blogger web statistics/a>
1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 368

WBW #41 – Talkin’ Tocai

Vinted on January 15, 2008 binned in Italian Wine, wine blogging wednesday, wine review
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!

Wine Blogging Wednesday #41 (hosted this month over at Fork & Bottle) has us pondering the mountainous Northeast corner of Italy, as the wine blogging community explores the white wines of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Too bad we’re not exploring their reds too, since this region grows some totally kick-ass Cabernet blends, having almost completely re-worked its approach to quality winemaking and viticulture since its vineyards were wiped out in the 19th Century by that nasty pet phylloxera (more history available in the excellent Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia).

The wine I chose for WBW (see inset pic from my kitchen counter) was Conte Brandolini D’ADDA Tocai Friulano 2005, from the Grave DOC in Fruili. Surprisingly, I found a decent selection of Friuli whites at the local wine shop here in the Communist-wealth of Pennsylvania. And I got it for $14 (sah-weeeeet! – Wire Chicken NOT included, of course).

But before I review this wine, I need to give you a quick bit of insight into why I can’t stand reviewing wines sometimes…

Outside of contributions to WBW, I don’t normally review wines at this blog. That’s because when I do decide to review a wine, someone with wine street cred that kicks the crap outta mine goes and reviews the exact same wine! In this case, it was the awesome Mary Ewing-Mulligan. I know what you might be asking yourself: “Self, I wonder if that’s the same Mary Ewing Mulligan who co-wrote the hugely successful Wine For Dummies, is president of the International Wine Center, and was the first woman in the U.S. to become a Master of Wine?

Yeah, that Mary Ewing Mulligan. She also happened to discuss this wine in person with the Italian Count who produces it. So I’m not sure how I’m gonna top that.

Mary, if you ever read this post, I formally challenge you to an arm-wrestling contest for a bottle of `82 Mouton Rothschild. But since I know your brother and he’s a great guy, I might let it slide and settle for a lesser vintage…

Anyway, back to Friuli – this is a region of great diversity in its winemaking, and subsequently great diversity – and confusion – in the flavor profiles for its wines. Tocai Friulano is no exception. Depending on who you talk to and what wine books you read, it’s a light-bodied wine and full-bodied wine. It’s a nutty wine. It’s a spicy wine. Or it’s a fruity wine.

The flavor profile isn’t the only thing nutty or fruity about TF. According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, TF’s name is also the stuff of total confusion: It’s known as Sauvigonasse, but many speculate that it has no relation whatsoever to Sauvignon Blanc. “Tocai” suggests some relationship to the famous Tokay of Hungary (made from Furmint grapes), but that connection is so specious that the Italians have agreed with Hungary to eventually drop Tocai from the TF name altogether. And TF bears no relationship at all to Tokay d’Alsace (which is better known as Pinot Grigio, also made in the Friuli region). Confused yet?

One thing that isn’t in dispute is TF’s popularity – it is practically the BudLite of northeast Italy; in other words, it’s ubiquitously planted and consumed in that region.

What’s my take on this wine?
It has a gorgeous pale lemon color. Fairly aromatic, though I was less beguiled by the aroma than Mary was in her review. Citrus and hint of pineapple on the nose. Lots of minerality on the palate (must be the gravelly soil), and some almond there as well. Good body (a bit more than I would have expected at 12.5% alcohol), and very decent, crisp acidity. I enjoyed it a bit more on the second day when it opened up just a tad.

The BudLite of Northeast Italy…? Undeserved, totally, if you’re talking taste. Those who appreciate a nice guilty pleasures will find something to like in this one. Enjoy it with fish – the lighter and whiter, the better – with some mild mango salsa.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

If you’re interested in learning more about Italian wines, check out the book Vino Italiano.

Cheers!

Does This Wine Make Me Look Fat?: How To Drink Wine While You’re on a Diet

Vinted on January 9, 2008 binned in best of, wine health, wine tips

Dieting – how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… OK, DONE!

No one really enjoys dieting, and while we may be of the epicurean mindset, even us wine lovers need to count the calories once in a while. To get our New Year’s resolutions off to the right start, I’ve put together some information for wine lovers who might be wondering how wine factors into their their dieting plans…


All alcoholic beverages have calories. This includes wine. Most wines contain a very small amount of sugars – a few grams – even wines that are totally “dry.” Very sweet dessert wines contain a bit more, but overall this will still be less than 10 grams on average. You may even find a small amount of Sodium (about 1% the recommended daily amount) and even carbs (around 5 grams, or about 2% DV). But those all contribute a very small amount of calories to the overall wine experience.

