blogger web statistics/a>
1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 292

The 3 Things You Really Need for Better Wine Appreciation

Vinted on February 25, 2009 under learning wine, wine eBook, wine products, zen wine
WP Greet Box icon
HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

Actually, I lied.

doubleazonecom-easySince you will also need a decent corkscrew and a wine glass, you actually need five things to better appreciate wine.  But no more than five, and those last two are just enablers (as we say in my office).

But first, a bit of preamble (as we also say in my office)…

When I tell people that one of my jobs is related to wine, they give me a strange look.  It’s the same look they give me whenever it comes up in conversation that one of my other jobs is as a musician (oddly, I receive very few disparaging comments on the fact that playing rock music and drinking comprise a contribution to my income).

It is not a look of admiration.

It’s more like the look I imagine that people would give the embalmed and glowing remains of an alien corpse if it was discovered on this planet and then put on display somewhere.  A look that says, “Hmmm… you are strange and perhaps you possess some strange powers that I do not understand…

But there is nothing strange, magical, or otherworldly about wine appreciation (or playing music – ok, playing music is strange but that has more to do with most club owners being weirdos).

Why wine appreciation has been put on a pedestal is beyond me.  I understand how it happened (a great write-up of which was the topic of a recent post by Alder Yarrow over at the excellent Vinography.com).  But I will never understand why it happened.

warehousecarlhcom-alien_autopsy_2It’s a myth that is perpetuated by many of the established wine magazines and some of their wine critic staff, because, like credit card companies finding suckers who are already in debt as potential new customers, or fake alien autopsy videos looking for true believers, it makes them money.

In fact, I can tell you from first-hand experience that wine appreciation is actually pretty easy. Look at me – I did it, and… well, you tell me: do you think I’m the smartest guy you know?

Didn’t think so.

If it helps, before you jump in and start buying vino by the case, just spend a day telling yourself that wine appreciation is NOT hard – in fact, it’s easy and natural.  I’ve done this before starting anything that I’d previously convinced myself was “too hard” to try.  Works like a charm (but maybe I’m just self-gullible?).

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.

The 3 Things You Really Need (To Do) for Better Wine Appreciation:

  1. Taste.  A lot.
    No secret or mystic initiation rites here.  Just start tasting. Buy a bottle and taste.  There is no prep. work required.  Just do it.

    Yes, it’s that simple.

    Look at it this way – how else would you try anything new?  If I served you a dinner dish that you’d never had before, would you need to do any prep. work before you tried it to see if you liked it (or didn’t like it)?  The idea is totally preposterous.  If buying wine frightens you, then buy online from any of the great retailers that advertise on this blog – they’ll help you find something decent in your price range. The important thing to note here is that you have nothing to fear by jumping right in and tasting.

  2. Note what you like – and what you don’t like.
    This is easy as well.  When you taste a wine, write it down.  Pay special attention to what you like in the taste of that wine (remember, we’re tasting here, not guzzling), and what you don’t like.

    This will help you to do two important things: a) learn what floats your boat about certain wines so you can enjoy more like those, and b) learn what you want to avoid in certain wines because you don’t like those tastes.  For example, I don’t like mushrooms.  In fact, I hate mushrooms.  It’s fungus, for gods’ sake.  Or cream.  Don’t lke cream either – turns my digestive system totally inside out (whoops… TMI…).  Cream of mushroom soup is right out.  How do I know I want to avoid those tastes?  Because I tried them, didn’t like them, and I’ve got a mental note about that which helps me to avoid unpleasant culinary situations in the future.  Easy.  Wine is no different.

    If it helps, follow a system (I’ve outlined a simple one in my eBook).

  3. wkuedu-brain_dumpCome with an open mind.
    Here’s a question for you: would you eat only one thing every day for the rest of your life, if you had any choice in the matter? Would you eat nothing but steak?  Or wear only red clothing, forever, until you died?

    Probably not.  But if you limit yourself to drinking only one kind of wine (say, for example, oak-ladden and buttery Chardonnays), you are basically doing the exact same thing. There is a dizzying array of wine varietals, regions, styles, brands, etc., to be had in today’s marketplace.  Don’t handcuff yourself by limiting the enjoyment and pleasure you could have – your motto here should be “try anything at least once.”

There you have it.

Wine Appreciation = Super Simple. No go out there and enjoy yourself!

