Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick Taste: Delicious Van Duzer

I am not sure how they found me, but I am extremely pleased that they did. I was sent a few bottles to taste from the Van Duzer Vineyards and I enjoyed them thoroughly. As did anyone I could snag to enjoy the wines with me.

The first was the 2007 Estate Pinot Noir. I do not drink a lot of Pinot Noir, but Oregon is definitely the place where I want to have more from. This wine was smooth and elegant with wonderfully ripe cherry and raspberry flavors. There were floral notes of violets on the nose, turning into spice and and a little smokiness. It is $30, so it will take a little while to convince yourself that it is worth the money, but I garantee you will be pleased to have this with Sunday night dinner.

I also tasted the 2008 Estate Pinot Gris. This was a bright and shinny wine. By that I mean it reminded me of a well polished quarter, lively in a bright light. The wine had a ton of tropical fruit flavors like pineapple and kiwi, tempered by a lemon and mineral backbone.

Both good wines, both worth trying.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Robert Oatley Tasting - Tweeted Too Late

I received a few bottles of the Robert Oatley wines from Bin Ends, a retailer in Boston who has also become the producer and driving force behind the constant Twitter Taste Live events.

I feel really bad because these wines were sent to me months ago and I missed the tasting. Then the wines just sat in the back of my samples queue and kept getting passed over for other wines. It wasn not that I did not want to taste the wines, I did because I see them in store windows all around New York.

The Robert Oatley Vineyards was created by Bob Oatley, who was one of the forces behind Rosemont Estates. Auzzie wines all the way and for a good value.

I tasted the Pinot Grigio, Rose of Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab did not impress me and while the Pinot Grigio is worth buying for the value, its the Rose which really won out. It was floral and soft, but bone dry. Pick it up if you like that sort of thing.

Want another opinion? Check out my frient Tori's review of this wine.

Can you see me?

I apologize to all of my readers who receive my blog post via e-mail for this bombardment of technical difficulty related blog posts. However, it seems that the google reader feed is no longer working and I am trying to run some tests to see if I can make it work.

We will continue with our sporadic programing as usual, with even more sporadic test posts.

The Management

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It is like a slow roasting nightmare

Got it?



Quick Taste: Strumming on a Guitar

I received a sample of the Red Guitar 2007 and popped it open. The wine comes from the Navarra region of Spain and has 55% Tempranillo and 45% Garnacha. On the bottle it says "Old Vine" but who knows what that actually means. The bottle sure doesn't tell you. The website will tell you that it is 110 year old vines, but if you are searching from your mobile phone you won't see it because the opening images are flashtastic.

For me the wine smelled spicy and rich with black pepper, blackberry and tobacco. After sufficient gurgling I found the taste to be peppery with ripe plum and smooth tannin. The taste dropped out in the mid-palate. Something easy to drink, especially if you just looking for a table wine. Retail is $10 a bottle, but I bet you can find it for less.

Also written up by the good people at Hipster Enology. A good blog with funky fresh writing.

Once more with feeling

Hi People,

So I made a quick change in my site's URL and I think everything when haywire. Let me know if you can read this. If you do not comment I will assume that you cannot read it and I will need to do this again.

The Management

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wine Spectator's Wine Experience 2009

There are some serious perks to working in the wine business. One of them is wrangling a ticket to Wine Spectator's Wine Experience. This is the second year in a row that I have gone to this event, which can really only be described as an orgy of wine. There were people wall to wall BEFORE PEOPLE WHO PAID FOR THEIR TICKETS GOT IN THE DOOR. In addition to this press of people, on one of the floors the air conditioning had stopped working, so it became unbearably uncomfortable and was one of the reasons I left the event. Other reasons had to do with I could not taste anymore and still be able to go to work the next day...

