1WineDude.com quietly turns 1 year old today!
I say quietly, because 1) I prefer intimate birthday parties, and 2) while this blog is technically 1 year old, it’s only really been
‘all-grows-up’ since October 2007, when Dude started “taking this blogging thing a bit more seriously,” as they say. Not sure exactly who ‘they’ are, but I’m pretty sure ‘they’ say that.
To celebrate this mini-momentous occasion, I thought that I’d join the time-honored tradition exercised by so many other blogs, musical acts, and aging TV sitcoms by essentially giving myself the day off, and rehashing previously published content!
Kind of like they did on “The Facts of Life” with “throwback” footage, back when it featured George Clooney (by the way, I used to have hair like that… though I think I’ve destroyed most of the photographic proof in an incinerator somewhere in Northern NJ).
So, for your reading pleasure, I offer you Dude’s Greatest Hits: A Collection of the Most Visited Posts from 1WineDude.com…
- Does this Wine Make Me Look Fat? – Apparently a lot of people (and I mean a lot) want to know the answer to that question!
- Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus – But There’s No Such Thing as Sulfite-Free Wine – Dude always takes pleasure is busting up a wine myth; I’m just glad this one helped provide some clarity around the confusing topic of wine allergies and sulfites.
- How To Become a Wine Geek Part II: Taste – This is the post that, while sort of stating the obvious, provided the groundwork for my first eBook.
- The Top 10 Wine Books You Really Need – I should know, I’ve read almost all of ’em!
- Hey, You Like One of Them Thar Some-Yeahs? – Trying to shed some light on the ultra-confusing world of wine education and certifications.
- Making Sense of Wine 2.0 – YOU have the power – now go on out there and make it happen, people!
- Wine Communism: U.S. State’s Non-Compliance to Wine Shipping Laws – One of a few posts that will probably ensure that I am audited on my PA State income taxes for the next 5 years straight.
- 20 Things I Learned About Life from Drinking Wine – A little glass of Wine Zen.
I need to give a special mention to 2 other posts that, while they may not have gotten a substantial amount of website hits, I had to include for historical purposes:
This post, the Dude is offering his review of Joseph Bastianich’s & David Lynch’s weighty tome on all things Italo-wine-related: Vino Italiano.
My review is part of a larger blog-carnival-type effort with near-simultaneous reviews of the same book happening at other wine blogs, called the Wine Book Club. You can check out some of the haps and conversation at the Shelfari book group. For more on the background of WBC, and a bit about the authors of Vino Italiano, check out my previous post on the subject.
You’d think that a 500+ page book would warrant a lengthy review, but that’s simply not the case here (thankfully!). This is mostly due to the well-considered layout of the book.
Vino Italiano is divided into three sections:
- A primer on Italian wine history & wine laws (essential information if you hope to understand an Italian wine label!)
- A tour of each of Italy’s major wine regions in turn, starting with cultural interactions / story-telling, moving to well-written descriptions of the wine styles of the region, and ending with a recommended regional food & wine pairing
- Reference material, including a glossary of Italian wine terminology, and a wine producer directory.
How To Use This Book
Novices will find the first section particularly useful. When you’re dealing with Italian wine, expect to be confused – there’s simply no easy way to deal with it, so you might as well jump right in; this section will help make that jump as painless as possible.
Wine geeks like the Dude here will find the 3rd section the most interesting, if only for a handy reference to remind us what some of the Italian wine label terms mean, or digging up the detail on what is and isn’t permitted in some of the regional quality classifications, etc.
Most people, however, will find the book’s large midsection the most useful. That’s because the authors of Vino Italiano know what the Italians know: the only way to truly appreciate Italy’s regional wine treasures in full is to experience them as part of a larger picture – that picture including a unique blend of regional culture, history, and (most importantly) food.
The majority of Italian wines are meant to be consumed with their regional gustatory counterparts – the recipe and wine pairings (provided by Lidia Bastanich and household-name Mario Batali) at the end of each chapter are not after-thoughts – they are essential components if you want to “get” Italian wine. Personally, I’ve been hoping to try the Spagheti alla Luganica and Anglianico del Vulture pairing (see pgs. 330-331). If you don’t get hungry at some point when reading Vino Italiano, then you’re missing the point.
You needn’t read the book cover-to-cover – the book is structured so that skipping around to read about a particular region will give you a perfectly good understanding of that region and its wines.
Buy It or Skip It?
Buy it. Vino Italiano is well-written (Dude majored in English Lit. in undergrad, so he does not offer that sort of praise lightly!), and its harmonious blend of regional Italian culture, food, and wine make it a winner. It’s also a book that will provide benefit for a wine lover at nearly every stage of his/her wine knowledge development. This is one of the few instances where a book’s many accolades (on the jacket, and in its on-line user reviews) are well-deserved.
Cheers, and happy reading!
