blogger web statistics/a>
1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 306

My Take On Wine Blogging at WineBlogger.info

Vinted on February 6, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog, wine blogging
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!

Hey – ever wonder what I think about wine blogging?

No? Really?

Oh, well – just in case you change your mind: I recently asked to help start up responses to questions about wine blogging by the fine folks over at WineBlogger.info.

Or maybe I was just the first one to see the request and respond. Not sure.

Anyway, you can check out my responses to their questions on wine blogging here – and as always, you’re welcome to join in the discussion yourself (whether here or at WineBlogger.info).

Cheers!
(images: wineblogger.info)

The Rise of Snooth.com (or "Get on the Virtual Wine Bus, Already!")

Vinted on February 4, 2009 binned in commentary, wine buying


Now this is interesting. Well, interesting to me, anyway:

Venerable Internet tech. news site TechCrunch recently profiled Snooth.com (I’m an affiiate, so it caught my eye), detailing its growing popularity, and its impressive ability to secure angel funding during a very dank, dark, and dastardly economic climate. Getting featured on TechCrunch is newsworthy enough in and of itself, and the whole event garnered the attention of Kaz & Randy at WineBizRadio.com. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting (I say “chat” because he’s British) with Snooth.com founder Philip James on a few occasions, and he is a generally approachable and nice fellow, so Snooth’s success has been fulfilling to witness from a distance.

Apparently, according to TechCrunch and Snooth.com itself, Snooth.com is now the largest and fastest growing (in terms of website visits) wine community website. SNooth is now even bigger than Wine.com, which lacks the social media aspects of Snooth, and is still battling perception issues from over a year ago when they arguably put their own interests well above those of wine consumers and retailers.

What I found most interesting about the recent Snooth.com lovefest was not Snooth’s success, but how the website has been classified.

TechCrunch called it a social wine review site.”

While this is certainly true, it’s not the complete picture.

Folks, let’s be clear: Snooth is in the business of selling wine. I know that it says on their home page that they don’t sell wine. And they don’t – not directly. But the fact is that they are in the business of getting wine into your hands, through retailers whose selections are featured in their search results.

And they do it well enough – and integrate it so well with the best aspects of social wine networking (sharing reviews and recommendations) – that they are seeing huge success during a time when being relevant on the Internet at all means being involved in social networking.

Snooth.com is not the Future of Internet wine salesit’s the Present. If you want to sell wine on-line (despite the headache introduced by arcane and unconstitutional state-run alcohol distribution monopolies getting in your way), then you’d better well understand the model that Snooth.com is quietly (well, not so quietly now I suppose) perfecting.

The King (wine.com) is dead. Long live the King (Snooth.com)!

Cheers!
(images: snooth.com)

‘Burgh Wine, By Way of Napa (An Encounter with Matthiasson’s Current Releases)

Vinted on February 2, 2009 binned in wine review

Whew!

We are now officially in the morning after what might have been not only the most stunning, but also possibye the greatest late-game comeback win in Superbowl history, by none other than Dude’s favorite team in all of professional sports: the 6-time world champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

So naturally after such a dramatic and entertaining Superbowl XLIII, I wanted to showcase some wine from the ‘Burgh.

Ok, it’s not really from Pittsburgh. But it’s close enough for government work!

Matthiasson wines are not from the ‘Burgh (they are from Napa), but winemaker Steve Matthiasson’s wife Jill Klein is originally from Pittsburgh, and their wines are made using the same general temperament that has made the city of three rivers famous – grit, determination, care, and hard work.

Lots of care in the vineyard, lots of attention to detail on site selection, probably lots of dirty clothes and shoes harmed in the process of making these unfiltered beauties.

Anyway, somehow I think Jill got wind that I was a STEELERS fan, and sent me a few samples of Matthiasson’s current releases. I was pleasantly surprised by these wines (and duly impressed).

One whiff of Matthiasson’s wines and I could tell that they were probably crafted with extreme care. More on that in a second. First, I wanted to find out more about the Pittsburgh connection and how Matthiasson got started. So I asked Steve.

My wife is from the Burgh. I was born in Winnipeg, and my family moved to Tucson when I was 8,” Steve responded. “I went to UC Davis to study international ag development, and did an internship in Modesto studying ways to reduce pesticides in orchards. I interned with a consulting company, and ended up staying on with them after school (after changing departments to viticulture). 15 years after that internship I’m still consulting – it’s what I learned how to do – but it has evolved into a focus on high-end estate vineyards in Napa. The winemaking started as a way to stay sane, to be able to do my own thing, while spending the rest of my time on other people’s projects, and, though the day job still pays the bills, and I enjoy it, the wine has become the central focus.

I think that focus is paying off. Matthiasson is making some very aromatic and intensely concentrated wines.