A Wine’s calories are largely a factor of alcohol content. Alcohol content accounts for 80% or more of the calories in a wine. A typical glass of wine – about 4 to 5 fl oz -
will contain about 100 calories. That’s the bad news. The good news – none of the calories are from fat (hey, there’s a bright side to everything!).

Wines with Less Alcohol Have Fewer Calories – but Not by Much. If you want to get more specific, a general rule of thumb (as published on Wineintro.com) is that this formula will give you the approximate calories for any specific glass of wine: 1.6 x percentage x oz in glass = total calories. So, if you pour yourself a 5oz glass of modest Italian white (say, 12% alcohol), you’re looking at 1.6 x 12 x 5oz = 96 calories. A big ol’ honkin’ glass of powerful California Zinfandel at 15% alcohol would be 1.6 x 15 x 5oz = 120 calories. Not a huge difference, but could be significant enough for you to change your wine choice at dinner, if you’re expecting to have more than one glass but are trying to watch your weight.

If You’re on a Diet, Drink Wine in Moderation. This one seems obvious, since in effect wine is contributing the the dreaded “liquid calories” (like soda) that most dieters try to avoid. But it’s a lot tougher than you’d think. Restaurant pours of wine seldom adhere to the 4-5oz average, and some restaurants may pour you a glass nearly double that amount. Which means that glass of big ol’ honkin’ CA Zinfandel is really more like 240 calories. If you’re on a diet, tread carefully when eating out.

Don’t Binge. Another seemingly obvious recommendation, but consider this: drinking alcoholic beverages is proven to relax your inhibitions, which in turn makes you more likely to do dumb stuff. That includes taking diet-unfriendly actions like eating more, choosing to eat foods that you should avoid while on your diet, and generally begets more drinking (thus more calories). Binging on wine while on a diet is definitely NOT diet-friendly.

If You’re Drinking & Dieting, Make Lower-Calorie Wine Choices. If you love wine way too much to cut it out of your diet, go for lower calorie wine options. Dry, lighter white wines will generally provide less calories. Heavy, fortified wines, like ports, will generally have the most calories. For more information, you can view a quick table of approximate wine calorie totals here, or check out the more comprehensive wine nutritional listings at calorieking.com.

Know When to Take a Break. The bottom line: if you are dieting, you need to cut back on the wine. If you’re a contestant on Biggest Loser, then it’s probably a good idea to abstain entirely from drinking alcoholic beverages of any kind for a short period of time (until you reach a safe weight-loss milestone, for example). Sure it will suck to go without your favorite Cab, but a healthier you is more likely to be around to enjoy future great vintages of your favorite wine.

Cheers!

The 1WineWine Dude Tasting Guide! How to Taste Like a Wine Geek – Now Available (Printed & eBook Versions)!

Vinted on January 4, 2008 binned in learning wine, wine appreciation, wine eBook, wine tasting, wine tips
Discover how YOU can become a Wine Guru!


Want to know more about wine?
Want to get more enjoyment out of every glass of wine that you drink?
Want to feel more confident when you head out to buy your next bottle of wine?
Are you ready to Taste with the Big Boys?

The Dude is here to help!

I’m happy to announce that my Wine Tasting Guide, How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: The 1WineDude Wine Tasting Guide is
now available!

Preview a sample of the guide at LuLu.com.

My Wine Tasting Guide details the same practical tasting approach that I used to increase my own knowledge about – and enjoyment of – wine (the greatest beverage in the world). Some of the highlights:

  • A step-by-step guide to tasting wine like the pros (only without the spitting or the snobbishness!).
  • The story of how I overcame my own personal fear of wine, and was able to go from total WineDunce to the 1WineDude (and how that journey helped to form my tasting approach).
  • A practical example of the tasting approach in action.
  • Printable Forms for capturing your own wine tasting experiences.
  • Links to lots of helpful resources, wine accessories, & more (for further wine learning).

The Guide is an expansion of the wine tasting advice that I touched on in one of my previous blog posts. I received such strong positive reactions to the post that I decided it would be fun to create a reference that went into more detail about how my tasting approach developed, in the hopes that it would help others to get more enjoyment out of wine.

The Guide is targeted at those that are either new to wine, or who enjoy wine now but really want to get more out of it and are not sure where to start. If you’re one of those people – now you have a place to start!

