Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Judges completed the first day of tasting the finest vintages the wine world has to offer at the 70th Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. Stepping into the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, where judging is taking place, the aroma is musky, flowery, fruity, nutty. Pretty powerful!

Judges gather around round tables comparing notes on each varietal. The discussions are pretty detailed, with as many opinions flowing as there are wines! It’s a tough decision! Here is Dr. Robert Small, wine competition chairman, welcoming everyone to this prestigious event:

Source: http://blogs.fairplex.com/blog/wine/?p=62

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Going Both Ways - How to hit up Napa & Sonoma in a single trip.

Source: http://winecountry.com/writers/w001/032707_savvy_goingbothways.html?feed_source=http%3a%2f%2fwww.winecountry.com%2ffeeds%2fatom%2ffood_and_wine.xml

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Survey: Americans Know difference Between Toilet Paper and Alcohol

Recently released amazing survey findings concerning American's understanding of alcohol were announced today by the beer wholesaler-controlled Center For Alcohol Policy. In a survey of over 1000 adults it is learned that 79% of American adults can distinguish between toilet...

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FermentationTheDailyWineBlog/~3/G2I4vF2NKA4/survey-americans-know-difference-between-toilet-paper-and-alcohol.html

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Monday, 14 January 2013

2013 Predictions (Wine Spectator)

Unfiltered boldly foretells the future, from pop-star wines to reality TV to Chinese investment in Napa to a shocking turn in Rudy K's counterfeiting case

Source: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47836

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Tasting Oak, or Is It? (Wine Spectator)

It's easy to confuse other aspects of a wine with oak flavors

Source: http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/show/id/47829

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12 Outstanding California Zinfandels (Wine Spectator)

New reviews of highly rated reds, most from the 2010 vintage

Source: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47901

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Winners of the Louis Roederer Wine Writing Awards 2012

Congratulations to the many winners of the Louis Roederer Wine Writing Awards presented tonight in London.


Whilst the awards that Vrazon helped to create,the Born Digital Wine Awards, recognise the growing talent of content written specifically for online media, it is fair to say that this is not yet the mainstream of wine writing.

Tonight’s categories covered some important areas such as newspaper columnists and wine books that are terribly important ways to reach consumers and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.

Of course it was also a pleasure to attend the event to catch up with many good friends, listen to the entertaining Mr Charles Metcalfe, Chair of the Judges, and to enjoy the many Roederer champagnes including a small taste of Cristal 2004.

Here are the winners that were announced tonight:

1. Artistry of Wine – Colin Hampden-White

2. Emerging Wine Writer of the Year – Erika Szymanski (Palate Press)

3. International Online Wine Columnist / Blogger of the Year -  Andrew Jefford

4. International Wine Website of the Year – Peter Liem (www.champagneguide.net)

5. International Wine Publication of the Year – The World of Fine Wine

6. Regional Wine Writer of the Year – Tom Bruce-Gardner (Glasgow Herald)

7. International Wine Book of the Year – Summer in a Glass, Evan Dawson

8. International Wine Columnist of the Year – Michael Fridjohn

9. International Wine Feature Writer of the Year – John Stimpfig

Congratulations to all the winners and the equally worthy shortlisted candidates, particularly to our successful online friends at Palate Press including David Hoenig and Evan Dawson, as well as Peter Liem, flying the flag for online writers.

For full details and shortlists, head over to www.theroedererawards.com

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWineConversation/~3/zPEZ9O7k8nE/

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Challenging Wine Pairing: Fajitas a la Baya

Fajitas are a popular Mexican dish and a Wine Peeps’ favorite. Years ago in Texas, we stumbled upon a delicious fajita preparation at a local restaurant that we absolutely love. Fajitas a la Baya (or berry) is fajitas that have been marinated in wine along with other typical Mexican spices. The flavor it gives the meat and vegetables is fantastic!

In preparing the marinade for this challenging wine pairing dinner, I decided to use Pinot Noir along with garlic, fresh cilantro, kosher salt, and black pepper. Very simple, yet very good. The meat, onions, and bell peppers were grilled and served with soft corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Mexican rice, ranchero beans, and a green salad dressed with a honey Serrano balsamic vinegar accompanied the fajitas a la baya.

