The ugly child to which I refer in the title being me, of course. Hey, even in the on-line wine writing world, not all of those who are “born digital” can be handsome, I’m afraid.
I recently (ok, somewhat recently – times are busy, people!) ”took the bronze” in the 2010 Born Digital Wine Awards, in which a story I wrote on the wines of Greek isle of Santorini (Endangered Species: Santorini Wine Fights for Its Survival) was chosen as a finalist in the Wine Tourism category (somewhat ironically I suppose, since one could make an argument that it’s an anti-tourism piece). This got me a gift certificate to Amazon.com, and a nod from Jancis Robinson (as well as a subscription to her Purple Pages, which I’m looking forward to viewing once I get thirty or more uninterrupted seconds to myself, probably sometime in early October at the rate things are going now).
That, along with some kind nominations for the 2011 Wine Blog Awards (big THANKS to those who nominated me, by the way!), have put wine writing awards front-and-center in my mind lately. As in, re-pondering what wine writing awards really mean, man. And what I’ve learned through all of the re-pondering is that I’m not sure what they really mean (but, as usual, that won’t stop me from talking about them!)…
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Too much of a good thing, can, in fact, be had, especially when you’re talking about wine books; the sight alone of which used to bring me great pleasure but now fills me with a OMG-I’ve-got-term-paper-due-soon type of dread because I’ve not so much as glance at most of them let alone reviewed them.
First off, wine books tend to be weighty – as in, literally weighty, heavy, and requiring a lot of storage space. In the case of my current stock of wine book samples, they are taking up an increasingly alarming percentage of my office floor space, as they sit in grim admonition of my incapability to keep up even a modest a review schedule… MOCKING ME WITH THEIR SILENCE!!!
Anyway… I’ve been making a (half-hearted but) concerted effort to chip away at the wine book sample library that has now grown out of my floor space, and so picked up the nearest to my desk chair, which happened to be Bettane and Desseauve’s Guide to the Wines of France By Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve (about $25 at Amazon.com).
Michel Bettane, France’s most recognizable wine critic, is (I’d argue, anyway) prone to pontification (something I noted when hearing him speak last year in Cahors). He lives up to that reputation in this new guide – which in-and-of-itself is a capable, handy abd well-researched reference on a wide swath of French wine. It’s in the guide’s Frequently Asked Questions section that the pontification is on display, when the authors directly address the question, “Can a wine critic’s opinion really be trusted?”
In this case, Bettane and Desseauve’s Guide to the Wines of France is not just weighty in heft, but also in tone; and the answer it offers to that potentially deep query is alternatively defensive, poignant, and downright… odd…
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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 and 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 J.J. Vincent Cremant (Cremant de Bourgogne): Unleashing refined apple bubbly goodness to your palate with vinous kung fu precision. $19 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Bastianich “Adriatico” Friulano (Colli Orientali): White peaches, almonds & “scout’s honor” true to the NE Italian grape’s soul. $19 B >>find this wine>>
- 08 Quinto de Roriz “Prazo de Roriz” (Douro): Drying, dusty and wonderful as the Douro itself. Pass the grilled sausages, please. $17 B >>find this wine>>
- 08 Kanonkop Kadette (Stellenbosch): Mr. Pinotage showed up, carrying buckets of black fruit & blacktop, & wearing big leather boots. $15 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Indaba Chenin Blanc (Western Cape): Wow. This thing is putting on a tropical fruit clinic. Crowd pleasing (& cheap!) intro to CB. $10 B >>find this wine>>
- 08 Vale do Bomfim Tinto (Douro): Think hearty, brambly red fruit meets LBV pepper spice. And you ccan also think “screaming bargain.” $12 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Loredona Riesling (Monterey): Those honeydew melons & limes are suffering from a bit of a shy streak in the aroma department. $12 B- >>find this wine>>
- NV Trapiche Extra Brut (Mendoza): Melon bread? Yeah, melon bread. Don’t worry, it totally works (especially with seafood cerviche). $14 B- >>find this wine>>
- 08 Cobblestone Arroyo Seco Chardonnay (Monterey): Hints of lime zest keep this big tropical island from being invaded by flabbynauts. $28 B >>find this wine>>
- 07 Terlato “Galaxy” (Napa Valley): Crowd-pleasing serving of fun, juicy red fruits with a healthy-proportioned side of smoked meat. $70 B+ >>find this wine>>