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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For March 31, 2014

Vinted on March 31, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews
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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!

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!

  • 09 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley): Ever hit a home run 2 win a game for the team? It kinda feels like that $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Azienda Agricola Sant'Elena Pinot Grigio (Venezia Giulia): After 5 year courtship, it's finally letting you near its perky melons. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 FEL Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): Herb gardening w/ stylish, pretty black-cherry gloves; & packing snacks of licorice & cola, too. $38 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 FEL Chardonnay (Anderson Valley): A lemony, tropical & complex steal of a wine; cue the bargain hunters' Pavlovian salivation. $28 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Domaine Carneros Le Reve Blanc de Blancs (Carneros): A long elegant dress, fine pearls, & a longing, contemplative, poignant stare $99 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Gracianna Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Today we give thanks for sweet, ripe, juicy, generous fruitiness. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 05 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne Gold Top Brut (Champagne): Ready now, but sometimes it's ok that guilty pleasures can't wait. $50 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose (Champagne): Can a red berry, clay & flowers mash-up be lovely? This makes a decent affirmative case. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 05 Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar (Bekaa Valley): Lovely in many ways, but the shoes are covered with as much funk as they are leather. $46 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Vina Quebrada de Macul Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley): Showy? Not even remotely. Serious & stately? Most certainly. $55 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Paolo Manzone Langhe Rosso Ardi (Langhe): Dolcetto strutting its chewy, fruity stuff, alternating steps both rustic and refined. $18 B >>find this wine<<

There Are NO St. Patrick’s Day Wine Picks (March 2014 Answers.com Wine Articles, And My Birthday Wine Lineup)

Vinted on March 27, 2014 binned in elegant wines, going pro, kick-ass wines, wine review

Technically there was a holiday this month, but I could not bring myself to hazard conjuring up some long-shot wine pairing for St. Patrick’s Day in March.

Just… uhm… No. No way.

Anything along that vein is (being kind here) a desperate stretch. I mean, look, why would you even do that? What’s wrong with beer? [ A: the last time I checked, nothing. ]  I’m actually the worst person to ask about the subject anyway, because St. Patrick’s Day happens to be my actual birthday. So for me, that “holiday” wine pairing usually falls squarely into the category of “whatever the f*ck I feel like drinking, no mater what food is being poured, and preferably something bubbly and expensive.” But then, with my daughter’s birthday falling less than a week later than mine, these days at 1WD central we more or less give my birthday a passing wave hello/goodbye. “Happy birthday honey. Ok, so, did you order the dolphin place-mats yet for all of the kids coming to Lorelai’s party?”

Despite the daughter birthday madness, and the inevitable hangover resulting from the amount of alcohol one has to imbibe just to survive hosting a dozen 5- and 6-year-old children for a birthday shindig, I managed a few non-St.-Patrick’s-Day tidbits for the Wine.Answers.com gig in March (they are paying for the stuff, after all!).

And, I did celebrate the birthday in serious style, vinous-wise, as you’ll witness from the inset pic. More on all of that below…

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Nielsen’s Emerging Trends In Beverage Alcohol 2014 (“Wine Is Winning”)

Vinted on March 25, 2014 binned in wine industry events

Frequent 1WD readers know that I get a bit, er, cantankerous when I notice long-standing wine industry types make wildly speculative – or even downright inaccurate – claims about how the wine industry functions, without citing any data in support of their crap claims.

This happens (just a guesstimate) roughly every seven minutes or so  (many bloggers succumb to this as well, so I’m not picking on any particular kind of medium here).

In a small attempt to help bring the smack-down on such rampant speculative behaviour by those who ought to know better, during my recent stint at Wineries & Breweries Unlimited 2014 in Richmond I decided to sit in on a (not-surprisingly somewhat poorly attended) session where real data were presented.

“Emerging Trends within Beverage Alcohol” was a presentation highlighting what’s actually happening in the wine world right now, from a consumer perspective, and was given by Nielsen’s Elizabeth Crews (Vice President/Analytic Lead for Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area), based on a combination of information collected at retail scans, via consumer panels, and through actual account data. It’s probably not perfect, but it’s also probably as close to perfect as we’re going to get when it comes to consumer trends in wine in the U.S.

Here are my notes on the session, sans commentary, and based on the data presented (I’m paraphrasing, which will piss off some people I’m sure, but it’s because I don’t have access yet to the actual numbers that were shown; if I can get them, and/or the presentation itself, I’ll post them here). Bottom lines: if you think Millennials and GenX aren’t key to the future of fine wine sales, you’re probably wrong; if you think beer and other adult beverages won’t come gunning for wine drinkers in terms of media spend, you’re also probably wrong; if you think expensive fine wine has no real market after the recession, you’re… wait for it… wrong; if you think blends can’t be popular because they’re not taking advantage of the brand recognition of well-known grape varieties, you’re also, maybe… wrong; and if you think Malbec is dead in the wine sales water, you’re very wrong.

My aim here is posting this is largely selfish, in that I strongly suspect that I’ll be linking back to this post incessantly when commenting on other websites, to deliver smack-downs on the under-supported speculation that seems rampant online and in Op-Ed pieces right now. And yes, I realize those efforts are totally Sisyphusian, but I just can’t help myself…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For March 24, 2014

Vinted on March 24, 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 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound (Stellenbosch): Old dog, but very modern tricks, & a howl that's the canine equivalent of smooth talk. $20 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Thelema Mountain Red (Western Cape): Rubber hits the road a bit hard at the end, but the rest of the journey is tastefully tasty. $15 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Elizabeth Chambers Cellars Winemaker's Cuvee Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Peppery, piquant, pensive, pithy & above all, pretty. $32 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Clayhouse Adobe White (Paso Robles): Tastes like refreshing juice, but it also doubles as a key to the Summer pool party gate. $14 B >>find this wine<<
  • 07 La Ciarliana Vigna Scianello (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano): Still maintaining a firm, leathery & commanding grip on the situation $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Le Berne Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano): Richer & funkier than southern-fried home cooking. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano): Lovely tightrope walk between Old & New schools. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Winzerhof Thorle Saulheimer Limestone Dry Riesling (Rheinhessen): Lime ninjas with deadly accurate limestone throwing stars. $28 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Pine Ridge Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Portraying the lush & soft – maybe too soft? – side of the Mountain. $90 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Pine Ridge Fortis (Napa Valley): This fort protects delicious red fruit treasures; but it's made out of pillows & a ton of wood. $150 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Apaltagua Reserva Unoaked Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley): Refreshing, as in attach-yourself-leech-like-onto-a-lemon refreshing. $13 B- >>find this wine<<

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