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

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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!


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)

Happy July 4th – Vive la France! Or Portugal…

Vinted on July 4, 2008 binned in holidays

July 4th. The day that we in the U.S. celebrate American independence.

It’s fitting that we laud the bravery, gumption, and raw intelligence of our founding fathers, as well as the courage of those who fought to make our country free to chart its own destiny.

I suggest doing that with burgers and grill-friendly wines.

What we don’t commonly do is celebrate the French ingenuity and general affairs meddling (at great financial expense to them, I might add) that made life so annoying for the Brits that they more-or-less gave up and let us have this great country.

So maybe that should be burgers and grill-friendly French wines.

Now, before you write me off for spouting heresy about not drinking American wine on an American holiday, consider these tidbits:

So maybe that’s actually burgers and… Madeira…? Man, I gotta think about that one…

These facts are indisputable: our Founding Fathers fondness for their vino is preserved forever in their very own handwriting. Not only were they booze hounds, but they were men of letters. When guys like Washington weren’t writing eloquent prose to the budding new government (mostly complaining that they didn’t have nearly enough resources being sent their way to even make a dent in the larger, better funded, and more skilled British army), they were writing home about their wine.

So there you have it – American gumption, French meddling, British mistakes, and Portuguese wine.

The makings of a truly Liberated nation!

Have a safe and happy 4th! Cheers!

(images: ririanproject.com, vacationtofrance.com, madeira-web.com)

A Savvy Way to Keep a Wine Journal?

Vinted on July 2, 2008 binned in wine 2.0, wine appreciation


Now this is interesting.

As reported by several sources today (most of them just copy/paste jobs from a press release; check out one example here), CorkSavvy.com (yet another on-line service that allows you to track and review your wines) has launched an interesting feature today.

This feature allows you to snap a camera-phone picture of that bottle of vino you’re having (say, with dinner tonight) and submit it (along with your freshest-of-fresh tasting notes) directly to your CorkSavvy account.

I’m a big, big fan of keeping a wine journal. I think it’s one of the best (if not the best) ways to up your wine IQ, increase your wine vocabulary, and learn what you do (and don’t!) like about wine. Using a wine journal is one of the cornerstone advice pieces that I give in my Tasting Guide.

Could CorkSavvy.com be onto the “Wine 2.0” version of the trusty ol’ wine journal? Time will tell. If any of you give this service a try, be sure to give me a shout about it!

Cheers!

(images: amazon.com)

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