Once the menu was set, my attention turned to selecting the best wines to pair with the meal. After referring to my favorite guide, What to Drink with What You Eat, I decided to go with a Pinot Noir from Oregon and a Primitivo from Washington State. I selected the 2010 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2009 Columbia Crest Reserve Primitivo. While we enjoyed both wines very much, the nod for the best pairing with the fajitas a la baya went to the Pinot Noir. It really complemented the flavors in the fajitas without overpowering them.

What would you have paired with this meal? We would love to hear your thoughts. And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for challenging wine pairings for us to try in the future.

Bon Appétit!

2010 Winderlea Dundee Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills, Oregon): Medium-deep ruby red in color. Nice nose with earth, raspberry, and olive aromas. Raspberry, earth, and sour cherry come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity and soft tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $38; Available elsewhere, $35 to $44

2009 Columbia Crest Reserve Primitivo (Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep purplish red. Aromatic with black cherry, black pepper, and chocolate on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

Challenging Wine Pairing: Fajitas a la Baya was originally posted on Wine Peeps. Wine Peeps - Your link to great QPR wines from Washington State and beyond.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WinePeeps/~3/l3K_lGZIQpM/

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WBW 74 Wrap-up: 39 Sparkling Values

This is my fifth time hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday, our monthly virtual tasting event, but my enthusiasm has not diminished with the passage of time. In fact, since bringing back the event from hiatus it looks like the idea might be picking up some steam judging from the entires this month. While many of the bloggers are new, some of the WBW stalwarts from the past also returned.

The first post came in a week early from Dave at Toledo Wines and Vines. His choice of a Louis Bouillot Crement de Bourgogne ($18) in celebration of the New York Giants Superbowl win got the tasting off to a fine start.

Another early entry was posted by Jasmine at the Knitting 40 shades of green blog. It’s aways good to see a new perspective from outside the wine blog circle on WBW and Jasmine did not disappoint with a nice review of Barboursville Brut ($17) from Virginia.

Roddy from Sentir le Bouchon! in the UK was next with non-vintage Condesa Blanca Cava (£7/$11) which he enjoyed quite a bit.

Next was the VA Wine Diva reviewing not a wine from her home state but the always dependable Gruet Winery non-vintage blanc de noirs ($15).

Alleigh from A Glass After Work was the second to blog a sparkler from Gruet Winery, their non-vintage Brut ($14). From her review it looks like this will not be the last bottle from this reliable New Mexico producer.

Wine Blogging Wednesday founder Lenn Thompson from New York Cork Report was next with a review of Happy Bitch Wines “Happy Bitch” NV Rose ($12.50). This wine is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from the Finger Lakes region of New York with a bit of sparkle added.

Next to post was Xandria from the BrixChicks blog, the first of three there (thanks Ladies!). She selected a Jean-Louis Denois Brut “Tradition” ($15) from France’s Languedoc. From her review, this K&L exclusive seems like a no-brainer for Bay Area or online value seekers.

The first multi-bottle entry was next from Ben at Colorado Wine Press. First of the three wines tasted was Gruet Winery Brut Rosé ($15) which was preferred over the others. Next up was Trevisiol Prosecco, Extra Dry which didn’t impress. The final wine as Domaine Chandon, Brut Classic which fared better than the Prosecco but didn’t measure up to the New Mexico sparkler.

Girl Meets Glass was next with Fleuraison Blanc de Blancs ($12). Made from Spanish base wine, it is trucked north to the Languedoc where secondary fermentation and bottling takes place. The resulting wine is delicate and might be best used for sparkling wine cocktails.

Next was Bob at 2001 Bottles – A Wine Odyssey who posted a lengthy article covering the non-vintage Evans & Tate “Zamphire” ($21) from Australia and 8th Generation “Confidence” 2010 ($22.50) from Canada’s British Columbia province. While both wines used the bulk process to add the bubbles, BC’s Confidence proved the winner in the flavor department.

Lisa from Wine Muse was next with Pizzini Brachetto 2010 ($17) a Muscato-like sparkler made from the Brachetto grape in the state of Victoria in Australia. The off-dry frizzante-style rose was a hit.