Check out more 1WineDude.com articles on Learning Wine & Zen Wine Appreciation.

Cheers!

(images: doubleazone.com, warehouse.carlh.com, wku.edu)

Feets Don’t Fail Me Now (A Look at Barefoot Bubbly)

Vinted on February 23, 2009 under wine review

img_05841

Attention wine elitists: Not everything has to be serious.

This includes wine.

Yes, it does.  No, really, it does.

You see, it’s a bit like the movie Snakes on a Plane.  With a title like that, you know exactly what you’re in for.  Snakes.  On a plane.  Eating people.  Good guys will beat the snakes, bad guys will get a nasty dose of their own medicine, and Samuel L. Jackson will be a total badass (and will deliver memorable, profanity-laden pithy dialog).  Have fun, and leave your brain at the door for an hour and a half.

200px-soap_poster

Some wines are the same way, minus the profanity (and the poisonous, people-eating  snakes).

With some wines, you should be able to take a break from thinking too hard, and just sit back, kick your shoes off, and enjoy them.  Not talk about them, taste them, or examine them.  Just drink them.

Barefoot Bubbly is one of those wines.

Founded by CA winemaker Davis Bynum in the `60s as a small-production adjunct to his pricier wines, then revived in the `80s by Michael Houlihan and partner Bonnie Harvey, Barefoot Wines is now a Gallo property since 2005, with annual production of something like a gazillion cases.

Barefoot is a big, big producer.  So it may strike you as a bit strange that they would reach out to bloggers to get thoughts on their new on-line presence.  But that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Barefoot reached out to me to get my thoughts on a new website – Barefoot Republic – that includes a brand blog and elements of social networking (videos, profiles, reviews, etc.).  They also sent me a few samples of Barefoot wine, one of which I’ll be waxing Dude-like on in a few moments.

woodstockfilmfestivalcom-barefootwinesIt’s both interesting and frightening that a brand as big as Barefoot is (albeit a bit later than many smaller wineries) including bloggers and social networking in their game plan.  Interesting in that they’re arguably big enough to not have to care (yet) about the influence of bloggers; frightening in that Barefoot’s entry into this space probably is death knell of social netorking platforms giving smaller wine brands an edge on-line.  The fact that the effectiveness of brand recommendations (for wine or anything else) is moving from away from one-way advertising to social-netwoking is a topic for another post (or, in fact, several).  The site is beautifully done, by the way (if a bit slow in terms of responsiveness).

So… back to the wine…

I’d heard that Barefoot’s sparklers were a good buy, but I’d never had opportunity to try them before.  I popped open a sample of their Brut Cuvee Bubbly.  I didn’t have high hopes for this wine, since it’s labeled as “California Champagne” – a legal designation in the U.S., but arguably one that unfairly plays off the reputation – and far superior quality – of France’s birthplace of fine sparklers.

2009-02-22_173254Anyway, Barefoot’s Bubbly is made using the Charmat method, which is the same method of sparkling production used for Prosecco.  Like Prosecco, the Barefoot is a refreshing quaffer.  The first thing I thought about this wine was that I’ve had plenty of Prosecco that cost more that wasn’t a good as this sucker.

The Barefoot is not a complex wine - it has refreshing acidity, fresh apple aromas, and that’s about it.   But at under $10 a bottle. it doesn’t have to be.

With a name like Barefoot Bubbly, you should know what you’re in for.  Simple.  Tasty.  Ready to have fun for an hour and a half (or more).

No snakes, though.

Cheers!

(images: 1winedude.com, wikimedia.org, woodstockfilmfestival.com, barefootwine.com)

Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2009-02-21

Vinted on February 21, 2009 under twitter, wine mini-reviews
  • 06 Chateau Fuisse Le Clos (Pouilly-Fuisse): Rich & oaky Chard. Set your alarm, you may need it to wake you up when the finish finally stops! #
  • 05 Nicolas Potel Volnay Vieilles Vignes (Volnay): Berry cobbler w/ bacon. A finish so smooth, you could slip on it. But it sure ain’t free. #
  • 05 JJ Vincent Pouilly Fuisse “Marie Antoinette” (Pouilly-Fuisse): Heavy on the minerality, big on acidty, but light on the fruit & finish. #
  • 06 Undurraga Founder’s Carmenere (Colchagua): Big time dark-red fruits & a heap of green pepper. It’s smooth now, but will it integrate? #
  • 03 Hermann J. Wiemer Ice Wine (Finger Lakes, NY): Honey, apricot, & glycerin-smooth with bracing acidity. I heart New York. #
  • 07 Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont): candied fruit & black cherry, with floral & spice notes. Interesting if not very focused. #
  • 05 Simi Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): More like “Oakslide” with this much wood. Bloated & underwhelming for the price. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

New Label, Same Plonk (Are Wine Bloggers Going Maintream? Already?)

