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Turning Wine into Water (Wine Blogging Wednesday #50)

Vinted on October 8, 2008 binned in Tales of the Purple Monkey, wine blogging wednesday
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In this exciting edition of Tales of the Purple Monkey, Plumboo (that’s the monkey) and I brave the wilds of Africa, don’t actually taste any wine, and then urge you not to buy a wine that I will recommend. Sort of. Then we end with an exciting announcement that I promise will be wine-related!

Plumboo and I are once again taking part in the ongoing super-cool blog carnival Wine Blogging Wednesday, this month (its 50th!) hosted by Russ Beebe over at his fine Winehiker Witiculture blog.

Russ’ theme for WBW’s 50th is a novel one: in summary, a favorite hike and a favorite wine to sip after that hike.

The Wine
I’m going to start with the wine, just because I’m incorrigible. I don’t know about you, but Mrs. Dudette and I really dig vigorous hikes and we’re fond of taking our dog out on said hikes with us, in order to have him tire out and later suitably calm down to the energy level of a normal canine.

I don’t know about you, but Dude is usually thirsty after a vigorous hike. So I want something crisp, cold, and refreshing at the end of it. Crisp, cold, and refreshing makes Plumboo and I immediately think of Sauvignon Blanc – specifically, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc


The great thing about NZ SB is the balance. Mouth-watering Acidity? Check. Tasty Citrus fruit? Check. Pleasing Grassy aromas & complex minerality? Check, and check. In fact, my mouth is watering just thinking about NZ SB. If Plumboo had a mouth, his would be watering, too.

A kickin’ example of the awesomeness that NZ SB has to offer is Cloudy Bay. It’s not difficult to find, and is reasonably priced if you get the latest vintage early enough. Cloudy Bay hails from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough (in the north of NZ’s South Island), where the grapes get the most sunshine of any area in NZ – and it shows in the hint of exotic fruits that you get from a typical Cloudy Bay.

Now, what Plumboo and I kindly request that you do is to set aside enough cash for 2 bottle of Cloudy Bay, and then only buy one bottle. Which will make sense after we tell you about the hiking portion of this WBW.

The Hike
The coolest hike I’ve ever taken was in Kenya, Africa, just outside the Maasai Mara. This hike took Mrs. Dudette and I from Alex Walker’s Serian Tented Camp through the arid bush, to a local school.

Our hike was brilliant and largely without incident, unless you count a fellow Serian guest from the U.K. and I running around with spears and “dispatching” a few large termite mounds during our trek. We did run into a not-so-happy male giraffe who wasn’t sure if he wanted anything to do with us or not – which doesn’t sound threatening until you realize that a) an adult giraffe could kill you instantly with one kick (though your grave would be in multiple locations, because whatever body part its leg touches first would undoubtedly be disconnected ungraciously from the rest of your body), and b) your puny spear is more of a walking stick than an actual means of protection against an animal roughly 5 times your size. And yes, you do thinkk about those things when you encounter a giraffe in the wild…

Anyway, what really blew us away on this hike was the school. Or, more specifically, the children at the school. The conditions that these children and their teachers deal with on a daily basis is shocking, which makes their dedication to learning and teaching all the more impressive. If you’re a parent, you’d probably have a hard time contemplating sending your child on a hike that might take hours through countryside that contains dangerous animals to a school room illuminated with one light bulb, where they rely on rainwater collection systems for their fresh water needs.

The children were mostly just happy and grateful to be there. That’s because there are many children nearby in Kenya who can’t go to school at all – they spend their entire day gathering potable water for their home and community, leaving no time to attend school.

Which brings me back to our little request:

Instead of buying two bottles of that Cloudy Bay, please consider buying one bottle, and DONATE the funds of the ‘other bottle’ to help relieve the water crisis in Kenya, and get potable water into Kenyan communities.
You will be ‘turning wine ito water’, in a way, and helping to bring relief to your other human brothers and sisters who are sorely in need. And, you still get to drink one bottle of kick-ass Cloudy Bay.