Liza from BrixChicks posted a review of the reliable Napa Valley sparkling wine from Mumm, their Napa Cuvee M ($18). The wine is another winner from this respected Champagne house who has been making sparkling wine in California for 26 years.

Thea from Luscious Lushes was next with a trio of sparklers from California and New Zealand. First up was Trader Joe’s non-vintage North Coast Sparkling Wine ($10) which sounded pretty nice for the price. Next she reviewed the reliable sparking standby from Roederer Estate ($17). And finally tasted Quartz Reef Method Traditionalle NV ($22) from New Zealand. Going for extra credit, Thea blogs another 3 wines in the honorable mention category from Mumm Napa ($15), Gruet ($14) and Gloria Ferrer ($16).

My post was next with another Trader Joe’s exclusive their Albero Brut Cava ($8) which I though was a good crowd pleaser for any celebration.

Shannon from Grape Occasions reviewed the trendy Villa Jolanda Moscato Rosé ($10) and was pleasantly surprised by the off-dry sparkler.

Posting next was Michael from Undertaking Wine with a Long Island selection, the Palmer Vineyards non-vintage Special Reserve Brut ($20). And from his review it sounds like another good option for New Yorkers.

The final post of the night was a blow-out by BrixChicks Liza and Heidi who hosted a tasting of 10 sparkling wines. The standouts where the non-vintage Gruet Blanc de Noirs ($14), non-vintage Piper Hiedsieck Champagne Brut ($15) and 2008 Taltarni “Taché” ($20) but check out their entire post for some entertaining tasting notes including aromas reminiscent of Bath and Body Works.

Posting on Wine Blogging Thursday was Gwendolyn from Wine Predator with pairings of 4 wines with various dishes. Although all the wines seemed to work with their dishes, the Trader Joe’s Blason du Bourgogne Brut Rose, Cremant de Bourgogne ($12) seemed like best wine of the quartet.

Update (I missed a post): The Wine Compass blog posted a review of Yellow Tail Bubbles ($10) which was deemed a good value.

So that concludes the seventy-fourth edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Overall, 19 bloggers tasted 39 wines from 8 countries. With only a few repeats there are over 30 solid choices for everyday sparkling wine.

Next month look for Joe from 1WineDude to take Wine Blogging Wednesday in a totally different direction which he will announce early next week.

WBW 74 by the numbers

Bloggers: 19
Wines Tasted: 39
Countries Represented: 8
Least Expensive: $8 – Albero Brut Cava
Most Expensive: $22.50 – 8th Generation “Confidence” 2010

WBW 74 Wrap-up: 39 Sparkling Values originally appeared on Winecast. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Winecast/~3/RXfMmVa_nZY/

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When is a Twitter Trend not a Trend?

When is a Twitter Trend NOT a Twitter Trend at all? The answer is “When it is a Tailored Trend”

Many of us are now Twitter users, and we’ve come to understand terms such as “follower”, “retweet”, “followfriday” and even “hashtag”. One term we think we understand is that of “Twitter Trends“. Trends are algorithm-generated insights into what is currently popular on twitter.


In years past, it was possible for a group of enthusiastic wine twitterers to ‘trend’ by getting together and sharing a hashtag for the evening over a bottle or two of interesting wines. As the volume of twitter traffic has increased, it has become harder and harder to get noticed in the noise of Justin Bieber fever, US elections and amusing spoof celebrity accounts like @Queen_UK

Trends, however, are seemingly quite important to Twitter – witness their prominent position on the user’s homepage.

It was a shock recently, to see that one of our events, the EWBC, managed to “trend” for users in the UK, USA and Turkey – as many reported on twitter at the time. I’ve also seen other users mention how they’re “trending” recently.

However, on closer examination it seems that Twitter has changed the interface to create ‘tailored trends’ as announced in June 2012:

“Trends help you discover the emerging topics people are talking about on Twitter. You can see these topics as a worldwide list, or select one of more than 150 locations. In order to show emerging topics that matter more to you, today we’re improving our algorithms to tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow on Twitter.”

In other words, the trends you see (unless you have changed your settings) are not what is popular on twitter, but what is popular amongst the people you already follow on twitter.


