blogger web statistics/a>
1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 347

¿Cuál es la gran cosa con España? (Iberian Wines and You)

Vinted on May 28, 2008 binned in commentary
WP Greet Box icon
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!

What’s up with Spain, anyway?

And for that matter, Portugal?

I mean… que pasa, dude??!?

Few wine regions are currently as exciting and vibrant as Spain and Portugal. Not too long ago, they were producing wines of specious quality, suffering from a similar Old World wine funk that once engulfed the (now impressive) wine regions like Chianti of Italy.

But now? Now the Iberian peninsula is kicking out quality wines all over the price-point spectrum. I’ve had killer Vinho Verde and Cava that have made me do a triple-head-take cartoon-style to verify that they really were that cheap. And don’t get me started on the screamin’ Priorats, aged Madeiras, and vintage Ports that I’ve tasted. Yowza!

Case in point – just so you don’t have to take only the Dude’s word for it:

“Spain continues to overperform… the number of truly fine Spanish wines continues to increase, with at least as much excitement at the lower end of the quality scale as at the higher end… Portuguese winemakers have now woken up to the tremendous potential that their country offers, making it a hotbed of innovation.” – Tom Stevenson, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia

BUT… with all of that Iberian awesomeness… why the heck do I find it so hard to consistently recommend good Iberian wines at a decent price point?

I posed that question to the wine blogging world’s resident Iberian wine experts, Gabriella and Ryan Opaz of Catavino.net, when I took part in their 2+1 Iberian wine survey. I’ve reprinted their answer here, as I think it sheds some very interesting light on the marketing situation facing Iberian winemakers and wine distributors today (thanks, guys!). Enjoy…

Mi pregunta: Why are good Iberian wines so damn hard to find in the States? Spain & Portugal are poised to take the wine world by storm in terms of value for money, but most people’s experience with them comes down to seeing a $45 Priorat in their local wine shop and passing it on by, or picking up a $10 Rioja that is plonk and never touching Spanish wine again. Ironically, most of their wines offer incredible quality for the price, except the ones we get here. What’s up with *that*?

Joe, we wish the answer was easier to give. Truth is, there are a lot of Iberian wines available, although we believe the rush to exploit them has been slowed down by the strength of the Euro. Up until this year, everyone wanted a new Iberian wine for their portfolio and were willing to spend a lot of money to obtain them. Today, however, that same money doesn’t go as far. Coupled with this, people are afraid to see Iberian wine as more than “good value”. Many of our best value wines are spreading across the States and selling well, but in the end, it’s time to spend a bit more in order to diversify the availability.

Many of our best value wines are spreading across the States and selling well, but in the end, it’s time to spend a bit more in order to diversify the availability.

Then, there is the country specific problem, i.e. nationalism. Spain will never have the ability to market itself as a brand, no matter how much Wines of Spain tries and fails. There are too many distinct cultures and political divisions throughout Spain for this to work. Thus, Spain will always end up having fragmented marketing campaigns that will never fully co-operate to achieve good, unified branding.

Portugal, on the other hand, is set to overtake Spain, because at least they can have a “brand Portugal”, but sadly, a lot of their brand equity is tied up in the Port houses, and it’s not easy to convince them that they should help the smaller appellations. Additionally, Portugal has a confusing system of Appellations, where you have the highest “quality wine” category (DOC) falling below the wines of the “lower” regional wine category (VR). We don’t think it hurts the retail sector, per se, but it does hurt the in country’s organization and how it presents itself. The final factor that that weakens “brand Portugal”, is the overwhelming presence of the Vinho Verde, Douro and Alentejo regions. Until the smaller regions gain a little spotlight, these main three big guys will always overshadow the smaller ones.

Spain will always end up having fragmented marketing campaigns that will never fully co-operate to achieve good, unified branding.

Think of it this way. French wine is considered good, with wines of quality coming from Bordeaux, CDP, Burgundy, etc. Here, Rioja wine is great, which happens to be from Spain. Port wine is historic, but that is from the English (seriously people have told me this). Vinho Verde is fresh and vibrant. Cava is the “other sparkling wine”. Clearly, we’re fragmented. Portugal and Spain both need to be known for great wine. As you say, people see the $45 Priorat, and only associate it with the region, but never the country.

You can read the entire article over at Catavino.net.

For more on Spanish wines, you can check out The New Spain by John Radford.

Cheers!

(images: catavino.net, about.com, wine.pt)

It’s Memorial Day – For God’s Sake, Drink Some Zin!

Vinted on May 26, 2008 binned in holidays

For those of you in the U.S. of A. – apologies again to my (now probably seriously dwindling) International readers! – it’s Memorial Day.

That time when we in the U.S. partake in the American pastimes of family gatherings, and patriotic remembrance, and – best of all – charing meat over an open flame until it is covered in crispy, tasty, blackened carcinogens.

And also trying not burn our houses down.

