Winecast http://winecast.net Wine News, Education and Recommendations Thu, 15 Aug 2013 02:19:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A wine podcast and blog Winecast no Winecast winecast@gmail.com winecast@gmail.com (Winecast) 2006-2007 Wine News, Education and Recommendations Winecast http://winecast.net/art/winecast_cover_small.gif http://winecast.net WBW80: Dry Rosé http://winecast.net/2013/08/14/wbw80-dry-ros/ http://winecast.net/2013/08/14/wbw80-dry-ros/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 02:19:03 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2356 WBW80: Dry Rosé originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Back when I first started podcasting about wine, in late 2004, there were maybe 40 podcasts in the world. But there were even fewer wine blogs and soon I discovered the monthly tasting event called Wine Blogging Wednesday joining on its eighth outing back in early 2005.

Over the years I have participated in WBW now 49 times and have hosted 6 times and I am pleased to have it return after a hiatus. The theme I chose for this outing is consistent with the wines I drink this time of year. While I do continue to drink reds, most of the time white or rosé wines are what I choose due to the temperatures outside and the food of the season. And while rosé wines such as white Zinfandel have carved out a significant presence in the market their residual sugar makes them more difficult to pair with food. So I drink exclusively dry rosé in the summer.

WBW 80 Rose WinesFor the selections made for this month’s WBW I decided to sample what is available under $10 a bottle. After looking at some local stores and big box retailers I settled on a couple of bottles from Trader Joe’s both under $6 a bottle. At this price I wasn’t looking for the best rosé but something that would complement a hamburger or taco. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The first bottle is Trader Joe’s Napa Valley Rosé 2012 ($5.99, 13.7% ABV) – It is a light ruby color in the glass with aromas typical of rosé, strawberry, cherry and citrus. There are bright grapefruit and strawberry flavors finishing dry with a touch of bitterness. I found it refreshing but a bit subdued in character but still a decent value. The varieties used were not disclosed but I assume Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were most of the blend.

My second selection is from Spain, the Albero Bobal rosé 2012 ($5.99, 12.5% ABV) – Also a nice light ruby color the aromas here are all strawberry and grapefruit. In the glass the wine shows strawberry and lemon flavors finishing dry with nice acidity. A very pleasing rosé made from a grape I have never tried before. A win-win!

Both of these wines show how far we have come delivering value even in niches like dry rosé. I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has tried to fill out my cellar for the remaining weeks of summer. You can follow along on my Delicious feed.

Thanks also go to Lenn for asking me to host yet again who I will soon pass the baton to for hosting WBW81 next month. Look for a roundup post for WBW80 Friday or Saturday for all the rosé goodness.

Cheers!

WBW80: Dry Rosé originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 80, Dry Rosé http://winecast.net/2013/07/17/announcing-wine-blogging-wednesday-80-dry-ros/ http://winecast.net/2013/07/17/announcing-wine-blogging-wednesday-80-dry-ros/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2013 01:57:15 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2350 Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 80, Dry Rosé originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Back in the the first year of wine blogging (2004 for those just joining us) Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS (now New York Cork Report) made a modest proposal and Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) was born. I joined the monthly virtual tasting back at WBW 7 in early 2005 and have continued off and on over the years since and have maintained the WBW website. But interest wained in the event after Twitter tastings took hold and WBW went on long-term hiatus a couple times in recent years.

WBW logoBut the embers of WBW remained and there has been enough interest in the event recently that Lenn and I have decided to bring it back in its original, grass-roots format.

The idea is simple; each month a blogger “hosts” the virtual tasting determining the theme and posting a summary wrap-up some days after the event. On the Wednesday appointed for the tasting anyone can blog a post related to the theme and let the host know so their link can be included in the wrap-up post. Back in the day this literally meant a blog but over the years this has expanded to places like Tumblr and Google+; basically any public-facing spot on the web that doesn’t require a membership to view (so Facebook wall posts are out but you could participate on a Facebook page).

Got it?

I am pleased to announce the return of Wine Blogging Wednesday on August 14st for our 80th (non-consecutive) monthly tasting. My choice of theme was easy given the heat of the summer here in the Northern Hemisphere: Dry Rosé.