Wine Spectator magazine holds their New York Wine Experience at the Marriott Marque in Times Square. There are 256 wineries that participate in this extravaganza, chosen by the editors of the magazine and asked to show one wine that was scored above 90 points. The list of the wines is much to long to include here, and there was no way for me to taste all of them. So I picked my way through the tasting (which spanned two floors of the Marriott Marque). Almost needless to say, all of these wines are more expensive than the wines I tend to purchase and it is unlikely that I will have the ability to purchase more than one or two of them in the foreseeable future.

WINES TASTED (highest price found online for a single bottle from retailers in New York)

Dom Perignon Brut Cuvee 2000, Champagne, France ($200) - Fresh green apple, yum!

Perrier-Jouet Brut Fleur de Champagne Cuvee Belle Epoque 1999, Champagne, France ($170) - Noticeably rich and bready.

Krug Brut Grande Cuvee NV, Champagne, France ($225) - Absolutely lovely, no wonder it is so sought after. Wonderful Balanced sweetness.

Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 2006, Burgundy, France ($100) - Smelled rich and round but tasted beautifully refreshing.

Kistler Cuvee Natalie Silver Belt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007, Sonoma Coast, California ($160) - bright red cherry and easy drinking.

Kosta Brown Pinot Noir 2007, Russian River Valley, California (not yet released, 2006 is $150) - Soft, ripe, and spicy.

Opus One 2006, Napa Valley, California ($200) - Way over the top. Wasn't ready for the power behind this wine.

Almaviva 2006, Puente Alto Maipo Valley, Chile ($100) - needs a steak, immediately!

Chateau Clerc Milon Pauillac 2003, Bordeaux, France ($65) - High on both fruit and structure.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005, Bordeaux, France ($1375) - Definitely an impressive wine, but worth the money?

Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 2003, Bordeaux, France ($1650) - I could not fully describe what I tasted here if I had a hundred years to write. Such an amazing wine.

HALL Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California ($75) - I was lucky enough to receive a sample of this wine before coming to this tasting. I was going to write it up in a future blog post, but it just fit so perfectly with the rest of these amazing wines. When I tasted this wine it was brilliantly smooth, with a beautiful lingering power.

Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Rutherford, California ($180) - If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll remember that in July I visited Staglin Family Vineyards. And you may also remember that I did not have a great experience. When I saw the winery here I knew I had to try the wine, just to be able to say I had tasted it. Honestly, the wine was fabulous. Their was a great balance of fruit and structure, plenty of length and power, with a touch of brightness to show that this wine could make it for the long haul. After tasting it I was almost sadder that I did not get the opportunity to taste the wine on a more personal basis with the owners, but such is life.

Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Puente Alto Maipo, Chile ($100) - Certainly a great wine, but comparing it to California Cabernets has made me re-evaluate where it standing in my personal assessment.

Chateau Margaux Margaux 2001, Bordeaux, France ($360) - Stunning.

Chateau Cheval Blanc St.-Emilion 2001, Bordeaux, France ($420) - I wish I could buy a bottle to save for 10 years, or longer.

Bodegas y Vinedos O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec 2006, Uco Valley, Argentina ($50) - Rich and ripe.

Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva 1999, Ribera del Duero, Spain ($450) - Elegant and tasty! Rich but not overly so.

Ridge Monte Bello 1989, Santa Cruz Mountains, California ($240) - I love old wine. So many thanks to Ridge for pouring a wine from the cellar. Truly a delicious experience. I need to purchase some of their wines pronto.

Joseph Phelps Insignia 2006, Napa Valley, California ($210) - Super structured! Tasty but a little over the top.

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou St.-Julien 2006, Bordeaux, France ($230) - Somehow meaty and fruity at the same time.

Montes Alpha M 2005, Santa Cruz, Chile ($85) - A little disapointing because I had tasted this wine before and I loved it. It did not sing to me this time.

Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Maipo Valley, Chile ($80) - An awesome wine! So rich and smooth, with fruit to spare and enough structure to balance.

Now remember that while doing this tasting I was walking around and talking to people I knew and introducing myself to those that I felt it was important to meet. This is only a tiny selection of the amazing wines that were available.

