The Most Interesting Wines Of 2014

Vinted on December 11, 2014 binned in best of, Most Interesting Wines of the Year

The Most Interesting Wines of the Year – some of the more thought-provoking discussion here on these virtual pages have come courtesy of this annual list, compiled with a not insignificant amount of effort on my part in looking back on the crap-ton of wines that I had the pleasure (mostly, anyway) to have tasted over the last twelve months.

2013’s incarnation of the MIW list was expanded, and broken up into two parts (you can read Part 1 and Part 2 here). Regrettably, I did not have the bandwidth to offer an expanded list for 2014, so I’m reverting back to the Top Ten format for this go-round. Once again, the list offers some surprises (three Chardonnays? WTF?!??), and many wines at high-end price points (you ought to be used to that by now, right?). Napa Valley, the U.S. South, Sonoma Coast, Portugal, Oregon, Italy, France, Hungary, and Spain are all represented herein (some more than once).

As for the selection criteria, once again nothing has changed in this incarnation of the MIW list: these are not the “best” or “highest rated” wines of 2014, they are the wines I tasted from 2014 which most stuck with me during the entire year, those that I felt offered the most geeky, thought-provoking experiences. Please note, these are not necessarily wines released during the year, they are releases that I tasted during the year. Also, I once again attempted to select only wines that you’d have at least some modicum of hope of obtaining. Reactions, whether of the bitching/moaning variety or the exaltation variety, are of course all welcome.

Enjoy!…

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No Wine? Sorry, No Story.

Vinted on December 9, 2014 binned in commentary

A troubling trend is starting to appear in my Inbox.

[ Editor’s note: I wonder how many cheesy detective novels now begin with that premise… ]

Somewhat ironically, the troubling trend seems to mostly be coming from very well-meaning wine producers and their various public relations arms / firms / etc., and with very well-meant intentions. But the gameplan execution is all fumbled-at-the-five-yard-line.

What’s happening is that I am seeing a lot (LOT!) more wine brands clue into the fact that what differentiates them in what has become the single most competitive wine market in the history of mankind is, in part, their stories. So far, so good.

Some of them have even clued in on the other great differentiator in a market in which we are deluged with mostly non-human, robotic, advertorial interactions: the simple act of caring enough to deal with customers and consumers as real people, and giving them the extra love inherent in good service.

What they seem to be forgetting, however, is that the price of entry in this intensely competitive marketplace that is the modern wine biz is quality. If we in the media don’t get a chance to check out the wine, we cannot answer the fundamental question of whether or not the service and story are worth getting into in the first place.

The troubling trend? I am getting inundated with requests to talk about wine brand stories, connected to wines that I’ve yet to taste. Whoops!…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 8, 2014

Vinted on December 8, 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!

  • 11 Vie White Hawk Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County): Bold, meaty, dense, big, but above all else, waaaay to young for the now. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Vie Las Madres Vineyard Los Carneros Syrah (Sonoma County): Rugged & expressive, a lumberjack taking up Manhattan art residency. $39 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cornerstone Cellars The Cornerstone Red Wine (Napa Valley): Still in the process of formulating its complex, engaging opinions. $150 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Fox Run Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes): Peaches, limes, and a strong preference for sweet and spicy Asian take-out. $14 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Pina D’Adamo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Iron fist, velvet glove, and several handfuls of stones and garden herbs. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • NV Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi Brut 25 (Franciacorta): Sharp as a tack, crisp as morning air, aggressive as an angry bull. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Schloss Johannisberg Silberlack Riesling Trocken (Rheingau): Stone fruit that’s bruised but unbowed, toasty but still spirited. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc Reserve En Bonbonne (Arroyo Secco): Funky, nutty, authentic & opinionated; you’ll love her, or hate her. $54 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc (Arroyo Secco): Inviting, and enticing, despite stretching the limits of the spandex just a bit. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Laurel Glen Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Mountain): Sports cocoa, currants, & a butler-proper attitude. $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Emina Prestigio (Ribera del Duero): Unabashed and unapologetic; but it will reward those who like their wood front and center. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
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