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Wednesday’s Meritage #147

September 23, 2020 1 comment

Meritage Time!

Let’s start with some interesting developments in the world of celebrity wines. We just recently pondered at the topic with the fellow wine writers (you can watch it here), and I mentioned Château Miraval as one of the celebrity wines (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) done right – with celebrities themselves very much involved in the process and website talking about wine passion instead of just trying to promote some irrelevant “merchandise”. It appears that the celebrity couple had ambitions going far beyond Provençal Rosé – after diligently working for 5 years, Fleur de Miraval Rosé Champagne is released to the market – at a hefty £290, according to The Drinks Business. This is a grower Champagne, produced by an apparent superstar Rodolphe Péters of the Pierre Péters estate in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. I would love to try that Champagne, but at around $370, I can only hope someone wants to surprise me – holidays are coming? While still talking about the same celebrity couple, I also want to mention that I just learned about new wine on the completely opposite side of the spectrum – a new Rosé called Studio by Miraval, which can be found for a mere $15.

Moving along, let’s now touch on the subject of wine numbers. I don’t know about you, but I love numbers. What are the total plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in the world? Are the plantings of Pinot Noir are rising or declining? Does anyone still plant Merlot? Which country has the biggest plantings of Syrah? Of course, this information is far less valuable compared to knowing which stock will double in the value tomorrow, but these are still the numbers I’m happy to ponder at. If you are sharing my excitement about wine numbers, a book called “Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? A Global Empirical Picture” (2nd Ed) by Kym Anderson and Signe Nelgen, is published by the University of Adelaide Press in Australia, and it is freely available on the publisher’s website. What might be even more interesting, on the same website, you can find a collection of the wine-related datasets, including, for example, the Annual Database of Global Wine Markets, 1835 (!) to 2018, freshly updated in January of this year. Love the numbers? Hit those links!

Now, let’s talk about our new reality – the virtual one, where you can see, but can’t touch. It works well if you need to solve a business problem or debug a complex algorithm, but virtual wine doesn’t offer a satisfying experience (whatever way you want to twist that word). I don’t know if the folks at Taste The World were expecting the pandemic to be besieged upon us, or just had a good business hunch, but the idea behind this operation sounds really good. You have an opportunity to get a set of wines for the blind tasting, hand-selected by the group of Master Sommeliers, with the promise of perfectly representative wines for the different categories. Each set includes 6 different wines, and you can get it once for $90, which I believe is reasonable for this offering, or as a subscription. Whether you are looking for a cool gift for the wine lover in your circle, or study for WSET, this sounds like a great help. Don’t get me the Fleur de Miraval, I would be quite content with Taste The World set.

Last one for today – how about some wine videos? Wine Spectator just completed the voting for their annual Video Contest, and here you can find all the videos selected for the final round. With the pandemic-appropriate theme of “Wine at Home”, you will find some truly creative videos – well worth a few minutes of your time.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday’s Meritage #146

September 9, 2020 6 comments

Meritage Time!

First, I’m sure I have some explaining to do – all of a sudden here is Meritage #146, while you can’t find #1, #50, or #145. I know I had not been contributing on the regular basis to this blog, and I would like to see how I can change that. Meritage posts were always an aggregation (Meritage) of interesting wine and food news, which were published on Wednesdays, hence the title. I counted all the Meritage posts in this blog during the 10+ years and found out that there were 145 of them published before. Previously, I would give you the synopsis of the post right in the title – going forward, I will substitute that with simply a number. Hope I managed to explain my logic, so now let’s proceed with the news.