Just watch out for those pissed-off evil giraffes


Exciting Wine-Related Announcement
And finally… assuming no giraffe incidents between now and then the next Wine Blogging Wednesday will be hosted right here on 1WineDude.com! Stay tuned to 1WineDude.com this Friday for the official announcement and WBW #51(WineDude) theme!

Cheers!
(images: 1Winedude.com, telegraph.co.uk)


Has Anyone Ever Told You that You Look Exactly Like… a Drunk? (Dispatch from a Wine Tasting Room)

Vinted on October 6, 2008 binned in best of, commentary, wine tasting

I’m guessing that most of you out there have probably been to a wine tasting room in a winery before, and went there to sample that winery’s wines.

Which means that the same number of you have probably encountered at least one severely drunken patron acting in a totally obnoxious way.

Which also means that the same number of you understand the phrase “suppressed the urge to do bodily harm.”

Now, I am fully aware that wine tasting room etiquette is not a novel topic, and has been covered before by several sources, including wineries themselves. Most of these sources talk about how to prepare yourself for a tasting room visit (no perfume, chewing gum, etc.) and how to taste the wine while you’re there (swirl, sniff, sip, savor, etc.).

They don’t tend to touch on what I’m about to lay down about wine tasting room etiquette, however.

Knowing me, it will come off as a bit of a rant, but it’s not meant to be a rant (and it’s not directed at you, dear reader – it’s directed at the small minority of wine tasting room visitors who just still don’t seem to “get it”).

And it’s a simple plea, really…


If you plan to get totally hammered on wine, and you happen to also be an obnoxious drunk,
please don’t go to a winery tasting room.

By providing a tasting room, a winery is primarily trying to teach you about – and to sell you – their wine. They are not providing a place for you to drink yourself stupid, get loud, and ignore the winery staff. There are places where you can do that (within reason) – they’re called bars.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan to have a great time when visiting a winery tasting room, and I’m not even saying that you should stay sober when you visit a winery tasting room (assuming you have arranged transportation, of course).

I’m just saying that you need to stay sober enough – enough to retain adequate coherence so that you can take advantage of the winery staff’s knowledge, ask them questions and engage them in conversation about their wines, and remain civil and reasonably polite to your fellow patrons.

I am saying that if you plan to get smashed and act in any way that you want when you hop on a winery tasting tour or visit a winery tasting room, then you need to stay home instead – because you’re not respecting the wine, the winery, or the the winery’s patrons.

And I don’t think that’s asking for too much.

Thus endeth Dude’s diatribe.

Cheers!
(images: rockstarsmommy.blogspot.com, pleasanthillwinemerchants.com, woodbridgeliving.com)

Found in Translation (Wine Tidbits to Kick-off Your Weekend)

Vinted on October 3, 2008 binned in commentary, wine blogging


OK… I’ve been sitting on a few wine-related tidbits that, taken individually, I probably wouldn’t have written about; but taken together, they seemed kinda fun.

The first tidbit comes to us by way of Italian wine website Sommelier.it, and proves that anyone can be wittier than me without actually trying too hard!

The folks over at Sommelier.it were kind enough to mention me – the fun comes in the English translation of that mention (as provided by Google). Here’s the original website text, in Italian:

Un altro wine blog molto originale, nel linguaggio, nell’aspetto e nel modo, spiritoso, di trattare i temi, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker , ovvero discorsi seri sul vino per bevitori non poi così seri

And here is the Google translation, in English:

Another wine blog very original language, appearance and manner, witty, to deal with the issues, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker, or Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious

Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious“? Man, that is way better than my tagline! Dammit….

The next tidbit comes to us from global beverage news website Just-Drinks.com and was kindly pointed out to me by a friend / reader. I couldn’t make this story funnier if I tried so I’m just going to reproduce wholesale for your enjoyment:

FRANCE: “Vin de merde” wine producer sells out

24 September 2008 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

A French winemaker who named his latest vintage “Vin de Merde“, or “Shit Wine”, has sold almost his entire production in what is seen as a triumph over severe advertising restrictions.

[ Editor's Note: Told you I couldn't make this any funnier if I'd tried ]

Asked why he named his wine “Vin de Merde”, Jean-Marc Speziale, from the Languedoc region of France, said the area needed the attention.

