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Teikoku Tasting Wrap-Up & Azie / BinEndsWine.com Live Tasting Event!

Vinted on July 14, 2008 binned in twitter, wine tasting
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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!

I recently had the pleasure of attending a wine/plate pairing at the fabulous Teikoku restaurant in PA. The food, as always, was stellar (I suppose that’s par for the course for anything prepared by Iron Chef Takao Iinuma).

The wines (selected and poured by wine educator, Matthew Esser from Shiffrin Selections and wine educator and consultant, Heather Wright from Cellar Door Imports, both personal friends) were fine examples of vino that matches up perfectly with summer fare. My ‘mini-reviews‘ of the wines are below – I recommend any of these if you’re looking for great summer wines that won’t break the bank:

Next up, I’ve got two more tasting events that I should probably be plugging so here goes…:


1) There’s a Sake Tasting taking event tomorrow (July 15) on the deck at Azie’s in Media, PA. I don’t know much about sake so this is going to be one of my inaugural (a.k.a trial-by-fire) journeys into the heart of all things sake. 6:30-8:30PM, $30 per person. The menu:

Kumamoto Oysters & Harushika Tokimeki Sparkling
Gobuo Quick Fry & Bishonen “Beautiful Boy” Ginjo
Sushi “Big Eye” tuna, hamachi and bass & Ohyama “Big Mountain” Junmai
Pork belly “Kakuni” stew &Taiheizan Tenko Daiginjo

Bonus!

2) BinEndsWine.com will be holding their monthly “twitter taste live” on July 17 at 7PM ET. This month’s installment will feature Spanish wines selected by European Cellars’ Solomon. Eric will join Ryan & Gabriella Opaz of Catavino.net live via twitter.com to taste and discuss the wines. Also taking part via twitter.com will be yours truly. Here’s the skinny on how to follow the action on twitter.com:

And as for the wine lineup (which is lookin’ mighty tasty!):

Hope to see you on twitter!

Cheers!

Three Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be a Wine Blogger

Vinted on July 11, 2008 binned in best of, commentary, wine blogging

So… you wanna be a wine blogger, eh? [ Editor's note: sorry, did not mean to sound Canadian there...].

Well, I’m here to tell ya NOT to do it.

Now, before you flame me with nasty e-mails and comments, please bear in mind that I will be following up this post next week with three reasons why you should be a wine blogger. But I can’t in good conscience do that before I tell you what you’re really up against if you want to wine blog.

Any type of blogging worth its salt is going to require genuine commitment from you. It will also require that your writing not totally stink. But these are not the reasons why you should think twice (or thrice, or… uhm… whatever comes after thrice) about starting up a wine blog.

Let me clue you in on the real scoop of wine blogging – the gritty reality behind the glitz, the glamor, the fortune, the fame…


1) There is no glitz, fortune or fame in wine blogging.
Sorry to have to break this to ya, but there’s no glitz, glamor, fortune or fame when it comes to wine blogging. You will NOT be quitting your day job. You will NOT be raking in the bucks from ad revenue. You will NOT be interviewed on CNN to expound on your wine smarties. Blogging revenue is usually tied directly to traffic. Who gets the most traffic in the on-line world? Social networks, porn, and productivity blogs (basically in that order). Wine blogging is NOT in the top three. It’s probably not even in the top 300 – and it probably never will be.

2) Two’s company, Three’s a crowd, and 600 is a Wine Blogging Community.
Guess what? You’re not the only wine blogger out there. You are in very good company. According to Alder at Vinography.com (arguably the granddaddy of all wine blogging), there are now over 600 wine bloggers. At least 200 of those are in the U.S. alone. It’s not just a crowded field – it’s a REALLY crowded field. And all of those bloggers are competing in some way, shape, or form for a similar reader pool as you. Doh! Even better – most of them probably know all the tricks of the trade in blogging to maximize their search engine karma, technorati authority, google page rank, etc., etc., etc. Double Doh! Which leads me to our next reason not to wine blog…

What you get out of wine blogging will depend primarily on what you put into it. In that sense, it’s a relationship between you and your blogging.

3) You need to be original from day one.
To wine blog, you need to offer something original to the community of 600+ and their potential readers. This will NOT be easy to do in a field of 600+ and their potential readers. In fact, it will be really, really, really difficult. And you won’t have much time to do it, either. Potential readers will decide in a matter of seconds whether or not your blog is worth reading ever again. They can do this because if they don’t like yours they can very quickly try another one of the 600+. Standing out is essential, and it’s not easy to do. Have fun!