Let’s start with some interesting developments in the world of Spanish wines. Classification of the Spanish wines appears to be simple – most of the wines are designated under a certain DO, which stands for Denominación de Origen, and then there are few other categories, such as the highest quality category in Rioja and Priorat, which are interesting enough are written differently but signify the same – it is DOCa for Rioja (Denominación de Origen Calificada) and DOQ (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada) in Priorat. Then you also have Vino de Pago, which signifies a single vineyard and a few other categories. It appears, however, that the simplicity is somewhat crumbling and more classifications had been sought to address different quality levels in Spanish wines. For example, you now have Corpinnat in Penedes, designating Cava made with organic grapes plus few other restrictions, or Vino de Villa and Vino de Paraje classifications which just had been launched in DO Bierzo. If you want to learn more, I would like to offer you this article on the Guild of Sommeliers website – it is definitely technical but well worth the effort of understanding the latest dynamics in the world of Spanish wines.

Ever heard of Tour de France, probably the greatest annual cycling race in existence? I’m sure you have, and if you need any technical details about the 2020 race, you can find it here. Many wine writers use this event simply as a canvas to talk about French wines from all the different regions, as cyclists race through them in the quest for glory. I want to offer you two of the Tour de France wine tours – one which is covering the whole race in one sitting, and another wine which is a series of posts. I don’t know if you are a cycling fan or not, but this is definitely an interesting way of exploring the world of French wines.

The year 2020 is absolutely unique in thousands of ways. Not for the things which happened during 2020, but maybe even to a larger extent, for the things which didn’t happen. Chowdafest 2020 would be one of such “things”. Chowdafest is one of my favorite culinary events in New England, usually taking place at the beginning of October, where thousands of Chowder lovers get together to taste and rate a large offering of the hearty soups, also known as “chowder”. With all of the fun of 2020, getting about 20,000 people together on the beach for a few hours doesn’t sound like a smart idea. But – it doesn’t mean that chowder lovers have to be deprived of their favorite treat. How? Easy. Please meet the brand new initiative of the Chowdafest – the Chowder Club. You can join the club for only $10 (not per month, just a one time $10). 24 restaurants in the program will supply their original chowder recipes and a professional chef will prepare them. You will have an opportunity to buy two different types of Chowder every month, at the $20 per quart of the chowder – if you don’t like the particular offering, you don’t have to buy anything. Initially, the chowders will be shipped only within the New England, but hopefully, they will expand nationwide. Make sure to read the FAQ section on the Chowder Club’s website as it provides additional information to what is listed on the Join Club page. I already signed up, so now I will have an opportunity to write about chowders 12 times a year instead of only once :).

Whatever happens, is for the better, right? Not always, yes – but sometimes it works. I wanted to get this post out last week, but that didn’t happen. On the flip side, however, I got a notification about the first Chowda Club offering, which will consist of two soups that won the Chowdafest in their respective categories for 5 years in the row – Pike’s Place from Seattle with its Classic New England Chowder and Our House Bistro from Winooski in Vermont with their Drunken Pumpkin Seafood Chowder. At the moment these chowders can be shipped only within New England – if you want to get yours, all the details can be found here – but hurry up, you can only order your chowder until September 18th.

One last news, more of a local kind – about this blog. Yesterday, I got a totally unexpected email from Corked Wines in the UK, informing me that I made it to their Top 101 wine writers list of 2020, and thus I can proudly display this logo:

I’m very humbled by this honor, but I wouldn’t lie to you, it was definitely a pleasant surprise. In case you would like to see the full list of awardees, you can find it here.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday Meritage: Where To Get Wine [Values]

June 4, 2020 1 comment

Meritage Time!

This is a bit of an unusual Meritage post, as it is focused on one single subject – how to maximize your hard-earned dollars while continuing to enjoy your beloved beverage. Plus, I want to share with you my case buy recommendation at the end of this post.

The inspiration for this post were the notes I receive via subscription to the blog by Robert Dwyer called Wellesley Wine Press which I had been following for a long time. Robert has a special talent for finding wine deals and discounts, and he shares all that information in his blog, so we can all benefit from that.

In addition to Robert’s finds, I also want to suggest another source of discounts which might or might not work for you – the American Express credit card. If you don’t own the American Express card, you should skip all this Amex talk and advance to the case discount section. For those of you who has the card you can’t leave home without, please continue reading.