Looking forward to the next time...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Changing the URL

********IMPORTANT UPDATE********

The Wine Post is changing URL's. The previous URL was

The NEW URL is

Its a big change, I know, but I felt it was necessary since the letter f has no meaning to me. It you cannot tell what the other letters mean then we have an issue...

If you (who likely have this on your google reader or set to be e-mailed to you) find any issues with the change, you probably won't be able to read this to let me know anyway. Still, it would be nice to know if anyone had any problems.

Rob Bralow

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wow a Whole Year

Really amazing that the first birthday of my blog came and went. So much has changed since I first started rewriting Wikipedia articles and posting them here. Somehow I have not offended anyone (well, ok maybe only one or two people) and I have not been kicked off the interwebs because of vulgar language or inappropriate photography.

The stats:

162 Posts (woah...)
8,354 unique visits
14,049 page views
1.68 pages viewed per visit
1:14 minutes spent on the site on average

Top Countries that visit:

1) USA (duh!)
2) Canada (dooh!)
3) United Kingdom (um, righto chap)
4) Taiwan (huh?)
5) India (... WHAT?!)

The top visited posts:

1) Have you met me?
2) The Necessary Tension Between Public Relations and Bloggers
3) A Wine Opportunity Wasted
4) Absolutely and Totally GEEKED OUT
5) Everyone Has to Have Their Say

Obviously I get a better response from you when I write subject posts rather than review wine, which I find interesting.

Thanks for sticking around. Thanks for reading. Thanks for the discussions. Looking forward to more wine and better writing.


Rob Bralow
rbwinepost (at)

Hometown Pride

Now taking wagers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Find Your Muse - Wine Blogging Wednesday #63

Words are taken for granted in this world of instant information. No longer can we laugh out loud or properly use letters like R and U. The evolution of human interaction is being condensed into one hundred and forty characters and considered equivalent to a yellow canary named by the Warner Brothers.

When writing a wine blog there are hundreds of ways to proceed. Wine Blogging Wednesday, founded by Lenn of LENNDEVOURS, creates a focal point once a month for wine blog writing. My thanks go to Lenn for inviting me to host this month's edition.

For the next Wine Blogger Wednesday, I present a simple challenge with the following guidelines:
  • Choose a wine they you know well and have enjoyed many times, but perhaps have not had the time or the motivation to write about OR a wine you have seen in your wine shop that you have been meaning to try.
  • Time how long you enjoy the wine. Round numbers are more than acceptable but exact numbers get extra points.
  • Take twice that amount of time to write your blog post. Use the time to find out something you might not have known about the wine and to edit your writing. A wise man once told me that there is no good writing, only good rewriting.
  • NO SAMPLES! Too often the wines written about are out of convenience rather than genuine interest. Make this one of the wines that you decided to purchase.
  • Last but not least, give your writing some flare. Use a style that will challenge you. Be creative and enjoy writing for the sake of the words. Be picky about which words you use. Think about the rhythm and the rhyme. Poetic phrase will be rewarded.

My coach always told me that the simplest tasks can sometimes be the most difficult. There is a lot of room to maneuver in this challenge, but do not make the mistake of waiting until the last week to begin writing. You may find yourself running out of time.

The deadline: November 18

Send your submission by e-mail to me.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A blend of Pinot Noir and Claude Monet

The more invested and heavily educated of wine drinkers can sometimes taste a wine and give you the details of how it was made, where it was from, what vintage it was, even to the point of if the barrels were made by a certain cooper. It really is extraordinary to watch (although it is probably a good parlor trick at only certain types of parties).

Similarly it is truly breathtaking to listen to a knowledgeable art historian talk about an artist's masterpiece. They can look at the painting and tell you what brush was used, how many brush strokes were done, the period of history the painting came from, the materials used in its formation, the story of the artist or the depicted scene, the side story behind why there was this symbol placed just so... I find it fascinating.

