine biz. Turns out that Mark also shares my affinity for the music of a certain long-standing Canadian power rock trio (as if I needed more reasons to like the guy at this point).
Before this intro. turns into another version of "I Love You, Man," I’ll turn it over to the interview…
Read the rest of this stuff »
Ok, so one of them isn’t that cheap… and come to think of it, the better term is inexpensive because neither of them are cheaply made… whatever, you’ll get what I mean…!
Anyway, we’ve got two badges to hand out this week, both to whites from the sample pool that really impressed me. Here they are, with twitter mini-review attached (along with more expanded thoughts):
2009 Aveleda Alvarinho Vinho Branco (Regional Minho): Accomplished, accessible but slightly more serious big sister of Vinho Verde. $11 B+ #
Hot damn, Portugal has been coming out swinging lately and this white is no exception – it’s got enough citrusy perk to please the foodies, enough fruit to attract the casual sipper, and enough seriousness to make the wine geeks do a small double-take-head-fake after trying it.
2008 Fess Parker Ashley’s Chardonnay (Santa Rita Hills): 3 words – Home [insert declarative expletive of your choice here] run. $28 A- #
This wine has its fair share of admirers in the wine media and, well, I’m late to that party but can now tell you that they are spot-on. It’s rare that a big-ass Chard gives me enough depth and complexity to want to sit back and contemplate it (usually, big-ass Chards make me want to step back and pour them down the kitchen sink). But this one… this one delivers, nearly brilliantly and for a price way under what they could be charging for it if the label read “Napa” instead of “Santa Rita Hills.”
In the music industry, we call it G.A.S. As in, Gear Acquisition Syndrome – a desire to acquire more basses, guitars, whatever, usually brought on by exposure to an awesome instrument pick up made by an acquaintance. In my “spare time” I run a social network for bass guitarists, so I have a lot of opportunity for G.A.S.-inducing exposure. I mean, if you’re a bass player and you don’t instantly get G.A.S. looking at photos like this, then you probably don’t really have a pulse.
Envy or jealousy do not accurately describe G.A.S.; they have far too negative connotations, and G.A.S. isn’t negative – if anything, you’re happy for your friend who has picked up that awesome new instrument – it’s more like a form of addiction that plagues those who find themselves simultaneously straddling the roles of collector and experiencer.
Which is, of course, a scenario which wine lovers can easily appreciate, especially when visiting one of those enormous, kick-ass wine cellars full of potentially-amazing juice.
Which is why you probably shouldn’t even so much as look at the upcoming book The Most Beautiful Wine Cellars In The World by Astrid Fobelets, Jurgen Lijcops (about $60 from VdH Books, available in May 2010 – I received a preview copy). It will very likely give you a serious case of wine G.A.S. …
Read the rest of this stuff »