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The Rare, The Weird, And The Wonderful ( Wine Article Roundup, May 2014)

Vinted on May 27, 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!

It’s that time of month again, when we get all wrapped-up in the wrap-ups. This month over at, I dealt in the rare (and long-overdue), the weird (two kinds, actually), and the wonderful:



  • The Weird also comes to us by way of reviewing a sample of what I found to be rather odd wine accessory, CulVino’s Air Carafe. I just didn’t quite “get” this one, though I could appreciate where some (primarily those dealing with a lot of fruit flies buzzing around) might find it useful. I’m quite happy to be convinced of the Air Carafe’s usefulness, but I struggled to find a reason to pick one up unless you spend a lot of time drinking vino outside.



Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For May 26, 2014

Vinted on May 26, 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!

  • 10 Fidelitas Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain): Generous, complex, and turnng up the kitchen heat just a tad too high. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Fidelitas Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Franc (Red Mountain): Suspension bridge supports are rarely as supportive & tightly wound. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Cadence Red Mountain Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain): Let's get dirty; planting black plum, mint, tomato, tea in dusty clay gardens. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Red (Red Mountain): Superficially tart, but intellectually – & structurally – deep all at the same time $57 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vintage Red (Red Mountain): Terse, but elegant, talking refined phrases in silk, cassis & clay. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Seven Hills WInery Klipsun Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain): Flamboyant and bouncily buoyant, & thought to bring flowers $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Seven Hills Winery Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley): Sinewy & also sexy, making a hell of an entrance. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Grey Stack Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County): Who says big people can't dance? Voluptuous, *and* it's got serious moves. $26 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Grey Stack Cellars Bennett Valley Cuvee Pinot Noir (Sonoma County): Bit on the burly side, but more than a bit on the nuanced side $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Amici Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (Sonoma County): You'll get your money's worth at this large and entertaining show. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rutherford Wine Company Lander-Jenkins Chardonnay (California): Putting on a lush show, but it's too spirited to really fool anyone $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rutherford Wine Company Lander-Jenkins Cabernet Sauvignon (California): Surprising verve, trying to beat back the toasty wood. $16 B- >>find this wine<<

More Proof That Social Influence Is Eroding The Power Of Traditional Wine Reviews

Vinted on May 22, 2014 binned in commentary, wine news

As if we needed any more evidence that consumer perception of wine isn’t all that materially different than how they interact with every other produce available in the market today, the results of a study titled In Vino Veritas? Social Influence on ‘Private’ Wine Evaluations at a Wine Social Networking Site published by provides more proof that wine is not immune from the same type of crowd-sourced review influences that have become the norm of on-line product searching.

The study was conducted by staff from Seton Hall, Oxford and the University of Exeter, from their departments of Diplomacy and International Relation, Experimental Psychology, and Psychology departments, respectively (if you want to go up against their level of smarties, be my guest; I know when I see a battle not worth fighting). Their subject was an analysis of reviews, which makes sense since it’s currently the largest such repository on planet Earth.

To the tape (emphasis mine):

“We conducted analyses based on 6,157 notes about 106 wines posted by wine drinkers at a wine social networking site. Our findings suggest that social influence on private wine evaluations occurred by communicating a descriptive norm via written information. We provide empirical evidence that there is social influence on private wine evaluations that is greater than the effect of experts’ ratings and prices combined. This influence comes mainly from the first few group members, and increases as a function of source uniformity. “

Hmmmm. Science and data deal uninformed, incumbent opinions a blow yet again

Read the rest of this stuff »

The Heat Is… ON! (Publix Summer Grape 2014)

Vinted on May 20, 2014 binned in going pro, wine publications

The Heat is…ON! (cue the cheesy sax line!)

I know it’s still technically Spring, but if I’ve got my preschool memories sorted out correctly (hey, a lot of brain cells have been killed off by alcohol at this point), for the Northern Hemisphere that means Summer ought to be coming forthwith. And forth-with it, the Summer edition of Publix Grape Magazine, in which I’ve again penned the In Focus section (among some other things).

This time around, the subject is the effect of heat on grape ripening, and what that means for the resulting juice in the finished wine bottle (for those new to this gig, I’ve been penning In Focus for Publix’s wine pub for a several quarters, and have developed a sort of niche in which I take potentially complex wine topics like oak, yeasts, sugar, etc., and try to distill them into learnings digestible by non-wine-geeky people).

To help me, I asked for an assist by the simultaneously geeky-talented-cool Napa Valley winemaker Janet Meyers, who heads up the production at both Franciscan and Mt. Veeder wineries (see this now-ancient video interview with Janet to get a feel for her awesomeness).

So… go subscribe already so that you can read it! What you’ll learn, in a nutshell, is that the Summertime is a hell of a lot more chill-axing for you than it is for winemakers and ripening grape clusters…


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