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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 314

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

Vinted on February 23, 2009 binned in wine review
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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!

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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 binned in 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. #

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

Vinted on February 20, 2009 binned in 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 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 few 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)

“Little Sweet One”: Tales of the Purple Monkey Returns for WBW #54!

Vinted on February 18, 2009 binned in Italian Wine, Tales of the Purple Monkey, wine blogging wednesday


Little sweet one…

I’m not talking about me.  Or Plumboo (that’s the monkey – who, now that my daughter is old enough to play with her toys, has been M.I.A. somewhere in her bedroom).

I’m talking about a grape from Piedmont. More on that in a minute.  Or two.

Plumboo (in spirit) and I (physically) are taking part in the 54th edition of the venerable blog carnival Wine Blogging Wednesday – this month hosted at fellow Philly-area blogger David McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail.

David has picked an exciting theme – “Passion for Piedmont.”  It’s not just exciting because I get to return to Tales of the Purple Monkey and drink Italian wine – which is exciting in and of itself, to me at least – but because David has decided to focus on what is arguably the most exciting wine region in Italy right now.

It wasn’t always like that, though.  Piedmont wine-making began sometime before the 13th century (started by the Etruscans or the Greeks – no one knows for sure which – followed by monks after the fall of the Roman Empire), but the wines weren’t considered to be particularly good (Piedmont doesn’t even get a mention in Pliny the Elder‘s list of best Italian vino).

My, how times have changed…

Tradition, geographical diversity, and modern wine-making techniques have combined to make Piedmont one of the most varied wine regions in all of Italy. As you will no doubt find from other wine blogger’s choices of wine reviews for this edition of WBW, Piedmont offers a staggering choice of wine styles from sparklers to everyday sipping reds to age-worthy, must-own-your-own-yacht priced Nebbiolo-based reds to sweet Passito dessert ‘stickies.’  This doesn’t account for the wide variety of styles within those styles, either.

Sure, Tuscan wines, especially the reds, are sexy.  But so much of Tuscan red wine (Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino) are not so much variety as they are variations on a single theme – Sangiovese.  Now Piedmont – that’s variety!

Since I can’t try all of Piedmont’s various offerings in one night (believe me, I thought about it), Plumboo (in spirit) and I (physically) opted for Piedmont’s answer to everyday red wine – Dolcetto.

Dolcetto is one of the few low-acid Italian varietals, but it’s high-octane fruit delivery makes it easily accessible early (even in the versions that are built for longer aging).  It’s not sweet, despite the moniker, but most offerings (there are seven different production areas within Piedmont) fall into a category that is probably best described as a cross between French Beaujolais and jammy California Zinfandel.  Some are made as more serious fare, but Dolcettos are primarily fun wines, if a bit lacking in the sophisicated structure of other more “serious” Piedmontese reds.

For this WBW, Plumboo (in spirit) and I (physically) went with a high-production, readily available example: Pio Cesare’s 2007 Dolcetto d’Alba.

Our review:
It’s dark, like most Dolcettos, and on the nose offers alternating waves of candied fruit and black cherry, with some floral and spice elements to keep it interesting.  On the palate, the wine is agreeable, with a very drying finish.  Not really integrated or focused, but pleasing on the whole.

Fun and accessible, but not mind-blowing.  What do you want for $18, anyways?  Instead of Merlot, try picking up some Dolcetto party-making magic for your next get-together, and enjoy the long stares of approval at your sophisticated wisdom from your dinner guests.  You’re welcome!

For more on Piedmont wines, check out Bastianich & Lynch’s Vino Italiano.

Cheers!
(images: 1winedude.com, justerinis.com, dotcomwines.com)

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