I’m Not A Hungarian Wine Expert, But I Play One On The Internet (FurmintUSA Video Series Shortlisted For 2015 Online Video Awards)

Vinted on July 1, 2015 binned in wine news

Earlier this week, I was fondly recalling my little Hungarian jaunt and missing the camaraderie (and the vino!) of the film and production team that made that video series happen (we all stayed together in an old mansion in Tokaj, so it was sort of like a big fraternity house, only done high-end with, amazing Hungarian wine instead of Natty Bo beer…).

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The SmartFilm crew, hard at work in Tokaj

God bless the Internet: a mere couple of days later, I get pinged by one of those former comrades, Juhász Bálint, to let me know that his company, and the modest video series that we put together while in Tokaj, were shortlisted for Hungary’s 2015 Online Video Awards, in the category of Branded Short Film Series (at least, I think that’s the category… it’s not as if Hungarian is an easy language!).

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“Oh, you need a corkscrew for these?”

I want to wish luck to my Hungarian cronies; they deserve the recognition, and their work, work ethic, and professionalism and generally awesome demeanor continually impressed me.

Sok szerencsét, my friends!

To view the entire series of our Furmint Adventures, check out 1winedude.com/tag/furmintusa and www.FurmintUSA.com.





Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For June 29, 2015

Vinted on June 29, 2015 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 Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Rockfall Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Tobacco, lit up by flint, graphite, and grip. $100 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay (Alexander Valley): They don't come much bigger, folks. They also don't come much better. $75 A >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Terrace Ridge Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (Alexander Valley): Waiting for the finish? Keep waiting! $35 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Cadaretta Windthrow (Columbia Valley): That wind is throwing plenty of plum jam, meat, and fennel your way, apparently. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Ramey Claret (Napa Valley): An easy-going palate that doesn't quite compete with the package's elegant, aromatic complexity. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Melville Block M Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): M might as well stand for Monster, in all of the best senses of the moniker. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast): Complex, capable, & moody; downright unapologetic about all of it. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Well, somebody here fancies themselves to be a Northern Italian native… $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Lange Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Intellectually bright & peppery, but has some smooth sweet talk, too. $34 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Montenisa Franciacorta Brut Rose (Franciacorta): Tart red berry elegance in motion; but alas, a dance that ends all too soon. $42 B+ >>find this wine<<



You Will Read This Post Just Because It Mentions The 100 Point Wine Rating Scale In The Title

Vinted on June 25, 2015 binned in commentary

Sigh… Here we go. Again.

It seems the 100 point wine rating scale debate – and its subsequent delineation of ivory-tower criticism vs. crowd-sourced wine recommendations – has once again reared its ugly head, though since it’s a zombie topic that’s never quite dead, it doesn’t have to raise its moaning, rotting head very far to push itself back into the wine geek consciousness.

We begin with an article by my friend Jonathan Cristaldi, itself a reprise and update of a piece that was first penned and published in 2013, in which Jonathan discusses the relevance of the 100 point wine rating scale his future view of wine recommendations:

The future of wine ratings is a future of recommendations, not points or scores, from socially active wine enthusiasts and industry professionals who cultivate their own following and hold court over a sphere of influence. Experience and education imbues the passionate wine enthusiast with the kind of knowledge and confidence to entertain and communicate what is complex about wine, what is fun about wine–socially active oenophiles who post photos of labels and talk about wine in the vernacular will emerge as the collective voice for wine drinkers of the future. More and more people will learn of wine’s complexities through social engagement. Friends and confidants (trade and non-trade) will replace the lone critic and his bully pulpit. Wine drinkers will realize the power and worth of a discerning palate because of the value their friends place on such expectations.

This spurred a rebuttal by another friend of mine, Steve Heimoff, formerly of Wine Enthusiast, via his blog:

Proof? There is none. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” the old nursery rhyme tells us. Merely wishing that individual critics will fade away, in favor of crowd-sourced opinions spread via social media, is the biggest wish-fantasy around. When Cristaldi tells us that “Friends and confidants will replace the lone wine critic,” he has absolutely no proof; no evidence supports it, except anecdotally; and even if the Baby Boomer critics, like Parker, are retiring or dying off, there is no reason to think that their places will not be taken by Millennials who just might be the future Parkers and Tanzers and Gallonis and Laubes and Wongs and, yes, Heimoffs.

Ok, folks, I cannot resist chiming in on this, so here goes…

Read the rest of this stuff »




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