Happy Holidays, Beeeaaatches!

Vinted on December 24, 2015 binned in holidays

Happy Holidays, beeeeaaatches!!!

Snow miser heat miser

This is how *real* rock stars do the holidays, folks.

Take whatever holiday wine drinking advice you read with a serious heaping of salt grains (yes, even mine), and then drink whatever you want… just make sure it’s good stuff (to you), okay?

Hug your SO/loved ones/dogs/cats/gerbils/nutria. Be kind. Be generous. Be merry.

Oh, and embedded below, there’s a little ditty from the Steve Liberace Band (partially pictured above) to get you into the holiday spirit.

Cheers!

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 21, 2015

Vinted on December 21, 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!

  • 14 Maryhill Winery Viognier (Columbia Valley): Switch this juicy, rich one up on the Chardonnay drinkers when they aren't looking. $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Density that's best cracked by restraint, or a crap-ton of air. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Famille Hugel Gewurztraminer (Alsace): Why does Fall make wine geeks pine for Gewurz? Sniff this spicy number & you'll understand. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 15 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose (Coastal Region): Having a lovely day? Popping this will increase the loveliness percentage. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Pina Napa Valley Firehouse Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford): Like 'em spicy? U'll wanna spend LOTS of time in this kitchen $85 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Pina Napa Valley Ames Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville): As usual, the velvety side of the Valley; & also, the funkaay side. $85 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Trivento Eolo Malbec (Lujan de Cuyo): Look past the rough edges of the hard marble, to imagine the artful statue captured within. $79 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Barone Pizzini Naturae Franciacorta (Franciacorta): Pucker up, buttercup; this'll cut through fatty foods like a sharpened rapier. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Rose (Franciacorta): Its wit is sharp, its spice bowl is generous, & its fruit bowl even more so. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Cusumano Sagana Nero d'Avola (Sicilia): Modernly tailored in plush fabric & sharp trim, but sporting touches that evoke tradition. $45 A- >>find this wine<<
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Ho-Ho-Holy Crap, The Holidays Are Upon Us! (December 2015 Wine Product Roundup)

Vinted on December 16, 2015 binned in book reviews, wine products

Ok, last-minute shoppers, I present (see what I did there?) to you the December 2015 edition of the 1WD Wine Product Roundup, in which I dive into the non-vinous portion of the product sample pool.

Today, I’ve two items that will receive the deeper-dive inspection.

Aura wine glass

image: auraglass.com

The first is something about which I’ve serious mixed feelings: the Aura rotating wine glass.

The idea behind this one is interesting: create a glass that almost eliminates the potential to spill its contents, in that it cannot really be knocked over; as a side benefit, make it easy to swirl the wine inside of it (by the way, do any of you other wine nerds find yourself swirling any liquid in a glass? water? orange juice? I do that all of the time…).

First, the good news: it is, in fact, insanely difficult to spill wine poured into the Aura. While seeing the thing rotating on a table is a bit disconcerting at first (it has a weighted ball in its center, and so never actually sits “upright” when set onto a table), the effect overall is very, very cool. And, the center weight and large bowl dimension does seem to make swirling a bit easier when it’s in your hand.

The bad news is twofold: first, it’s expensive (over $50 for both the large and small versions); second, the trade-off for the Aura’s sturdiness is the thickness of its glass, which makes the rim a bit too thick for my tastes. Overall, this one is probably best reserved as a gift for the wine lover who quite literally has everything else.

Thirsty Dragon

image: hholt.com

I’m a bit more enthusiastic over the second product, Suzanne Mustacich’s Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines (Henry Holt & Company, 338 pages, about $20). While one could argue that Bordeaux’s are not the best wines on Earth, it’s hard to argue that they’re not at least in the running, so we’ll forgive the dramatic subtitle.

It helps that Mustacich not only has a lot of wine writing under her belt, but that she also lives in Bordeaux and is an “insider” to the insane model that they execute for selling their wines. You might not think that a book that focuses on a culture clash between how China (as buyers) and the Bordelais (as sellers) would be all that interesting (this is a wine book that’s recommended to be listed in the Business & Economics section, by the way). But in this case, you’d be wrong.

Thirsty Dragon delves into the odd business dance between China and France in manners that are at times suspenseful (digging into brand squatting and counterfeit-busting operations) and humanistic (getting inside the heads of wine producers impacted by all of the madness in how they conduct their livelihoods). The result is a well-executed read, and one that might just give you some underbelly details about the wine business that you can never “unsee.”

Cheers!

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