Mosel Hottie Crowned 61st German Wine Queen

Vinted on October 12, 2009 binned in german wine, wine industry events

Today, I’m closing the loop and following up on the contest to find the next German Wine Queen, who was officially crowned last week in a final gala event featuring the six finalists culled from Germany’s 13 wine regions.  The winner was Sonja Christchurch from the Mosel, who is a recent business graduate and has a day job as a wine journalist (right on!).

It’s interesting to see what the Wine Queen contestants have to go through to get into the finals and then be chosen for the top 3 slots, which includes the following tests:

  • A blind tasting
  • Describing a wine region (presumably a German one) within 45 seconds (which can’t be easy using long German words that probably take 15 seconds each to pronounce)
  • Identify six errors in a film about the Middle Rhine region (this one is my personal fave)
  • Stand up to an 80-member jury of wine experts, politicians and journalists

80-member jury?  Are you kidding me?  Masters of Wine candidates don’t need to do something that difficult, for Pete’s sake…

Anyway, you can check out a (very roughly translated) summary of the event here.

Congrats to the Mosel, and to the new Queen.  I may start a petition soon to implement the Wine Queen program in the U.S.  In my spare time.





Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2009-10-10

Vinted on October 10, 2009 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 07 Davis Bynum Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): U might be able to approximate this by stuffing a croissant into a glass of grain alcohol. #
  • 07 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Enormous ultra-concentrated offering. Red berry fruit is nice but is fighting for its life #
  • 04 Heron Hill Eclipse Red (NY): Call it Bord'x Light. Will pair w/ quite a few dishes, but I expected a little more Cab Franc bang for the $ #
  • 05 Da Vinci Chiani Classico: Tough vintage. Lacking some focus, but the black cherry, spice & Old World earthiness more than make up for it. #
  • 08 Castell Silvaner Trocken (Franken): Fresh & clean as your Auntie's kitchen counter. Maybe too clean. Go for lighter foods with this guy. #
  • 06 Castell Kugelspiel Silvaner (Franken): Someone spiced up a banana & stuck it in the flower garden! And it's pretty darn tasty! #
  • 08 Castell Trautberg Silvaner / Traminer (Franken): Starts w/ an acid scream, rests on some lychee nuts, then heads of on the mineral trail. #

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1WineDude Up for Best Wine Blog in The Foodbuzz Blog Awards – Vote Today!

Vinted on October 9, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog

Holy crap!

I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise today when I ventured over to the Blog Awards to vote for a few friends of mine whose blogs were nominated in various award categories.  That’s when I first noticed that the following category even existed, and did a super-fast-head-fake-double-take upon seeing the list of nominees:

Best Wine Blog
1. 1 Wine Dude
2. Another Wine Blog
3. Chateau Petrogasm
4. Dr. Vino
5. Vinography


I’m humbled and amazed to have been included in the list of finalists, and to find myself among such good company (and such stiff competition!).

Against all logic (and good taste), 1WineDude seems to be gaining popularity and success, for which I am both eternally grateful and increasingly baffled. 

Anyway, please head on over to the voting page and ‘Vote Dude’ today!

And good luck to all of the Blog Award nominees – there are some fabulous foodie blogs in the list, so if you’re into the food and beverage scene you should head over to the list of finalists and check out their blogs, which are full of excellent reads.





A Portrait of the Satirist as an Old Winemaker: An Interview with Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm

Vinted on October 8, 2009 binned in book reviews, interviews, winemaking

To many people, the charismatic front-man of the iconic Boony Doon wine brands, Randall Grahm, is the Mad Hatter of the wine world.

Once they read Randall’s recently-released book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, those same people will realize that they’re dead wrong.

Randall Grahm is not the wine world’s Mad Hatter; Randall Grahm is the wine world’s Cheshire Cat, equally (and eloquently) adept at satirizing the modern trends of the wine industry as he is at continually surprising wine consumers with quirky, excellent wines inspired by a desire to transmit the equally quirky and excellent message that California’s terroir has to tell.

Been Doon So Long is, at times, a masterstroke; it’s just as interesting, funny, poignant, and acerbic as any wine that California has ever had to offer.  Clearly an avid lover of literature, music, and wine, Randall Grahm has somehow managed to utilize all three as he takes us through the history of Bonny Doon, offers intimate glimpses of his personal demons, and sends up many of the wine world’s most sacred cows.  If he has a mad hat, Grahm is clearly capable of pulling rabbits out of it – both when it comes to wine and when it comes to writing.

Been Doon So Long is a unique work, and while it might not be the kind of book that you’d expect from the world of wine, it’s probably the book that the wine world deserves right now.  I found reading the book to be rewarding, but rather like the fabled rabbit hole, the deeper you get into it, the more difficult it becomes to fully explain.  Which is why I figured I’d let someone msarter (Randall) explain it instead.

[ Special note to the FTC: Have I received the book and Bonny Doon wines as free samples? Yep. Did that influence my review of the book? I don’t think so, but I’m not a psychologist. ]

Following is an interview I conducted with Randall this week while he’s in the midst of his promotional tour for Been Doon So Long.  Like the book, the interview will give you a glimpse into the rabbit hole of Randall’s mind.  You’ll encounter below a guy with a formidable prowess with the written word, strong opinions, a consuming passion to find a Californian wine that truly speaks of its origin, and who isn’t afraid to wear his emotions in plain view.

But before you head down this rabbit hole, be sure to gather up your smarties, love of literature, an open mind, and a glass of something unique and terroir-driven.  You’re gonna need ‘em…

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