This is a classic  example of the “Filter Bubble“, where the content we see, and therefore interact with, is increasingly limited to that which is “popular” with the people we already follow. It means we exist in echo chambers where we are always speaking to the same people and seeing content we agree with and like. It makes life easier, less challenging, but also less varied and less interesting.

So, the next time you see your favourite wine, brand or event trending on twitter it might be a lot less exciting than it first appears.

I encourage you all to change your settings to make them more general and open to discoveries where possible.

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWineConversation/~3/C078oxVfVRY/

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Judges completed the first day of tasting the finest vintages the wine world has to offer at the 70th Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. Stepping into the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts, where judging is taking place, the aroma is musky, flowery, fruity, nutty. Pretty powerful!

Judges gather around round tables comparing notes on each varietal. The discussions are pretty detailed, with as many opinions flowing as there are wines! It’s a tough decision! Here is Dr. Robert Small, wine competition chairman, welcoming everyone to this prestigious event:

Source: http://blogs.fairplex.com/blog/wine/?p=62

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Where to stay in the Napa Valley

Napa Valley Lodging, best lodging in the Napa Valley

Napa Valley Lodge in Yountville

What a dilemma it is to find the proper lodging for anyone traveling to the Napa Valley for a first-time vacation. Sure, you can check Trip Advisor and the like for some recommendations but you cannot always rely on those for sound advice. We have been traveling to the Napa Valley for 40 years. I think we have stayed in just about every style of lodging from the town of Napa to the north end of the Valley in Calistoga. We have stayed in budget lodging, fine lodging, B&B’s, and we have even rented vacation homes. Take a look at our list of recommended Napa Valley lodging for each Napa Valley town and you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. If we have something listed, we have either stayed there or taken a quick inspection of the place.

Lodging tips for the Napa Valley

  • We always like to stay within walking distance of fine restaurants and shopping. We like to enjoy our wine with dinner so we either walk or take a cab. We don’t drink and drive. The centers of the towns of Napa, Yountville, and Calistoga are giving the traveler many choices for lodging within a short distance of many restaurants.
  • Sometimes it is more fun to make your lunch the main meal of the day. If you do that, then you can pack some appetizers for your room for an evening wine hour. Many of the hotels and B&B’s have a wine hour and serve appetizers. Some, like the Stevenson Inn in Calistoga, have tables and chairs set up outdoors for guests to use. Always check the lodging website for package deals. These deals include spas, golf, complimentary tasting room coupons, and many other perks.
  • Traveling during the week is always less expensive.
  • We don’t spend much time in our hotel rooms, so for that reason we are not interested in all the elaborate amenities at the very top-of-the-line and expensive hotels. We just want something convenient, clean and comfortable. The money we save, we spend on wine and restaurant dining.
  • We prefer not to have a breakfast package included. We like exploring nearby coffee shops and breakfast spots. This is where all the locals hang out and we would rather feast with the locals than have breakfast at our hotel.
  • What are your travel tips?

Important Resource pages:

Best Napa Lodging

Best budget Napa Lodging

Best restaurants in the Napa Valley

The post Where to stay in the Napa Valley appeared first on Napa Valley Wine Blog.

Source: http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/napablog/where-to-stay-in-the-napa-valley/

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Old World vs. New World in More Ways than just the Wine

In the increasingly close quarters of our global village, Europe is responsible for bringing at least three different substantive and prodigious professional wine journals to market over the last several years.  Each is written by a ‘Who’s Who’ of wine experts.  Meanwhile, stateside, the U.S. has experienced an explosion of pithiness with amateur wine writers writing online.

This juxtaposition becomes relevant after reading a recent post titled, “Are wine blogs going tabloid” by professional wine critic and writer Steve Heimoff.  In his brief post, with a decidedly American point of view, Heimoff summarizes his thoughts with the rhetorical query, “Why do certain bloggers revert to sensationalist stories that don’t, in the long run, matter?”

Good question.  The easy conclusion suggests that controversy and hyperbolically bombastic articles lead to attention and traffic. 

Certainly, two recent books that I’ve been reading bear out this discouraging notion:  Newsjacking:  How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage and Celebrity, Inc.