Greetings from PA, where we are digging out after a bout of winter weather; not the worst we’ve seen by a long shot, but the first significant winter storm we’ve seen all season – very, very late for these parts. I’m not going to jump the gun and blame global warming just yet… but… you gotta wonder…
Speaking of Global Warming
Wine Spectator reported this week on “The Gore-ical” giving the wine industry props for its efforts to Go Green, thus helping to preserve the environment and stave off some of our contribution to turning the Earth into a hothouse. I recently gave props to Domaine547 for going green, so we’ve got some good examples where this is impacting the thinking all the way through the wine retail chain. But so far, no one has called me the Dude-ical.
I got my first real in-yo-face close up with global warming in Samburu, Kenya a few years ago. One afternoon while staying at the Elephant Watch Camp, we hiked up the river. Literally, up the river – as in, walking up the middle of the river. This was very easy because there was no water from the higher elevations to actually fill the river bed, because the ‘short rains’ never came. The locals explained to me how this was possibly linked to global warming, and as I watched the animals dig like mad to get themselves a drink, I decided that I wanted to punch anyone that told me that global warming was bullsh*t in the face. Not that Dude is an angry person…
Don’t Get Mad, Get Quoted
While we’re doling out props, let’s give some down-home Dude praise to Tom Wark, who was quoted (yet again!) by Business Wire this week in his fight against the monopolist practices in wine distribution. Anyone who thinks that the wine distributors’ claim that they are maintaining their monopoly to keep alcohol out of the mouths of minors is anything more than a greedy witch hunt needs to check out Tom’s blog.
“The American alcohol distributors’ calls for shutting down all direct to consumer wine shipments is a self-serving ruse demonstrated by the fact that if they really cared about minor access to wine, they would call for the shutting down of the channel of sales through which minors are most likely to obtain alcohol: brick and mortar alcohol sales. Rather, we only hear calls to shut down direct shipment of wine, the channel through which distributors don’t make money.“
(Even More) Power to the People!
Decanter reported that two self-published works picked up U.K. Andre Simon book prizes. That gives some very serious street cred to the self publishing phenomenon (and maybe even to the Wine 2.0 movement). Oh, yeah – the books were also from U.S. authors (whew-hew!).
She’s So… Heeeeeavy….
Speaking of Decanter, and the U.K., the likes of Jancis Robinson and Oz Clarke railed out against a trend from luxury winemakers to bottle wines in what they (Jancis & Oz, not the winemakers) claim are needlessly heavy bottles. Score another hit for the movement against climate change, since heavier bottles = more energy to ship + higher shipping costs (passed on to you and me who are buying the stuff).
Speaking of Weights…
Those of us who brave the epicurean world to bring you our take on food & wine will undoubtedly want to check out this article from the Times online, which details how critics, chefs, and others in the food industry fight the after-effects of their foodie passions. Considering that wine doesn’t have fat, but does have calories (mostly from its alcohol content), us wine bloggers & wine drinkers should take note. The good news is, we’re not alone! Now, go get on that treadmill.
Ancient Land, New Wines
The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating piece this week on the quality revolution underway in Israel’s wine industry. Dude had an opportunity to taste some Israeli wine not too long ago during a visit in London, and he was mighty impressed. Watch this space, we could be seeing some exciting stuff as this very old world land makes some new-world styled wines.
A Moment of Silence
This past week we mourned the loss of Jamie Davis, co-founder of Schramsberg Vineyards. Jamie Davis was a pioneer, a bit like the Robert Mondavi of American sparkling wine.
That’s all for now. Until next week’s edition – cheers!
The Main Domaine
For some time now, I’ve been digging the blog stylings of 1WineDude.com friend Jill over at domaine547.com. The domain457 on-line wine store has recently gone green, which is a move always viewed favorably by the Dude. Not that my opinion on green livin’ matters in the grand scheme of things. But it’s worth some props!
One of the especially cool things about an on-line wine retailer that also participates actively in wine blogging, is that they can leverage the knowledge of the “wine blogosphere collective hive mind” to construct a killer wine selection. Not sure if anyone is also considering leveraging the knowledge of the “wine blogosphere collective hive mind” to attempt an evil plan at world domination, but if I hear about that, I will definitely blog it (but it will probably still only get, like, at most 3 diggs…).
Anyway, constructing a killer wine selection is exactly what domaine547 has done. Case in point: they’ve got a special category in their product line up called Wine Blogger Sampler Packs. These packs are made up of wines recommended by the wine blogging community, including selections from the likes of BrooklynGuy Loves Wine. Some very intriguing stuff is in them there packs; wish I could order some and have them delivered to PA… but… alas…
domaine547 is kindly offering a 5% discount to 1WineDude.com readers – so check out their store and take advantage of the savings! (Use coupon code “dude” during checkout).
Wine 2.0 in Yo Face
Oh, got another tidbit for ya: this week has seen the launch of a wine-peeps facebook-style online community called the OpenWine Consortium. I signed up as user #20-something. Their now up to 200+ members in only a few days – explosive growth.
It’s a great mish-mash of wine consultants, wine industry folks, wineries, wine bloggers, and wine lovers. New groups / discussions are popping up like mad, such as this one for WSET students (wish I’d had access to that kind of brain power when I took my WSET exams!). Check it out – join up and get yerself a little bit of Wine 2.0!