Why Yes, I Think I Will Have That Beer (Dispatch From The 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition)

By now, the results of the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition should be available for your perusal. Once again I had the pleasure of being one of the hired hands on deck to judge at SFIWC, this being my second time donning the white lab coat for this famous event, celebrating its 35th (!) year.

sfiwc 2015 judges

SFIWC 2015’s cast of judging characters, flanking competition organizers Anthony Dias Blue & Chandler Moore (seated, center). Total slacker seated far left. (image: Charles Communications)

I have much love and praise for SFIWC, which has got to be one of the best-run wine competitions in North America (and, in my own personal experience, globally), thanks in no small part to the efforts of the tough, mighty, and inimitable Chandler Moore, who, behind the scenes, pretty much ensures that all runs smoothly, and makes the entire SFIWC “go” without a hitch.

This year, I felt a little more at home, a little more accomplished as a wine comp judge (having had quite a few more under my belt since last year’s event), and a little more of an “insider” (getting invited to the traditional local watering hole for beers after each day of “work” was, I thought, I sort of mini rite of passage… also, I fell compelled to point out that nothing – nothing – tastes better than a good beer after a full day of judging wine).

Because I am a geek, mental notes were taken on some of the blind-tasted wines that I found particularly interesting from my own panel’s days at the SFIWC “office,” so I’ve highlighted some of those Double Gold selections (receiving unanimous Gold medal awards from all of our panel members) below, after the jump. These are not necessarily the wines that performed the best in our panels or the comp. in general, but stood out to me as being particularly noteworthy / enjoyable / made me wanna get my buzz and swervy on, etc.

Let the reco’s commence!…

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I’m Not A Hungarian Wine Expert, But I Play One On The Internet (FurmintUSA Video Series Shortlisted For 2015 Online Video Awards)

Vinted on July 1, 2015 binned in wine news

Earlier this week, I was fondly recalling my little Hungarian jaunt and missing the camaraderie (and the vino!) of the film and production team that made that video series happen (we all stayed together in an old mansion in Tokaj, so it was sort of like a big fraternity house, only done high-end with, amazing Hungarian wine instead of Natty Bo beer…).

smartfilm 1

The SmartFilm crew, hard at work in Tokaj

God bless the Internet: a mere couple of days later, I get pinged by one of those former comrades, Juhász Bálint, to let me know that his company, and the modest video series that we put together while in Tokaj, were shortlisted for Hungary’s 2015 Online Video Awards, in the category of Branded Short Film Series (at least, I think that’s the category… it’s not as if Hungarian is an easy language!).

smartfilm 2

“Oh, you need a corkscrew for these?”

I want to wish luck to my Hungarian cronies; they deserve the recognition, and their work, work ethic, and professionalism and generally awesome demeanor continually impressed me.

Sok szerencsét, my friends!

To view the entire series of our Furmint Adventures, check out 1winedude.com/tag/furmintusa and www.FurmintUSA.com.





Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For June 29, 2015

Vinted on June 29, 2015 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!

  • 10 Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Rockfall Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): Tobacco, lit up by flint, graphite, and grip. $100 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay (Alexander Valley): They don't come much bigger, folks. They also don't come much better. $75 A >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Terrace Ridge Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (Alexander Valley): Waiting for the finish? Keep waiting! $35 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Cadaretta Windthrow (Columbia Valley): That wind is throwing plenty of plum jam, meat, and fennel your way, apparently. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Ramey Claret (Napa Valley): An easy-going palate that doesn't quite compete with the package's elegant, aromatic complexity. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Melville Block M Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills): M might as well stand for Monster, in all of the best senses of the moniker. $60 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast): Complex, capable, & moody; downright unapologetic about all of it. $55 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley): Well, somebody here fancies themselves to be a Northern Italian native… $18 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Lange Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley): Intellectually bright & peppery, but has some smooth sweet talk, too. $34 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Montenisa Franciacorta Brut Rose (Franciacorta): Tart red berry elegance in motion; but alas, a dance that ends all too soon. $42 B+ >>find this wine<<



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