There is but one method of cooking appropriate for Memorial Day – and that is good ol’ fashioned grilling.

And for good ol’ American grilling, there is but one (okay, maybe not just one but certainly one of the best) good ol’ American wine to pair with your holiday backyard barbecue masterpiece…

…And that wine is Zinfandel.

Never mind that Zin is actually the southern Italian grape Primitivo. Or that it’s probably originally from Croatia. If there is one country to embrace a melting-pot Italo-Croatian creation, it’s the good ol’ U.S. of A., baby! Zin is the (fruit) bomb. It’s over-the-top jammy goodness (we’re talking the unadulterated Zin grape here, not the sweet, blushy White Zin). It’s so good that it’s got its own fanclub.

Zin ROCKS.

Especially at the BBQ. That’s because Zin’s flavor is so bold that it stands up to just about any char grilled goodness (including your famous, spicy-sweet, secret-recipe BBQ sauce) that you might concoct this long holiday weekend.

Zin has been grown in some way/shape/form in the U.S. since the 1800s, taking off in CA after
speculators turned from the Gold Rush to agriculture for their fortunes. As a result, CA has a good amount of old Zin vines. And the older the vine, the lower the grape yields, the more concentrated the fruit, and the higher the potential quality of the resulting wines.

Zin grapes tend to ripen a bit unevenly in tight clusters. What this means is that if most of the grapes are left to achieve full ripeness on the vine, some of the grapes in the same cluster will have shriveled into concentrated, raisiny goodness. Hello, alcohol! (More Zin facts and history can be found in The Oxford Companion to Wine).

Like us Americans, who wear their hearts on their sleeves, Zin grapes are thin-skinned. Also like us Americans, Zin wines are brazen and bold (okay, and sometimes a bit obnoxious). They are not afraid to tell you what’s on their mind. And what’s on their mind is tons of in-your-face, jammy fruit. And booze (Zin wines can reach alcohol contents of 14.5% or higher).

That fruit is gonna successfully go toe-to toe with anything that you can throw at it this weekend – just like us Americans.

As for recommendations:
For those on a tight budget, you’d be hard-pressed to find better Zin value for your buck than Ravenswood.

For a bit more cash, Frog’s Leap makes a killer, earth-friendly Zin.

On the “let’s splurge!” end of things, I like Duckhorn’s Paraduxx Zin blend.

So this holiday weekend get your party on, get your grill on, and get your Zin on. And have a safe and happy one (when Due here went to the emergency room on Memorial Day a few years ago, the hospital staff told me that they expect spikes in emergency room injury visits due to accidents during this holiday weekend – don’t be one of them). Enjoy responsibly!


Cheers!

(images: healthline.com, winecountrygetaways.com, alderbrook.com, bbqreport.com)

Penns Wood Winery Event @ Teikoku Restaurant

Vinted on May 23, 2008 binned in pennsylvania, wine industry events

I don’t normally plug events here at 1WineDude.com, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give some press to this shin-dig, because I am totally into what both this restaurant and this winemaker are doing.

NOTE: The following is a Philly-area event (much apologies to my Left Coast and International readers!).

Teikoku is serving up some of the most killer Asian fusion food in the greater Philadelphia area. And Penns Wood Winery is making some of the most daring wines in all of the East Coast (hello? Sauvignon Blanc, anyone?) – and they now own the old Smithbridge wine property (a stone’s throw from Chaddsford), which is capable of producing some of the best grapes in the area.

If you’re in the area and can make it, I highly suggest checking it out.


Teikoku restaurant proudly presents
Penn’s Woods Winery dinner

with Chef Takao Iinuma, Winemaker Mr. Gino Razzi
and wine educator John McNulty…

Tuesday June 3, 2008, 6:30 p.m.

Amuse Bouche

Fresh, delicate, mélange of sushi

Pairings: Wakatake Daiginjo Onikoroshi sake and Yamada Pecorino 2006

First course

Alaskan wild king salmon and live scallop in onion soy dressing with a micro herb salad

Pairings: Penn’s Woods Sauvignon Blanc 2006 and Proprietors Reserve White 2006

Second course

Seared Kobe beef tataki in a yellow pepper ceviche served with a Branch Creek micro green salad in a spicy citrus vinaigrette

Pairings: Penn’s Woods Ameritage Reserve 2005 and Penn’s Woods Merlot Reserve 2005

Third course

Poached daikon cup filled with uni (sea urchin), wild mushrooms and baby spinach, in a sauce americaine

Pairings: Penn’s Woods Chardonnay 2007 and Penn’s Woods White Cabernet 2006

Fourth course

Seared Foie gras over French black truffle white asparagus served with shallot demi glace and lotus chips

Pairing: Penn’s Woods White Merlot 2006

Fifth course

Tahitian vanilla bean gelato

Pairing:: Aged (50 year old) balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy

$95 per person (Does not include tax and gratuity)