Both books cover similar ground in examining how brands can subvert the 24-hour news cycle for business benefit and how the 24-hour news cycle has been subverted by celebrities using easy technology while leading our news culture into tabloidesque territory.

When considered with Heimoff’s point, it is an easy deduction to suggest that 1 + 1 does in fact equal 2 – the sensational does sell and, by proxy, online amateur wine writers are a reflection of our larger media culture.

However, in suggesting this, there is at least one bigger contextual point being missed as well as a caveat.  First, it’s an exclusive view that doesn’t take in the totality of the global wine media village and second, while sensationalism may sell, the lascivious isn’t always what’s shared.

No, it seems our schadenfreude and more primal instincts are kept private, while our shock and awe comes to the fore, at least according to one study.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania recently examined the most emailed articles on the New York Times web site in March of this year (link initiates a PDF download), looking for the triggers for what causes somebody to share an article, what makes one thing more viral than another?

Their conclusion?  Positive content is more viral than negative content, but both, in general, are driven by “activation” – the notion that high arousal (emotive pleasure or outrage) drives shareable content.  According to the research abstract:

Content that evokes either positive (awe) or negative (anger or anxiety) emotions characterized by activation (i.e. high arousal) is more viral.  Content that evokes deactivating emotion (sadness) is less viral.  These results hold (dominance) for how surprising, interesting, or practically useful content is, as well as external drivers of attention.


This brings us back to my earlier mention regarding the European wine journals that have come to market in recent years.  Simply, they’re an antidote to the U.S. proclivity for the vapid.

The World of Fine Wine, the family of Fine Wine magazines based in Helsinki and Tong based in Belgium all represent an Old World counterpoint to what can be deemed as the extemporaneous and superfluous coming from the New World.

As Tong publisher Filip Verheyden notes in the Tong manifesto (link initiates a PDF download) :

We live in times of “instant” gratification.  If we want to talk to someone, we pick up our mobile phone wherever we happen to be.  If we want to know something, we click an internet button.  We’re going at 200 km per hour. 

What we seem to forget in this race against time is the trustworthiness of this quickly-acquired knowledge, and that is something we have to find out for ourselves.  But who takes the time to do it? 

…The articles that appear in Tong demand the reader’s attention.  You can’t read them fast and put them away; you have to take the time to understand.  I’d say it takes an evening to read and think about each article.  These are not issues to put in the recycling bin.  Even after five years or more, each will continue to convey the essence of its theme…

The World of Fine Wine and Fine Wine magazine are both similarly endowed with length and verve.

My takeaway based on the Wharton research and the stunning dichotomy between what we’re seeing in the U.S. vs. European wine content is two-fold:

1)  The sometimes sensational aspect of online wine writers, especially domestically, should heed the research and focus their pot-stirring ways on matters that provoke an emotional response from readers, ideally with a positive consequence – like HR 1161 for example instead of tired, lame attempted zingers aimed at Robert Parker.

2)  In addition to a legacy sensibility about the nature and style of wine, the Old World is also drawing a culturally defining line in the sand in how they view and report on wine – it’s with substance, permanence and integrity.

The conclusion is anything but.  However, as the world becomes a smaller place and the U.S. and our wine media becomes a part of the world chorus, losing lead vocal, I would hate for our place in the gallery to be rendered completely voiceless based on a lack of substance which is the seeming trajectory that we’re on. 

It’s just a thought…

If you’re interested in seeing an example of Tong’s long-form think pieces, you can see examples here, here and here.

Source: http://goodgrape.com/index.php/site/old_world_vs._new_world_in_more_ways_than_just_the_wine/

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Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena – The Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding

Amid the rain and wind this past Wednesday, we managed to squeeze in a tour and tasting at the Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena. Tom Leonardini and Family have owned the Whitehall Lane winery since 1993. Whitehall Lane is one of the Napa Valley’s earliest wineries with a start date of 1979. The winery is one our favorites, and we’d selected the winery for our Boutique Wine Trail back in 2003.

