1WineDude TV Episode 28: Premiere Insanity (A Glimpse Into Premiere Napa Valley Auction 2011)

Vinted on March 3, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, California wine, wine industry events

The Scarecrow becomes Mrs. King of Napa Cult Cabs at Premiere Napa Valley Auction 2011, and you get to see the action in today’s vid.  The record-setting winning Scarecrow bid is featured, as is a compelling one-of-a-kind wine story by Casa Nuestra (and lots of purple teeth)!

Some of my tasting notes are featured below after the jump, so stick around and check them out after you watch!

(reviews after the jump)…

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The 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium In 10 Easily Digestible Morsels

Vinted on March 2, 2011 binned in going pro, wine industry events

1) It is the darkest of times for wine writing. The general decline in the consumption of real journalistic reporting has resulted in immensely talented people being out of regular wine-writing-work.  The black cloud enveloping the wine writing sphere is actually the dark cloak of the grim reaper; that silver lining you see is his scythe, gleaming against the available light, raised to the apex of its arc in his cold, bony hands, beginning its inexorable path to cut wine writing down at its haunches.

2) It is the brightest of times for wine writing, for those who are comfortable with ambiguity and have an entrepreneurial bent.  Since information about wine is now being consumed in almost an infinite array of forms on-line (with no-to-low-cost barriers to entry to almost all of them), those with passion, drive, talent and business sense can earn a comfortable living – if they’re able to market themselves and build their own personal brands.  Success stories include new and traditional media types (and those like Dominique Browning who have successfully leveraged both).

3) Apparently, I have fooled a good number of people into thinking that I know what I am talking about. I think there might be a good book idea in there somewhere, but I won’t bother to pitch it because the traditional publishing industry has 14 billion levels of checks and bureaucracy and is (almost) hopelessly broken.

4) Everything positive that you’ve ever heard about the legendary Gerald Asher is probably true. His keynote speech seamlessly wove together wine writing history, wine sales, insight into the human condition, and prostitution – and that was just in the first three minutes.

5) Please stop telling me that Napa wines are never Bretty, or that their ripe fruits will outshine any Bretty stank even after years in the bottle.  Because I sampled some older vintages at the post-prandial (does anyone not love that word?) tastings at the Symposium, and while most were NOT Bretty, those that were displayed way more fruit-of-the-barnyard than fruit-of-the-vine, if you catch my drift.

(more after the jump…)

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Perspectives On The Vintage Perspective Tasting 2011 (or “My Skirmish With Napa Valley Pinot Noir”)

Vinted on March 1, 2011 binned in California wine, wine industry events, wine review

Into the valley of Napa
Rode the six hundred (ok, maybe a few less than that)
Pinot to right of them,
Pinot to left of them,
Pinot in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell…

– with sincere apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In case the title of today’s article lacks clarity for some of you (presumably the wildly hungover among you), I should note that Napa Valley Pinot Noir and I seem to have come to a… disagreement.

Which is a shame, really, because NV PN, though never svelte, has several qualities that make it potentially likable company. Velvety mouthfeel.  Bright red fruit.  Heft that can be attractive when balanced with the right levels of food-friendly acidity.

But make no mistake about it, NV PN has mistreated me.  My tongue might actually have bruises from the most recent fisticuffs between us.

Last week, the 2011 Professional Wine Writers Symposium in Napa Valley wrapped up with a blind perspective tasting of three vintages (2007 through 2009) of both Napa Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs at the Rudd Center of the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.  Since we had little over an hour to blind-taste our way through numbered beakers of samples of each of the three vintages from multiple wineries, I chose what I thought would be the more interesting route: skip the Cabs (ample samples of those back in the dancing waters of Philly, after all) and instead face off against the samples of Pinots (less of those anyway, 24 wines in all – 3 vintages from eight different wineries).  The wines were a finalist list culled down from 100+ submissions back in December by members of the Vintage Perspective Tasting jury.

Anyway – go for the Pinot, maybe learn something new. Expand the horizons.  Get out of the comfort zone. Can’t hurt, right?

Wrong.  Turns out blind-tasting those NV Pinots was, for me, the sensory equivalent of taking a knife to a gun fight.  I have since crawled shamefully back into the safety of my comfort zone, tending my wounds and muttering unintelligibly in pain.  You win, Napa Pinots.  Please don’t hurt me again

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