For a while now (not sure how long exactly… after a certain amount of wine those sort of details get fuzzy…), I’ve been part of an on-line community called Foodbuzz.
I’m what they call a featured publisher, and to be honest I’m not sure exactly what that means, except that I was kindly invited into the community at the ground level to help them seed the wine-related side of their foodie content (as well as Philly-area food content) in preparation for their official launch.
Full disclosure: I’m also an affiliate with Foodbuzz, which means that once every blue moon I get a $4 PayPal payment from clickthrus, but I hope you will believe me when I say that this isn’t exactly buying them coverage with this post – I just wanted to mention them because their site looks like a very cool spot for foodies to hang out and connect. At times I’ve found the website a bit sluggish, and the tabs and menus can be difficult to navigate (for me, anyway), but otherwise it’s top-notch.
Foodbuzz has been on my ever-growing list of social networking sites that I need to spend more time on, sadly a list that has been expanding exponentially since the birth of my baby daughter.
But… if I was going to jump into a foodie network ASAP, then Foodbuzz would be the place.
Not only do they now have 1000+ bloggers from nearly 50 countries providing interesting (not to mention mouthwatering) foodie content, they are also one of the nicest group of affiliates that I’ve ever been involved with, on-line or off.
The reason I’m mentioning this is that Foodbuzz has officially launched its online publisher community - you can check out the details here – which means that you can join up.
I’ve just this week finally met up with the local Foodbuzz featured publisher crew for dinner and drinks – always a tasty proposition in the Philly corner of the world – at Fork in Old City Philadelphia, which has a very interesting wine list, by the way, and great eats. Following is a list of the other Philly-area Foodbuzz Featured Publishers that attended – click away and check out their way cool foodie blogs:
These are all talented writers and passionate foodie peeps – so go check them and Foodbuzz out (and pay Foodbuzz more attention than I have lately!). If you join up at Foodbuzz, feel free to friend me up while you’re there.
(image: flickr.com – snddsn)
I figured that it was about time for another book review on 1WineDude.com, so I’m jumping back into the book review swing of things with my take on Debra & Keith Gordon’s Wine on Tuesdays: Be a Serious Wine Drinker Without Taking Wine Too Seriously.
[ Full disclosure: I received a media copy of Wine on Tuesdays. Not that Dude doesn’t buy his own books, but… ]
The Low Down
Co-author Debra Gordon is no stranger to wine writing, having penned material for Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Vines, and Wine Adventures. She and husband co-author Keith are also dabbling in blogging.
Wine on Tuesdays reflects the Gordon’s writing experience – it’s well-written, accessible, and at turns funny and engaging. The tone of Wine on Tuesdays is lighthearted and its target is squarely on the wine novice, which puts it into the now-very-crowded field of wine introduction texts.
Which is the main problem with reviewing Wine on Tuesdays - it’s good, but (for me) lacked any real “wow” moments to give me a clear picture of its ideal target audience. While I found some topics covered superbly well (it has one of the best intro chapters on Champagne that I’ve ever come across), other topics (usually the more complex ones, notably dessert wines) are casually treated and maybe a touch oversimplified – which could be confusing for some readers, especially those new to wine… who theoretically happen to be the target audience…
Buy It or Skip It?
Given the tone and overall style of Wine on Tuesdays, If you’re a budding wine lover you could do a lot worse than this well-written guide. Whether or not you will enjoy it is largely a matter of presentation – with so many great overall wine introduction guides available in the marketplace, the one best suited to you may really be down to writing style preference and the order of how the topics are presented. If you want to get into wine in a very structured way, starting with grape varietals first, then try Wine on Tuesdays. If you prefer a less structured approach, then there are better options.
It won’t replace my current favorite wine intro book, Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, and it probably won’t make its way into my list of Essential Wine Reads, but Wine on Tuesdays is certainly a viable alternative for budding wine enthusiasts – enjoyable, and packed full of relevant and helpful wine info.
I was sad to hear of the passing of David Lett last week, at the young age of 69.
David wasn’t as much of a household name as Robert Mondavi or Rodney Strong, but he was every bit as influential in putting U.S. wine on the map as his more visible peers. What Mondavi did for Napa, and Strong did for Sonoma, Lett did for Oregon wine.
In 1965, Lett came to the Willamette Valley looking for U.S. conditions that closely matched those of Burgundy, in order to make exceptional Pinot Noir. It didn’t bother him that the region had been widely dismissed as being too cold to make decent wine.
