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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 13

Lower Alcohol Wines Can Still Get You Sh*t-faced (What We Drank With The Greeks, Part III)

Vinted on August 7, 2014 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, wine review
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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!

If you are under any delusions about lower (under 14% abv) alcohol wines being inherently superior to higher (15% abv and above) alcohol wines, let my recent foray into the lonesome and loathsome territory of sweating profusely from dehydration and feeling nauseous in the middle of the night be a beacon of light guiding you to the truth.

That truth being the fact that wines that clock in at sub-14% abv can also be just as totally unbalanced as 15%+ monsters, and over-consumption of them in good company (followed by glasses of Ouzo) will still do a fine job at getting you sh*t-faced and hung-over. I mean like sweating sheets/buckets hung-over, folks.

Just sayin’. I meant it when I said that the wine alcohol debate was a total red herring that tells us nothing significant or predictive about overall wine quality, balance, potential longevity or getting-you-sh*t-faced potential.

Anyway…

I hereby submit to you three wines from the sample piles to you as evidence of the above, as each is well under 14% abv and delicious (and balanced) enough to promote abundant and quick over-consumption, particularly when imbibed in the presence of great friends like our Greek neighbors (for more on the drinking exploits with those fine folks, see Parts I and Part II)…

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The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way)

Vinted on August 5, 2014 binned in commentary

During the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, I performed one of the more self-serving actions of my entire life (and that’s saying something, right there). During Corbett Barr’s keynote speech, I clapped deliberately and loudly when Barr told the conference-goers that the wine blogging community needs to do more to work together and foster community. A few seconds of my obnoxious clapping got (more or less) the entire room applauding Barr’s astute comment.

I label that as self-serving because Barr and I spent over an hour on the phone together prior to WBC14, discussing the current state of wine blogging, during which I pressed hard on the fact that too many wine bloggers view themselves as someone apart from the wine blogging community, and, like their wine print brethren, are too competitive and catty and need to share more in rising-tide-lifts-all-boats fashion.

I fear that, based on the blogging about WBC14 that has transpired since that speech, that much of Barr’s wisdom fell on some deaf ears. While we’ve seen a handful of well-reasoned WBC14 criticism and balanced debate about topics such as the conference’s Wine Writers Workshop session, we’ve seen a bit more carping about the conference not meeting expectations, and/or the speakers being too old, too white, too print, too out of touch, too whatever.

WTF?!?? Are you people out of your minds?!???

Folks, if you’re blogging about wine and want to wine blogging to be taken more seriously, then let me tell you something about the state of your writing, and your approach to the wine blogging community: It’s a joke

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For August 4, 2014

Vinted on August 4, 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!

  • 12 Rockpile Pritchett Peaks Vineyard Zinfandel (Rockpile): Like a James Dean, young but full of intense, focused, brooding intent. $38 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rockpile Jack's Cabin Vineyard Zinfandel (Rockpile): The dusty, smoky, mineral-laden Cab of Zins? Yeah, it's pretty much like that $38 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Rockpile Rockpile Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockpile): The kind of kick-ass focus you're only getting from good farming. $42 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 David Caffaro My Zin Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley): Poised and complex, but certainly suffering no lack of rustic bravado, either. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 David Caffaro Terre Melange (Dry Creek Valley): The word we're looking for here? Piquant; that finish pleasantly bites back. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Wardy Rose du Printemps (Bekka Valley): Cinsault & Syrah that are springing into serious – and downright earthy – life. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e una Notte (Sicily): A torrid love affair of a red, beguiling, maddening, but never boring. $80 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Rocca Sveva Soave Classico (Soave Classico): And then there were apples. And flowers. And refreshment. And there was much rejoicing $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Ravines Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes): I want everybody in the house to know… I came here tonight to hear the limes go BOOM!!! $17 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Domaine Carneros The Famous Gate Pinot Noir (Carneros): The gate's rightfully famous; it's also made of – & rules with – iron rods $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 M. Chapoutier Banuyls (Banuyls): Do yourself a favor; have the chocolates – and the hangover remedies – ready well in advance. $27 B >>find this wine<<

Same Old Song (Ridge Lytton Springs Recent Releases)

“We sing the same old song
Just like a vintage car,
You can look, but you won’t ever drive it.
We drink the same old wine
From a brand new jar,
We get hung-over, but we always survive it.”
- “New Song” by The Who

Some tasks are just… unenviable.

Take, for example, trying to say something new about iconic California producer Ridge that’s not already been said. Go ahead, give it a shot; it’s not easy, folks. Some people are adept at taking the same few chords or themes and churning out something that sounds totally new; The Kinks, The Who, John Grisham (okay, maybe not Grisham). I am not one of those people. The Ridge story has been told several times in print, and from a wine perspective equates to something like “these are excellent, potentially long-lived reds, go buy some; the end… why are you still here?”

And so in recapping my visit to Ridge Lytton Springs in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, I find myself entertaining a sense of dread that I’ve not felt since I’ve had to turn in a term paper in undergrad, the kind that you avoid for as long as possible because you know it’s going to be a bitch to write. I can offer at least one take on Ridge that is original, though, since it happened to me personally; so I suppose I’ll start there.

A couple of years ago, when interviewing the equally iconic California stalwart Kermit Lynch at his Berkley area shop, I noticed a shelf of old empty bottles on a wall in his office. I pointed out to him that only one of those bottles was from an American producer: Ridge. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, “and check this out!” taking the bottle from its display and showing me the back label, pointing to the small text that proclaimed its sub-14% alcohol by volume. I then tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to convince him that Ridge was still making elegant, long-lived, balanced wines that despite an uptick in abv, and that I’d had several aged examples over the years to prove it.

Interestingly, my host at Ridge’s DCV winery was winemaker John Olney (onboard at Lytton Springs since the 2003 vintage), who once worked for Lynch… see, I knew if I tried hard enough there’d be something new there…

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