When you log into your account at the American Express website, you can find a section of “Amex Offers & Benefits” at the bottom of the page. There are 100 different offers that are available to you on any given day. I believe those offers are targeted, and I’m not sure if everyone will see the exact same set of offers. Today, out of those 100 offers, 12 are wine-related. These are real savings, I used those offers many times in the past and those are real deals, saving you $20, $30, $50. These offers are easy to use – find what you are interested in using, apply the offer to your card, then make a purchase in required amount before the offer expiration date on the American Express card you applied the offer to, and your credit will be posted automatically within a few business days.

Here is the list of the offers which are currently available for my American Express card – I’m also adding the additional discount information which can be found in Robert’s blog:

Wine.com

Spend $100+, get one time $30 credit. Expires 6/30/2020.
You can add to this a $50 off $150 purchase with the code CN50 – see Robert’s post for explanations and additional discount codes. So technically, you can spend $150 on the wine, and with the combination of these two offers, your cost will be only $70. I took this opportunity to get a few bottles of Grosset Riesling from Clare valley – definitely a great deal.

WineaAcess.com/amex

Spend $250+, receive $50 credit. Expires 9/30/2020. Limit of 3 statement credits (total of $150). Wine Access offers many interesting wines – you can read about my experience here.

Parcellewine.com

Spend $100+, get one time $20 back. Expires 9/1/2020

BenchmarkWine.com

Spend $250+, get a one-time $50 credit. Expires 8/22/2020. Benchmark Wine Group is one of my favorite online stores to shop for wine – lots of unique and different finds.

The restaurant at Beringer Vineyards or online at beringer.com

Spend $200, get a one-time $60 credit. Expires 8/28/2020. Beringer Vineyards needs no introduction – and this sounds like a good deal.

Vinfolio.com

Spend $250+, get 5,000 additional Membership Rewards points (one time). Expires 7/31/2020. Considering that American Express points can be valued at about one penny per point, 5,000 membership points would equate $50 – a good deal.

FirstBottleWines.com

Spend $250+, get a one-time $50 credit. Expires 8/23/2020

Benziger.com

Spend $200,  get a one-time $40 credit. Expires 7/20/2020.

Bcellars.com, the restaurant at B Cellars Vineyards and Winery

Spend $300+, get a one-time $90 credit. Expires 8/18/2020.

StagsLeap.com

Spend $200+, get a one-time $60 credit. Expires 7/27/2020. Another coveted winery on the list.

Vinesse.com

Spend $50+, get a one-time $15 credit. Expires 7/3/2020.

WineInsiders.com

Spend $20+, get $20 credit. Expires 10/31/2020. Limit of 3 statement credits (total of $60)

These are all the American Express offers which I found available today for my credit card.

Rabbit Ridge Wines Paso Robles

And now, for the case recommendations.

You see, when I find a good value wine, I’m always a bit hesitant to share that information with the world – what if there will be not enough left for me? Well, yeah, it is really not about me, right? It is all about delicious wine which you can afford to drink any day. What is also unique about these wines is that they don’t come from Spain, Italy, or France, where you can still find great bargains – these wines are made in California – at Rabbit Ridge Winery in Paso Robles.

I recently met winemaker and the owner Erich Russell and his wife Joanne at the virtual event organized by John Fodera. We were going to discuss Rabbit Ridge wines, and I ordered a few bottles for that discussion – 2017 Rabbit Ridge Allure de Robles Paso Robles (15.4% ABV, $10(!), Rhone blend), 2018 Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel Westside Paso Robles (114.9% ABV, $15), and 2013 Rabbit Ridge Petite Sirah Paso Robles (14.8% ABV, $20).

