Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For March 7, 2016

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!

  • 09 Piccini Chianti Classico Riserva (Chianti Classico): A relatively inexpensive way to get whisked off to the Tuscan hillsides. $21 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Santi Pinot Grigio Sortesele (Sortesele): Melons and stones; not much else, but this one hits the mark when it comes to ...

February 2016 Wine Product Roundup (Also… Late…)

In the words of the Violent Femmes, “it’s just a habit.” Seriously, this late-monthly-product-review thing is becoming a bit embarrassing. But late again I am, because, well, my life is kind of bonkers. Awesome, but bonkers. Anyway, today I present my take on another wine product sample, a take that was technically meant to be published last month, but technically I got all, like, too busy an’ stuff. TribellaThis last month, I gave a sample of the Tribella wine aerator (about $40) the once-over. Tribella is the brain-child of Skip Lei, who wrote to me that the product is an attempt to “complete the circuit of beauty from the bottle to the glass; My simple goal was to make the wine the hero, not some device.” Simple, maybe, but loftily stated. At this point, you might be almost as sick of wine aerator products as I am, ...
Tribella 2

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 29, 2016

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!

  • 14 Stinson Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Monticello): Virginia scores a vibrant goal, proudly displaying the grass stains of its victory $24 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Lieb cellars Reserve Cabernet Franc (North Fork of Long Island): Such a dark, earthy, peppery – but a shade too woody ...

Lights, Camera, Non-Douchebaggery (Ehlers Estate Recent Releases)

“I was delayed, I was way-laid
An emergency stop
I smelt the last ten seconds of life…” – The Smiths, “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Sometimes getting a late start can be a good thing. At least, that’s the kind of thing that I like to tell myself when I finally get around to writing up a tasting almost five months after it happened. Take Ehlers Estate winemaker Kevin Morrisey’s foray into Napa Valley viticulture as an example. Originally from Media, PA, he began his winemaking career at the age of thirty-five, when he enrolled at UC Davis to study oenology. Prior to that, Morrisey was a junior Hollywood cameraman, slugging out a living behind the lens in Paris and Los Angeles.
Kevin Morrisey

Kevin Morrisey (image: ehlersestate.com)

When I met him for a tasting lunch in NYC late in 2015, he struck me ...
crowd pleaser
Ehlers seafood tower
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Putting More Than A Cork In It (Talking Alternative Wine Closures For Fix.com)

fix.com closures

image: Fix.com

1WD is no stranger to the geeky details of alternative wine closures (see previous thoughts on touring the Nomacorc synthetic cork plant, my write-up about screwcap closures for Publix Grape, and an introduction to cork alternatives penned for Answers.com). Some of us find shizz like that to be fascinating… potentially unhealthy, argue-about-it-vehemently-over-many-drinks levels of fascinating (that’s why they call us “geeks). The other 99.99% of wine drinkers probably (ok, definitely) don’t spend anywhere near as much time pondering the developments in the alternative closure scene; it is for them (the normal people) that my latest Fix.com article has been penned. In this info-graphic-laden entry, we take a look at traditional cork, “technical” cork, glass stoppers, synthetic cork, and screwcaps, the Pros and Cons of which are all brought to colorful life by the Fix.com crew. Full embeddable graphic below ...

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 22, 2016

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!

  • 13 Bonny Doon Vineyard Syrah Le Pousseur (Central Coast): Compelling in its peppery litheness, for those who prefer a lighter touch. $26 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc Reserve (Arroyo Seco): A toasty, burning ember of concoction, ignited by flint and ...

Alcohol Probably Isn’t Good For You (But Don’t Start Crying Just Yet)

Recently, a 1WD reader wrote in to ask me what I thought about the recent spate of news indicating that alcohol is bad for your health. Here’s his initial correspondence, which he gave me permission to share with you all:
Hey, Dude,
I was reading a few articles in Decanter for class when I came across one (admittedly attention-grabbing) article. The UK’s equivalent of the Surgeon General has apparently decided there’s “no safe level of drinking”. She has also cut the guideline maximum for men weekly to 14 units (a unit is approximately 2.5 US fluid ounces of 13% abv wine). Here is the article: http://www.decanter.com/wine-news/uk-alcohol-guidelines-no-safe-drinking-level-as-daily-limit-cut-287142/.

