Monday, September 21, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday - Boy am I late

Wow am I late. Perhaps I was too enamoured with my posting of the Twitteleh video, but I have been dropping the ball on blogging. Last Wednesday was the sixty first edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, founded and hosted by Lenn at LENNDEVOURS.

As the year progresses it is slowly becoming more and more obvious to me that my hobby of wine blogging is going to be hurting. The time commitment that blogging is will easily get in the way of work. I hate it when work gets in the way of life. So, I will definite keep blogging and tasting and writing. I just might not have the luxury of posting something on my blog as often as I would like.

That being said, lets dive into the topic: Drink Local. Lenn loves this topic, mostly because it allows him to write about the wines he covers anyway, and forces those of us in the New York area to taste and write about New York wines.

Not that I can blame the guy. Some of these wines are damn tasty!

The rub with this topic is that Lenn also wanted us to go out and visit the winery that we write about. Something I would have loved to have done, but there was just no way I was getting out to Long Island, the Hudson Valley, or the Finger Lakes. It just did not happen.

So, I did the next best thing, tasted (tasted... who am I kidding... guzzled!) a wine from a winery I had visited and tasted a wine from a winemaker I know who makes his wine in Long Island.

The first was one of the tastiest Sauvignon Blancs I have had the pleasure of imbibing from the East Coast. Channing Daughters Sauvignon Blanc 2008 is fantastic. The taste was so fresh and so crisp, that even though the cooler weather is here, I felt like I could have been enjoying this wine on a hot beach. It was that refreshing. Lime, grapefruit, and jalapeno (a taste I have been identifying in more and more Sauvingon Blancs) with a little roundness that might have been pear. It was supposed to go well with the sushi I wanted to have, but instead went very well with Vietnamese.

The other wine I drank (definitely finished the bottle and went and purchased another at Crush) was Schneider Vineyards "le breton" Cabernet Franc 2007. I can hear all of my old coworkers who are reading this (its OK, you can leave a comment!) making sounds of amusement. Not because of the wine, but because they still work with the winemaker, Bruce Schneider. Back in May, when I participated in Lenn's TasteCamp East, I had some amazing Cabernet Francs that blew away the Merlot I had tasted. Lenn even wrote about Bruce's wine last year.

So, for this blog post I asked Bruce if he had a bottle to spare. He humored be and let me have a sample. I should have asked for another bottle. This wine was very good, with tasty earthy cherry up front moving into a rich finish. You should go find it if you can, or you should become friendly with the winemaker...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twitteleh - to keep your Jewish mom from asking: Why haven't you called?

I got an e-mail from my mother today, asking why I hadn't called her. She also sent me this YouTube video:

I love my mom.

Corkd Relaunch Party

This past Monday I was invited to attend a tasting at Cork'd headquarters in Tribeca. Gray V was there with a slew of wines from some of the wineries that signed up to be apart of the Cork'd community. The tasting was completely informal, just a bunch of people around random tables (including a ping pong table) with tumblers tasting wine.

For those that have never heard of it, Cork'd is a social network that invites people to review wines. Sorry, invites is not the right word. Asks, begs, implores... waves it in your face, hands you the pen and shows you where on the dotted line.

It is SO easy to use. I was not a user before Monday and it took me all of 30 seconds to sign up. It linked to my Facebook profile and that was that. Then it linked to my Twitter account. So everything I tasted immediately was posted on both Facebook and Twitter. If I wanted it to, that is.

And then there was the actual review aspect of the site. Simple, quick, and easy. Search the wine, if it does not pop up, you simply add it. If the winery is plugged into Cork'd, then they can go claim it and fix your spelling errors.

So, I tasted. And tasted, and tasted. You want to find out what I thought of what I tasted? Check out my Cork'd page and see...

Backsberg Chenin Blanc 2008, Paarl, South Africa

Backsberg Kosher Pinotage 2007, Paarl, South Africa

Mont Tauch Fitou Carignan-Grenache-Syrah 2006, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Nick Goldschmidt Boulder Bank Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand

Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot 2007, Dry Creek Valley, California

Buoncristiani "Artistico" Syrah 2006, Napa Valley, California
B Wise Vineyards Trios Proprietary Red 2006, Sonoma Valley, California
Terlato Family Pinot Noir 2007, Russian River Valley, California

Rutherford Hill Merlot 2005, Napa Valley, California

Pedroncelli Pinot Noir 2007, Russian River Valley, California

Nick Goldschmidt Boulder Bank Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scary Situations

I couldn't tell you that this doesn't happen...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Through the redwoods

Continuing to taste my samples grab bag, I received a bottle of Redwood Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2007 a little while ago. Redwood Creek is owned by Frei Brothers, a winery that I tasted a few wines from a while ago and really enjoyed.