Good dry rosé is one of the most versatile wines in summer matching with light to heavy fare. But like some other wines, rosé (here in America anyway) doesn’t get the respect it deserves. So I’d like to see everyone explore beyond their regular summer rosés and try something new. It might be an obscure varietal or a region you haven’t tried before. Or maybe just kicking it old-school and picking up a rosé from Bandol, Tavel or Provence from a new producer.

Basically you can pick up a rosé wine made anywhere from any grape varieties, just make sure it’s dry.

When you post your entry, just send me your link via email (winecast at gmail dot com), Twitter (@winecast and please use hashtag #WBW80) or post here in the comments. A few days after the tasting I’ll write up a summary post and pass the baton to the next host (Lenn will host WBW 81 in September). And you can mark your calendars as all future WBW tastings will take place the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Hope you can join me next month and beat the summer heat with some dry rosé!

Announcing Wine Blogging Wednesday 80, Dry Rosé originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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“Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 01:04:30 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2346 “Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win.” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The results here are not that surprising to me given the venue. At a state fair the conditions are far from ideal and the judges have to taste too many wines in a short period of time. I have always believed a wine should be tasted over a period of time (1-2 days minimum) and then a fair review can be written from this extended experience. When a hundred wines are tasted in 90 minutes variations like this are far too common. Not to mention all of these were tasted blind which is its own bag of snakes.

via The Guardian

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A Life in Wine: Stu and Charles Smith, Smith-Madrone http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2013/06/19/a-life-in-wine-stu-and-charles-smith-smith-madrone/ http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2013/06/19/a-life-in-wine-stu-and-charles-smith-smith-madrone/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 23:08:18 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2344 A Life in Wine: Stu and Charles Smith, Smith-Madrone originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The Smith Brothers are living legends in Napa Valley. This great interview tells their story.

via Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews

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“For me, as my cellar can attest to, there is no more consistently delicious and over-performing wine in Beaujolais” http://rockssandfruit.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-top-10-beaujolais-according-to-me.html http://rockssandfruit.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-top-10-beaujolais-according-to-me.html#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 22:48:53 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2340 “For me, as my cellar can attest to, there is no more consistently delicious and over-performing wine in Beaujolais” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Beaujolais is arguably the best value in red wine right now and Lyle has an excellent list here to back up this claim.

via Rockss and Fruit

“For me, as my cellar can attest to, there is no more consistently delicious and over-performing wine in Beaujolais” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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What Makes A Wine “Authentic”? http://winecast.net/2013/06/18/what-makes-a-wine-authentic/ http://winecast.net/2013/06/18/what-makes-a-wine-authentic/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 00:31:11 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2327 What Makes A Wine “Authentic”? originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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As is often the case, Steve Heimoff has posted a “think piece” on his blog today. And judging by the relatively few comments at the time I write this most readers are just doing that; thinking. His post is on authenticity in wine and how difficult and subjective it is to define. In the end, Steve gives no answers on the subject but does get one thinking about what makes a wine “authentic”.

To me authenticity starts with the intent of the winemaker and what the site and vineyard manager has provided her or him to work with. Can you make authentic Syrah in Napa Valley? Perhaps but other sites might be more suited to growing the grape. Should anything be added to the crushed grapes to make an “authentic wine”? Some would argue no, but denying scientific advances is similar to not using modern medicine to avoid fatal illness. The issue is loaded with traditional, cultural and political nuances.

Feet crushing grapes Photo by stromnessdundee via Flickr

No discussion of wine authenticity should lack the obvious mention of low intervention or so-called “natural wine“. My own preference in my single quasi-commercial winemaking venture to date used as few processes as was possible in a shared winemaking facility like Crushpad in Dog Patch. Yes, yeast was inoculated as conducting a native yeast ferment, which was my preference, was not recommended within a winery with dozens, if not hundreds, of other fermentations taking place. Yes, enzymes and a minimal dose of sulfur were used on the must but after pressing only regular stirring of the lees was applied and the wine was only racked once after several months in barrel (it is a Roussanne/Marsanne blend).

