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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 325

The Thanksgiving Wine Pick Poll!

Vinted on November 24, 2008 binned in holidays, wine polls
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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!

Ah…. Thanksgiving.

Far and away my favorite U.S. holiday.

I used to have a great deal of difficulty explaining Thanksgiving to my European and International friends. That is, until one day when, out of complete frustration during a conversation about Thanksgiving with a buddy of mine in the UK, I exclaimed:

“Look – it’s two days where Americans don’t have to work, don’t have to buy gifts for each other, where we get to sit around, eat, and watch American football; why wouldn’t it be our favorite holiday!?!”

That seemed to get through to them relatively easily, so it’s become my default explanation about Thanksgiving to non-U.S. citizens since that day.

The only thing that I don’t like about this greatest of all American holidays is having to give Thanksgiving meal wine pairing recommendations. That’s because I find it largely impossible, and ultimately pointless.

Most Thanksgiving celebrations are a recipe for wine disaster: a massive variety of food; side items that totally overpower the main courses with their richness, sugar content, and robust flavors; a large group of people spanning several generations and all with different wine drinking preferences.

Search for “Thanksgiving wine pairings” on Google and you will get almost 1.2 million hits.

Good luck with that…

Because given the complex and unique situation that is the traditional U.S. Thanksgiving dinner, and you have a strong argument for all of them being ‘right’. The answer is simple: drink what you like!

So, rather than telling you what you ought to drink on this coming Turkey Day, I thought it would be fun for you to tell me (and all of the 1WineDude.com readers!) what you’re drinking at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner table!

Take the poll below and let us know!

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Looking forward to seeing what you’re imbibing to make your relatives a bit easier to bear with turkey dinner this year!


Cheers (and Happy Thanksgiving)!
(images: lbcpastor.files.wordpress.com, diamondvues.com)

Twitter Taste Live: Drink Charitably! TONIGHT 8PM ET

Vinted on November 21, 2008 binned in 1WD LIVE, twitter, twitter taste live, wine industry events, wine review


Hey folks – a reminder for you that Twitter Taste Live is happening again tonight at 8PM ET.

This round will be for charity, as we will be drinking and reviewing the wines of Humanitas! (details available here).

Hope to see you online at twitter (you can also follow along with the action live below, and/or come back to this post for a recap after the event)…

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Cheers!

1WD @ WLTV & TTL (Have Acronym, Will Drink!)

Vinted on November 20, 2008 binned in 1WD LIVE, twitter, twitter taste live

What, too many acronyms for ya? WTF!??

I wanted to send a big THANK YOU out to Gary V. for mentioning me & 1WineDude.com on a recent episode of Wine Library TV. Thanks, bro!

I also want to send out a big CONGRATS to the fine guys over at Volta wine, whose wine Gary reviewed on the same episode. As frequent 1WD readers will recall, 1WD was the first ever media review of Volta’s inaugural wine. Good guys, really, really good wine, and a fantastic start for such a newcomer on the wine scene. I’m personally very glad to see Volta tearing it up and getting stellar reviews, and I’m looking forward to watching how their wines progress in the years to come (and hoping that they keep sending me some of the Howell Mountain goodness!)…

Click below to watch Gary’s show in its entirety:
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The other way-cool thing going on this week is that we have two – count ‘em, twoTwitter Taste Live wine tasting events going on before the end of the week!

The first of these is being hosted by the venerable Dr. Vino (Tyler Colman). The theme is “Drink Local!” and is a response by Tyler to the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau (which can be sort of like the Bud Light of wine). I will be drinking (surprise!) the local Penns Woods 2004 Ameritage red blend for the event.

This TTL kicks off TONIGHT at 8PM ET. You can check back here on this post to follow the action live below, and also to get a recap of the event. Details on how you can participate can be found on TwitterTasteLive.com.

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And finally -don’t forget that tomorrow night at 8PM ET, there is yet another TTL event - this time we will be tasting wine for charity, sampling the vino from Humanitas. Check out more about the story behind Humanitas at their website.

I will be posting tomorrow so that you can follow along live, or, if unlike me you have a life on Friday nights, you will be able to catch a recap of the twitter-ing (that probably isn’t a word, is it?).

Cheers!

Ditch Your Wine Tasting "Training Wheels" (The Trouble With Wine Ratings, Part 3)

Vinted on November 19, 2008 binned in commentary, wine review

“Scores are like your training wheels – hopefully you take them off at some point.” – Joel Peterson

I’ve never been a big fan of wine ratings or wine scoring systems. Mostly because I don’t know anyone who speaks in ratings. Even sports fans (who, justifiably, love numbers, rankings, and comparisons) don’t really speak in ratings.

Man, the Steelers offensive line was totally an 87 in last night’s game…

Preposterous.

I also find it odd that wine rating talk generates so much passion when it is discussed. As cases in point, I offer two recent examples:

  1. Wine Enthusiast editor Steve Heimoff’s critique of Mutineer magazine’s critique of wine ratings (and Mutineer editor Alan Kropf’s response).
  2. A thread on the excellent wine social networking website OpenWineConsortium.org, titled “What are the faults with the 100 point [wine rating] system” which, as of this writing, has eleven pages of responses.

I shudder to think of the cross-talk that might ensue on the web in response to the granddaddy of wine rating lists, Wine Spectators’ Top 10 Wines of the year (only five of which I’ve actually sampled…).

Me, I’ve changed my tune slightly on wine ratings since I wrote two articles about the trouble with wine ratings (Part 1 and Part 2). That’s because I’ve come to realize something very important when it comes to wine ratings…

There is no trouble with wine ratings.

Think about it – there is no harm at all in rating a wine. In fact, wine ratings have played an integral part in wine criticism, which itself has played an integral part in furthering wine into the incredibly exciting state that it’s in today. There are over 7,000 wine brands available to U.S. wine consumers – somebody has to help consumers make sense of it all. As former wine writer and Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson told me recently over lunch (much more to come on that, by the way, in an upcoming post): “If we didn’t have wine critics, we’d have to invent them!”

The trouble comes in how the ratings are used.

A rating system makes an assumption that there is an absolute,” said Joel. “We know that there are no absolutes. It’s a more measure of like than of absolute quality.”

To back up his observation, Joel told me a story about a tasting experiment that he performed with a group of experienced wine tasters: he took all of the Zinfandels that he could find that scored 90+ points in the big wine mags, and had them taste the wines blind. The result: all of the wines scored between 85 and 96 points.

Joel then took all of the 90+ scoring wines from that tasting and had them taste those wines again at a later time. The result: the wines scored between 85 and 96 points!

Scoring is relative, and it’s naturally tailored to the taster’s palate. The trouble is, people put too much faith in scores without reading the fine print.

Joel’s take: “Robert Parker was really the change-over point. A wine critic can make make or break a wine in the same way that a music critic can make or break a live music performance. Scores are like your training wheels – hopefully you take them off at some point.”

Would you ride down the street proudly on your shiny Schwinn bicycle with banana seat, handlebar horn, and red sparkle paint job with training wheels still attached? All the while bragging to your friends about how you only ride bikes with training wheels on them?

Well, that’s pretty much what you’re doing if you decide to only buy wines from the Wine Spectator top 100 list, or if you insist that a sommelier only show you wines rating 94 points or above when dining at a restaurant.

Where you goin’, training-wheel boy??

Far better, I think, to discover your own palate.

And then ditch those training wheels.

Cheers!
(images: allposters.com, ehow.com)

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