When I went to the website for Redwood Creek, I got a little confused. It is a very pretty website, but the menus are a little weird. Where do I got to find more information about the winery? What if I wanted to contact the press person there and get more information? It was not obvious to me where I should click if I wanted to find more information about the wines.

I didn’t get it. I am sure there is some logic behind it, a story to tell. Obviously this wine is very connected with hiking in wine country. Maybe I should ask Russ the Winehiker

Anyway, the Sauvignon Blanc I received was from California. That’s the best I can tell you because that is what was on the label. In the glass the wine was full of perfume, a little citrus, and a massive amount of olives (not unpleasant! I like olives). Then the taste kept the same theme, with a super creamy beginning, a briny middle with a tart grapefruit at the end. Not a great example of Sauvignon Blanc, but if you want something to go with fish or oysters, this will do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Someone called Jacob

A while ago, I received a few samples from Jacob’s Creek. Jacob’s Creek is a winery located in Australia, in the Barossa Valley. They are not shy about the fact that they make a lot of wine. On the website it says that over 2,000,000 glasses of Jacob’s Creek are poured, daily.

I will let that sink in for a moment.

That is a heck of a lot of wine. By my estimates there are about 5 glasses of wine in a bottle (some say 4, others say 6… really it just depends on how large your glass is). That is 400,000 bottles of wine opened a day. That means Jacob’s Creek claims that there are 146,000,000 bottles (approximately 12.17 million cases) of wine from their winery opened a year.


Well, I was lucky enough to be sent a bottle of the Jacob’s Creek Brut CuvĂ©e NV and a bottle of the Jacob’s Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2006.

The sparkling wine was a bubbler. There were some medium to large bubbles that rushed to the surface the moment I poured the wine into my glass. It had some beautiful pear, white pepper, and bready aromas. Then there was an extreme granny smith apple flavors. The word zippy does not come close to covering it. Overall, decent but nothing I would buy myself.

The Pinot Noir had some heat coming from it. Smoky cherry, spicy raspberry and heat. Not much more I can say about it as the temperature of the wine coming out was too much for me to really get into it. I probably should have cooled this wine down in the fridge before tasting it, but… c’est la vie.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A leap of faith – the Laboratory Sample

Blind tasting is a skill. You train you palate to the point where minute degrees of taste will clue you in to the difference between a Italian Pinot Grigio and an Oregonian Pinot Gris. For those attempting to earn the rank of Master Sommelier (one of the highest certifications in the wine industry), in a blind tasting you are given a black wine glass (so you do not know what could be inside) and you must pinpoint the wine by nothing but taste.

For those who do not think that is hard, try it. I would bet you one dollar that you could possibly name the grape (maybe). If you could then name country, region, vineyard, producer, and vintage… then you are probably already a Master Sommelier or Master of Wine.

I was handed a bottle that said nothing but, “Laboratory Sample.” Most smart people do not put something called “Laboratory Sample” in their mouths, but I never claimed to be smart. So I popped open the cork, a soft plastic cork which felt more like a piece of chewed up gum than something that should keep a bottle closed. The cork almost scared me off, but the bottle was open, and I was told it was wine, so… into the mouth it went.

The wine was the color of straw and had very tropical fruit smells. Things like kiwi and banana. In my mouth it tasted round (medium acidity) and fleshy, like a ripe peach mixed with apricot and banana. Not a bad smoothie, now that I think about it. It was also a bit creamy.

My best guess – a new world, unoaked (or slightly oaked), Chardonnay that has gone through malolactic fermentation. That was really geeky, so for those that did not follow that, I’m sorry.

The real answer – I have no idea.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Barefoot back again

I am not going to take too long with this post, since I have already talked about Barefoot wines. They are cheap, inoffensive, and sweet enough to please an American palate and give you a good ol’ American hang over.

I received a sample of the Barefoot Riesling. There is no vintage on the bottle, so this could be a year old or 10 years old. There were also some bubbles that I did not expect when I opened the bottle, but I guess that is what happens to the tiniest bit of yeast and what sugar is left in the bottle.

The wine was shrouded with sugared Welches Grape Juice flavors. It was pleasant, sugary, and tasteless. The perfect drink for girls at frat parties.

Can you see the bubbles?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stop telling me to monetize

Seriously, quit it. Recently I have received a slew of e-mails, telling me how I could make money on my blog. There have been a ton of ideas being thrown about the blogosphere about how wine bloggers can make money with their blog. It was a set seminar topic, presented by Tim Lemke on the Sunday of the 2009 North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference (if you were lucky enough to stick around and did not have to fly back to the east coast that day), although outside of that seminar, I thought that monetization was a topic that most people stayed away from. It was almost as if it were a taboo subject. No one likes to talk about how much money they are not making for the hours they spend blogging.