Is this not a “natural, authentic” wine? Some would argue one or all of the three additives used makes this wine somehow makes it un-natural and less authentic. A few others might argue that trucking the grapes several hundred miles in a refrigerated container is also unauthentic but that’s another story.

My point is what is authentic wine is highly debatable. What is not is a sea of industrial wines sold that not only use modern science to produce clean wines but also techniques that make the resulting product softer and more approachable (think micro-oxygenation, mega-purple and other such processes or additives here). That doesn’t mean the wine is not better for all the manipulation but what is left is not an authentic representation of the site and grapes harvested that year.

But that’s just my opinion, and as Dennis Miller used to say, I could be wrong.

What Makes A Wine “Authentic”? originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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“A glass of wine a day will not harm your baby and may actually be good for a child’s development, researchers have found” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10125329/A-glass-of-wine-a-day-while-pregnant-will-not-harm-your-baby.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10125329/A-glass-of-wine-a-day-while-pregnant-will-not-harm-your-baby.html#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 23:22:15 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2321 “A glass of wine a day will not harm your baby and may actually be good for a child’s development, researchers have found” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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As with anything you eat or drink, moderation and common sense, not prohibition, often makes the most sense.

via The Telegraph

“A glass of wine a day will not harm your baby and may actually be good for a child’s development, researchers have found” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The Steve Jobs Of Wine: Winemaker Paul Hobbs http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2013/06/17/the-steve-jobs-of-wine-winemaker-paul-hobbs/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2013/06/17/the-steve-jobs-of-wine-winemaker-paul-hobbs/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 23:53:26 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2317 The Steve Jobs Of Wine: Winemaker Paul Hobbs originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Short but insightful interview.

via Forbes

The Steve Jobs Of Wine: Winemaker Paul Hobbs originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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“Germany produces some of the best dry white wine in the world frequently sold at very affordable prices” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324634304578537343475330344.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324634304578537343475330344.html#comments Sat, 15 Jun 2013 00:58:48 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2287 “Germany produces some of the best dry white wine in the world frequently sold at very affordable prices” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Good weekend reading from Will Lyons.

via WSJ

“Germany produces some of the best dry white wine in the world frequently sold at very affordable prices” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Wired Tests Wine Preservation Systems, Picks Correct Winner http://www.wired.com/reviews/2013/06/wine-preserve?pid=3375&viewall=true http://www.wired.com/reviews/2013/06/wine-preserve?pid=3375&viewall=true#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 22:47:57 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2278 Wired Tests Wine Preservation Systems, Picks Correct Winner originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Private Preserve has been my choice for years.

via Wired

Wired Tests Wine Preservation Systems, Picks Correct Winner originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The Perils of Posting On April Fools’ Day http://winecast.net/2013/04/05/the-perils-of-posting-on-april-fools-day/ http://winecast.net/2013/04/05/the-perils-of-posting-on-april-fools-day/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:13:37 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2264 The Perils of Posting On April Fools’ Day originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Back in the day, I participated in April Fools pranks with posts that hopefully brought a smile to the face of the reader. But after one such post fell flat, even garnering angry comments years later, I decided to hang it up. Face it, wine is not that funny to begin with and most wine blog readers don’t expect satirical posts even once a year (unless all your posts are satirical).

I was reminded of this Monday when I read a mildly funny post from Alder at Vinography but the best prank post was from John Mariani over at Bloomberg. Only it appears to not have been a prank post. I think, anyway.

April Fools or serious critique?My confusion began when I first saw the story tweeted by Dr. Vino as a prank so that might have influenced the context of my first reading. Starting with true facts, the hallmark of the best April Fools pranks, it gets increasing strident and ridiculous. But like my ill-fated Charles Shaw post referenced above the joke was just too subtle and it launched some earnest posts in defense of Washington State wines.

As I write this, I have not been able to figure out if this was a Fools’ Day post or not. It seems like it could be a serious critique of selected Washington State wines as those reviewed actually do exist despite long-winded and somewhat fanciful naming conventions. And I guess the cynic in me could just chalk this up to link-bait, engineered to be controversial and provoke such reaction. But I think it’s funnier as a prank. And until the author comments here to clarify, I’m going with that.