To put it mildly, I think this is complete and utter bullshit. It’s not that I think moderate alcohol consumption is bad–far from it. Indeed, I think there are people who should try to avoid alcohol completely, including those who have ...

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 15, 2016

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!

  • 13 Hourglass HG III (Napa Valley): Spicy chocolates for everyone! A second wine that isn't going to stand for playing second fiddle. $50 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Maybe the finest Estate release that they've yet bottled. Ok, not 'maybe....

You’re Welcome (Hangover Prevention At Fix.com)

Fix.com hangovers

image: fix.com

You’re welcome. No, seriously, you’re going to thank me later. Because my latest for Fix.com, titled How to Avoid a Hangover, is now live, and reading it just might save you some future pain. What I found most fascinating in researching our collective attempts at trying to both prevent and stem the effects of hangovers is that, despite some heroic scientific efforts, we have moved the bar very little distance on the matter over the last one hundred years or so. That apparent lack of progress isn’t attributable to poor science so much as it is the work of evil spirits bent on causing us pain and suffering. Er, actually, it’s a reflection of the complex chemical processes involved when our bodies imbibe (and imbibe, and imbibe, and imbibe…) and process alcohol. If, as Socrates supposedly said, true knowledge exists in knowing that you know ...

And Then, Apparently Everyone Went Insane (Wine Competitions 2016)

“As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy… me… or everyone else.” – Max Rockatansky, Mad Max: Fury Road

TexSom 2016

image: texsomiwa.com

I think the wine judging world has officially gone batsh*t crazy. More on that in a minute. As many of you might have already surmised from my recent updates on The Book of Face, my recent press jaunt to Madeira was, from a tasting perspective, extraordinary. So, there will likely be much more info. to come from that trip soon (after I catch up on writing up some Napa shizzle from the fourth quarter of 2015). Today, however, I am still reeling (in positive ways) from finally getting my hiney to Madeira, and am just dropping a quick line to let you know about two upcoming wine competitions in which I’ll be ...
Critics Challenge 2016

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 8, 2016

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 Rodney Strong Alexander's Crown Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): A ripe, juicy, displaying-its-power kind of a crown. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Robert Keenan Winery Mailbox Vineyard Reserve Merlot (Spring Mountain District): Wait for this dark, juicy fist to slowly un-flex. $68 A- >>find ...

January 2016 Wine Product Roundup (A Bit Late…)

Ok, so I am a weeeeeee bit late on the wine product round-up for January 2016 (I blame travel, and drinking, both of which constitute “work” in my bizarre-but-fantastic life). This month, I’ve got only one product to feature; a small one, with a relatively big price, and even bigger aspirations: Vagnbys Wine Decantiere ($44). Vagnbys Wine DecantiereThe Decantiere is billed as a “7-in-1” wine accessory, but I am having trouble fulling understanding what all seven of those functions are supposed to be, so I will rattle off the ones that I am sure that thing does after giving it the once-over in the 1WD test kitchen:
  • Non-drip Pourer
  • Aerator
  • Filter (for sediment, etc.)
  • Stopper (for storage)
That’s probably good enough… Anyway, it’s made of stainless steel, TPR, PP and silicone, and seems pretty easy to clean (though I’ve not given it a go with a wine that had serious sediment, ...

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 1, 2016

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!

  • 13 Bonny Doon Vineyard The Heart Has Its Rieslings (California): Prancing to capture the hearts of both geeks & imbibers alike. $16 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vinferno (Arroyo Seco): If this honeyed nectar is hell, then I'm all for having a laugh ...