The eBook is available for $7.95 USD. It’s in PDF format for maximum portability. If you need a PDF reader, you can get one for free for both PCs and PDAs from Adobe, and other software providers (my personal favorite is the light-on-the-resources FoxIt Reader).

Reviews:

  • This ebook, combined with a sample half case or case of wine, can start novice wine geeks on their way to becoming confident wine buyers.” – Kathleen Lisson, CSW & Wine Century Club member
  • Succinct information about how to taste wine, what to look for, and how to really determine which wines suit your palate best. Using his scale, I can confidently state ‘I Love It!’ when reviewing 1 Wine Dude’s e-book.” – Douglas Trapasso of Chicago Pinot

Purchase Options:
1) Buy the eBook version at Payloadz.com (PayPal & Google Checkout) – $7.95 USD. Go Get It!

2) Buy the eBook version at LuLu.com (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express) – $7.95 USD. Go Get It!
Support independent publishing: buy this e-book on Lulu.

3) The printed version of my tasting guide can be purchased at Cafepress.com for $10.95 USD. Go Get It!

4) As of July 2008, the Tasting Guide has gone Kindle! If you’re hip to Amazon’s ultra-cool techno reader, you can grab the Kindle Edition of the guide directly from Amazon.com for $7.95 USD! Go Get It!

Cheers – and Happy Reading!

Affiliate Program
If you’d like to sell my eBook on your blog or website, I’m offering a whopping 47% of the sales to affiliates! You can check out the details here.

CSW Exam Don’ts

Vinted on January 3, 2008 binned in commentary, wine how to

Happy New Year and greetings from my “snowbird” vacation to southern FL!

I was recently contacted by Kathleen Lisson, a fellow Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Wine Century Club member. Kathleen has started a blog post about tips and approaches for studying for the challenging CSW exam, and asked me to participate by adding my studying tips.

I’ve written about the CSW and other wine certifications before, but had not really detailed my CSW experience. I nearly botched the approach to the CSW exam completely, so I thought I’d write a post in response to Kathleen’s request, so that any readers out there who are contemplating sitting the CSW exam have an idea of what not to do to pass it…

First, a bit of background: I put off the CSW exam for nearly a year. I had intended to sit the exam in Philadelphia in April, and life “got in the way” as they say. Because the Society of Wine Educators (who oversee the exam and certification) administer the exams throughout the U.S., I needed to wait until they sat another CSW exam close to home. That meant waiting until October to take the exam in D.C.

I never ordered the CSW study materials from the SWE. October was fast approaching, and I’d not studied consistently since April. I was definately setting the stage for being totally screwed on this exam.

At the 11th hour, I got a bit smarter about my approach: as a paid member in good standing of the SWE, I had access to their on-line wine academy, which has excellent information and practice exams for the CSW. I crammed, hitting the on-line wine academy hard, taking every pre- and post-test and the CSW practice exam. I took notes along the way and highlighted the areas that gave me trouble during the practice tests, and revisited those to make sure I was more comfortable with that material prior to the exam.

I had one other decent idea before the big exam day arrived: the weather forecast for D.C. was excellent, so I treated my wife to a stay in D.C. (using hotel points). We had dinner at the same restaurant where the CSW (and the more difficult Certified Wine Educator exam) was being held the next day, so I could get familiar with the exam area. So we were able to take a potentially stressful situation and have some fun with it, which dialed down the stress considerably for me.

Come exam day, I felt great, well-fed, and well-rested (being able to sleep just a block or two away at a nice hotel). Unfortunately, the exam started late due to a fire at the SWE building location, but thanks to my low stress level that didn’t phase me too much. When I received my exam results a few weeks later, I was flabbergasted – I did not just pass, but did really well.

I suppose the moral of this story is, if you’re going to sit the CSW:

  • Join the SWE (professional membership will run you about $125 per year) and take advantage of the on-line CSW prep. materials – they’re excellent and some of the exam questions were very, very close to the practice exam questions offered on the SWE on-line academy.
  • Those without any prior wine certifications should consider ordering the CSW study materials. Because the CSW exam questions are of similar difficulty to the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced exam questions, I had a leg up having already sat the WSET exam. But if I’d not had that prior exam experience, I might not have passed the CSW.
  • Just as you would for any difficult test, prepare beforehand and relax the night before. Get a good night’s sleep, and you just might end up looking forward to the test (sort of) the next day!

Cheers!

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.