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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 324

Mutineer on the Christmas Bounty (Viva La Vino Revolution!)

Vinted on December 24, 2008 binned in commentary
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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!

Looks like the staff over at Mutineer Magazine has given 1WineDude.com a Christmas present and included 1WD in their list of Blogs You Should Be Reading (in December/January Issue #3)!

Some of you may recall that I wrote about Mutineer Magazine back in August in my post about Wine Mags that are Worth Reading, in which I called them the most promising up & comer mag: “Is it smarmy? Sure, it’s smarmy, in the same way that MAXIM is a bit too pleased with itself – a style appreciated most by 20-somethings who don’t know any better, but also appealing to 30-somethings who do know better, but don’t care anyway and can therefore appreciate the small touches of irony sprinkled throughout the articles.

I’m happy to report that Mutineer is still going strong and appears to be unabashedly flying the youthful flag of new wine media and trying its best to live up to its namesake. I enjoyed Issue #3 (still a little smarmy, and still using a bit too much of the first-person perspective, but undoubtedly entertaining), and found it’s varied content to be held together coherently by the theme of bringing fine drinks back to the masses (laid out in more detail in one of their December blog posts by Co-Editor in Chief Alan Kropf).

They also talk about some guy from NJ, and what blogs like his mean in terms of the impact of “new media” on the wine industry. Whatever (just kidding, GV).

From this issue’s Letter from the Editors:

“What [Gary] Vaynerchuk represents is the potential of the growing efforts in new beverage media, yet these efforts remain largely ignored by mainstream beverage print media, which often seem more interested in becoming wine culture than covering it. These new media endeavors are achieving something never before realized in fine beverage, they are arming consumers with the knowledge and confidence to not have to rely on numerical ratings to replace actual understanding, which some of the largest print publications rely on for achieving any kind of relevance… The good news is that the Internet has leveled the playing field to the point where these publications’ lack of vision and connection with the culture they supposedly serve will be their own downfall, and through this failure will arise a new kind of fine beverage communication and culture.”

If I have a complaint, it’s that they listed my blog as launching in October 2008 (I wish!). Also, I was hoping for a goofier picture of me to be used for the article…

Anyway, thanks to Mutineer for the luv!


Cheers!
(images: MutineerMagazine.com)

The Art of Tasting Artfully: Taste Wine Like a Pro

Vinted on December 22, 2008 binned in commentary, wine appreciation, zen wine

I advise you to taste wine like a Pro – a Pro at living, that is.

I was reading a nice little article about the Art of Living, by lifehack.org’s Dustin Wax, and it struck me that two of Dustin’s guidelines (“Pay Attention” and “Be Appreciative“) are applicable to wine appreciation as well as being a useful as a general approach to living.

Too many people that I meet either a) don’t give a sh*t about how to taste wine (i.e., they guzzle it) or b) are petrified that they are tasting wine the “wrong” way.

Neither approach will give you much true enjoyment when it comes to tasting wine.

These approaches both misuse the mechanics of wine tasting. You know the ones I’m talking about – Look, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Spit – they’re available all over the ‘net.

The mechanics are important, but they will no more help you to taste artfully than knowing how to hold a paintbrush will teach you how to express yourself through painting.

Really tasting wine is a bit of an art that is built upon the fundamentals of those mechanics. And it’s really no more difficult to taste artfully than it is to live artfully. The art of tasting really does come down to tasting with Attention and Gratitude.

  • Attention is simply being mindful of the wine in the glass. Every wine, even total plonk, is trying to tell you something. You need only “listen” to it, giving it as much natural concentration and focus as you can (even if this is only a few good seconds of real concentration). Connect with that glass of wine. Merge with it, give it a moment where it’s just the two of you in all the universe.

  • Gratitude is just that – be grateful for the moment you have with that wine. If it helps, tell it “thank you” (I’m not kidding). If you thank everything in your day to day life (even red lights!), you will be amazed at how your outlook starts to shift.

Attention & Gratitude – two great tastes that taste great together, at least when it comes to tasting wine. Try them out, and put a little art into your next wine & cheese party this holiday.

Cheers!
(images: flickr.com: jimmy-joe, cryptography.org )

Related 1WD articles you might enjoy:

Feel the Wine Blogging LUV, Baby!