This was our first visit since the winery did a remodel and an addition a couple of years ago. Although the building structure has changed, the personnel remains very much the same, anchored by winemaker Dean Sylvester now in his eighteenth year at Whitehall. Our tour leader was Mike McLoughlin, the General Manger who joined the winery shortly after the Leonardini Family purchased the winery. Consistency is good in this case; the Whitehall Lane wines have been highly regarded throughout its history, highlighted many times by the Wine Spectator for its reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dean Sylvester the winemaker at Whitehall Lane

Dean Sylvester is his lab checks the Sauvignon Blanc blend

For tourists to the Napa Valley, the winery is easy to spot as you drive north on Highway 29 heading to St. Helena. The vineyards here stretch across to the Mayacamus Mountains to the west, providing one of the most glorious Napa Valley sights no matter what the season of the year or the weather of the day is. The architecture and color scheme of the winery blend perfectly into the vineyards and mountains. This inviting atmosphere draws many tourists to the tasting room. The photo below was shot in January of 2011 from the Whitehall Lane parking lot.

Whitehall Lane view from the winery

The vineyards adjacent to Whitehall Lane.

We like the Sauvignon Blanc and it is perhaps the most underrated wine in the Whitehall Lane lineup. The key to this wine is the small amount of Semillon grape that Dean Sylvester puts into this wine. I think the Semillon gives an added character to the S.B. The acidity is quite nice but not overbearing as in some Sauvignon Blancs. The wine is quite gentle with subtle citrus flavors. The wine sells for $18 at the winery. I can occasionally find this Sauvignon Blanc at my local Costco for about $11. It is usually in stock at Costco when the winery needs to make room for the next vintage. What a steal!

Two other wines we like are the Merlot and the Napa Valley Cabernet, both solid efforts and well balanced. These are terrific food wines because they do not overpower the palate. They just taste darn good with chicken and a variety of red meat dishes.

The tasting room is open daily and the tasting fee is $15 per person for a taste of four wines. Tip: Before you visit, do a Google search for “Whitehall Lane two-for-one tasting coupon.” I am almost certain you’ll find a coupon to print out for your visit to Whitehall Lane. We also suggest that for lunch you try Cindy Pawlcyn’s new restaurant in St. Helena. It is called the Wood Grill and Wine Bar and the food and atmosphere are very pleasant. You might even spot a few winemakers there enjoying lunch or dinner and having a friendly chat about their wines.

The tasting room at Whitehall Lane

Enjoying the wines of Whitehall Lane

The post Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena – The Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding appeared first on Napa Valley Wine Blog.

Source: http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/napablog/whitehall-lane-winery-in-st-helena-the-sauvignon-blanc-is-outstanding/

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What's Old is New: Answers to the Old World-New World Debate

Source: http://winecountry.com/writers/w001/041807_savvy_oldworld.html?feed_source=http%3a%2f%2fwww.winecountry.com%2ffeeds%2fatom%2ffood_and_wine.xml

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Blogging can’t die

Blogging can’t die. Take the original meaning of the word blog; it comes from the contraction of “web” as in the world wide web, and “log” as in to log ideas, or journaling. Today, and forever, there will be people logging what they think about all manner of subjects that they are passionate about.

I recently saw the statement on Twitter that blogging is dead. Sorry, you cannot kill an idea (journaling) that has persisted since man first took quill to parchment.

Seeing that we work in wine and discuss wine blogs as part of our job, we should talk about what a wine blog really is.

If you understand the idea of blogging as an online journal and nothing more, you will see that the idea of there being A “best wine blog” is just silly. As is, frankly, any system claiming to rate “best wine blogs”. Who is the best “runner”? Usain Bolt, Haile Gebrselassie or maybe Fauja Singh?

People often accuse wine bloggers of not being professional. You’re right, sometimes they aren’t. We need our industry to understand that there are a variety of types of communicators who write about wine. A wine blogger who writes to tell the story of their personal journey in wine is not the same as someone who writes about wine futures. And they should not be held to the same standards.

Just because you have a degree, MW, WSET diploma, have written a book, or have been awarded every prize for wine literature that has ever existed, you are not a “better blogger” than anyone else. You can’t, by definition, be better. You can, on the other hand, be: More persistent, Better at Wine Rating, Better at Wine Science, Better at Wine Educating, Better at anything you wish to communicate about. But you are not better than another person who wants to discover wine and share that discovery with an audience, large or small, online.