Opening a $10 bottle of California wine is hardly possible without trepidation – finding great wines at that price is really challenging. And nevertheless, Allure de Robles was delicious – soft, supple, well-present, and perfectly balanced. Would it compete head to head with the wines from Saxum or Alban – no, of course not. Yet this is an excellent, delicious everyday wine in its own right.

$15 Zinfandel is also not an easy find. Rabbit Ridge West Side Zinfandel was superb – the core of raspberries with a touch of smoke. Yep, delicious is the right word.

$20 Petite Sirah, drinkable upon the opening of the bottle – this doesn’t happen often, if ever. Petite Sirah is tricky and finding drinkable one at that price is also quite difficult – again, Rabbit Ridge perfectly delivered dark and firmly structured core, with the fruit leisurely weaved around it.

If these wines are not the case buy recommendations then I don’t know what is.

Here you go, my friends. I hope you will be able to take advantage of at least some of the offers and don’t miss on those Rabbit Ridge wines – nothing lasts forever… Cheers!

Wednesday Meritage – OTBN, Tre Bicchieri, Cru Bourgeois 2020 Classification, and More

February 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Meritage Time!

Let’s start with my perennial favorite – Open That Bottle Night, or OTBN for short. OTBN movement was started by the Wall Street Journal wine writers, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, back in 1999, to encourage wine lovers around the world to open up that long stashed special bottle which might be long gone while waiting for a special enough day. OTBN is always celebrated on the last Saturday in February, which will be falling on the February 29th this year. I had been a passionate supporter of this special wine holiday for many years. Last year, we had a great celebration hosted by Jim van Bergen of JvBUncorked fame. This year, John Fodera of Tuscan Vines will be hosting a wine dinner I’m very much looking forward to attending. The only question left is what bottle is special enough to be open this coming Saturday, but this will be hotly debated until the very moment of leaving the house. Oh well, these are the first world problems of the wine lover. I hope you have some special plans too.

Next, let’s talk about the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchiery event. Gambero Rosso is a wine publication in Italy which every year rates about 45,000 Italian wines. Out of all these wines, about 1% receives prestigious Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) designation – 465 wines attained these honors in 2019. To celebrate the best of the best in Italian wines, Gambero Rosso conducts an annual Tre Bicchiery tastings around the world. Such tasting is coming to New York this coming Friday, February 28th – it is open to the trade and media only, so if you belong to one of these categories, don’t miss this fun tasting. You can register for the New York tasting using this link. After New York, the show will make a number of stops in California – here you can find the full list. If you are interested in learning more about Tre Bicchieri 2019 awards, here is a very informative link for you.

Our next tidbit is about French wines. On a perfectly unique date – 02/20/2020 – Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc announced its new classification of the Crus Bourgeois wineries. Crus Bourgeois is a classification which is one level below of the famous 1855 Crus Classés (Classified Growths), but still represents a high level of quality and is difficult to attain, as an application process is quite rigorous. The new 2020 classification is awarded for a period of 5 years. It includes 249 Châteaux with a total production of 28 million bottles. Out of 249, 14 Châteaux are classified as Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, 56 as Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, 179 as Cru Bourgeois. You can find all the interesting stats here.

Now, a bit of the advice – how to store wine. I’m sure many of you have a few bottles which you want to keep for some time – the reason is not important, it is your wine – but not everybody has a wine cellar in their house or an apartment. Even if you don’t have a wine cellar, it is not a problem – you can still preserve your wines in the perfect condition for the years to come. The folks at Redfin, real estate news and analysis firm, asked winemakers, wine experts, sommeliers and wine writers for advice on storing the wines at home, and assembled all the recommendations in the form of the blog post, which you can find here. I’m sure not all of those recommendations are universally applicable to everyone, but I’m also sure you might some useful details there.

