When I agreed with South American PR firm Brandabout to join them on a wine-touring excursion to Chile and Argentina, I never expected to come back with enough material to fill a novella. But that’s more or less what happened – and that’s after shelving the idea for about five more articles from the trip.
Over the last six months or so, I’ve featured the good, the bad, the ugly, and the stunning from my South American jaunt, all with the intention of trying to provide coverage that is more personal, in-depth, and human that you might otherwise find when it comes to on-location wine coverage. While helpful in introducing you to a wine region, the tourist-angle stuff rarely gets into the nitty-gritty of what the wines – and the people – are really like, on their own turf and their own terms.
Hopefully, the stories from my travels brought you close to those kinds of insights, or taught you something new, or engendered an idea to try a wine that maybe you’ve never heard of before. Or at the very least kept your mind of your mortgage/rent payment for a few minutes and kept you from surfing porn…
Below, after the jump, are links to the entire wrap-up of coverage from that trip, along with some images that didn’t make it to full-blown articles but that I wanted to share. As always, I welcome your feedback (comments, emails, tweets, fb messages, carrier pigeon…) on what you liked/loathed/loved about the coverage!
Read the rest of this stuff »
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!
- 00 D’Oliveiras Madeira Moscatel Reserva (Madeira): That’s 1900, folks. Has the spicy spirit of a spinster. About as good as it gets. $500 A+ >>find this wine>>
- 06 Modus Operandi Vicarious (Napa Valley): Pushing the limits of ripe dark berry; but damn, that concentrated fruit is easy to like. $39 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 07 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel (Sonoma County): Peppery spice pushes this steakhouse fave a few paces ahead of the jammy Zin pack. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 08 J Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Black Raspberry+ Spices = Hedonist’s Delight. Even more solid (& fun) than the 07. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 10 J Vineyards Pinot Gris (CA): Floral, tropical & uncomplicated; in other words, just about a perfect pairing for a hot Summer night $16 B- >>find this wine>>
- 07 Red Newt Cellars Dry Riesling Reserve (Finger Lakes): Big, & moody; but there’s true beauty in its apricot, apple & citrus zest. $24 B >>find this wine>>
The 2011 West of West Wine Festival is almost around the corner – held in Occidental, CA, the festival will showcase cool-climate (well, cool-climate for CA, that is!) Pinots, Syrahs and Chardonnays; limited production wines from wineries that are not usually open to the public. These are West Sonoma Coast producers who are making vino that is not easy to get your grubby wine-lovin’ hands on – unless you’re selected as the winner of our latest giveaway, that is.
I’ve got one ticket to the the West of West Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, August 6th from 3:00-6:00 pm in Occidental, CA – a $125 value, which we’re giving away to one lucky randomly-selected commenter! The giveaway also includes free access to the Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on Sunday, August 7th (details to be provided in the Grand Tasting).
The skinny: YOU leave a comment on this post, letting us know your fave Sonoma wine recommendation (in keeping with the theme, Coastal recommendations are preferable but let’s keep it open to all of Sonoma). At 8PM ET on Wednesday, July 20 I will randomly select a winner from the commenters, who will be notified via e-mail. Easier than suckin’ down a chilled Sonoma Coast Chard on a hot Summer night. So get crackin’, peeps!
The fine-print: This ticket admits one person to the above-described Grand Tasting event on August 6th and includes free access to the event’s Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on August 7th. No travel, meals, accommodations, “escorts,” hovercraft (though that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?), monkeys (also awesome) or anything else provided.
Looking forward to reading about your faves!
Cheers – and good luck!!
What Is The Job Of The Winemaker Today?
Simple question, right? “Duh! To make wine!” you might be answering to yourself. What could be more simple than that?
But real wine lovers, and real winemakers, know better; they know that almost no other query could be more complicated, opinionated, difficult, thought-provoking, or (hopefully!)invigorating to answer.
Which is exactly what drove me to ask it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after visiting hundreds of winemaking outfits of all sizes all over the world, it’s that no two winemakers ply their craft in exactly the same way, or with exactly the same ends in mind, or exactly the same attitudes. But one thing in that world is consistent: the majority of those same people invariably have passionate stances on both the How and the What of their jobs as winemakers. Theirs are the kinds of viewpoints that make for fascinating reading – and even more fascinating discussion and debate.
I wanted a techy interview, but one with passion, soul, and life . – in the hopes that it would fascinate, entertain, educate and maybe even get your wine blood boiling. To that end, I’ve staked the decks significantly in favor of passionate discussion by posing it to Matt Powell, the force behind Lodi’s Draconis Vineyards. Matt’s wines are focused and powerful – just like his viewpoints. He’s active on social media, is a big fan of comics, and takes his wine very, very seriously; case in point – visitors to the Draconis Vineyards at one point were greeted with the following message:
“I have no lists, clubs, or membership bullshit.”
Matt’s take on the job of the winemaker today? It’s just as straightforward, opinionated, and fascinating as you’d expect form the person who authored that welcome message, and who told me this about a recent vintage: “I tossed the entire 2009’s; weren’t good enough.” A review of one my faves of Matt’s wines follows our interview. Enjoy!…
Read the rest of this stuff »