The Perils of Posting On April Fools’ Day originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Wine In The ‘Shark Tank’ http://winecast.net/2012/08/13/wine-in-the-shark-tank/ http://winecast.net/2012/08/13/wine-in-the-shark-tank/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2012 22:43:13 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2243 Wine In The ‘Shark Tank’ originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Reality TV is all the rage these days but I rarely watch this genre outside of a few cooking competition shows like Top Chef or Masterchef. But I have been hooked this year by ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’. The show’s premise is simple; entrepreneurs pitch their products to a panel of well known investors (‘sharks’) such as Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner. Sometimes the entrepreneurs fall flat, other times they walk away after some interest, but most times they arrive at some sort of deal trading investment for equity in their company.

Eric Corti pitching the sharksWine products have surprisingly been featured a couple times this season but the most interesting was an invention called ‘Wine Balloon’ (later changed to ‘Air Cork‘) that preserves wine with a patented balloon system. Inventor Eric Corti was clearly nervous pitching the panel of sharks but did well enough to garner two offers from Kevin O’Leary and the combined team of Mark Cuban and QVC host Lori Greiner. It was clear that Corti didn’t like the strings attached to O’Leary’s offer to license the invention to a third party for marketing but was surprised when Greiner offered $500,000 for the entire company. Cuban joined the offer which grew to $600,000 but demanded an immediate response. Corti didn’t act fast enough but accepted their final offer of $400,000 for his invention. At the time of the show I thought Corti made the wrong choice as $200,000 of value had been taken off the table in under 2 minutes. And Wine Balloon seemed like a novel idea that might see wide distribution in winery tasting rooms and wine stores (although the reviews on Amazon currently are not encouraging).

So it was good to see an update to this story last week at Wines & Vines. After due diligence, Corti and his partner walked away from the deal and worked on building their business. And it appears to have worked with sales reported at 15,000 units a month. Using the cost of goods disclosed during the show of $6.50 that makes over $260,000 of gross profit a month or $3.1 million annually. It’s good to see an entrepreneur stand his ground and make something work as it was clear during the show that Corti really believed in his invention.

If you want to see the episode of Shark Tank it is available to Hulu Plus subscribers here (season 3, episode 4). Corti’s pitch starts the second dot from the end on the timeline.

via Wines & Vines

 

 

Wine In The ‘Shark Tank’ originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Viognier Theme for WBW78 http://winecast.net/jp/viognier-theme-for-wbw78/ http://winecast.net/jp/viognier-theme-for-wbw78/#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:43:30 +0000 http://winecast.net/?post_type=jiffypost&p=2242 Viognier Theme for WBW78 originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Nice theme for summer. Join us June 20th.


I’m delighted to announce that I am hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday #78 on Wednesday, June 20th. WBW78 will mark my second time hosting this monthly virtual wine event. Our theme for this month will be a grape that is near and dear to my palate — Viognier.

Read more at: drinkwhatyoulike.wordpress.com

Viognier Theme for WBW78 originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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“Lafite is out, Conti is in.” http://winecast.net/jp/lafite-is-out-conti-is-in/ http://winecast.net/jp/lafite-is-out-conti-is-in/#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2012 01:56:45 +0000 http://winecast.net/?post_type=jiffypost&p=2240 “Lafite is out, Conti is in.” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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China pivots to Burgundy.