Then again, I also spent from age 5 until age 10 wondering the halls of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, guided by my godmother, Danielle Rice who at the time was the museum's Director of Education. Every Friday for years I would go from school to the art museum, spend a few hours learning about one style of art or another and then be taken home by Danielle. On our way home we would always stop at Klein's Deli and pick up briny kosher pickle. I was much better at eating that I was at art and it was hard to tell if she was buying me the pickle to make me feel better or to reward me for sticking with the art classes.

Danielle is now the Executive Director of the Delaware Art Museum (a wonderful place to explore one weekend), which brings me back to wine. Danielle also happens to enjoy wine and has found the beverage to be a natural pairing with art exhibit openings and parties that highlight both art and wine.

Danielle notes: “I don’t know much about wine, but I know what I like... Just kidding...that’s what people say about art all the time. Art and wine have this in common: they both require discernment. And discernment is not something that can be learned instantaneously. Both art and wine encourage us to pause, reflect and savor. And there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing something new in a painting or noticing a new flavor in a favorite wine!”

It turns out that there are plenty of art lovers in the wine world (and I am sure the reverse is true as well). Gerret Copeland, who owns Bouchaine Vineyards with his wife Tatiana, is a resident of Wilmington, Delaware and a notable contributor to the Delaware Museum. Copeland was once the owner of a New York Stock Exchange brokerage firm which he then sold. He went on to purchase Bouchaine Vineyards in 1981. Besides having an interest in art and wine, Copeland is also interested in sustainable practices and environmental initiatives. You cannot help but like what he is doing.

When asked about the Gerret and his wife, Danielle says, "We are very fortunate to have the Copeland's involved with the Museum as well as with all of the arts in Wilmington. They are very generous and as a result of their passion for both art and wine we often get the benefit of enjoying Buchaine wines at our special events!"

In my opinion the wines from Bouchaine are pleasant and fruity. I tasted the 2007 Chardonnay and the 2007 Pinot Noir, both from Carneros. The Chardonnay was pleasantly toasty, with a blend of a bright yellow apple dipped in a light caramel. The Pinot Noir was floral and milk chocolaty on the nose with some dry cherry flavors in the taste.

It also turns out that the Delaware Art Museum is very integrated into the social media world. Recently the museum held an Exposed exhibition and for the duration of the exhibit the museum wrote a blog. It was well written and gave a 'real-person' voice to the pieces of art. Danielle also writes her own blog, although like mine sometimes the pressures of everyday life do not allow consistent writing as one would wish.

Monday, October 19, 2009

TasteNY or How to get bloggers to review wines

There is no secret to how most bloggers operate. Bloggers want to write, and wine bloggers want to write about wine. How do you ensure that bloggers write about your wines? Simple, send a few sample bottles the same way you send wines to newspaper reporters, magazine reviewers, enewsletter writers, or ANYONE ELSE that you want you want to write about your wines.

So, with this philosophy in mind Lenn Thompson, de facto promoter of wines created in the state of New York, found a group of wineries that make wine in the Finger Lakes region of New York who were willing to send a bottle of their wine for a group of bloggers to taste. he then found a group of bloggers who would all sit down and taste the wines together.

For this tasting Diane Letulle, Erika Strum, Robbin Gheesling, and I met at the Roger Smith Hotel to taste through a few of these wines.

Before I get started on my notes about the wines I want to say that I love sitting around and tasting wine with people who love talking about wine. It's like trading baseball cards, or something similarly geeky. If you are into it, then only other people who are into it really understand the feeling.

