Staying Classy with bubbles in San Diego
Once again, I had both the pleasure and the honor of judging at the annual Critics Challenge wine competition, held in (stay classy!) San Diego and helmed by WineReviewOnline.com‘s Robert Whitley. This year, I was paired up with talented author Linda Murphy (whose book American Wine you should absolutely check out, because it kicks all kinds of ass).
Critics Challenge is top-notch, with excellent, experienced judges and a killer-good volunteer crew (yeah, I don’t understand why they keep inviting me back, either). So the results should, I’d argue, be taken seriously, and you can check out the full list of 2018 medal winners right now at http://www.criticschallenge.com/results.htm.
I wanted to highlight the wines that Linda and I collectively awarded Platinum, as there are some fantastic wines – several of which are surprising bargains – in that lineup of winners. This is why we judge them blind, folks! Fortunately for all of us, picking up many of these wines won’t make the bank account seem appreciably lighter…
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sushi – it’s not just for Pinot anymore
Recently, I was invited for a media-lunch-tasting-type-thingy in Philly with the affably hippie-ish-appearing Greg Morthole, who has been making wines for the Davis Bynum label since 2010. Davis Bynum wa purchased by Rodney Strong in 2007, and before that was a bit of a Sonoma-area legend, based on its eponymous founder.
That Davis Bynum (who passed away in 2017) is literally the daddy of Russian River Valley single-vineyard Pinot Noir, having harvested the first ever such varietal wine in 1973. Bynum got his start as a home winemaker in the 1950s, went pro in the 1960s, and at times had vineyard land in Napa and handshake grape deals with the Rochioli clan. And those last two sentences are a gross oversimplification of why Bynum’s name is well-regarded in the vinous world; I mean, this is also the former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who famously bought a box of grapes from Robert Mondavi for less than $2, once employed the about-as-legendary winemaker Gary Farrell, and used to haul grapes to his Albany winery in a 1946 Studebaker flatbed.
Morthole speaks fondly of Bynum, and if he’s suffering from any pressure-related performance anxiety related to making wines under Bynum’s name, he doesn’t betray an iota of it in his laid-back, California dude demeanor. Here’s what we tasted together over bites of Zama Sushi in Philly (and, yeah, Pinot works with sushi, depending on how earthy a cut you order, and how reserved your application of wasabi is…)…
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Next Monday (or June 11, 2018, at the time of this writing), will mark the final run of the Wine Mini-Review Round-Up posts in their current incarnation here on 1WineDude.
After that date, the corresponding “broadcast-only” twitter account associated with those reviews, 1WineDudeReview, will no longer be maintained. Mini-reviews will also no longer be posted to the 1WineDude twitter account, LinkedIn, or to the 1WD account on the Book of Face.
I originally began reviewing wines on twitter (and, as far as I’m aware, I might have been the first person to do so) about a decade ago, in an attempt to both a) provide an additional outlet for an increasing number of wine samples and tastings that came my way, and b) have some fun trying to cram something pithy, meaningful, and edu-taining about a wine in 140 characters.
Over the years, it’s become increasingly difficult to maintain those reviews across multiple social media accounts, automate the reproduction of the mini-reviews on to the “traditional” blog format here (hey, twitter: “thanks” for shutting off the RSS feeds years ago… for which you can totally suck my white ass!), and try to keep all of that content within manageable numbers while also providing links to finding those wines for the curious, and dealing with the advent of twitter reducing the fun in the exercise by increasing its update character count.
After all of these years, we are just way overdue for a change-up with respect to all of the above. Like, years overdue, at this point.
Here are how things will look moving forward with respect to the whole Mini-Review thang…
- A weekly list of short wine reviews (in Mini-Review format) will appear here on 1WD, with more direct and vintage-specific links to where the wines can be found for purchase.
- Like all 1WD posts, a link to the article will be cross-posted to twitter, FB, etc.; but If you want ’em, you’ll need to come here to get `em!
- I will finally be posting stuff to Instagram (probably just good old-fashioned wine recommendations, and not formal reviews).
So… hopefully this is all fairly clear, and those of you who are following the reviews at 1WineDudeReview won’t get too pissed-off (if so, refunds for your $0.00 outlay are available at any time).
In any case, there will be similar content, just probably more of it (which means more wines to talk about here!), and with extra wiggle-room on each wine for my bizarre commentary.