Their `07 Napa Valley White made my palate do a double-take head-fake. It’s a blend of Sauvignon blanc, Ribolla gialla, and Semillon. Yes, Ribolla gialla (even though I’m a Wine Century Club member, I still needed to look that one up). It’s a funky wine, in that it’s tropical, racy, and spicy all at once – I told Steve that it reminded me of the interesting white blends that were coming out of Australia a few years back, before they started sending us in the States boatloads of their plonk. It’s a bit early to call for entrants onto my list of the year’s most interesting wines, but I’m reserving a place for this just in case.

Matthiasson’s `05 Napa Valley Red Hen Vineyard Merlot is also well worth a look. It’s a huge wine. It tasted “old” to me – not old as in musty, but old the way that Zinfandel tastes when made from old, old vines in CA: boozy and massively concentrated. Not sure how much time or decanting (or even if time or decanting) will tame the alcohol, but the wine offers plenty of interesting complexity with intense blueberry and dark cherry fruit, along with cocoa and tea leaf aromas.

It’s the kind of Merlot that would give people absolute fits in a blind tasting, because you could easily pass it off as a Cab or a Bordeaux style red blend.

Not that you’d do that to your friends, right?

Anyway, a word of caution: Matthiasson is making wine in very limited quantities, so you’ll need to go the mailing list route on these.

Cheers!
(images: 1winedude.com, post-gazette.com)

What’s In a Label (Deciphering U.S. Wine Terms Isn’t As Easy As You Think)

Vinted on January 29, 2009 binned in learning wine

Hey, U.S. peeps – you folks who are still on the inaugural high – have you ever scoffed with national pride at the wine labels from other countries?

Ha,” you might scoff to yourself when perusing the aisles at your favorite wine shop, “I’m glad that wine labels from my country don’t have anything to hide, and aren’t hard to read. Like those crazy German wine labels that the 1WineDude talked about. I scoff at those!

Hang on there, scoffer, and pay attention, lest you become a suckah. Just because U.S. wine labels don’t use foreign words with 27 consonants in them doesn’t mean that they are simple. Not to worry, though – Dude here is gonna hook up UP!

First, we should talk about the stuff that has to (by law) appear on a wine label if that wine is sold in the U.S.:

  1. Brand: Usually the same as the producer, but not always. It’s almost always prominent text in big font on the label, and the brand is almost always an intellectual property of the producer.
  2. Varietal or Type: The label needs to state if you’re making fruit wine, for example, or mead. For grape wine, you can use the grape varietal name: the wine needs to be made from at least 75% of the stated varietal (except in OR, where it’s 90%).. Some generic names are still legally permitted, such as “sake” and “vermouth.”
  3. Bottler & Importer: Name & address of who bottled the wine, and int he case of imported wines who imported it.
  4. Alcohol: This is ALWAYS on the label. Yes, it is. Sometimes the font is just so small that you can’t read, but it IS there. I promise.
  5. Sulfite & Health warnings: Required by law (for sulfites, this is if the wine exceeds 10 ppm, which is about 99.99999% of the wines in the world) but are almost entirely useless. Don’t get me started on the whole sulfite thing.
  6. Net Contents: Usually stated in ml. As in 750 ml (the volume of a standard wine bottle).

The following are usually not required but you frequently see them on quality wines:

  • Appelation: Where the grapes originated. For most geogrpahic descriptions on a wine label, 75% of the grapes used in the wine must have come from there. The more specific the geography, the higher the minimum percentage: 85% for AVAs, for example.
  • Vintage: The year the grapes were harvested. 95% of the wine must have been harvested & crushed that year (though I’ve no idea how you’d prove that…).
  • Vineyard name: If used, 95% of the grapes must have been grown there.

And you thought there was nothing to U.S. wine labels….

But wait… it gets even trickier!

The more perceptive among you might have noticed that the back label of wine bottles usually have a statement by the name of the producer such as “Produced By” or “Cellared By”. There is a reason why they are different: they have legal definitions:

  • Cellared By, Selected By or Vinted By: The producer crushed less than 10% of the grapes.
  • Made By: They crushed 10% of the grapes.
  • Produced By: They crushed 75% of the grapes.
  • Grown, Produced and Bottled By: 100% of the grapes come from land owned or controlled by the winery and the winery crushed, fermented, aged & bottled the wine in a “continuous process.”
  • Estate Bottled: Pretty much the same as “Grown, Produced and Bottled By” but the winery is located in an AVA (the same one where the grapes were located).

Not so simple, eh Mr. & Mrs. Scoffer?

And finally, the following terms look impressive on a label, but have no legal meaning whatsoever:

  • Reserve
  • Special Selection
  • Old Vines

For more detailed information on wine labels, check out WinePros.org. Proceed with knowledge… and caution.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.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

An abundance of free academic writing tips is waiting for you. An expert writer will share helpful research and writing guides with college students.