“This draws attention to the fact that we make very good wines,” he told just-drinks yesterday (23 September), adding his 5,000 bottles were almost gone after the nationwide publicity they garnered.

The bottles labels are decorated with a fly on the corner of the label, and a tagline underneath the name reads: “The worst hides the best.”

Speziale’s success comes at a time when the internet remains an illegal medium for alcoholic drinks publicity. The wines, a red and a rosé, retail at EUR39 for a case of six bottles.


And here I thought it was sex that sells, and it’s actually shit that sells. Go figure…

And last but not least, fellow wine blogger Arthur over at Wine Sooth has launched an interesting experiment that involves YOU. He’s started another blog called Wine Surveys, which seeks to congregate input from the wine drinking populous on various wine topics.

The survey Arthur is currently running is gathering data on how you drink your wine and what serving temperatures you prefer for various wines. Check it out here, and add your voice.

Enjoy your weekend!

Whoops, one more thing ‘ere I go, I wanted to give a shout out to Beer Wine & Cigars, who recently featured 1WineDude.com as their wine site of the week. Thanks, guys! Don’t let the title fool you, they don’t necessarily think that you need to enjoy their namesake in that particular order, and wine lovers who don’t dig cigars will find plenty to like on their site.

Cheers!

Truly Truly Truly (A German Wine Experience, Not Having Anything to do with Space Aliens)

Vinted on October 1, 2008 binned in german wine, wine review

Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I can get truly stumped by the world of fine wine. And today, file me under the Truly Stumped category, because I can’t figure out some of what I’m going to tell you about.

Now, before I do that, I should state up front that I’m not really one to comment on a business model. But I do know a good wine when I taste it, so I’m hoping that will carry this post through the bits that I simply cannot explain.

And before you ask: No, I did not have wine with aliens from outer space on a UFO hovering above the city of Kelsterbach, or anything freaky like that. At least, not lately.

Aw, man, totally lost my train of thought there…

Are you still here? Sorry – I swear this will start to make sense in a paragraph or two…


Anyway, what I did do was enjoy a media sample of some fantastic German wines sent to me by the knowledgeable folks at TrulyFineWine.com, which eventually this post will be about, I promise.

What I do understand is how good these wines are, despite many of them being “only” in the second class of Germany’s quality wine category. The wines that TFW have picked are big-time over-achievers, delivering some tasty greatness that rivals the higher German quality categories, but often at lower prices.

What I don’t get is why a company that hand selects about 70 wines that it imports from 9 outstanding German producers calls itself Truly Fine Wine, or why it’s located in California instead of the east coast. Like I said, I’m not here to talk about business models.

How were the wines? In a word, fantastic.

The guys at TFW convinced me that they seriously know their stuff. The Sekt (German sparklers made in the traditional Champagne method) that they sent to me was one of the best sparkling wines I’ve ever had in that price category. Their portfolio runs the gamut from By-the-Glass pours to limited-availability Charta and “signature” selections.

To the mini-reviews:

99 Gutzler Vintage Riesling Sekt Extra Brut (Rheinhessen): Stellar trad. method bubbly with peach, apricot, & non-stop creamy yeastiness.

07 Hans Lang Sabrina’s Riesling Semi-Dry (Rheingau): German all the way. Stone, lemons, & honeydew melons. Crowd-pleasing price as well.

05 Barth Estate Charta Riesling (Rheingau): A walk thru a flower garden eating a peach, w/ honey-lemon candy for dessert

05 Hans Lang “Johann Maximilian” Riesling Trocken (Rheingau): Kabam! A world of flowers, apricot, & lime atop of a total Atlas of alcohol.

Of course, many of us here in the U.S. find the German wine landscape to be less than user-friendly. To help you out, TFW has a nice little treatise on the basics of German wine. Many of the selections available from TFW also have simplified labels, which will no doubt assist the budding German wine enthusiast in you to make your selections more easily.

TFW is also starting to get into the “wine conversation” online with a German wine blog, and are part of the Open Wine Consortium, so go friend them up!

Unless you’re a space alien. Because that might freak me out.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com, ggpht.com)

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