The 1WineDude.com Top 10 Most Interesting Wines Of 2011

Vinted on December 20, 2011 binned in best of, Most Interesting Wines of the Year, wine review

It’s with great pleasure (and after a sh*tload of hard work, not to mention wine tastings) that I reveal the 2011 version of 1WineDude.com’s Most Interesting Wines Of The Year!

The “competition” (such as it is, though it really isn’t such) was once again fierce, due to the volume of wines I tried in 2011 (up again from 2010 – considerably) and in the high level of quality of many of the wines to which I had the good fortune of being exposed through hundreds of samples, dozens of visits, blah-blah-blah.

The average price tag of the wines in this year’s list is once again on the high side (around $69), but there’s a price to be paid in creating a product that stirs the emotions, I suppose – the good news is that while several *very* expensive bottles are on the list, some of the best can be had for a relatively-reasonable $35-$40 per bottle.

For those of you who are new all of this and at this point are wondering what the hell I’m raving on about:

  • I compile this list annually. It is NOT intended to be a “best of” or “highest rating” or “circle jerk” list (no mater what the PR folks do with it!).
  • It is intended to be a list of arbitrarily-chosen wines that stood out, to me, as being particularly interesting for any number of reasons, not least of which are quality and complexity, and to call attention to those wines that I found most compelling this year – wines that make me want tot tackle the mountain of samples in my basement in search of another that might be somewhat like it. Actually, isn’t that how most non-chemical addictions start? Ah, whatever…
  • These are not wines released in 2011 (though I try to favor recent releases so that you have a chance of actually trying the wines in this list), they are wines that I tasted in 2011.  Not all the wines I tasted in 2011 qualified – the wines have to be at least somewhat available so that you have a shot at trying them.
  • Also, the list of finalists included some wines tasted in late December 2010 (since this list is compiled in its final form in mid-December).

This year, I’m happy to also announce that the list comes complete with a new badge,  created by Mofunsun Enterprises, LLC (a.k.a. design rock-star Jeffrey Sun) who also designed the badges I use each week in my wine reviews (see above). Producers included in the list below are free to use the MIW badge in any way that they see fit, so long as it is not modified (those interested can contact me for details).

This is, by far, the most difficult content for me to compile each year. No pressure, but if you don’t enjoy it then bah-humbug, you can go sit on an inappropriate wine-stopper. As in previous years, you will find some surprises in this list.I invite you to react, comment, and have fun, so long as you agree to take it for what it really is: a celebration of wine’s pleasure and subjectivity.

Enjoy!…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For December 17, 2011

Vinted on December 17, 2011 binned in wine mini-reviews

Uhm, like what is this stuff?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine sample tasting notes via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be fun, quickly-and-easily-digestible reviews. Below is a wrap-up of the twitter reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find them so you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 06 d’Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings (McLaren Vale): The strokes here are big, bold & burly; but they’re also beautifully rendered. $65 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 11 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling (Clare Valley): Want some acid with that peach & minerals? No? Well, too damn bad for you. $18 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Pirie South Riesling (Tasmania): Stately, spicy, racy – and tasting like it just might have had some Alsatian grandparents. $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Bindi Composition Pinot Noir (Macedon Ranges): The tune is noir indeed (dark berry, chocolate), and you’ll be humming it for days. $60 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Yering Station Reserve Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley): Trains leaving here have a bit much cherry oak, but the appointments are elegant $55 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir (Mornington Peninsula): Sweet berries brighter than the morning sun. Might turn your disposition cheery. $30 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Nickel & Nickel C.C. Ranch Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Velvety fruit, vanilla, violets make for very good vino. $79 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 10 KC Jones Streamliner (Sonoma County): KC Jones, you better watch your unctuousness (but not your vitality, or food-friendliness!). $25 B >>find this wine>>
  • 05 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz (Eden Valley): Like being served one of those 70% cocoa bars, by angels in the fields of Elysium. $110 A >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Tahbilk Marsanne (Nagambie Lakes): The Rhone, on vacation & soaking up the freewheeling, tropical vibes of the Southern hemisphere $17 B >>find this wine>>
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Reports Of Australian Wine’s Death Hath Been Greatly Exaggerated, My Lords

Vinted on December 15, 2011 binned in crowd pleaser wines, kick-ass wines, wine books

Australian wine has become the red-headed stepchild of the fine wine world. But the ginger brat is still alive and kicking, people.

I can hear the Aussie wine biz calling out from the cart, like the old man in the “Bring Out Your Dead” skit of Monty Python’s Holy Grail: “I’m not dead!… I think I’ll go for a walk… I feel haaaapy!!!”

[ Editor’s note: speaking of Python, anyone remember their old “Aussie Table Wine” bit, based on the idea that fine wine being made in a place like Australia was so laughable that it could be used as premise for a comedy skit? Who’s laughing now? ]

The general zeitgeist of the wine cognoscenti (at least lately) is that Aussie wine (particularly the much-maligned Shiraz) consists of overly-dense, brutish, syrupy, overblown, Port-without-the-charm and generally overpriced vino on the high end, and sugary, soda-pop-wannabe plonk on the low end.

Like most myths, Aussie wine’s death is based in some semblance of truth – but I am growing increasingly convinced that it is exactly that: a myth. Why? Because increasingly I am running into Aussie wines that are anything but plonk, and are a far cry from charmless saccharine plum-sauce.

Sure, Australia pumps out plonky, low-end crap by the Brobdingnag-esque tank-load (literally) – but name me one major wine-producing country that doesn’t do that. As for the high-end, the gems – the wines that truly speak of place and do have charm to spare – well, they are there, you just have to know where to look for them (just as you have to do in every other wine-producing card-carrying U.N. member country).

So what happened? Why are consumers and critics alike turning away from Aussie wine faster than a wombat would turn away after catching a whiff of a stark-raving-mad and starving dingo on the hunt? According to some, the stigma for Aussie wine is mostly Robert Parker’s fault; or, rather, the culpability rests with an industry that got too greedy and built production – and prices – up too fast after Parker anointed a few heady styles of Aussie low-production reds with near-perfect scores while at the apex of his influence in the 1990s. That’s the premise behind Campbell Mattinson’s excellent Thin Skins: Why The French Hate Australian Wine

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