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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 14

Are Cute Wine Labels Sweet For The Consumer? (Publix Grape Magazine Winter 2013)

Vinted on December 17, 2013 under commentary, 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!

One of my favorite “pro” gigs is penning the In Focus section of Publix Grape Magazine, which I will happily continue doing for so long as they’re willing to ask, because I have so much freakin’ fun doing it. I learn more than I’d otherwise suspect every time I write for the seasonal magazine, both in researching and in trying to take complex wine topics such as yeasts, oak, and acids, and make them palatable (see what I did there?) to non-geeks. You know, normal people!

For the 2013 Winter edition of Grape, I solicited the help of my winemaking bud Steve Matthiasson in breaking down the topic of wine sugars, much like yeasts break those suckahs down in real life (see what I did there?… whatever…). Corkscrews are the topic for the Spring, so go subscribe (for free) if you don’t want to miss it.

But I’m not blogging to talk about that, I actually want to talk about another aspect of the Winter release of Grape, in which I’m quoted on the topic of cute wine labels. Namely, are they good or bad for wine, and would they appeal to Millennials?

I’m one of a few wine geeks quoted in that article, which understandably but unfortunately didn’t quote my lengthy caveat that if wine brands like Skinny Girl and Cupcake are selling, then there must be good reasons for that and it doesn’t really matter what I or any other critic-type-person thinks about them. Interestingly, the article also mentioned Gnarly Head and Smoking Loon, which I don’t consider as “kitschy” as Skinny Girl or Cupcake (loons are not cute, and neither are gnarly old vines), but I’ve long considered them decent bargains because they’re getting nice old vine fruit from places like Lodi at suppressed prices, which translates into really decent wines in some cases…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 16, 2013

Vinted on December 16, 2013 under 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 Kim Crawford SP Rise and Shine Pinot Noir (Central Otago): It would very much like another cup of that spicy sweet berry tea, dear $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Kim Crawford SP Spitfire Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough): Take everything cool about kiwi SB, and add a pinch of peppery awesome. $21 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough): Long, assertive, about as subtle, but certainly not as dead, as that flik Zombieland. $17 B >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): By Jove, but I do like the spicy, earthy, plummy cut off your jib, old boy! $65 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Quinta da Lixa Aromas das Castas Alvarinho Trajadura Blanco (Vinho Verde): Today's sunny tropical respite has arrived, & cheaply. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley): Starts in a garden, picks from an orchard then settles back in comfy oak chair $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 MacMurray Ranch Reserve Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Requires big boy pants, for sure, but it's all jammy deliciousness now. $37 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Clean Slate Riesling (Mosel): The slate is, indeed, clean, a touch cloying, but also about as refreshing as you'll get for the cash$12 B- >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria (Sicily): Like having amazing sex without having to fork over for an expensive dinner. $40 A >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Vall Llach Idus de Vall Llach (Priorat): Dried everything – licorice, figs & raisins – but everything dried is also damn high-end. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 07 Capafons-Osso Sirsell (Priorat): He's beefy, and he clearly has your back if a fight just happens to break out at this saloon. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Sekt Brut (Pfalz): Sweet biscuits and pithy lemons with a penchant for startling, aggressive behavior. $20 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Fillaboa Seleccion Finca Monte Alto Albarino (Rias Baixas): It came to refresh and chew wet rocks, & it's almost out of wet rocks. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<

The Most Interesting Wines of 2013, Part One

Vinted on December 12, 2013 under Most Interesting Wines of the Year

Almost unbelievably, it’s time for the annual 1WD tradition of selecting The Most Interesting Wines of the Year.

In some ways, with my back out of commission for nearly eight months, 2013 seemed like a long painful slog through semi-frozen sludge wearing nothing but flip-flops. But when it was on, 2013 was really *on*; it was an amazing year in which I travelled some of the world’s most gorgeous wine regions and tasted through thousands of some of the its best (and worst) offerings.

In 2012’s MIW round-up, I lamented that so many interesting wine picks don’t make the annual list, and that the traditional selection of ten wines seemed restrictive. Based on a few twitter and Book of Face conversations, a lot of you felt the same way, some going to the extreme of suggesting that I come up with a Top 100 list, a-la Wine Spectator, to which I had to respond with a humble, flattered, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek response that I’ll summarize briefly as “are you f*cking nuts?!??”

This year, I’m bending somewhat to those dual pressures, and am expanding the Most Interesting Wines of the Year list from ten to twenty, the first part of which is presented below, and the second half (containing the Numero Uno spot, which last year went to the 2007 Henschke Hill of Grace) will be presented in exactly one week.

As for the selection criteria, nothing has changed in this sixth annual incarnation of the MIW list: these are not the “best” or “highest scoring” wines of the year, they are the wines which most stuck with me during 2013, those that I felt offered something intangible in geeky, thought-provoking pleasure. As in the past, these are not necessarily wines released in 2013, they are (reasonably) recent releases that I tasted in 2013. I also attempted to only select wines that you’d have at least some hope of obtaining (whether at a restaurant, auction, shop, or otherwise – no attempt is made to set a cut-off price point, however). As I wrote last year, reactions, exclamations, bitching/moaning, exaltations, and the like are all welcome.

But most of all, I just hope you enjoy these in the geeky, competitive and fun way in which the list is intended (for previous incarnations, peruse the 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2008 MIW versions)…

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The Punch Down Episode 9 With Clark Smith: Recap

Vinted on December 11, 2013 under The Punch Down

Whew! The Punch Down Episode 9 is in the books.

Geekiest. Episode. EVER!

The Punch Down Episode 9 with Clark Smith

Where to begin with this one? Our guest Clark Smith was in rare form, opening up a few hundred potential cans of winemaking worms. Among the topics: taking the natural wine movement to task, and showing us what happens to the texture of a wine when you play The Doors or Iron Maiden tunes in the background (a somewhat oddly terrifying experiment that you can try for yourself at home). If you think it’s easy to manipulate wine, wait until you see how easily YOU can be manipulated as a taster! I also taste through Clark’s 2003 Napa Chardonnay – both in its original (14.9% abv) and de-alcoholoized (12.9%) states… guess which one is better?

Oh, and Clark starts off with a song about Monticello Viognier. Which we can all agree is bad-ass, I think.

Prepared to have your minds partially blown, people, this episode turns a lot of our collective romanticized notions about winemaking on its barrel heads.

Mentioned in this episode:

Cheers!

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