Thankfully, the wine market’s sour turn could also just be a sign of changing tastes. Eighty-six of the 100 bottles Liv-ex tracks are Bordeaux, the traditional king of fine wine. But as the Financial Times wrote in May, recent auctions suggest that Hong Kong buyers, perhaps spurred by the rampant counterfeiting of top Bordeaux, are branching out to wines from other regions, especially Burgundy labels such as Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

Read more at: www.theatlantic.com

“Lafite is out, Conti is in.” originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The Real Reason Wine Bloggers Are Not Relevant To Advertisers http://winecast.net/jp/the-real-reason-wine-bloggers-are-not-relevant-to-advertisers/ http://winecast.net/jp/the-real-reason-wine-bloggers-are-not-relevant-to-advertisers/#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2012 22:41:25 +0000 http://winecast.net/?post_type=jiffypost&p=2238 The Real Reason Wine Bloggers Are Not Relevant To Advertisers originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Almost all of us don’t treat blogging as a business. And those few who do find building a community around a wine blog very, very difficult. Without hundreds of thousands of pageviews a month, advertising on blogs of any topic is not a viable business.


There are are a grand total of 46 real Wine Bloggers listed in the VOCUS media database, one of the largest and heaviest used media databases among publicists in the U.S. Of those, only 4 have a “readership” number attached to the entry, and all four are inaccurate representations of the monthly visitors to the blog.

Now, I know there are more than 46 wine bloggers in the U.S. I know that there are more than 4 that have a decent readership. What this lack of bloggers in the VOCUS Media Database tells me and what the inaccuracy of the readership numbers for those blogs tells me is this: PROFESSIONAL PUBLICISTS CARE VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WINE BLOGGERS AND THEIR AUDIENCE.

Read more at: fermentation.typepad.com

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WBW 76: Barossa Boomerang http://winecast.net/2012/04/25/wbw-76-barossa-boomerang/ http://winecast.net/2012/04/25/wbw-76-barossa-boomerang/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 02:46:13 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2230 WBW 76: Barossa Boomerang originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Schild Estate Barossa ShirazNot too long ago I drank quite a bit of Australian wine, particularly Shiraz. Given that this grape, also known as Syrah, expresses greatness in the Barossa Valley I could not pass an opportunity to revisit this region for this months’ Wine Blogging Wednesday. Our host, Adam from Wine Zag, proposed we look for any wine from Australia’s Barossa Valley but for me only Shiraz would do, much the same way only Cabernet would do for Napa Valley. One other limitation was to choose a wine for $30 USD or less. I’m well aquatinted with great values from Barossa but have not tasted any lately so I was a little concerned as I entered my local wine store to explore the options available this week.

The main reason for my exile from Barossa and most of the wines of Australia of late has been value. There are many great wines made in Australia but far fewer under $30 than in the past (at least it seems to me). Some of this is due to shipping costs; some of this is due to exchange rates. Today the best bang for the (American) buck comes from the Iberian peninsula or lesser known parts of Italy and France. Even California, Washington State and Oregon are bringing the value in these recessionary times. But there still are some producers who are managing to bring the value from Barossa even today.

One of those is Schild Estate, a family run winery in Barossa that over delivers value if judged by the wine I tasted this evening. Established in 1952, this winery produces a range of wines but with an emphasis on Shiraz. And after tasting their entry level Shiraz today, I can see why they lavish so much attention on the variety. It is because it’s delicious.

Tasting Notes:

Schild Estate Wines, Shiraz, Barossa 2009 ($18) – Dark purple in color with aromas of cherry, plum, bacon, and black licorice. Round in the mouth with concentrated blackberry, plum and black pepper flavors finishing with savory tannins. A very nice expression of Aussie Shiraz at a stunning price.

14.5% ABV
Screw cap closure
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Score: 90

Thanks go to Adam for hosting this month and for provoking me to taste a Barossa wine and blog about it. Stay tuned for next months edition of our global virtual tasting to be announced soon.

WBW 76: Barossa Boomerang originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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The Lifestyle of An A-List Wine Critic http://winecast.net/jp/the-lifestyle-of-an-a-list-wine-critic/ http://winecast.net/jp/the-lifestyle-of-an-a-list-wine-critic/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 01:41:37 +0000 http://winecast.net/?post_type=jiffypost&p=2219 The Lifestyle of An A-List Wine Critic originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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A-List wine critics are the celebrities of the wine geek but we don’t get a chance to learn much about them. Just Google for interviews of Robert Parker or James Laube and you will see very little outside of promotional stuff.

But Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate seems to be more open and has been interviewed by Grape Radio and now Steve Heimoff. Steve is himself a noted critic from The Wine Enthusiast so he knows the questions to ask. And his three part interview with Mr. Galloni goes deeper into the lifestyle of a wine critic than anything else I have seen to date. Everything from blind tasting to dental cleaning schedules are covered and I was surprised more than once while reading the series.

The link below goes to the first part. I would suggest you carve out a half hour and read all three parts together. Really fascinating stuff that I will pick up again in a future post.


It was a real treat to run into Antonio Galloni at last Friday’s Vintage Retrospective Tasting at the Rudd Center of the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena. I asked Antonio if he wouldn’t mind my interviewing him, and he kindly agreed, for which I am grateful.

Read more at: www.steveheimoff.com

The Lifestyle of An A-List Wine Critic originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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OTBN 13: A Night of Regret & Discovery http://winecast.net/2012/02/27/otbn-13-a-night-of-regret-discovery/ http://winecast.net/2012/02/27/otbn-13-a-night-of-regret-discovery/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 01:12:58 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2193 OTBN 13: A Night of Regret & Discovery originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Although I was an avid and longtime reader of Dottie Gaiter and John Brecher’s weekly Wall Street Journal wine column, I never have participated in Open That Bottle Night (OTBN). Started in 2000, the event was created as an excuse to open a special wine that remains for whatever reason languishing in your cellar. I have had several candidates for such treatment but when the last Saturday in February arrived I never thought to actually open one of these long forgotten bottles.

Acacia Carneros Brut 1989That was until this past weekend when I saw someone mention the event on Twitter and decided to take action. The bottle in question is a 1989 Acacia Vineyard Carneros Brut sparkling wine “recently disgorged”. The recently disgorged style was developed by Bollenger in 1961 for their 1952 Bollinger Grande Année. The extra bottle age before the yeast is removed and the final dosage is added gives the wine additional flavor and complexity. And by disgorging the yeast late, the wine also retains more freshness and fruit than if the bottle was aged after disgorgement. Since I received the bottle of Acacia as part of their wine club shipment in 2005 or 2006, I assume the wine was left for a decade or more on the lees in bottle.

Since 1989 is the year of my daughter’s birth, I assumed we would open the bottle a couple years ago as part of her 21st birthday celebration. For one reason or another the bottle remained in the cellar and so I naturally assumed the worst as I plucked the bottle from the rack. I’ve had my share of over the hill wines. Most of the time those blasted plastic corks are to blame but other times it’s simply a bottle left far past it’s proper drinking window. For those of us with collections, this happens more often than you might expect but the Great Recession has greatly depleted my cellar and so these bottles are now much easier to spot. This particular Acacia Brut was a perfect choice for OTBN as there was the chance of magic. I’ve had their sparkling wines before after extended aging and enjoyed them and the promise of a wine disgorged only 8 years ago or so made me optimistic as I eased the cork from the bottle with a satisfying pop.

Pouring the wine in the flute showed a still vigorous bead of fine bubbles through a rich golden yellow color. Since it was still on the light golden side, somewhat like apple juice, I thought that perhaps there might be something left to this wine. All of these hopes were dashed when I lifted the flute to my nose and got the unmistakable whiff of oxidized wine. But there was still some yeasty bread notes, citrus and almond  there so I took a sip over my sink thinking it would most likely be immediately spit out. But the flavors are still actually pretty nice. Some Sherry-like oxidative elements to be sure but also lemon and some green apple flavors that finish clean with bright acidity. The yeast had certainly left it’s mark in palate weight and complexity, as well, with a pleasant nuttiness on the long finish. Overall, the wine has clearly seen better days but is still interesting even with the somewhat off-putting aromas.

Three days later I have another glass siting in front of me as I finish this post. No, this is not a great wine but enjoyable none the less, and I’m quite happy Open That Bottle Night presented an excuse to try it. Otherwise, I’m sure it would have just gone down the drain in 5 or 6 more years. So if you have a long forgotten bottle collecting dust, get a corkscrew and see what you have there. You might just get lucky and discover something interesting.