Vinted on February 20, 2009 under about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine blogging

This is an article about wine blogging.

Yeah, I know… at least I saved it for Friday when most people (myself included) head offline to mingle and sip in the “real” world (translation: my traffic stats take a dive).

Topic the First: What happened to 1WineDude.com ?

First, those of you visiting 1WineDude.com will (hopefully, anyway, depending on your level of sobriety at the time) have noticed that the site is now hosted at totally new digs.

But it’s the same old Dude.  New Label, Same Plonk!

I’ve tried, in what for me is a very non-lazy, industrious way – to minimize the disruption to you, my readers.  What this means is that all of the old articles, posts, and comments have been migrated over to the new digs, and you e-mail subscribers out there should be receiving new update with no disruption.

What is doesn’t mean is that links to previous 1WineDude.com articles will translate automatically to their new digs counterparts.  Hey, I said I tried to minimze the disruption in a way that was industrious for me.  If you can figure out a way to link up the old and new posts that won’t cost me any more time, money, or frustration, then I’m all ears, bro’!

Aside from the new look, the Comments engine has been totally replaced, and I’m trying to setup automatic updates that will provide a weekly summary post of my twitter wine mini-reviews.  Should be fun!

At some point (soon), the previous 1WineDude.blogspot.com address will forward here.  When I get around to it, that is (in other words, when I figure out the redirection code).

Anyway – suggestions for the new site?  Comments?  Shout ‘em out!


Topic the Second: Are Wine Bloggers Already Going Mainstream?

My intention is not to lose friends with this post, but I do expect some feathers to be ruffled on this next topic.

A recent episode of the fine radio program Wine Biz Radio (podcast) caused my ears to perk up Underdog-style when I heard them discussing a venture by wine & technology think-tank group VinTank.

VinTank is in the process of compiling a Social Media report for the wine industry.  Not that big of a deal, really – unless you happen to be a wine blogger.  According to Open Wine Consortium mastermind, Wine Bloggers Conference co-founder, and VinTank member Joel Vincent:

“In order to create an overall picture of the wine “Social Media”
landscape, [VinTank] will establish a directory of which micro-publishers
(blogs) are interesting and worth wineries spending time with as well
as evaluating “social networking” sites related to wines in order to
enable the mapping of their particular strengths to a wineries business
objectives and strategic marketing plan.

In other words, the VinTank survey and report will concentrate on wine blogs.  My thoughts on hearing this were myriad and conflicted, but in summary can be boiled down to the following statement:

It’s about time.

According to the Wine Biz Radio broadcast, not all wine bloggers share my viewpoint on this.  Apparently, the reaction of a room full of wine bloggers upon hearing that they would be the subject of social media report was a mixture of suspicion and shock.

Which I find sad.  I mean, honestly – bloggers spend most of their time examining and then writing their opinions about the work of others (wineries, traditoinal wine media outlets, etc., etc.), and we balk (even if slightly) at the idea of someone examining us?  That would make us all too similar to the mainstream media that we like to verbally disembowel  on a semi-regular basis.

New Label, Same Plonk!

The reaction I heard described on Wine Biz Radio was old school.  MainstreamNot what bloggers should be shooting for right now.

Ironies aside, this kind of reaction is not going to positively reinforce the strong credibility and influence that wine blogging is gaining in the wine world.  Without the kind of work being performed by VinTank, how should we expect the wine industry to get a better handle on that budding new influence?

What’s good for the goose, as they say…

I expect quite a fefw people to disagree with me here.  But… if you’re a wine bloger seething at these words, just do me the courtesy of looking at it this way:

If a traditional wine mag reacted to this in the same way that some wine bloggers have, you’d be all over it.  And not in a good way.

Bottom line: Wine bloggers are now a force within the wine industry.  We will be scrutinized.  Get used to it!

Cheers!
(images: avltheatre.com, vintank.com)

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com

Google+

Labels

Vintage

Find