The blog part is only the tool, or the physical means, used to log your content. I do believe Robert Parker would have been the first blogger if the software had existed at the time. He wouldn’t be the best wine blogger though. He might be an influential wine blogger in certain circles, maybe even indispensable to the industry. That said, I could argue that he is the worst wine blogger when it comes to recommending a wine to my parents. He uses language that they don’t understand and talks about wines that my parents are never realistically going to taste.

I happen to be the best wine blogger for my parents. I won an award for it. Really! Ok, so not really, but I hope to one day when my parents finally get around to handing out awards for meaningless family skills.

So, to all you people who think your wine blog is more important than another person’s: Get over it! You’re one of many. You may be the best in your niche, or for your audience, and for that I applaud you. The truth is that a blog is publishing tool. Go find a cool way to use it. Quit worrying about what other people are doing. There are plenty of audiences out there, find your own. Or if you have it, remember to give them what they want, which I assume is wine content. Publish it however you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. Have fun. Or don’t, I don’t care.


Update: I was remiss in not crediting the image. Tombstone image courtesy of the Tombstone Generator [Robert]

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Jenner "Sonoma Coast" 2010 Pinot Noir

This ruby colored Pinot Noir opens with black currant and cranberry bouquet with hints of pomegranate. ...

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Kenswineguide/~3/QPpJu7V-hPM/Jenner-2010-Sonoma-Coast-Pinot-Noir

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WBW 76: Barossa Boomerang

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.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Winecast/~3/FS8LnHLmfVk/

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Martine Saunier Sells Her Import Company Martine’s Wines (Wine Spectator)

Importer introduced Americans to French gems like Château Rayas and Henri Jayer

Source: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47825

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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Wine Blogging Wednesday #70: 2009 Bodega Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha


Source: http://familylovewine.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/wine-blogging-wednesday-70/

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Cap Rock Winery 2011 Sweet Tempranillo


Source: http://thegrapesaroundtexas.com/2013/01/03/cap-rock-winery-2011-sweet-tempranillo/

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EaterWire : N/Naka's Affordable Dinner Special, Cocktail on Tap at Eveleigh, More!

Source: http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/01/10/nnakas_affordable_dinner_special_cocktail_on_tap_at_eveleigh_more.php

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TasteCamp East: Voracious Wine Bloggers Taste Throughout the Finger Lakes


Source: http://familylovewine.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/tastecamp-east-voracious-wine-bloggers-taste-throughout-the-finger-lakes/

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EaterWire : Joan's on Third Updates, Grimaldi's Pizzeria to LA, More!

Source: http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/01/09/joans_on_third_updates_grimaldis_pizzeria_to_la_more.php

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Our most memorable wines of 2012

Source: http://tablascreek.typepad.com/tablas/2013/01/our-most-memorable-wines-of-2012.html

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Video: DWWA 2012 tasting at Decanter's Blue Fin Building

Watch the video highlights from Decanter's first-ever award-winning wine consumer tasting event held on Wednesday 27th June at the Decanter offices in London.

Source: http://www.decanter.com/wine-events/video/530111/video-dwwa-2012-tasting-at-decanter-s-blue-fin-building

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Friday, 11 January 2013

Top Stories of 2012 (Wine Spectator)

Real Housewife wine, Bordeaux troubles, a mysterious death, a high-profile counterfeiting case and Amazon's return to wine sales. The year in wine was tumultuous, to say the least

Source: http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/47820

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Liebfrauenstift "QbA Dry" 2011 Riesling

This pale white gold colored Dry Riesling opens with a mild peach bouquet with a faint hint of wet stone and lime. ...

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Kenswineguide/~3/jdppKFSZ-R4/Liebfrauenstift-2011-QbA-Dry-Riesling

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DEALFEED: Osteria La Buca

Source: http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/01/09/osteria_la_buca.php

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EaterWire : Brunch at Diablo Taco, The Emerson Theatre's Cocktail List, More!

