Well… I’m not exactly sure how to follow up that title, so let’s just jump into it; forthwith are the Wine.Answers.com articles I published this past month:
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Portuguese Wine – I’m scheduled to do some touring (and speaking) in Portugal in November, and in boning up on all things Portuguese for that trip, I came across a few trivia tidbits that fascinated me (because, well, I am a nerd).
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Chablis– My next contribution over at Snooth.com will be a vinous tour of some of the levels of Chablis. As a primer, here are some interesting facts about the wine snob’s wine snob’s favorite Chardonnay region. Yes, I did two of these in September; sorry, I have so much fun learning as I research them that I can’t help myself, alright?
This year, I was once again a media guest for the unveiling of the 2014 edition of the Great 50, this time selected by Wine & Spirits magazine guru Joshua Greene, and held at the (incredible) NYC Public Library. I spent quite a bit of time tasting at this year’s event, so much so that I nearly doubled my usually paltry number of wines tasted (the low amount on average is a function of two things: 1) I am slow, because I think rapid-tasting of wines is an insane endeavor, and I’ve come to question the validity of ratings/reviews that come out of only spending a few seconds with a wine, and 2) I’m a gadfly, and spend much of my time at these events chatting people up).
I also spent a few minutes talking with Joshua about the selection process used for this year’s list. You can download our brief chat, or listen via the embed/link below. You’ll find Joshua’s process interesting, and no doubt there’s ample fodder there for further discussion. But given there’s a sh*t-ton of interesting wines to tell you about, I’m going to leave our chat to speak for itself, and get right into the juice…
Axel (a.k.a. “Herr Plane” now to 1WD readers) contacted me shortly after that article went live (he wasn’t aware that I was going to mention him) to thank me for the shout-out, and also to share two of the most unique and interesting pictures of Portugal that I’ve ever seen.
Axel kindly agreed to let me share these amazing photos with the world, and I can promise you that it’s a view of Porto and the Douro that 99.99% of you reading this have never seen, since they were taken from a flyover in a Luftwaffe fighter jet! Unless it involved bikini-clad models with machine guns, capes, and world-saving super-powers parachuting out of the planes in the picture, I’m lost as to how these pics could get any more bad-ass awesome.
Axel’s quick explanation of the photos:
“Please find some fotos attached which mix Port and flying quite nicely. On the first you see Dirk Niepoorts Quinta do Napoles below and the other is overhead Vila Nova de Gaia/ Porto.”
Enjoy the eye-popping awesomeness after the jump, the kind of awesome that can only be had by combining war machines and Port, the kind of awesome that totally smokes what you now previously thought was an awesome screen grab from your ten-hour marathon session of Call Of Duty: Ghosts (let these shots be a reminder that you really need to get out more often, okay?).
If you’re a wine lover, and particularly a Port lover, consider your awesomeness quotient for the week fulfilled…
I’m happy to report that the competition was both fun and well-run, apart from having to reuse stemware (and the tendency of some of my amiable panel-mates to fall into native Portuguese when discussing the results of each wine, which meant that in some cases I only understood that they were arguing – or agreeing – about a wine’s relative merits). I’m not so happy to report that the Portuguese still seem hell-bent on pushing Touriga Nacional as their flagship red wine grape, despite the fairly well-accepted notions that a) the TN wines, while potentially excellent and long-lived, are acquired tastes and are largely inferior to their blended counterparts, and b) Dão and Douro are a lot easier to pronounce for most English-speakers. Just sayin’.
Since many of you have no visibility into how these competitions work, I should share that no two wine competitions are run identically (at least not in my growing experience with them), and in this case our panel consisted of a couple of international judges (duh), and mostly folks from the Portuguese wine industry (Port, Madeira, etc.), headed up by a Portuguese winemaker as our panel chief (charged with keeping us all in line).
We tasted all of the wines blind, and then inputted our opinions electronically into a PC via drop-down boxes for various categories of evaluation (one of which, confusingly, was typicity, even though we tasted blind and weren’t told what we were evaluating). The drop-down choices translated in the system as numeric scores, which then translated into a medal (gold, silver, bronze, or no award).
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