It may not seem like it from the timbre of this post, but personally I don’t think that any of the above should stop you from wine blogging if you’re really passionate about it. What you get out of wine blogging (or any blogging, for that matter) will depend primarily on what you put into it. In that sense, it’s a relationship between you and your blogging.

More on that next week. In the meantime, have a safe and wine-filled weekend.

Cheers!

(images: interfacelift.com, workfarce.files.wordpress.com, aquariumdrunkard.com)

Wine Blogging Wednesday #47: Brought to You by the Letter ‘S’


Welcome to the latest edition of Tales of the Purple Monkey!

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday blog carnival has Plumboo and I contemplating the theme: “Wines Brought to You by the letter S.” Like a fine wine grape, that one is just ripe for interpretation!

Finding a wine that starts with the letter S was relatively easy. Making that find an interesting and educational read is a bit more difficult (at least for me – and a plush toy with a squeek for a head). So to significantly spice things up in the S-wines department, Plumboo & I sailed off to Sunny Southern Italy, to give you a taste of the Salice Salentino DOC.

Salice Salentino is located in the decidedly Mediterranean clime of southeast Italy – the ‘heel of the boot’ (see above). It’s part of the Apulia region, a relatively flat, fertile, and hot area that has been ruled by (in alphabetical – but not chronological – order) the Angevins, Aragonese, Bourbons, Byzantines, Hohenstaufen Germans, Moors, and Normans. Now, it’s ruled by wine; Apulia produces a ridiculously large volume of wine, even by Italian standards (up to three times as much as is produced by all of Chile). And a lot of it is total plonk

But… there has been a move towards increased quality in the region, and better wines can be found accross the price spectrum, including the value category.

With a hot climate, Salice Salentino needs a hardy grape that can take the heat. It’s found it in the thick-skinned Negroamaro varietal, whose name basically means “black & bitter.” The origins of Negroamaro are not conclusively known, but one thing’s for sure – it thrives in Salice Salentino. Negroamaro produces dark, tannic wines with flavors of black licorice and bitter tea, but for all their bitterness the better examples still exude softness and sultry black currant flavors. A good match for the spicy tomato sauces and garlic-laden cuisine typical of the region. Mmmm…. garlic…. [editor's note: drooling permitted ].


As for our wine review for this month’s WBW – we take a quick look at a widely-available and very accessible SS:

2005 San Marzano Salice Salentino (It): Sultry, sensuous & $ensible SS from sunny Southern Italy. Scents of black licorice sweeten the sale.

For more on Salice Salentino and the wines of Southern Italy check out:

Cheers!
(images: maps.google.com, italyis.com )

Run Away with Me… to Spain!

Vinted on July 7, 2008 binned in pennsylvania, PLCB


Well, if not physically, then run away with me virtually, through the magic of the “Global Interweb.” Or whatever you crazy young cats are calling it these days!

Regular readers of this blog might recall that I’ve previously lamented the general lack of quality, easy-to-find Spanish & Portuguese wines in my area of the U.S. (the Communist-wealth of PA, ruled by the PLCB with an iron fist) – and my general lack of deep knowledge about the great wines of the Iberian peninsula (or whatever you crazy cats are calling it these days).

Well, I wanted to change that scenario (at least the part about my own Iberian wine knowledge, anyway), so I decided to take a little trip! A virtual trip.

In the not-too-distant future (hopefully by September), I’ll be working with a few fellow International wine bloggers (Catavino and De Long Wine among them) to take a virtual trip through the wine regions of Spain & Portugal!

I’m thinking of dubbing this the Spanish Caravan in (possibly drunken) tribute to Jim Morrison…

“Carry me caravan take me away
Take me to portugal, take me to spain
Andalusia with fields full of grain
I have to see you again and again
Take me, spanish caravan
Yes, I know you can”
- The Doors

You can read more about the idea at the OpenWine Consortium. Better yet, you can help to shape what this virtual trip will be all about by commenting here, or by joining up in the discussion at the OWC. Both options are free, good for your health (well, probably), and will give you a nice excuse (like you need it!) to taste some great wine, learn about the classic wine regions of Spain & Portugal, and – with any luck make – a few new friends in the on-line “wine 2.0 community.” Or whatever you crazy young cats are calling it these days.

In the meantime… Watch this space… Hope to see you soon, on the Spanish Caravan!

Cheers!

(images: about.com, mtv.com)

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