Not to be outdone, one last note for today – about Georgian wines. If you are living in or will be visiting New York on Monday, March 2nd, you are in luck – Georgian wine tasting will be hosted at a restaurant called Chama Mama in lower Manhattan. There are actually two tastings – one for trade and press from 4 pm until 6 pm (you can find information here), and one for consumers from 6 pm until 9 pm (here is the link to buy tickets). I always consider Georgian wines to be some of the best in the world, so if you can make the tasting, you can thank me later.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday Meritage – Festivals Galore

June 12, 2019 Leave a comment

Meritage Time!

It seems that June is everyone’s favorite month for wine and food events. I guess it makes sense – the schools and colleges just finishing the year, the weather is generally great, and the vacation season didn’t fully start yet – so all the event organizers are trying to pack as much as they can into that one month. No matter what the reason – the end result is an abundance of choice when it comes to the different events focused on food and wine lovers.

I wanted to share with you three of the events which look interesting. Two of the events fall on the same weekend, so you will have to make some decisions, but having a choice is better than having none, right?

Let’s start with the event which will be taking place around the country – a Black Truffle Festival 2019. Who doesn’t like truffles? Well, actually, I know some people who don’t, but outside of those few, the majority is easily excited at the prospect of having a dish – pasta, risotto, steak – all covered with generous shavings of black truffles and exuding the aroma which alone makes you hungry. From June 14th until June 23rd, top chefs in New York, Miami, and San Francisco will help you celebrate the prized mushroom. By the way, until I started working on this post, I had no idea that truffles can also come from Australia – it appears that truffles are not limited to Piedmont only. See, I already learned something – check the information at the link above to see how you might enjoy some pungent beauty.

June 22nd, which falls on Saturday this year, is known as Summer Solstice – the day with the longest duration of the daytime and shortest night. The summer solstice is an important day in the biodynamic viticulture, where the sun’s cycle plays a key role in the whole program. Thus it is only appropriate that Summer Solstice 2019 will be celebrated with the Natural Wines Festival. Hosted at the Burnt Hill Farm in Maryland, the Natural Wine festival will have 25 wineries from Maryland, Virginia and DC pouring more than 100 wines – of course, the food, art, and music will be a part of the festivities as well. For more information and tickets, please click here.

Now, you can follow that Summer Solstice celebration with more wine the very next day. On Sunday, June 23rd, wines from the Côtes du Rhône region in France, which includes Côtes du Rhône Villages, Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise, Rasteau, Saint-Joseph, Condrieu, and Cornas will take over Manhattan. Okay, this might be an exaggeration, but still, Côtes du Rhône Wine Festival will take place right in the middle of Manhattan. The festival consists of both press/trade portion, and consumer portion. In addition to all the wines, the festival (expectedly!) will offer food, music and lots more. For more information and tickets, please click here.

That’s all I have for you for today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage: Chowdafest, Champagne in Space, WBC18, Losing the Donuts and more

September 26, 2018 1 comment

Meritage Time!

I have a lot of interesting tidbits for you, so let’s get going.

Clam ChowderFirst and foremost, the Chowdafest. Now in its 11th year, one of my all-time favorite fun culinary events keep on going strong. Same as the last year, 40 culinary teams (restaurants, catering, etc) will compete in 5 categories (Classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Chowders (Manhattan/Rhode Island’s), Creative Chowder, Soup/Bisque, and Vegetarian). Even the lobster chowder is expected to be present this year. As usual, the guests will be sampling and judging. To put things in perspective, 40 of 1 oz samples make it for 40 oz of chowder – that is 2.5 lb of chowder combined! I don’t know how you see it, but this is a lot of chowder! Oh well, if you are anywhere within a few hours drive, the event is well worth it, so see you there!

Next one might be an old news for many (for sure my kids are already all over it) – the famed Dunkin’ Donuts is going to lose the donuts! Not to worry, only in its name. As it seems to be popular nowadays, the iconic chain which had been around since 1948, is going to change its name to just Dunkin’ – as my kids said, this is how everybody calls it anyway, so no big deal. I hope this renaming will be more successful compared to the recent failure of the IHOP->IHOB->IHOP attempt – and it most likely will. You can find more details about renaming at the Dunkin’s (can we already call them like that?) website.