Vinted on December 20, 2008 binned in wine bloggers conference

Just a quick update to let you know that I’m one of several wine bloggers who were interviewed by the irrepressible Kaz & Randy of WineBizRadio.com at the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma, CA.

The WBR folks have been doing a phenomenal job the last few weeks of capturing the events of the WBC, and they have just posted a segment where they interviewed a few of us wine bloggers.

These interviews were conducted after an “alternate” conference agenda item was added, which consisted of a growing number of wine bloggers playing hooky and drinking poolside at the conference center.

Anyway, if you want to hear how I sound when I’m very, very buzzed, have a listen here.

In my interview, I give props (of sorts) to Tom Wark, Gino Razzi, and Steve Heimoff, almost tear up as I recall the collective love of the wine blogging community (and experience the collective effects of several glasses of wine), and truly “connect” during a deeply emotional “moment” with an uncharacteristically cuddly Kaz and a characteristically cuddly Randy.

Cheers! (image: talkshoe.com, 1WineDude.com)

The Botanist, The Vintner, and The Politicos (Book Review)

Vinted on December 19, 2008 binned in book reviews, wine books

An alternative title to Christy Campbell’s The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved For The World might well be “How French Politicos Tried to Set Wine Science Back 200 Years, Putting All of the World’s Vineyards in Perilous Jeopardy, Yet Somehow Told Without Conveying Much Suspense.

To be fair, The Botanist and the Vintner is well-written, impeccably researched, and expertly manages to make the topic of the phylloxera epidemic interesting (even for non-history-buffs, and non-wine-geeks).

Campbell’s chapter explaining the strange reproductive cycle of the phylloxera louse alone is probably worth the purchase price of the book. It’s no wonder that the complicated sexual life of the pest confounded some of the greatest scientific minds of the late 1800s – any species whose short-lived male variant has no anus, no mouth, and no digestive system is so frighteningly bizarre, there’s no way you could dream that up something that odd.

And yet, I walked away from this book feeling oddly underwhelmed and a little unfulfilled.

If you’re a fan of wine, eventually you will come across mention of the tiny vineyard pest that came perilously close to wiping out the world’s supply of fine vinifera. In summary (and this is a very, very high-level summary), the little sucker feasts on the vine, and uses various parts of the vine as breeding ground.

The trouble for European vinifera is that it didn’t evolve with the louse as did the vines in North America, so when international travel and shipping became viable in the 1800s, the pest finally had a means to travel from its native land. Many American vines have rootstock that can recover from the scars left by feeding phylloxera – most European vines didn’t, and they began to die at an alarming rate as the louse spread across Europe. Because of its complex sex life, it took 19th Century scientists years to come to agreement on how to stop the pest (grafting onto American rootstock).

The Botanist and the Vintner takes you through this journey of vine destruction, and exposes you to the frustrating world of European politics (which, by most accounts sadly has made little appreciable progress since the 1800s), which delayed action on recognizing and then implementing the final root cause solution to the deadly invasion.

Not to mention the sizable financial prize that was due to those that found the real cure, most of which never got paid out by the French government (let’s not go there).

The book handles all of this well, but during the telling suggests a potentially dire future facing the vineyards of the present day that are grafted onto seemingly “safe” American rootstocks. It appears that some of those rootstocks are again becoming susceptible to an evolving phylloxera.

But after teasing us with the potential of another winemaking Dead Zone, The Botanist and the Vintner decides not to go there. Which is a shame, because the book starts there in its Prologue, which begins by describing an aerial surveillance of spreading phylloxera infestations in California in 1994. We are taken back to the present in the Postscript… to take a look at wine conisseurs chasing after wine from ungrafted viniferia vines as if they were the El Dorado treasure of the wine world.

No modern phylloxera update. Why start there if you’re not going to finish there? It felt like a bit of unrealized suspenseful potential to me.

So, if you’re looking for the history of the first world phylloxera louse epidemic, The Botanist and the Vintner is your book. Just don’t expect a full-circle treatise on the topic for modern times.


Cheers!
(images: amazon.com, avenuevine.com, calwineries.com)

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