Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Permanent Hiatus

I obviously haven't posted much recently and I cannot see having the time to devote to it coming up. Couple that with having an obvious conflict of interest in my new position and I am going to have to take this thing on permanent hiatus. If anyone is interested in picking up the torch from me, let me know - I am happy to let someone else carry this forward.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm Still Alive... I promise!

I am sorry I have been so hit and miss lately... mostly miss. I am still committed to this blog, however I have been extremely short on time. The Certified Sommelier exam is 10 weeks away and I still have a LOT of work to do on that, I am working more hours, I have the band thing going and also, it is summertime, so there is yard work and gardening to be done. No excuses, that's just what is going on. With all the wine knowledge going into my brain right now, sometimes I just need a break - and when I do find something interesting in my studies, it is often dry and I don't want to write extremely boring, esoteric blog posts.

I will post a review very shortly, I promise.

Monday, June 27, 2011

French Wine Consumption Drops

I had a rough day today, but I am sitting here finishing my 2008 Trapiche Broquel Malbec from Argentina that we had with our steak tonight and I was feeling a lot better. Fewer things in life are more beautiful (in my eyes) than a well paired dinner with wine. So, I was bummed when I read this article on how wine is losing ground in French culture.

One can make a parallel argument (one that is my age or older) about how kids today are missing out on a lot of things that slow down time in our culture: downloading songs instead of buying an LP or CD and spending time going over the artwork and lyrics, the days of internet have gotten rid of Sunday mornings with the paper or writing letters instead of email (blogs instead of zines?). But I am not going to make this argument on the basis of being a curmudgeon... nor am I going to denigrate spirits or beer, but...

Wine is different than spirits or beer. And it has been for millennia. I have had great conversations over a cigar and glass of bourbon with friends. I made new friends over pints of Guinness one night stuck in Malahide just outside of Dublin (the suburb U2 is from)... but some of my greatest memories involve wine.

1. Sitting at a Parisian cafe drinking rose with my wife (then fiancee) and people watching the day after getting engaged the night before on the Pont Neuf
2. Sitting with my wife after dinner, drinking Chianti in Venice watching tourists float by in 100 Euro gondola rides and soaking in the Venetian culture
3. Having my first bottle of Chablis with my friend Justin during a brunch on one of my first Saturday mornings living in Chicago

The trend is this - it cements a moment in time. A particular wine, that tastes unique to that day in time, with certain people in a certain place, at a particular moment in time. Tell me you have that memory with Coors Light - or even Bells Two Hearted... or Jack Daniels' (and I love all of the aforementioned drinks, but you get my point).

If the French are losing their cultural connection with wine, who is to save its place in our cultures? I suppose if I have to carry it on single handedly, then I will :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are You a Wine Snob?

I on occasion get accused of being a "wine snob"... most of it is in good humor. However, there was a Facebook thread I was a part of a month or so back that came up in conversation today where, I wasn't called an out-right wine snob, but it was certainly insinuated.

This all came about because I said I had no interest in drinking Oliver Winery's wine. Oliver is a good sized winery just outside Bloomington, Indiana that I have visited a couple times and they make several types of wine from wine (as in from grapes) and fruit wine as well as mead and other things. I have not had a wine from Oliver that is not sweet (I admit it has been years) but my opinion of it is, if you like sweet wine, drink Oliver. I do not like sweet wine usually... unless I am having dessert and with so many great ports, sherries, botrytis wines and others out I see no reason to drink sub-par wines with my desserts either.

One thing to keep in mind about the quality of wine - residual sugar can hide many flaws... both in the fruit and in the wine making.

Why is wine different than other products? You wouldn't call someone a "shoe snob" if they refused to shop at Payless, or a "food snob" if they refused to eat at McDonald's... would you? Maybe comparing Oliver to McDonald's is rough... it is not my intention to attack Oliver... again, if you like it, drink it. But Oliver is not fine wine... and that is what I love and have a passion for. I also don't play shitty guitars... why? Because I also love guitars. I will however drink Miller High Life and Pabst Blue Ribbon, wear Levi's for as many days in a row as I can before they get dirty or I spill something on them, drive an old rusty truck that was built when I was a sophomore in high school (that I've owned for 18 months and never washed), etc., etc.

Everyone is entitled to be choosy about their passions. Wine is different, I believe, because it is so misunderstood by the masses. People believe that those of us with a passion for wine drink with our pinky in the air (as well as our noses) and that it is a status thing... truth is, I've never met anyone who was seriously into wine who fit the profile of a "wine snob". Gospel truth. I've had a customer or two who pretend to know more than they do who were snobby, but those of us in the industry can appreciate a cheap, quality bottle of wine as much as a First Growth Bordeaux... Cheap doesn't indicate that it is of bad quality, but good wine and bad wine is not qualitative, it is quantitative... doesn't mean you can't enjoy drinking it, but you enjoying it doesn't make it quality.

The majority of the tasting notes I have posted here are for wines under $15 and I am committed to making wine approachable to people the same as others made it approachable to me... but you will not see me make tasting notes on Oliver.

Time to go crack a High Life...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2010 - $11.99

This wine is from the Coastal Region of South Africa and is a great deal at $11.99. It is medium to dark pink in color with hints of watermelon, cherries, strawberries, wet stone and a hit of herbaciousness on the nose. Those are complemented by raspberries on the palate. It is big for a rose, medium to medium plus acid level and a long finish.

RATING: 9/10

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tarima Monastrell 2009 - $8.99 (UPDATE)

I drank this same bottle in June 2010 and since it got, by far, the most amount of views, I thought I'd give it another crack and see how the bottle had changed in 10 months and to see how my tasting skills have progressed (though this bottle might not be the best test - it is very good but not the most complex wine in the world by any stretch of the imagination). So without further adieu, my tasting notes for today.

This is a very aromatic, full bodied, 100% Monastrell. Notes of cooked strawberries, cherry pie filling, blackberries, violets, dried rose petals, straw and dry dirt, elderberry, white pepper and cocoa powder. Nice structure, supple tannins, high acidity, medium plus finish. Like my previous note, despite being 15% abv it does not feel that warm - the structure of the wine downplays the alcohol very well. Very good wine for $8.99.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Affordable Wines for Everyday is 1 year old today!!

My first post to this blog was one year ago today, it is a little hard to believe. Now, 92 posts later, things have changed. Well, some things have changed.

To begin with the obvious, I left law school to devote myself to wine full-time. I've also started blogging on numerous wine-related topics besides just sharing tasting notes. Nothing earth shattering, just sharing things as I learn about them or passing on things I think others will be interested in.

Some more things are going to change. I am thinking about adding video to the blog but still trying to find how I am going to implement that. There are already a lot of wine vlogs out there, YouTube is littered with them. I am also (hopefully) going to add some new work / wine travel to my experience and will share that as it happens.

My next blog post will be a 2nd tasting of the Tarima Monastrell 2009 which was by FAR the most read entry of the last year with 533 page views. That was done in June 2010 and I will re-visit that wine and see how both the wine and my tasting skills have changed over the last 10 months.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading this over the last year.