The next subject I want to touch on is something I would typically include into my April 1st posts – but today is not April 1st, so this is actually not a joke and not a prank. It seems that in only a couple of years, anyone who has a spare $10M or so will be able to book their hotel room in … yes, space. It is obvious that such a unique achievement have to be properly celebrated – and what else says “celebration” if not a glass of Champagne? Challenge is that it is hard to pour a glass of revered bubbly in space – but have no fear, Champagne house of Mumm set out to solve the problems by teaming up with the designer Octave de Gaulle. The problem will be solved by creating a special two-chamber bottle which will create a foam out of Champagne, which will then return to its traditional bubbly state directly in the consumer’s mouth. For more details, please see the original article here (thanks to my friend Emil for bringing this to my attention).

Now, let’s talk about numbers – can you not like talking about numbers? When we hear numbers, we think we are in the know – if we can measure something, we are now in control, right? Okay, these are obviously wine-related numbers (you didn’t expect me to talk about Prius production here, didn’t you?) – and they relate to the wine consumption in different states in the USA. Well, not even wine – the alcohol consumption overall. VinePair just published a ranking of all 50 states in terms of the alcohol consumption per capita. Want to guess which state leads the pack? I will give you a moment to ponder at it. Ready? If you said New Hampshire, you won! Wait, I don’t have any prizes here. Well, pat yourself on the back, will you? New Hampshire is leading in terms of alcohol consumption in the USA, with 4.76 gallons per capita per year. Washington, DC is second, with 3.85, followed by Delaware at 3.72. At the bottom of the table is state of Utah (I’m sure we could predict that), with 1.34 gallons per capita. When it comes to numbers, I always remember the old adage of “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics” – I have no idea where all these numbers came from – for example, if most of my wines come directly from the wineries through the mailing lists, is that accounted for? Anyway, the numbers are always fun, so for the full report, please follow this link.

Last one for today, and it is not even really the news. The Wine Bloggers Conference of 2018 (WBC18 for short) will start in a mere week, on October 4th, in Walla Walla, Washington. I will be attending WBC18 (I know a lot of bloggers can’t make it, unfortunately), so if you are reading this and will be attending the conference, please find me and say “hi”. The state of Washington makes amazing wines, and Walla Walla is on the forefront of producing those amazing wines, so I’m definitely looking forward to experiencing the wines and meeting all the wine people next week.

And we are done here, my friends. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage: Capital Grille, Thomas Keller, and more

June 13, 2018 8 comments

Meritage time!

Wednesday’s Meritage was a permanent weekly feature in this blog in the days where the time for blogging was magically found with ease. The wine can be called a Meritage only if it is produced as a blend of two or more varieties – the idea for these Wednesday’s Meritage posts was based on the same principal – sharing the tidbits of news and information which I thought might be of interest to my fellow readers.

Looking through some of the recent emails I came across a few newsworthy items, so off went the sparkle – “that warrants a Meritage post”, so here we go.

The Capital Grille is a group of steakhouse restaurants, which don’t require much introduction for steak aficionados in the USA. Their menu is generally very solid, and, what is very important for me, their wine list is extensive and reasonably priced, for sure for the restaurant in that same steakhouse category. The Capital Grille is known for some innovative wine programs – for instance, their Generous Pour event had been in effect for many years, and it allows people to enjoy a variety of the specially selected wines at a very reasonable price (was $25, now $28) with dinner – a number of my personal favorites were discovered with help of this program. While new Generous Pour will start on July 9th of this year, this is not the program I wanted to bring to your attention. The Capital Grille just announced a brand new program, called “Sip today, sip tomorrow”, with a very simple idea. You can order any bottle of wine from their extensive wine list. Next, the wait staff will use Coravin to pour as many glasses as you would want – and the rest of the bottle is yours to take home. You can get more details on The Capital Grille website – click on the “sip today, sip tomorrow” icon to learn more. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea – now, just need to find a good occasion to visit The Capital Grille and try it for myself.