CellarTracker listing

 

OTBN 13: A Night of Regret & Discovery originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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TMiW 2 – The Tastes They Are A-Changin’ http://winecast.net/2012/02/26/tmiw-2-the-tastes-they-are-a-changin/ http://winecast.net/2012/02/26/tmiw-2-the-tastes-they-are-a-changin/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 01:29:27 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2182 TMiW 2 – The Tastes They Are A-Changin’ originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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This Month in Wine artworkJeff Lefevere and I return to review the top wine stories of the past month including tongue-twisting wine names, a disturbing wine manifesto, trends in wine marketing, the stellar 2009 Bordeaux vintage and much more.

Hosts: Tim Elliott and Jeff Lefevere

Topics

  • If the wine is hard to pronounce, is it worth more?
  • Has wine lost it’s romance?
  • The Slow Wine movement
  • 2009 Bordeaux: vintage of the century?
  • Will drinking too much wine give you cancer?
  • Million Dollar Day for WinesTilSoldOut.com
  • Wine’s 2011 Report Card
  • Moet Hennessy aims for super-premium red wine from China
  • Are Americans’ Tastes Changing?
  • Wine discounting trends
  • Randall Grahm and The State of the Modest Winery
  • Follow-up on QR codes from last month

Events

  • 2012 New York Wine Expo: March 2-4, New York City
  • 2012 World of Pinot Noir Tasting: March 2-3, Shell Beach, CA
  • Paso Robles Wine Country’s 2012 Zinfandel Festival, March 17, 2012
  • Wine Blogging Wednesday 75, Single Vineyard, March 21st
  • Rhone Rangers, San Francisco, March 24-25
  • For events near you check out Local Wine Events

Links discussed on the show

This podcast is brought to you by audible.com – get a FREE audiobook download at www.audibletrial.com/winecast
Feedback: thismonthinwine@gmail.com
Copyright 2012 Acan Media, Inc. Licensed under Creative Commons.

 

TMiW 2 – The Tastes They Are A-Changin’ originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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http://winecast.net/2012/02/26/tmiw-2-the-tastes-they-are-a-changin/feed/ 3 Jeff Lefevere,This Month in Wine,TMiW Jeff Lefevere and I return to review the top wine stories of the past month including tongue-twisting wine names, a disturbing wine manifesto, trends in wine marketing, the stellar 2009 Bordeaux vintage and much more. - Jeff Lefevere and I return to review the top wine stories of the past month including tongue-twisting wine names, a disturbing wine manifesto, trends in wine marketing, the stellar 2009 Bordeaux vintage and much more. Hosts: Tim Elliott and Jeff Lefevere Topics If the wine is hard to pronounce, is it worth more? Has wine lost it's romance? The Slow Wine movement 2009 Bordeaux: vintage of the century? Will drinking too much wine give you cancer? Million Dollar Day for WinesTilSoldOut.com Wine's 2011 Report Card Moet Hennessy aims for super-premium red wine from China Are Americans' Tastes Changing? Wine discounting trends Randall Grahm and The State of the Modest Winery Follow-up on QR codes from last month Events 2012 New York Wine Expo: March 2-4, New York City 2012 World of Pinot Noir Tasting: March 2-3, Shell Beach, CA Paso Robles Wine Country's 2012 Zinfandel Festival, March 17, 2012 Wine Blogging Wednesday 75, Single Vineyard, March 21st Rhone Rangers, San Francisco, March 24-25 For events near you check out Local Wine Events Links discussed on the show Consumers pay more for tongue-twisting wines  If the wine is hard to pronounce, is it worth more?  Wine’s Decline  Wine: Is The Romance Gone? Slow wine: eco-gastronomy creeps to the fermented grape Suckling Hails '09 Bordeaux "Best Ever" Consumers urged to count units Two glasses of wine a day 'triples mouth cancer risk' WOW: The 'Woot of Wine' Just Had A Million-Dollar Day The state of the wine market, 2012  Wine's 2011 Report Card Consumer Wine Trends: Overall Consumption Up Moet Hennessy aims for super-premium red wine from China The Low Alcohol Craze Goes Overboard  The debate about high alcohol sometimes verges on insanity  Are Americans' Tastes Changing? BERGER: A preference toward lower-alcohol wines? Wine Discounting Likely to Continue Doon to Earth (Redux)  Wine & The Connected Consumer This podcast is brought to you by audible.com - get a FREE audiobook download at www.audibletrial.com/winecast Feedback: thismonthinwine@gmail.com Copyright 2012 Acan Media, Inc. Licensed under Creative Commons.   Winecast no 1:12:45
Wine & The Connected Consumer http://winecast.net/2012/02/23/wine-the-connected-consumer/ http://winecast.net/2012/02/23/wine-the-connected-consumer/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2012 20:55:33 +0000 http://winecast.net/?p=2164 Wine & The Connected Consumer originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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Randall Grahm is one of the true characters of the American wine scene. A self-styled terroirist, intuitive branding genius and all around eccentric, Grahm has taken his Bonny Doon Vineyard on quite a ride over nearly the past 30 years. After setting out in 1983 to make great Pinot Noir in California, Grahm was drawn to Rhône varieties — long before it was cool — and blazed an innovative trail. Years past and the winery continued to grow particularly at the entry level with the ubiquitous Big House brand. But being a terroir driven vintner who presides over blending sessions in industrial wineries can’t be a lot of fun. So in 2006 Grahm sold the Big House brand to The Wine Group and spun off Pacific Rim into it’s own business with outside partners.

