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Reader Mailbag: Trying New Wine Is A Pain In The Ass

Vinted on October 9, 2014 binned in commentary, wine appreciation
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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!

1WD reader Matt (that’s all your getting, as I don’t have permission to print the person’s full name here) recently wrote to me via an email with a title so intriguing, it sparked the first-ever “reader mailbag” style post on this site in its seven-some-odd-year history:

“Trying New Wine Is A Pain In The Ass”

There’s much juiciness to be squeezed from Matt’s email, so I’ll first reprint it here before addressing Matt’s questions in detail:

“Let me rephrase that… Trying new *quality* wine is a pain in the ass, literally in the wallet. Its all a gamble really and I’d bet that the average person, let alone the active wine drinker wants to bet on a $50 bottle. We are not all in your position where nice wines may be shipped to us for tasting purposes in hopes that you blog about it.

So… My reason for contact is this. Today I read the article, ‘Wine execs are scared of the craft beer and spirits growth.’ You probably read it since its well circulated. Following the gambling terminology, beer and spirits have a relatively low buy-in. If that bet pays off and I like it, then I can opt for the higher price points. Quality wine, on the other hand, does not have this low cost of buy-in. It’s all or nothing and if you get burned once, then you will likely never go all-in on a 50+ bottle again.

I’m curious, do you have any opinions on opportunities of low buy-in options for higher priced wines? The tasting room is the only opportunity I can think of and that is not exactly mass market. When exactly does the average person opt for that $50 bottle cab? marketing fluff? friends advice? impressing the boss? Do wine drinkers randomly buy expensive wines that they have never had before? If not, when are they exposed to them that creates a buying opportunity? I’d love to hear your comments and what your readers may think. I’ve never met a wine I didn’t like… to try. Thanks Joe! Matt.”

Talk about food (or drink?) for thought! And Matt seems to want to hear your responses to all of this as well, so it’s giving us a nice opportunity to argue in the best internecine fashion that is the hallmark of modern wine discourse!

Well, Matt, following are my responses. I hope you don’t mind the delay, I just wanted to share the dialog with a (much) wider audience!…

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Why Everyone Hates Us

Vinted on October 7, 2014 binned in commentary, wine news

Because… well… THIS:

Wine geeks and wine pros are taking it on the chin right now (for a hilarious and totally NSFW example, have a listen to this podcast by Internet comedy icon Maddox). We are accused of just about everything uncool, from being fond of snobbery to displaying nepotism to having bullsh*t jobs to engaging in major douchebaggery.

The image problem, though, is understandable, particularly when we have things like the Lalique “100 Points” leather briefcase by James Suckling and Salvatore Ferragamo, available for $8500 USD. At least you get a couple of bottles of wine with it. Go ahead, watch the video on James’s website. And if you order one, do me a favor and unsubscribe from my blog, okay?

James, why are you doing this to us, bro???

Fellow geeks, please make a good name for yourselves and other wine nerds by not carrying personal stemware around unless there’s a life-changing wine drinking experience expected that evening.

Also, please, please, please don’t wear scarves inside the house!

Cheers!

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For October 6, 2014

Vinted on October 6, 2014 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 12 Bergstrom Sigrid Chardonnay (Willamette Valley): Kind of gorgeous; on second thought, scratch the "kind of" from that statement. $85 A >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Brick House Cascadia Chardonnay (Ribbon Ridge): Pears, peaches, pith, passion, poise, and a whole helluvah lotta crowd-pleasin'. $36 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Brittan Vineyards Chardonnay (Willamette Valley): Well, that got vibrant quickly; will also oblige if you ask it to pass the toast $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Walter Scott Vojtilla Chardonnay (Willamette Valley): Tension, texture, & a textbook case for rich, pithy & mineral WV Chard. $40 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 William Rose Gewurztraminer (Southern Oregon): Balanced scale of rose petals & freshness on 1 hand, honey sweetness on the other. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 William rose Dry Riesling (Southern Oregon): An austere laser beam of crisp, pear-like focus, giving off petrol vapors in its wake $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 08 Matello Whistling Ridge Blanc (Ribbon Ridge): Pithy kitchen sink blend that's been whistling a tasty tune for a number of years. $NA B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Matello Hommage Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Like a mole, moving low & slow; but bright & also light on its little feet, too. $27 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Division Chardonnay (Willamette Valley): Food-friendly to the extreme, but you'd better count yourself as a fan of earthiness 1st. $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Andrew Rich Verbatim Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Young, spicy fruit, with dense muscles, hauling hefty heapings of earth. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Andrew Rich Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Willamette Valley): Grapefruit, wet rocks, & lemongrass with aggressive intentions. $22 B+ >>find this wine<<

Dispatch From Subterranean Hungarian Haunts (Tokaji Kereskedőház Zrt. 1972 Aszú 5 Puttonyos)

Vinted on October 2, 2014 binned in kick-ass wines, on the road, wine review

I don’t want to say that every aspect of my life is firing high on all cylinders right now, because that’s not the case.

BUT

… when you get sent to one of the most beautiful places on the globe to try excellent wines, work hard, then play hard, and get paid well to be yourself, it’s hard to think that like is sucky.

And that’s exactly what happened to me for the latter two weeks or so of September, when I toured Hungary’s famed Tokaji (for which I was not paid), and then spent about seven consecutive days MC-ing a video series that will be used to help launch a campaign on the dry white Furmint wines of the region (for which I was paid).

Our final filming stop took place at Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt., the state-run winemaking outfit that, at a few million bottles of production a year, dwarfs everything else in the region by a factor of, literally, about one thousand (and has not been without recent controversies). The film crew and I were asked to see if we could fit in an interview and tasting at the massive six-kilometer underground cellar and wine library of Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt., hosted by Kiraly Eniko, the company’s General Deputy/CEO (who billed herself, quite rightly, as “Madame Tokaji”).

Now, I hesitated to write about that visit here, because technically I was paid to be there. However, given that none of my tasting comments were scripted, and that the producer and I had veto power over the wines if we felt that they weren’t up to snuff, and that there’s little chance of you getting your grubby little hands on the wine about which I am about to tell you, and that it was one of the seminal tasting experiences of my wine life… sorry, f-ck the minor conflict of interest here. You need to know about how I nearly lost my sh*t over the wine that we tasted in subterranean caverns beneath Tokaji that day…

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