Now for the wines. One thing I noticed about all of these wines is the incredible acidity. Every wine had some awesome zing. However, for many they just did not have the fruit to match and balance it out.
Hermann J. Wiemer "Dry" Riesling 2007 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: Sweet peaches, light wet slate
Taste: A little sparkle, stony minerality, dried apricot - dies out entering the mid-palate

Red Newt Cellars Reserve Riesling 2006 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: Petrol, something mineral, white flowers, where's the fruit?
Taste: Lime, citrus, salty - "like a margarita in a wine glass"

(no Atwater photo... sorry)

Atwater Estate Vineyards "Dry" Riesling 2007 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: muted, white flowers
Taste: Peach, lemon, hot - dry? not really

Fox Run Vineyards Riesling 2008 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: Floral, cheese bread, a little yeasty
Taste: Slight sparkle, lots of acid, not much fruit

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Homestead Reserve 2008 - Figer Lakes, NY
Nose: Really pleasant! Floral with white stone fruits (peach, apricot)
Taste: Slight sparkle, lemon citrus, peach - yum!
Billsboro Riesling 2008 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: Floral, candied orange
Taste: Sweet apricot, balanced orange citrus, candied yellow apple - Best of tasting!
Anthony Road Semi-Dry Riesling 2008 - Finger Lakes, NY
Nose: A little brine, lime citrus
Taste: Olives (or is that the olive plate we were eating?)


Another thing that wine geeks usually love is food. Getting together to eat and talk about what we are eating comes in close second to tasting wine and talk abotu what we are tasting. After meeting at the Roger Smith we went to Apiary for dinner. Erika is a much better (and much harsher) review of food establishments then I am, so for more about our meal check out her review: Apiary (Serious Food Where You Don’t Expect It).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've been blocked?

What is twitter etiquette? There was a winery that sent me a bottle of wine. I found the first bottle corked and then did not like the second bottle, so I decided not write about the wines. I told the winemaker via twitter and explained why I did not like the wine.

He accepted my opinion graciously, noting that everyone has the right to what they thing. I recently found out that he then blocked me from his twitter updates (of which he makes many).

To me it is almost a blessing in disguise. Since most of what he does on twitter is talk about his wines, I am removed from the deluge of advertising. Then again, it does not allow me to respond and enter the discussion about his wines with the general populace.

How do you feel about this practice? Is this as bad as "un-friending" someone on facebook?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Trade Shows

Last week I was at the Miami International Wine Fair and I always find these trade show tastings to be very interesting. There are a ton of boths, each with a number of wines for the attendees to taste. Many of the booths are filled with winery representatives, either from the actual wineries or from the regions that the wineries come from.

The attendees of the Miami Wine Fair had varying wine knowledge levels. There were wine buyers from stores as well-known as Sherry-Lehmann, importers looking for additional wines to represent, and restaurant owners looking to stock their wine lists.

Then there were advertisers from magazines looking to talk to whomever will listen to them, seeing if there is any money they can convince a winery to spend with their publication. There are also a variety of press, both known and unknown that walk the show. There were two lovely ladies from Disfunkshion Magazine who were beautiful, extremely fashionable, and totally lost at a wine tasting. I talked with them for about 20 minutes, going through some tasting terms and about wine in general. Really great to talk to and soaked up the information enthusiasticly. I hope they keep trying new wines and integrate wine into their fashion magazine.

I always wonder how much business actually gets done at these events. It seems to me to be a who-knows-who event, where people look for the gems in the show to taste and remember, but mostly find their friends (the cliques are intense and jealously guarded, but not impossible to join). If you know the right people, they will all stop by your booth and taste your wines. If you do not know the right people you are just there to hope someone influential comes by. On the buyer side, there are so many choices and so many booths that it makes perfect sense to go visit your friends' booths first and then see what else is out there.

(upcoming work related mention... watch out!)

And Tuesday I am going to be doing it all again. This Tuesday, October 6 is the New York Great Match: Wine & Tapas hosted by Wines from Spain. I will be at the Drink Ribera. Drink Spain. booth, pouring some wines from Ribera del Duero. If you are enthusiastic about Ribera del Duero, or just want to learn more about the region, visit the Facebook page, Twitter page, and Drink Ribera. Drink Spain. website for more information.

And if you just want to say hi, swing by my table and I'll pour you a good glass of Spanish wine.
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