Tom Wark had an idea about having wineries send him hats, which he would then sell to the Smithsonian for a bundle, to which Steve Heimoff replied that this would lead to Tom taking over the presidency (and then the world…). It might be a joke, but Tom is still wearing hats. However, before I put out such a press release I would be sure I had a good supply of hats to start with. We’ll see how long it lasts (and best luck to Tom!).

Another idea to monetize has come from a new player in the online wine blogging space. Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine, an experiment in how to make money blogging, is the brain child of David Honig. The idea is simple; create a space with great content that covers all aspects of the wine industry and harnessing the power of thousands of bloggers around the world in order to have an “on-site reporter” at every event around the globe. Once an audience has been established and proved, revenue would stream from the marketing dollars of wineries and regional representatives to advertise on the website. David has compiled an exceptional list of wine bloggers to supply content. In fact, I have already submitted content (which was politely rejected) and I plan to submit more when I spend the time to create content of quality. I wish him well and look forward to the results of his experiment.

Joe Roberts recently posted how Wine Bloggers do not make any money. The problem stems from the lack of hard work being done. There just is not enough hustle coming from wine bloggers. What is it that Gary Vaynerchuk says? You have to crush it!

I do not want to crush it! That is not why I blog! I blog to have a space to express my opinion so that others that are interested in the same topics I am can discuss their feedback with me. I blog to give myself a reason to research wines and expand my understanding of the wine world. I blog because I know how interested my relatives are in feeling like they can hear my opinions and keep in touch with what I am doing. I blog so that my mother can yell at me whenever I make a spelling or grammar mistake.

I do not blog to make money. It is a choice I have made. I blog to enjoy myself.

Years ago, I used to fence competitively. I was reasonably good, but not great. I never made it to the Olympics and I never was really accepted on the national circuit as one of the people to beat, which lets you into the cool kids club. I did win national tournaments, and I felt damn good doing it. I was even on a national team that brought back a gold medal.

But I made the decision not to make it a career. I could have chosen to become a fencing coach, dedicate my life to fencing, and make a run at a world championship or Olympic medal. Instead, I decided to do something else with my life and I have not regretted that decision.

One day I might decide to attempt to make money on my writing. I might seriously raise the level of my writing to journalistic quality. For now, I enjoy being an amateur and making no money on wine blogging.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A whim of a wine

On a whim I went into a wine shop I was passing that had a sandwich board blocking my path on the sidewalk that side, “Free Wine Tasting.” How could I refuse?

So I walked in and not a whole lot appealed to me. There were a few French wines, a few Argentine wines, maybe something from Italy. I tasted a few of them and did not love them. But since they had dragged me into the shop, I decided to buy something.

Then on the shelf a colorful label caught my eye. Yup, I went with the label. That and I had just had a conversation on twitter with a few other bloggers, one of which made a note that she loved Viognier and this bottle happened to be a Viognier.

So I bought it. The Ninet de Pena Viognier 2006. It was priced at about $10 and it just screamed “try me!”

Well I did, and I was completely surprised by what I found in the bottle.

No, it was not the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket (although that would have been nice).

I found strawberries! Specifically strawberry preserve. My tasting notes read, “Fresh out of the jar and onto a peanut butter & jelly sandwich!” I was prepared for a perfumed nose with a round white stone-fruit (peach, apricot, etc.) taste. What I got was strawberries, with more strawberries, rife with minerality.

It was a good trick and certainly worth the cost. But not really what I wanted out of the wine.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Graphs to Tension Between PR and Bloggers

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the interaction between PR and bloggers. I cannot figure out how I receive so few comments on that post... I thought it was a reasonably interesting topic. Perhaps the problem was that I failed to include the graphs. However I could not figure out how to do so! So, I think I got it in the below graphs.

In the graphics world, I think this is what is called a "hack job."

These graphs come from a survey I did in July 2009. I received responses from 51 bloggers.

Terracita Tempranillo

Those are two names that are fun to put next to each other. Terracita Tempranillo. It just rolls off the tongue. What is better is that it rolls easily into your hand too. I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports and was extremely happy that I did. I might have found myself a new house wine.

Coming from Spain, this wine is labeled as Tierra de Castilla la Mancha, giving it a very general sense of place. The winery is Bodega (means winery) Roqueta.

This wine, the Terracita Tempranillo 2008, is an easy drinking and fresh red wine. So easy to drink that I could have easily finished the entire bottle if I did not have someone else there drinking it with me. There were really lovely cherry and raspberry fruits throughout this wine. There was a healthy dose of acidity that kept the taste fresh and light.

This wine retails for about $9, making it easy to pick up a case for everyday drinking, to use as a gift or to bring over to a friend’s place for dinner.
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