Source: http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/01/07/brunch_at_diablo_taco_the_emerson_theatres_cocktail_list_more.php

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Spectator Surprises with Wines 10 through 6

Wine Spectator began revealing their Top 10 wines of 2012 today and there were more surprises than ever. Of the 5 wines revealed only 1 was guessed in our Scoop the Spectator 2012 contest - a shockingly low number.

Here are the 5 wines revealed today, along with some commentary on each along with Wine-Searcher links...

10. Achával-Ferrer
Malbec Mendoza Finca Bella Vista 2010

95 points / $120
1,250 cases imported

Surprising because Spectator tends to favor wines south of $100 for attainability purposes, plus Argentine Malbec is a value driven category so this pick is seems particularly strange. Where's the value?

Wine-Searcher from $88.99

9. Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona
Brunello di Montalcino 2007

94 points / $60
3,750 cases made

A bit of a surprise because it didn't hit 95 points. But $60 is a good price for a really nice bottle of Brunello and thanks to healthy availability it can be had south of $40. Definitely buy a bottle of this one.

8. Beringer
Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Reserve 2009

94 points / $45
3,602 cases made

This one was the only one that wasn't a surprise. In their 2009 Napa Cab report this wine sticks out like a sore thumb in a good way. It's hard to find a 94 point rated 2009 Napa Cab for less than $100 let alone less than $50. Expect this one to vaporize quickly. Buy buy buy!

7. Shea
Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 2009
94 points / $40
3,555 cases made

I think this was the most surprising of the surprising picks because none of the wines from the heralded 2008 vintage made the Top 10 and now a 2009 makes the list? Crazy.

The availability, at least according to Wine-Searcher, is a bit quirky. I'd expect to see more of this wine around given its production level. Maybe they've moved on to the 2010s by now? I'd be up for trying some. < $40 for a 94 point Oregon Pinot Noir is hard to find. Shea puts out a classy bottle of wine.


6. Château Léoville Barton
St.-Julien 2009

95 points / $105
21,000 cases made

Okay, this one wasn't a huge surprise in hindsight either. Bordeaux isn't cheap but the metrics here stack up well and the wine is still available.


I'd expect one more 2009 Bordeaux in the Top 5 (Pontet Canet maybe?) but I'd be really surprised if less than 2 2009 Rhones were in the Top 5.

So as of now, Joe C is in the lead for the $200 Amazon gift card courtesy of Grapes the Wine Co.

Further Reading:

Check back tomorrow as Wine Spectator reveals wines 5 through 3 tomorrow.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WellesleyWinePress/~3/P7A6SjE65so/spectator-surprises-with-wines-10.html

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Competition Winners Announced

spirits2The winners of the 70th annual Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition were announced today and the list is an impressive one! A box wine, a Scotch whisky, repeat winners (Armida Winery and baseball legend Tommy Lasorda) and so much more! Take a look at the winners here then check out the buzz on the Web that our winners are already creating:



 Congratulations to all the winners!





Source: http://blogs.fairplex.com/blog/wine/?p=78

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Jim Cowan Talks Dirt

Jim Cowan visits Springer Vineyard in Lake County where he discusses what is so special about this location for Sauvignon Blanc.


Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/gangofpour/uncZ/~3/_qiPumWGg_A/jim-cowan-talks-dirt

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FERMENTATION The Daily Wine Blog is Moving On

This blog has moved to a new address and no new posts will be published here. FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog is now located at: http://www.fermentationwineblog.com We look forward to seeing you at the new home.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FermentationTheDailyWineBlog/~3/1jaMbvPkQ7I/fermentation-the-dailly-wine-blog-is-moving-on.html

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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Oz Clarke tastes Sark's first wine

Following the first harvest on the island of Sark in 2011, Oz Clarke went to Sark to taste the first vintage with consultant Dr Alain Raynaud

Source: http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-video/530152/oz-clarke-tastes-sark-s-first-wine

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Survey: Americans Know difference Between Toilet Paper and Alcohol

Recently released amazing survey findings concerning American's understanding of alcohol were announced today by the beer wholesaler-controlled Center For Alcohol Policy. In a survey of over 1000 adults it is learned that 79% of American adults can distinguish between toilet...

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FermentationTheDailyWineBlog/~3/G2I4vF2NKA4/survey-americans-know-difference-between-toilet-paper-and-alcohol.html

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