Yeah, I Am Gonna Eat That (Dispatch From Sicily With Zonin 1821’s Gastronomy Experience)

Sicily shore Last year, I did a sort of double-dip on the Italian wine community. I traveled on a media tour to Asti in the north (to eat fried cow brain and other fantastically odd delicacies, while getting immersed in all things Ruchè). And, since I was in Italy anyway, I was taken on another media tour with Zonin 1821, wrapping around the southern coast of Sicily on a trip with other wine writers and sommeliers. Because, well, Italy. The Sicily jaunt focused specifically on pairing the various wine brands under the Zonin umbrella with artisan fare from producers of some of the world’s most authentic ancient grain pasta; its historic chocolates; its mind-(and-adrenaline-)blowing coffee; its unparalleled seafoods; and its almost life-alteringly-good cheeses. I’d thought about if/how/when I was going to write about this trip, but Zonin one-upped me and put together this amazing video of the trip, which ...
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Deliella Feudo Principi di Butera

Why Is It Always Someone Else’s Fault? (Thoughts On Slipping Wine Sales)

Dr Who told you so One of the staples of my recent speaking gigs to wine marketing types has been that wine, having achieved extraordinary success in the USA in recent years, are now a big target. A small example: During a speaking gig at Taste Washington, I remember seeing the beer brand stands at the event and laughing to myself. Someone next to me at the time (who was involved in the organization of the event) asked me what was amusing me, and I answered “the beer stands.”
“But why are they funny? They’re great sponsors!” “I’m sure that they are,” I answered, “because this is one of the cheapest and best ways for them to steal wine customers that I have ever seen!”

I’ve been preaching (let’s call it what it is, after all) for the last couple of years that everyone is going to be gunning for wine: ...

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For January 25, 2016

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!

  • 14 Brennan Vineyards Reserve Viognier (Texas): Cantaloupe cream and vanilla bean; bring on the scallops, but maybe hold the praline. $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • 13 La Pitchoune Holder Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Wanna catalog its red berries & spices? Plan on it taking ...

Furmint Adventures Episode 13: Holdvölgy Winery

Holdvölgy Winery

Coolest labels in the biz?

We’ve got a brand new episode in my ongoing Furmint Adventures series, this time exploring the modern-take-on-tradition that is Holdvölgy Winery. That modern take on well-proven styles isn’t just part of the winemaking; it’s literally built into the winery operation itself, as you’ll clearly see from the video that the FurmintUSA folks have expertly put together (what you won’t see are the outtakes, in which we explored the massive cellar system at Holdvölgy, and filmed several takes of me running up and down long, steep, narrow flights of stairs… I swear that I will enact my revenge on the film crew in some way for this…). You will also get a glimpse at what might be one of the coolest label designs in the business right now. Furmint Adventures – Episode 13: Holdvölgy Winery Cheers!
Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more ...

Wine Blogging Is Dead! Again! Long Live Wine Blogging!

Tom Wark recently asked me to chime in for an article he was considering for his blog, on the topic of whether or not interest in wine blogs was waning. I offered my views, some of which are quoted in his thoughtfully-considered piece.
Grape Collective SpeakEasy

Alive, though maybe not totally well (image: Grape Collective)

As to whether or not I agree with Tom that wine blogging has “died without a funeral,” I think we first have to ask ourselves if wine blogging is inherently different from other niche blogging topics. If we accept that it isn’t (in the same way that, say, DVRs aren’t inherently different from one another – they all basically do the same thing at the core, which is record broadcast video media), then Tom is also asking if niche blogging is dead. To which I would say, No, it’s not dead. This is the kind of question that ...

Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For January 18, 2016

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!

  • 14 Bonny Doon Vineyard Cuvee R Grenache (Monterey County): Pepper, beef jerky, and black cherries, all provided in copious volumes. $48 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (Napa Valley): Who slipped all those prickly tannins in there? No worries, they're just ducky by ...

Face The Faces Of Ruche (At Palate Press)

Palate Press Ruche

image: PalatePress.com

Just in case you’re not quite totally sick of me yet, my latest feature for Palate Press was recently published, with the focus (words and photos) on the unsung red grape variety of Piedmont: Ruchè (I traveled the area last year as a media guest). Actually, it’s more correct to state that my article (one of two at Palate Press that highlight Ruchè) focuses on the people behind the resurgence of that once-all-but-lost grape variety.
Ruche vineyard 1

Bricco views of Ruchè country. I get this kind of stuff all of the time. Yet another reason to hate me!

And a colorful cast of characters those people are; not surprising, I suppose, given the nature and the story of the variety itself. The Palate Press feature profiles the main vintners behind four of the driving Ruchè forces in the region: Crivelli, Ferraris, Pierfrancesco Gatto, and Garrone. So… ...