Randall Grahm

Photo via Twitter

By his own admission Grahm has downsized his once considerable enterprise by a factor of ten and the business model of a modest winery today is a lot different than when he got started. Today the consumer has more tools to help them choose a wine in the store using smartphones and apps like Hello Vino. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook can connect friends from Barstow to Barcelona in near real time for instant recommendations. And wine distributors, who used to be the winery’s “feet on the street”, have become nothing more than extensions of the sales force for large volume brands like Gallo, Kendall-Jackson and, somewhat ironically in this context, The Wine Group.

It appears Mr. Grahm is well aware of the current realities in the wine market and his own transformation from selling mostly through distribution to mostly direct to consumer after reading a very revealing post on his blog earlier this week. I have the opportunity in my day job to have frank conversations about the wine business but none of these surface here as they are off the record. Seeing similar issues presented in a long-form post on a winery blog is most refreshing and frankly breathtaking. I’m sure there is a bit of added drama at play here and the Dooniverse is not really on the edge of ruin but if it is that would be most distressing. The wine world with Randall Grahm and Bonny Doon in it is much better than the reverse.

So in the spirit of a friend lending a helping hand I offer the following unsolicited ideas for Mr. Grahm and his team to ponder:

Get social - Dude, you have over 350,000 Twitter followers! No other vintner is even close. Use it occasionally to sell your wine. I’d probably also figure out how to convert some of those followers to Facebook Page likes, too (only 5,000 there now). I know you have a social media strategy and do better than most in the wine business but a bit more wood behind this arrow would pay off handsomely at the very least in positive word of mouth.

Embrace Video - Unlike a lot of winery owners you have a rich story to tell with passion and nuance. Use video to get more of your story onto the social web to get some of those Milleninals exposed to your brand. You are sort of dabbling at this now; commit to a regular schedule.

Open A Bay Area Tasting Room - Hate to say it but Santa Cruz is kind of out of the way for many to get exposed to Bonny Doon wines. I’d take my hospitality closer to the customer and look for a space in San Francisco (SoMa, Dogpatch, Haight, etc.).

Ditch That Flash Website - I mean it’s 2012 and a lot of folks have iPads. All of that cute animation can be done in HTML 5.

Spruce Up The Wines - This is the least important on the list but one that deserves some consideration. I have to admit aside from the occasional bottle of Le Cigare Volant I have not tasted through your lineup in a while but a peek at CellarTracker reveals some improvement can be made. These days a $25 wine better taste like a $35 or $40 wine or people will buy alternatives that over-perform their price point.

Hope this helps, Sir. Let us know how it goes.

 

Wine & The Connected Consumer originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

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