Robert Parker And California: A Cautionary Tale

Vinted on February 15, 2011 binned in California wine, commentary, wine news

The topic is old news now, and while revisiting it runs the risk of sounding a late-to-the-party bell with overtones of “me, too!,” I do think I can offer you something new on the latest (and largest) piece of wine biz news.

I’m speaking of the news last week of uber-wine-critic Robert Parker passing on tasting/reviewing responsibilities for California wine to Antonio Galloni at The Wine Advocate. There have already been several takes on the news in blogosphere, with my faves coming from W. Blake Gray and Jeff Lefevere (both of whom do a stellar job of covering the big and small of the wine industry and provide thoughtful commentary on the potential ripple effects).

When the news broke, I was in Portugal where the Parker news wasn’t even news, presumably because The Wine Advocate doesn’t pay much attention to Portuguese table wines (or so it might be argued by the Portuguese table wine industry, anyway). So I was totally unaware of the announcement from Parker, or the ensuing coverage in the wine media, until I returned at the close of that work week.

Now, what’s to be said about Parker no longer covering CA wines that hasn’t already been said?

Well, as most of you out there will recall, I interviewed Parker not too long ago, and while that hardly qualifies as having a window into his soul, it might be just enough access to have formulated a different – and more cautionary – viewpoint into his recent decision…

Read the rest of this stuff »

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Love Stories, Wine By Wine (Reviewing “Every Wine Tells A Story”)

Vinted on February 14, 2011 binned in book reviews, wine books

Occasionally in the wine media world one gets asked to contribute to articles, news stories, wine lists and wine picks.  I’ve done this several times (recently for Sommelier Journal, for example) because I like to help people out if I can, and when it comes to Going Pro it doesn’t hurt to have your name in the public eye and mind of the wine world (more on the pros/cons of that approach in a future Going Pro article).

Those contributions are almost always uncompensated, as was the case in my latest – a two-page blurb that I gave to London-based sommelier and consultant Tara Devon O’Leary (at her request) for her newly-released book, Every Wine Tells A Story.  Well, uncompensated unless you count the copy of the book that she gave to me.

Like another wine book recently reviewed on these virtual pages (A Feast At The Beach), Every Wine Tells A Story is a series of short, vignette-style pieces, though the focus is squarely on wine and the vignettes are supplied by twenty-nine wine personalities that include sommeliers, print journalists, bloggers, winemakers and wine merchants.  Each story details something interesting about a particular wine recommendation and why (and how) it touched the author in some way.  There are some great moments in this little book, and greater still are the wine recommendations, many of which are readily available (though some, like the 1971 Domaine Romanee-Conti picked by Judgment-of-Paris legend Steven Spurrier, are well beyond the reach of all but the richest among us).

I’m mentioning this book today because my contribution is a love-letter to the same wine that I recommended to Sommelier Journal’s 2010 wine list article (the 2007 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port), and so it seemed appropriate for Valentine’s Day.  Plus, having recently returned from Portugal, I’ve got Port on my mind (and, no doubt, a serious amount of cholesterol in my blood from three square meals of insanely tasty meat dishes each day).

Anyway, Every Wine Tells A Story is worth a look, and like A Feast At The Beach offers a nice break from the overly-weighty, serious tomes in the wine book lexicon (it also offers similar “bathroom reading” potential; yes, I did go there… again).  Around $13.

Cheers!

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For February 12, 2011

Vinted on February 12, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • NV Greater Purpose White Label Red (Dry Creek Valley): VG red for a VG charity. On the jammy side but will rock with grilled burgers. $18 B #
  • NV Greater Purpose Black Label Red (Dry Creek Valley): A tale of 2 edges, 1 jammy fruit, the other tough tannin. Live by the sword… $18 B- #
  • NV Rozes Porto Infanta Isabel 10 Year Tawny Port (Porto): Has the dried fruits, caramel color & nutty aromas, but not the real magic. $25 B- #
  • 99 Smith Woodhouse LBV Port (Porto): Trad. & needs decanting, but the peppery spice & blackberry are worth the extra effort involved. $29 B #
  • NV Churchill White Port (Porto): Looks like a disaster (cloudy) but tastes like a master (nutty, woody, rich, racy & balanced). $22 B+ #
  • 02 Dom Perignon (Champagne): The fruit has taken residence on the border of the tropics, & you will be *very* happy to greet it there $130 A #
  • NV Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose (Champagne): Bubbly, sexy, tart & a tad edgy; basically all the things you want in a dinner companion. $50 B+ #

 

 

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