Voting for the 2016 Wine Blog Awards is now open, so you need to get yer digital ass over to their website and cast your vote to help determine the winners.
Before you ask – no, I am not a finalist this year. I was a judge, and therefore requested that 1WD be recused from the awards (for all I know, 1WD wasn’t even nominated, so maybe that was an easy task for the organizers!).
On the negative side, I had to trudge through and eliminate a lot of (I’m being kind here) amateurish writing during the judging process. That is, however, to be expected; blogs are, at their heart of hearts, online journals open to anyone, not just those who write well. So I was unpleasantly not surprised by the volume of writing and media production that wasn’t (again, being kind) award-worthy material.
On the positive side, however, is that the writing that I did put forward from the nominees as potential finalists was, at turns, excellent; well-reasoned, deep, poignant, funny, useful, well-executed, and sporting personality. In other words, exactly what excellent blogging on any topic ought to be.
Those of you who have been following along with this WBA stuff for the last several years will see quite a lot of new faces among the list of finalists. Personally, that is the single most gratifying thing for me; seeing all of those “new” websites in the finalist lists, and realizing that I know so few of them (a situation that I will be changing with all speed).
When I won a WBA back in 2010, told the audience that I didn’t really want to win another one, because I sincerely hoped that the wine blogging community was more dynamic than that. Turns out, it really is much more dynamic than that. That’s heartwarming in a holy-crap-I’m-like-a-Wine-Blog-granddad kind of way.
The wine media world has been tripping over itself to cover the recently-announced ceasing of operations by In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), an organization of producers that held tastings of wines that fit what the organizers and their tasting panel deemed to be New World wines of particularly elegant expression. In other words, wines that were generally less fruit-bomb, and more high-acid/low-booze.
So much is being said about IPOB’s closure and what that means for the cold culture war of U.S. wine styles that, for me, we’ve lost sight of the most profound implication of that battle: its complete uselessness draws an ugly, unforgiving, damn-that’s-bright-’cause-it’s-last-call-at-the-bar illumination on just how very fucked up the wine business is right now.
For some of us who have been watching and covering IPOB since its inception, their organized tastings were a bit of fresh air; after all, why not expose wine consumers and media-types to a style of wine that is impeccably made, but offers an alternative to the high-octane, fruit-at-all-costs style of U.S. wine that has, by any reasonable account, dominated vinous press coverage for nearly three decades?
Apparently, the wine business is, in fact, so fucked up that, despite the fact that over thirty-five billion bottles of wine are released into the market every year, any style that doesn’t match up to that which has been primarily lauded in mainstream wine press is viewed as “wrong…”
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- 11 San Giovanni Pasini Busocaldo Lugana (Lombardy): Lugana's madcap, saline-rich, let's-see-how-far-we-can-go-with-this-one side. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 12 Le Fraghe Brol Grande Bardolino Classico (Veneto): Sweet tobacco, dark cherries, & a sprig of onion, all playing cards & drinking. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Ancilla Lugana Ella Lugana (Lombardy): An acerbic edge can't diminish this one's round, buoyant, and crowd-pleasing personality. $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Cascina Le Preseglie Hamsa Bianco Lugana (Lombardy): Elegant, vivacious, pure; and not in a hurry when it comes to finishing. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Tenuta Roveglia Limne Lugana (Lombardy): Big, ripe, tropical fruit, out for an epic adventure sailing on saline-filled seas. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Ottella Lugana (Lombardy): All Hawaiian shirt-wearing now, but it looks to have a focused, elegant evening dress in its future. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
- 15 Corte Gardoni Chiaretto Bardolino (Veneto): A strong, elegant, reserved role model figure for impressionable Chiaretto pink. $15 B+ >>find this wine<<
Nonplussed on Lake Garda (I think this is swan for “F*ck off”)
Back in March (yeah, yeah, I know…) I attended, as a media guest, the 2016 edition of the well-executed but unfortunately-named L’Anteprima Lazise (seriously… how many of you knew that was a town near Lake Garda in N. Italy?). The event marked the first time that the nearby winemaking regions of Chiaretto, Lugana, and Bardolino all shared a single en premier style event, with an early showcase of what the 2015 vintage for each had to offer.
You might expect, then, that I’d discuss the vagaries of the vintage, with an extensive run-down of what wines fared best in 2015 for those regions. Along with an exposé on the amazing food and beauty of the area (the two exist, for sure, and in abundance). To wit:
And you’d be very wrong, because this is me, and this is 1WD; if you came here expecting what everyone else is doing, then you’re almost as crazy as I am.
And while I can certainly recommend some 2015s for you (during blind tastings, I particularly enjoyed the Luganas from Avanzi, Bolla, Citari, Le Morette, and Olivini), and tell you that I like where the drier style of Chiaretto rosés are headed in general, I am instead going to focus exclusively on Lugana, and only on three wines.
Cue the quote from Airplane…
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