Say “Thomas Keller” name to any foodie, and you will get an “ahh” reaction from the absolute majority of them. The iconic chef is best known as an owner of French Laundry, a culinary mecca in Napa Valley, and Per Se in New York City. Now, the people of Miami can dance a happy dance, as Thoms Keller is set to open The Surf Club restaurant in Miami, in the town called Surfside (less than 10 miles from Miami). This will be a first Florida restaurant for the Thomas Keller, connecting to his childhood memories of Palm Beach. The restaurant is expected to have a bit more casual menu, compared to the French Laundry and Per Se, but I’m sure Thomas Keller’s style will be well recognized there. The restaurant should be opening next month, so if you live in Miami or plan to visit, you might want to start looking up that phone number…

Last, I have a movie for you. It is less than 20 minutes long. Yes, it is in Russian – but it has English subtitles, which were done pretty well. The movie, called “The Taste”, of course, revolves around wine… and people… and wine. The ending is totally unexpected (it was for me), so if you will go to the extent of watching it, please allocate that 20 minutes of your time  – there is a good chance you will enjoy it, even if you don’t speak Russian. And if you will end up watching it, I would be happy to hear from you, whether you will like it or not.

That’s all I have for you, my friends. As these Meritage posts used to finish – the glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – WBC16, Up and Coming in this Blog and more

August 10, 2016 4 comments

Meritage Time!WBC16 logo

First and foremost – Wine Bloggers Conference 2016 (WBC16) is starting this Thursday, August 11th in Lodi, California. Most importantly – I’m flying Thursday morning to attend it! While wine is of course an important part of the event, what I’m really looking forward to is connecting with fellow bloggers. Being around of wine blogosphere for 6 years allowed me to make many friends. While I met some bloggers in person, many are still only virtual, and based on registration list I hope to add some faces to the names.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about wines of Lodi, which I have rather a limited exposure to. And the so called “Speed Tasting/Live Blogging” sessions are something I enjoyed very much at WBC14, so I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again. I will do my best to report on the WBC16 escapades, but it will not be easy, as an event gets quite overwhelming. In any case, if you are attending WBC16, I hope to meet you face to face.

Now, I need to tell you – lots of Pinot Noir is coming to this blog in the near future. I just finished working on the series of interviews with Oregon winemakers, and we all know that Oregon is a Pinot Noir capital of the United States. There is lots of passion, wit and hard work, which I can’t wait to share with you all – along with some tasting notes. Expect to see this series posted throughout September/October time.

Talking about blogging plans, we will be also talking about Italian wines. And not just Italian wines in general, but one of my most favorite Italian wines – Amarone. Cesari Vineyards, a family-owned winery in Veneto, was one of the Amarone pioneers, formed in 1936. To celebrate 80 years of producing great wines, Cesari Vineyards reached out to the group of wine bloggers, so look for the blog posts, tweets and pictures coming out under the hash tag of #IAMarone.

And we are done for today. The glass is empty – and it takes a lot more time for the refill to arrive nowadays – but the refill is still on the way. Cheers!

 

 

Wednesday’s Meritage: Malbec Day, How to Serve Wine, Making Money with Your Blog, and more

April 6, 2016 4 comments

Meritage Time!

Welcome to the used-to-be-regular-and-now-extremely-occasional meritage issue, where I share with you different wine related news bits and pieces which I recently came across over the internet.

Let me start from a bit of SSP: here is the link to my own (ahh, unthinkable!) April 1st post, where I managed to convince a few people about some interesting [non-]happenings in the ever amazing world of wine – please scroll through the comments section, you will see what I mean.

I’m sure that when it comes to serving wine, most of you are confident in your abilities to do it easily and properly. Or, are you? For instance, when opening the bottle of sparkling wine, what do you twist – the cork or the bottle? Or – why, when and how do you decant the wine? All of these and many other wine serving questions are answered very well in this “Serving Wine – The Ultimate Guide for Wine Enthusiasts“.