Executive Chef Takao Iinuma – Takao is one of the world’s great Japanese chefs. An accomplished student at Japan’s prestigious Hattori Nutrition College, where he learned everything from French technique to traditional Chinese cooking, Iinuma went on to teach there for eight years. His education also included an apprenticeship at the Karin in the Ana Hotel, one of Tokyo’s top restaurants. He has competed in 40 episodes of the popular Iron Chef Japan, winning 75 percent of his match ups. It was during this era that he befriended world famous Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who became his culinary mentor. Chef Iinuma went on to become executive chef at Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia and Wasabi by Morimoto in Mumbai, India, where he helped the chef open both locations. He was also appointed corporate chef of Morimoto in Washington, D.C. The Iron Chef still calls upon Iinuma for advice before going into culinary battle.

Winemaker Gino Razzi- The Abruzzi-born Razzi, a well-known wine importer and a maker of highly rated wines in Italy, knows what he’s doing around grapes. His “Symposium,” a profoundly good montepulciano d’Abruzzo, has won 90 points or better from the Wine Spectator ever since the first vintage (1997) was issued. Penn’s Woods is one of the latest additions to a boom in Pennsylvania wineries, which have nearly tripled since 1999, from 42 to 122 in late 2007. Razzi’s extreme commitment to making only the highest-level wines possible coupled with his superb palate and winemaking instincts, refined by nearly four decades in the importing business is a departure from the approach taken by many of the state’s wineries, which feel obliged to create a wider range of styles and prices to appeal to a mass-market audience.

Teikoku Restaurant
5492 West Chester Pike

Newtown Square, PA 19073

Tel:
610-644-8270
Fax:
610-644-8265

Contact: Christine Olmsted, Events coordinator


Cheers!

Who Cares What We Think? (The Influence of the Internet in the World of Wine)

Vinted on May 21, 2008 binned in commentary, wine blogging, wine buying

So, really – who cares what I think?

Maybe not too many wine consumers.

According to a new Pew Internet study report, the Internet has a small influence on consumers’ buying decisions when compared to offline channels (like recommendations from salespeople, friends, etc.). That includes Internet sites like, oh, for example, 1WineDude.com.

Hmm… maybe I should be putting a little more time & effort into my off-line consulting

Anyway, according to the Pew report (which, to be fair, measured on-line impact on purchases of music, housing, and cell phones only):

“No more than one-tenth of buyers… said that online information had a major impact on their purchasing decision.”

Well… crap!…

And here I’ve been trying to steer wine consumers right and not realizing the whole time that nobody is listening (er – I mean, reading).

What’s also interesting (assuming you still might care what I think at this point) in the Pew report is the gap between those who actively contribute to the on-line dialog (by submitting reviews, for example), and those that simply consume the information:

“The large gaps between contributors and readers are understandable; not all consumers
are interested in lending their voice and many may be content to free ride on the efforts of
others. However, with the growth of broadband adoption at home and the buzz about
online participation in a Web 2.0 world, widespread activity in this arena might be
expected. Yet the data in this report do not show this; there is clearly a distance between the numbers of those who contribute and those who lurk.”

I can’t say I’m too surprised by that finding. In my experience, especially with people of my g-g-g-g-generation, I’ve found that there is a need to consume information via the Internet, but very little drive to create that information themselves.

Case in point: my friends will tease me about the number of websites that I maintain (official number: too many), and in the same conversation will ask me why I’ve not updated one of the websites in the past 3 days.

They want to consume – they just feel that it’s someone else’s place to author that content. Is this “The Architecture of Non-Participation?”

Deep down I’m a skeptical guy – which in my twisted in mind is being patriotic (hey, the U.S. was founded by a bunch of skeptics!) – but I gotta admit, deep down I am also feeling like wine is different.

I know, I know – wishful thinking, right?

But hear me out (if you still care what I think, that is): Buying wine is different than buying music or a cell phone, because wine is meant to be shared. By its nature it’s a social beast, to be enjoyed with others. It’s one of the few goods we can buy that actually becomes an event unto itself. A cell phone can be nifty but it’s probably not going to be a lubricant for life. And try sharing your cell phone with someone else without going totally insane.

If you take a look at social networking websites like the Open Wine Consortium, Corkd.com, and CellarTracker.com, you will find lots of wine consumers willing to share their views, reviews, and recommendations. I would find it hard to believe that those interactions don’t influence the wine buying decisions of consumers somehow.

And wouldn’t it be great if, instead of wine distribution monopolies, stuffy media mags, and 2 or 3 critics dictating nearly all of our wine purchasing choices, we actually influenced each other and helped each other out based on our own experiences of wines that we thought actually tasted great?

But then again, who cares what I think?


Cheers!

(images: thoomp.com, allposters.com, imagechef.com)

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com

Google+

Labels

Vintage

Find

An abundance of free academic writing tips is waiting for you. An expert writer will share helpful research and writing guides with college students.