Should 1WineDude.com Start Using Wine Ratings? Have Your Say!

Vinted on January 7, 2010 binned in about 1winedude blog, wine review

Yes, I am actually going there.

No, I don’t expect everyone to like it, which is why I am asking you what you think about it.  Here’s the skinny:

What It Is

  • A grade I would give any wine reviewed on 1WineDude.com (and on the mini-wine review twitter feed).
  • The grade would follow the ‘report card’ format: highest compliment is an “A+” and lowest is an “F” (maybe an “F-“ if the wine really, really, really sucks donkey bong).

What It Ain’t

  • It is NOT a numerical rating system (we know where I stand on that stuff, right?).  For those of you who like to ‘post scan’ and then comment: Please do NOT comment on how I am a sellout because I’m giving a wine a number.  Because I’m not giving it a number.  Actually, why am I writing that since you post-scanners aren’t reading it.  Whatever.
  • It does NOT mean a change to how I cover wines on the blog. Same approach (detailed coverage, a story about and behind the wine, not just a tasting impression), just add the grade to the end of it.

Why The F— I Am Doing This

  • I know that there are many wine-lovin’ people out there who probably don’t take a lot of stock in a numerical score, but still want a quick way to take it all in when it comes to a wine’s value for money, it’s overall sensory impressions, it’s raison de’tre (is that raisin de’tre for Amarone? sorry, couldn’t help myself).  I’m just not sure if those folks are reading this blog.  Hence the poll below.

Feel free to give me your thoughts on this, and comment away if you love it or hate it.  I’m a big boy – I can take it.

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Cheers!

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A Taste of Heaven (Book Review)

Vinted on January 5, 2010 binned in book reviews

Quick – how many abbeys are there in the U.S.? 

The answer is “way more than you’d think!

Abbeys – their contemporary ways of life, histories, and (most importantly) culinary delights – are the subject of Madeline Scherb’s first book, A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns.

Part travel guide, part history lesson, part valentine to all things Catholic, and part cookbook, A Taste of Heaven makes for interesting reading and is structured around a gourmand’s fantasy meal (the book’s sections, in order cover Spirits, Cheese, Sweets, and Other).  Those who love beer and cheese will especially appreciate the substantial portions of the book devoted to Belgian Trappist abbey brews (such as Orval) and the abbeys of France (such as the walnut-liquor-enhanced fromage of Echourgnac), respectively.

Now, I’m not religious and this is not a beer and cheese blog (though I love beer just as much as I adore wine), and while I love my foodie friends I don’t share their keen ability to translate culinary thought-experiment (recipes) successfully into visceral reality (food that actually tastes good), and I struggled with whether or not I should cover A Taste of Heaven (which Madeline kindly sent to me as a sample copy).  But, I did in fact find a wine angle in this book, albeit a small one. 

Citeaux Abbey, situated just outside of Dijon in the Cote-D’or in France, is covered in A Taste of Heaven and the abbey’s history is fascinating.  Citeaux was founded in 1098 and initially struggled to find recruits for monks in an area of France that was already known as a lap of luxury.  At one point, the Abbey owned 10,000 acres of land in Burgundy, including… Clos Romanee.  That would probably be worth enough to buy a space shuttle nowadays.  Apparently, the cheese there is… well… heavenly to this day.

Those who get the travel bug to check out the famous Abbeys of Europe (or the not-quite-as-famous Abbeys of the U.S.) would do well to first check out A Taste of Heaven.  But be warned, by the looks of the butter, egg, and lard content of the recipes found in Scherb’s book, eating abbey food isn’t exactly for the (literally) faint of heart.

Oh, yeah – and whatever you do, don’t sing or chant along loudly with the monks (apparently that’s bad abbey-visiting form)!

Cheers!

(images: amazon.com)

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Austrian Wine Sweepstakes… via Facebook… and twitter

Vinted on January 4, 2010 binned in giveaways, wine industry events

Those of you who dig Austrian wine (did someone say Grüner Veltliner? no?  it was just me then…) and are looking fro something to do for seven days in 2010 might want to check out the Austrian Tourist Office’s “It’s Got To Be Austria” (yeah, I know, the name is a total #Fail) sweepstakes being held now through January 15, 2010.

The sweepstakes winner (and a guest) get to choose between four different themed 7-day vacation packages, one of which is centered around “Food and Wine” (presumably Austrian food and wine). 

The contest is notable in that contestants enter via Facebook.  Once you’ve fanned them up on Facebook, you can receive an additional sweepstakes entry by tweeting about Austria using the hashtag #itsgottobeaustria (ugh… honestly, is that the best name that they could come up with?  maybe it sounds totally awesome in Austrian…).

This might be the first significant wine-related giveaway (the vacation packages are valued at $4,500) that’s taken place exclusively on Facebook and twitter, and certainly the first to also include a choice shot of an Austrian accordion-player rockin’ the moustache in its promotional material:

Got thoughts on the contest, Austrian wine, or moustaches?  Shout ‘em out in the comments!

Cheers!

(images: itsgottobeaustria.com)

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-01-02

Vinted on January 2, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 06 San Juan Vineyards riesling (Yakima Valley): A promise of citrus & flowers. A let down of lack of balance & hint of nail polish remover. #
  • 06 Navarro Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley): Sweet red berry fruit bomb. A balanced fruit bomb, but a fruit bomb. Approach (& pair) w/ caution. #
  • 08 Nigl Gruner Veltliner Freiheit (Austria): Not a bargain, but it's a meetup of asian pear & asparagus that's far tastier than it sounds. #
  • o5 Chateau Gaudrelle Reserve Speciale Moelleux (Vouvray): Tropical fruits & honey, but like that x-mas fruitcake it ends a little rough… #
  • 07 Montes Alpha Syrah (Colchagua Valley): New World style, S. American charm, and only a touch of bell pepper. Sign me up! #
  • NV Domaine Chandon Brut Classic (CA): Will it change your world? No. Will it rock at your party? Totally, in a spicy-apple sortof way. #
  • NV Mumm Napa Cuvee M (Napa Valley): Sexy & approachable, like I imagine Kathy Lee Gifford was before she went nuts & w/o the awful singing. #
  • 08 Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee (Santa Maria Valley): Just short of flabby but well in sight of ripe apricot goodness. #

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