I caught up with Master Sommelier and heavy metal aficionado Fred Dexheimer at the recent Wines of Chile Grand Tasting in NYC (for which I was a media guest) – always a potentially dangerous but certainly joyful occurrence (those who know Fred well will understand what I’m talking about there…) – and managed to get a few minutes on camera with The Dex.
In this episode of 1WD TV, Fred espouses on why Chilean wine is so diverse (hint: it’s due to geography, but probably not in the way that you’re thinking!). And he works in as many heavy metal references as possible.
Ready to get schooled? Have a view!
Can social media be used as tool to drive sales for wine retailers, distributors, and importers?
Yes, I’m seriously asking that question. Stop laughing, okay?
Despite the fact that even well-attended and publicized retail events don’t seem to be moving umpteen cases of wine, the consensus answer seems to be “Yes – with caveats,” based on a panel discussion I took part in recently in New York.
The title of the thirty-minute sessions was Wine Marketing in the Digital Age – I shared the table with with Jody Rones from Thrillist.com (a daily email marketing blast with a ridiculous number of subscribers), Lindsey Johnson from wine PR mavens Lush Life Productions, and Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth.com (Editor in Chief for the one of the largest wine websites in the world – he chaired the session). The panel was part of a sponsored event by Wines of Chile, who concurrently put on a pretty kick-ass grand tasting of something like 300 Chilean wines, of which I had time to taste about twelve before having to hoof it to Penn Station to catch a train back to the ol’ dancin’ waters of Philly.
Thirty minutes isn’t a lot of time to cover such a potentially diverse and broad topic, but it won’t surprise 1WD readers that I said “screw it, I’ll try it anyway!”…
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As if you weren’t sick enough already of my South American wine coverage (and believe me, people it’s not over yet!), in an oddly synchronous but otherwise completely unrelated turn of events, I’ll be a panelist next week at Wines Of Chile’s 2011 Grand Tasting event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC.
There’s both industry and consumer portions, and if you hurry your ass up you might still be able to get in on the action! If you need extra incentive (besides the lure of a lot of wine and food, I mean), some of the proceeds from sales of the consumer event tickets will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s coastlines and beaches, and purchasing a ticket automatically enters you for a chance to win an iPad (I could use one of those myself, come to think of it…).
Here’s the skinny:
This year’s WoC event theme is “A World of Taste,” and in addition to pouring 300 wines from 60 wineries at winery stands, there are four specially themed rooms where you’ll have the opportunity to taste those Chilean wines with different types of foods. There will also be two seminars for the industry side of things (one of which is the panel on which I’ll be sitting, along with Jody Rones from Thrillist.com, Lindsey Johnson from Lush Life and Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth.com, being held 1:30-2PM on the topic of Wine Marketing in the Digital Age).
If you’re going and you’re of the tweeting persuasion, the hashtag will be #tastechile. Event details are below after the jump – hope to see you there!
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Am I crazy for thinking Chilean wines still have way too much pyrazine/green pepper action?
Well… am I???
That’s a question that’s been on my mind lately, especially after taking part in the Wines of Chile red blends on-line tasting recently and finding myself in the minority of participants who found the levels of nettle / green pepper aromas in the reds almost… distracting. The Syrah-based wines showed the most promise (and to me the lower amounts of pyrazine action). In my experience, those green-ish aromas are ok in very, very small quantities, adding hints of interesting smells to the dark fruits and giving reds the occasional bump from “very good” to “astoundingly complex” territory.
Notice I am saying “very very small quantities” and I mean just that – the pyrazines that contribute to those aromas are potent and a little goes a loooooong way, baby.
To be honest, I’m beginning to think that Chile may never really get it totally together on this; it might just be part of their climate, their terroir, their vinous destiny.
Which means that Argentina might be poised to clean Chile’s clock in the South American fine red wine market.
Not all Chilean reds are overly green, and I’m not the only one who thinks that Syrah might be the variety with the brightest (and least green) future in Chile: Michael Cox from Wines of Chile said the same thing during his talk at the recent European Wine Bloggers Conference in Vienna.
BUT… After tasting more and more examples of excellent, complex, and reasonably-priced higher-end red blends from Argentina, I’m growing increasingly more convinced that Argentina’s future is looking rosey… er, make that dark red… and that the one who might suffer most from that success is Chile, at least in the U.S. because consumers here probably don’t prefer the wet blanket of green bell pepper aromas laying all over the dense black fruit of their supple reds.
This all really hit home for me when I caught up with Argentine producer Doña Paula’s Edgardo Del Pópolo, their head Viticulturalist and Operations Manager, for dinner in downtown Philly to taste through their recent releases and generally talk shop. Edgardo didn’t think I was crazy for being turned off by the pyrazines in Chilean reds, but he was a bit more diplomatic about the differences and saw them mostly as complimentary. He did, however, offer this tidbit:
“In South America, we have a saying: shopping for wine here is like shopping at the grocery; in Argentina you get your fruit, and in Chile you get your vegetables…”
Never mind that Doña Paula’s Torrontes is a killer entrant into invigorated the S. American white wine market (it’s got a killer nose of passion and star fruits); their Seleccion de Bodega Malbec is not only proof that Argentina has nailed the dark-fruit-profile red thang, it’s also a great example of how complex (think hints of graphite) and age-worthy Malbec can be in the right hands.
And the pepper? Black, white, but definitely not green. Sign me up, baby.
So… I ask YOU… am I crazy? Shout it out in the comments.
To get you started, here are some of the responses (the serious and not-so-serious!) to that same question when I posed it on twitter and facebook last week…
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