1WineDude TV Episode 37: ZORK and Zin-dy

Vinted on September 1, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, crowd pleaser wines, wine review

In this episode of 1WineDude TV, I struggle mightily with the ZORK wine closure, and taste a couple of CA Zinfandels from Manzanita Creek… the kind of Zins that could beat you up, steal your lunch money, and give you a wedgie… with seriously mixed results. Also, inappropriate references are made to “marital aid dual purpose” massagers and late-70s sitcoms.  Enjoy!

2008 Manzanita Creek Three Vines Zinfandel (Sonoma County)
Price: $28
Rating: B

You’ll need to like ‘em (very) big, but if you do then it’s the kind of juice you will want to pop open when your family fires up the ribs with the secret-recipe spice rub (more detail in the vid).

Cheers!

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Being Able To Describe A Wine Does NOT Make You Awesome

Vinted on August 31, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro

If I told you what it takes
to reach the highest high,
You’d laugh and say
“Nothing’s that simple!”

– from “I’m Free” (Tommy, The Who – 1969)

The following commentary is not an easy one to write, because whenever one talks about something that they do, they run the risk of appearing immodest, or conversely overdoing it on fake amounts of modesty and sounding like a douchebag.

Look, I know that I write reasonably well, because I’ve been told that by other writers whom many consider to write very well.  And I know that I taste wine reasonably well, because I’ve been told that by others who are themselves kick-ass tasters.  But I do not see the ability to combine those talents as somehow qualifying me to self-proclaim my awesomeness.  And I do not see it as somehow unattainable by anyone else, either.

As any fan of the (excellent) book Outliers can tell you, the one thing that most differentiates the well-skilled from the wanna-bes in any given field (including wine) is practice. You spend enough time doing something (like, approaching 10,000 hours – and that figure is not hyperbole), and the odds are very, very good that you will get very, very good at whatever it is you are doing.

I write this because I continue to run into people (all over the world) who are thoroughly impressed with their own ability to taste (and then describe, verbally or in writing) a wine. As in a worship-me-because-I’m-totally-awesome level impressed with themselves. On the other side of that wine appreciation coin, I also run into people (all over the world) who reinforce that view by assuming that they themselves could never accurately describe a wine’s tastes and smells. I have a message for both of those types of people: “Get over it; what wine writing / reviewing peeps do isn’t all that special!”…

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The First – And Last – 160 Days: What Does Gary Vaynerchuk’s Exit Mean For The Wine World?

Vinted on August 30, 2011 binned in commentary, wine news

Those of you who have just been rescued from being stranded for decades in South American jungles and are now coming to grips with you strange new world that involves cellular telephones, 3D television and the Global Interwebs, might not have heard that influential wine personality and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk last week announced that he has retired from producing his frequent wine-critique videos.

It’s a move that, in impact to Gary’s fan base, is probably a bit like Howard Stern’s recent announcement that he’s scaling back the number of shows he will produce each week – which is to say, polorizing.

Gary’s latest move comes a little over 160 days after he retired WLTV in favor of his mobile device venture Daily Grape, and a little over seven months after he shut down Corkd. For those concerned that he might also shut down his best-selling books, please note that it’s a lot harder to do that once the printed copies are in your hands!

It wasn’t a great week for wine personalities sticking around – Mike Steinberger also left the scene (at least temporarily) when he had his excellent wine column axed from Slate (to which I say “F*ck Slate!”).  Anyway… The wine world is, understandably, rife with speculation on the Whys behind Gary’s move.  I think a (much) more interesting topic, though, is the What: as in, What does Gary’s wine retirement from wine criticism mean for the wine world in general?…

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini Reviews Round-Up For August 27, 2011

Vinted on August 27, 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!

  • NV Mionetto MO Valdobbiadene Prosecco (Prosecco Superiore): Elegant & (dare we say it) *serious* green apple side to Prosecco bubbly. $23 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Catena Malbec (Mendoza): Smokey/oaky finish mars an otherwise smokin’ red-fruited, floral, dried-herbal South American beauty. $24 B >>find this wine>>
  • NV Pascal Redon Cuvee Diaphane (Champagne): Elegant; as in “going on a hike in the woods & then running into Audrey Hepburn” elegant. $59 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah (Calaveras County): Your morning coffee ritual should smell so good as the mocha action on this tasty guy. $24 B >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Manzanita Creek Three Vines Zinfandel (Sonoma County): A BIG boy, who would very much like to meet your ribs with the spice rub. $28 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Three Rivers Champoux vineyard Merlot (Horse Heaven Hills): The tales of Merlot’s death have, apparently, been greatly exaggerated $39 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Three Rivers River’s Red (Columbia Valley): Red fruits are tart, bright & screaming. What are they screaming? “Crazy good deal!” $14 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Three Rivers Merlot (Columbia Valley): Chewbacca big, but he’s in a pin-stripe suit. Pepper, spice, herbs & olives add the elegance $19 B >>find this wine>>
  • 09 Three Rivers Chardonnay (Columbia Valley): Pear, pineapple & cream, all sliced right down the middle with razor-sharp crispness. $18 B >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Coffee, black plums, pencil lead & quite a lot of focus for the The Valley. $75 A- >>find this wine>>
  • 06 Michael David Earthquake Petite Sirah (Lodi): Not w/out floral/licorice complexity, but balance is shaken by a sweet boozy finish. $25 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Rustenberg John X Merriman (Stellenbosch): The herbal & red plum side of Bord’x blending. One for the huntsman’s lodge, govn’r. $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay (Stellenbosch): Lemon curd, toasted almond & a little minerality standing at attention, sir! $39 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 10 Firestone Gewurztraminer (Santa Ynez Valley): A bit short on flowers & lychee, but plenty long on ginger, grapefruit & crispness. $13 B- >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Firestone Clone 174 Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley): Here’s 1 to please the crowd. Bring me a plate of BBQ ribs, with all speed, man! $30 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 08 Firestone Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley): Brambly, red, black & jammy. Ah, but the smoked meat guy is stopping by, and you’re hungry… $20 B >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Puma Road Black Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands): This cat’s got a lot of berry, earthy/herbal complexity for $36 B+ >>find this wine>>
  • 07 Bagrationi 1882 Reserve Brut (Kakheti): Georgia strikes again. Elegant if subdued presentation of apple, melon & chalky minerality. $25 B >>find this wine>>
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