After selling textbooks to pay the bills, he created Eyrie Vineyards, and in 1979 entered his `75 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir into a French wine competition. It came in 3rd, besting some notable Burgundies.
Because the French are, well, French, this pissed then off and they held the competition again the following year. Lett’s wine came in 2nd; Oregon was no longer in wine-making obscurity – “Papa Pinot” had put them on the map.
To this day, Eyrie is still a great producer of age-worthy Pinot Noir and stellar Pinot Gris – both of which have previously found their way to the Dude & Dudette wedding anniversary dinnner table, which is no simple feat because I am a picky bastard when it comes to my wedding anniversary wines. Oh, yeah – lots of other critics and wine lovers dig it, to.
So today we tip our virtual hats to Papa Pinot, in gratitude for what he’s done for U.S. wine (and for my dinner table experiences!).
Cheers! (images: latimes.com)
You know what kicks ass?
The movie IRON MAN. That film devastates when I watch it on the 50″ Sony HDTV in my basement.
You know what else stomps all kinds of gluteus maximus?
1WineDude.com readers! Especially when those readers make wine. Like Steve Lau of Volta Wine, which is releasing its inaugural Cabernet Sauvignon vintage (2005) this Fall. Steve contacted me as a fan of the blog and someone who grew up in my current stomping ground of Pennsylvania, wondering if I’d like to try their single-vinyeard, Howell Mountain Cab.
Howell Mountain? Would I like to try it? Hello! Does the Pope wear a hat?!?? Despite the fact that this kind of thing consistently gets me in trouble in the wine blog-o-world, I advised Steve to send me a bottle with all speed.
I tried Volta’s Cab. this past weekend. And it’s very, very good. The blackberry and plum coming off this wine is outrageously pure on the nose and on the palate, and the mouthfeel is smooth as silk. That Howell Mountain fruit is somehow lush but at the same time the tannins have a laser focus. The only thing I didn’t like about this wine was the high Voltage – at 15% abv, the wine’s booze power is no joke. But I was digging it, and it’s one of the few 14.5%+ abv wines that I’ve really been able to get behind lately without feeling like someone is trying to beat me up.
Still, I hesitated to write about the wine here, because at 291 cases produced, most 1WD readers are unlikely to be getting their hands on the stuff. BUT… with plans to branch out with other single-vineyard releases of Southern Rhone varietals from Sonoma and Riesling from Yakima, Volta might just be a producer to watch for high quality (but potentially high voltage) vino. Plus, they source grapes that are farmed organically so they’re adding to the growing list of wines that are proving wrong my theory that organic wines bite donkey bong…
I asked Steve for some insight on how the Volta got its start and what the winery is all about. According to Steve:
“I grew up in Pennsylvania. I was involved in the music industry for many years, first as an artist on Warner Brothers and then running a label called Kinetic records for Warner’s. I took some time off about four years ago at which point I met my partner who was, at the time, leaving the mortgage business. (Timely exits from two tanking industries I guess).
Long story short, after a fascination with wine for most of my adult life and a discussion with a friend who was importing wine in Amsterdam, we decided to explore the wine industry and went to the wine program at Culinary Institute in the Napa Valley. From there we just kind of dove in head first talking to as many people as we could about starting a new project, finding a facility, a winemaker and sourcing premium organic fruit.
It’s been an incredible journey, one that the more we learn, the more we realize how much we have to learn. Our winery is in Sonoma at a facility which is owned by a guy that is the former winemaker at Etude, Scott Rich. (He makes an awesome Pinot called Talisman.) Our winemaker is a a really cool guy named Massimo Montecelli. He’s a fourth generation winemaker and his entire family in in the business. He was the winemaker at Silver Oak, his brother is the winemaker for Trinchero family’s premium line and his dad was the first winemaker for E.J. Gallo back in the early seventies and is still running their wine making today. Phil Cotouri, our vineyard manager, is the leading organic vineyard manager in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. We feel privileged to be working with such generous and talented people.“
So there you have it. Good peeps, and very good unfiltered and unfined single-vineyard wine. Plus, I managed to combine Volta Wine, IRON MAN, and AC/DC in the same post. Better quit while I’m ahead…
(images: blog.al.com, bigpond-images.com, 1WineDude.com,)