(images: jacop.net, pocketpcmag.net)
Warning: If you consider yourself a wine snob, or are easily offended (or both), then I am about to lose you as a friend with this post.
Because I am here to tell you that “Fruit Bombs” (those wines made in a style that deliberately dials up the varietal fruit and shoves it right into your face) are OK.
No, really, I’m serious. They’re OK.
Yes, they really are. YES, they ARE.
Now, before I explain why Fruit Bombs are OK, I need to tell you a little about Jaco Pastorius (stick with me – this will all makes sense in a minute or two)…
Jaco Pastorius is widely considered to be the father of modern jazz bass playing. Often he is cited as the best jazz bassist to have ever lived (if not the best electric bassist ever, period). If, like me, you’re a bass player, then you have to be inspired at least a little bit by Jaco’s amazing playing and harmonious blend of musicality, technique, humor, and inventiveness – if not, you’d better have your pulse checked, ’cause you might be dead.
In the music biz, Jaco was just as famous for his quips as he was for his bass licks. Among his best: “women, children, and rhythm section first,” “it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!” and my personal favorite, “I am not here to raise hippy consciousness, I am here to wet some panties.”
Artistic Harmony is Important (Especially in Wine)
The key to Jaco’s success was how well he blended all of the different elements of his musical abilities together into a coherent whole. You may not like jazz, but if you’re really listening, you can’t help but admire the genuineness and balance.
When I’m drinking wine, I’m looking for the same things: genuineness and balance. I may not like the style, but I will admire those elements, if they exist in the wine. Because a winemaker who is really trying will give you the most of those things that are possible given the winemaking conditions, raw materials/grapes, and other resources s/he has on command for that vintage.
Don’t Dis Based on Style – Dis Based on Lack of Harmony
Fruit Bombs are nothing more than a style of winemaking. Do I think many of them suck? Sure I do. Do I prefer them to more subtle-flavored wine choices? Usually not. But I don’t write them off on the whole any more than I would tell you that all country music sucks just because I’m not a fan of the genre in general.
Making a wine is a bit like fiddling with the EQ on your stereo. Crank up the bass and extreme treble all the way, and most of your music will sound like shit. And the bad, disingenuous music? That will sound even worse. In winemaking, if you crank up the fruit, you’d better make sure that you’re also cranking up the structure (acidity, tannin, oak, etc.) to some degree, so that you’re providing a balance and giving the disparate elements in the wine the best chance to come together as a cohesive whole. Or most likely your wine will taste like shit.
Wine is Music to Your Mouth
A wine, even an inexpensive one, should be like music to your palate – and the Brittany Spears of wine is inherently no better than Joni Mitchell of wine, depending on which one you’re most into.
So let’s not write off the fruit bombs, people. Let’s write off the disingenuous wines that don’t have internal harmony.
I am not here to raise wine consciousness, I am here to whet some palates!
Welcome to the post-Valentine’s Day Hangover edition of the Weekly Wine Web Wrap-up (where Dude highlights some of his favorite wine news items over the past week)!
Is it Getting Hot in Here, or is it Just Me?
You’d have been hard-pressed (ha-ha) to miss stories this week about the impact of global warming on the wine world, such as this nice article from the AFP. According to the report, the French in particular are in big trouble. The article does not state how the U.S. will save France this time around (we can only assume America will want to go for the “Bail France Out Trifecta” having already performed that service when France was threatened by phylloxera, and zee Germans…).
And the Winner Is…
Once again, Gallo is tops in U.S. domestic wine sales, shipping an estimated 66 million cases in America during 2007. That’s about 792 million bottles of wine, or 59.4 billion ml of our favorite beverage. The only comparison to that in the scientific world in terms of concentration is spermatozoa. Yuck. OK, let’s just agree to forget that I said that…
Looks like Tennessee is trying to do things right when it comes to Internet wine sales, according to this little blurb on TriCities.com. The article even cites the benefits that the state can reap by opening up their markets to Internet and mail-order wine sales. When will the other states listen to reason? Tennessee is showin’ you folks how it’s done (with good ol’ Southern hospitality)!
By contrast, Colorado is getting it way wrong, as liquor stores and grocery stores battle it out to see who will get the Sunday liquor business from the state’s consumers. Can’t we all just get along?
Never Judge An Appellation by its Label
If you think total wine consumption and wine sales are the only titles the U.S. is battling the French and Italians over for the #1 spot, you’ve obviously missed this SanLuisObispo.com article on the debate over proposed changes to their appellations’ wine labels. Because now it appears that CA is trying to catch up France & Italy in the battle of who has the most complex appellation and labeling laws. Drat.
The WORST News EVER!
This story is, like, the worst news EVER! I can’t even finish reading it… Oh the humanity!!! Close your eyes, Marion! Keep your eyes SHUT!!!
Searching for Wine 2.0
Finally, the San Francisco Chronicle has given some nice publicity to Doug Cook’s new wine search engine venture AbleGrape.com. Right On!!!
In January of 2008, I began to get into the Wine 2.0 conversation and started to post wine reviews on twitter. For those of you not familiar with twitter, it’s essentially a ‘micro-blogging’ platform that allows you to post short updates about what’s happening in your life. And when I say short, I mean it – there’s a 140 character limit enforced on each post (hence, the ‘micro’ part).
At about the same time, I also began participating in another form of Wine 2.0 wine review expression at Chateau Petrogasm, where no words are used – you review a wine with a sole image of your choosing.
You might expect that a limit of 140 characters (or 0 characters) would be, well, limiting. So far, I’ve found just the opposite to be true. Both processes have been far from limiting – in fact, they’ve been downright liberating.
When you’re forced to boil down your reactions and thoughts in just a few words (or no words), you chose what you’re going to say very, very carefully.
No scores. No detailed history of wines, regions, or winemakers. No BS. Just you and your deepest reactions to the wine!
Well, that, and the opportunity to write short, pithy posts – which is borderline irresistible to me…
For those of you not of the twitter persuasion, I’ve added a sidebar to the blog that will list my most recent wine ‘mini-reviews.’ I’ve also created this post, which will link to the twitter page and the RSS feed, and will show the last several mini-reviews I’ve posted. I will keep this post linked from the top menu as well – if nothing else, just to see how the mini-reviews evolve over time.
Hope you enjoy the recommendations (and heed the advice on the plonk to avoid)!
How to get the 1WineDude twitter wine Mini-Reviews:
And it’s not because the object of your desire becomes more desirable after you’ve put on the “wine goggles.”
According to a survey jointly sponsored by the Australian Wine Council and on-line dating service Match.com, having a healthy knowledge of the world’s most romantic beverage makes you more attractive, with those people preferring Italian wines being viewed as particularly “sexy” and “stylish.”
There’s still plenty of time for you to order up a copy of Vino Italiano and join us for the first Wine Book Club. Just sayin’…
Wine X Magazine (as reported by autumnilia) backs up the “wine = sexier” conclusion in an interview with sexpert Dr. Ruth, who tells us that wine is an essential element of foreplay (she prefers Beaujolais Nouveau, gewurztraminer, and CA white, so those may be some of the sexiest wine choices, seeing as how she’s a sexpert and whatnot- again, just sayin’).
Finally – If you’re totally desperate on this most Hallmark of holidays, Yahoo! Answers has a thread about what wine choices make a drinking partner appear the most attractive. Chianti and Sake got the nods there. Just sayin’.
Happy Valentine’s Day!