I honestly have to admit – I like to teach people. No, not in the annoying way of providing the advice nobody asked for – but in the situation when I have genuine knowledge to share and the recipient actually stand to learn something. My main problem comes from the fact that more often than not, I have to convince people to “Do as I say, not as I do!” – not that good, huh? Case in point – the advice on how to make money with your blog. Dedicated page in my blog contains a number of references to the posts which actually teach you how one can make money with the blog – and I didn’t even try to follow any of that advice. To top it off, I’m going to add there two new links I came across recently, on the same subject of blogging and money. First, here is the link to the site which gives you practical advice and examples of blogs which are making money. And then here you can find a detailed analysis  of 23 top bloggers making money from their blogs – just as a reference, note that combined monthly income of those 23 profiled bloggers exceeds $900K. I will add these two references to my blogging tips page for future references.

Last but not least for today – Malbec Day is coming! Malbec’s popularity dramatically increased over the past 4-5 years, with soft and supple wines appealing to wide range of wine drinkers. We are going to celebrate International Malbec Day on Sunday, April 17th – find your favorite bottle of Malbec and get ready for the festivities. Along the same lines, I would like to share with you the Wine Lover’s Calendar for 2016, which contains references to all the grape holidays and “wine months” – want to make sure that you will not miss out on any of these very important opportunities to drink more wine holidays.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but refill is on the way! Well, it will arrive at some point, I promise. Cheers!

 

[Wednesday’s] Meritage – Grenache Day, SHARE Campaign, Discover Georgia in New York

September 17, 2015 1 comment

ANNA-SHARE-v2Yes, I’m aware that this is very much not Wednesday, nevertheless – Meritage Time!

First of all – tomorrow, Friday September 18th, we will be [once again] celebrating the grape – this time, it is Grenache, a.k.a. Garnacha. Grenache definitely is one of the wine world’s darlings, enjoying huge popularity everywhere – France, Spain, California, Washington, Australia, South Africa. Whether part of a blend or playing solo, Grenache offers tremendous range of expressions and can easily be one of the most versatile red grapes. So tomorrow, grab a bottle of your favorite Grenache wine, join the festivities, and of course, share it with the world – use tag #GrenacheDay on Twitter or Instagram. You can also check out Grenache Day website and Facebook page.

While this might be “an obsession of oenophile”, I can’t help but to notice how often wine is a subject of many “do good” initiatives – charity auctions, fund raisers. “drink for a cause” events. Here I want to bring to your attention one of such “do good” initiatives – partnership between Anna Codorniu, one of the best Cava producers from Spain, and SHARE, “a national organization that provides informed peer support, empowerment and educational resources to women affected by breast and ovarian cancers”. To support this cause, Anna Codorniu created special campaign called “Message on a Bottle” – I very rarely cite text from press releases, but let me just include this passage as a reference: “Anna de Codorníu will encourage consumers to engage with SHARE through the Message on a Bottle campaign encouraging consumers to write their messages of hope on the Anna bottle and connect with #SHAREANNA on social media. In-store displays and bottles will prominently feature information about SHARE, to access their services and become more involved. On September 21, Anna de Codorníu Brut and Brut Rosé will be served at the 12th Annual A Second Helping of Life benefit in New York City, featuring top chefs such as April Bloomfield, Anita Lo and Christina Tosi. (www.sharebenefit.org)”.

Last week I mentioned that Georgian Food and Wine event will take place in New York city on September 25-27, at Chelsea Markets – and here is the link for more information. Georgian hospitality is second to none, so if you have a slightest possibility of attending the event, I would highly recommend that you will make an effort to visit Chelsea Markets and experience #GeorgianBazaar firsthand.

And that is all I had for you for today. The glass is empty, but refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

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