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Posts Tagged ‘wednesday’s meritage’

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: #MWWC19 Theme, Stumbling Upon and more

August 12, 2015 5 comments

Meritage Time!

Let’s start with the theme for the new round of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, #19 (#MWWC19 for short). The winner of the previous round, Traveling Wine Chick, have chosen the theme, and it is (drum roll, please) … “Choice”. This theme sounds a lot simpler than many of the recent ones, such as “Crisis” or “Serendipity”, but there lies the challenge of making such a regular word a main element of the blog post. Well, good luck to all, and for all rules and regulations, please consult this post – most important is the submission deadline, which is September 14th, so you have enough time to get your creative juices flowing.

Vineyard and The Sky

Just for your viewing enjoyment – a picture from the recent trip to the vineyard – more details later

Next I want to mention that Wine Bloggers Conference 2015 (WBC15 for short) will be starting on Thursday, August 13th, and it is taking place in the Finger Lakes region. Lately, Finger Lakes wineries had been producing the wines of notice, moving past excellent whites into the world of reds. I’m sure that all the attendees will be into a treat and will find quite a few surprises, such as Saperavi wines – I heard that they are delicious, and wineries have a hard time to keep them around (sell out very quickly). I will not be attending, but I wish to all the bloggers to have a great time and taste a lot of great wines. And I’m really curious what the location of WBC16 will be – I hope it will be the Texas, as Texas wines are nothing short of phenomenal and it is time for the people to get to know them.

Now, let’s talk about an interesting subject – promotion of your blog. When it comes to the blogging, most of us write because we enjoy it – but we also want to be found and our writing to be enjoyed by others, and that is what “blog promotion” is all about. I recently came across an interesting article called 30 ways to promote your blog posts, which contains wealth of great advice. Among other tools, I saw a mention of Stumble Upon, which I heard before, but never used. I checked with some of Connecticut bloggers on Facebook, and many people find Stumble Upon a great tool, so I decided to add this capability for the blog post sharing. I learned that WordPress.com used to offer the Stumble Upon sharing button, but not anymore – but then I came across this post which provides detailed instructions on how Stumble Upon button can be added. Without talking about promotion, I found lots of interesting articles with the help of StumbleUpon – here is one example for you – “22 Foods You’ve Probably Been Eating The Wrong Way Until Now“. If you use Stumble Upon, I would like to know what is your take on it. And by the way, I don’t know if you are aware of the two pages I have in this blog, under the menu of Resources – one of them is called Best Blogging Tips and second one is Technical Tips for Bloggers – I use those pages to collect interesting articles and “how to” as it relates to the blogging – check them out.

Last for today, really a local update – I made changes to the page called Grapes of the World, to properly reflect all the grapes I tasted  so far in my Wine Century Club journey. Why is that important? Will tell you very soon.

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

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC18 Theme, Decanter Top Wines 2015, New Spanish Wine Video and more

July 15, 2015 6 comments

Meritage Time!

First and foremost, the theme of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #18 (#MWWC18) was announced by the winner of the previous round, Wayward Wine,  and it is … “Crisis“.  I don’t readily associate wine with crisis – thus I find this theme quite challenging. But so where many other themes before, and this is why it is called a “challenge”, so all we can do is to put on a crisis-handling hat and deal with it. Write, don’t wait – the submission deadline is Monday, July 27th, which is less than 2 weeks away… Crisis!

Decanter magazine is unquestionably one of the most influential publications in the wine consumer world.  Every year, Decanter conducts a competition and recognizes the best wines in the multiple categories with both international and regional awards. In 2015, the most prestigious award, called International Trophy, was awarded to the 35 wines out of 15,929 wines submitted for the competition between December 2014 and May 2015 – that sure sounds very impressive. The most interesting part for me was the fact that Australia, France and South Africa heavily dominated that list of 35, with Italy and Portugal been barely present, and US, Germany, Austria and many other winemaking countries absent completely. In any case, this makes it an interesting read, so here is the link where you can find complete information about competition process and awards.

Wines from Spain, an organization promotes the knowledge about Spanish wines worldwide, started a new series of videos, aimed to educate wine consumers about Spanish wines. The first video in the series introduces four of the popular Spanish grapes, and promises to come back with a lot more information. The video is short (less than 3 minutes) and very cute, so I would suggest that it’s worth your time – you can find the video here.

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

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC17 Reminder, Chardonnay Day and more

May 20, 2015 5 comments
250px-Waldkauz-Strix_aluco

Tawny Owl. Source: Wikipedia

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #118 – What Is It?

In that quiz, you were given a picture of the bird (an owl), and the request was to identify the connection between the bird and the wine world.

I have to say that a number of people had very good answers, suggesting that owls are used to protect vineyards against various kinds of rodents, obviously in a natural way. However, this was not the answer I was looking for. The particular type of owl is called Tawny Owl, and it is the color of its feathers that gave the name to the Tawny Port. As the Tawny Port ages, the color of the wine becomes reminiscent of the Tawny Owl coloring, hence the name.

I’m glad to report that we have two winners: Margot from Gather and Graze and Gwain609 of Oz’s Travels – they both identified the owl as a Tawny Owl and suggested that “Tawny” is the key word we are looking for here. They both get the usual price of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

First of all, I want to remind everyone that Monthly Wine Writing Challenge number 17 (#MWWC17) with the theme “Epiphany” is in the full swing! There had been a number of entries submitted, and everyone who didn’t submit one yet (you know who you are!) is very much encouraged to participate. For all the official rules and regulations please use this link.

Next, we got a few of the grape and wine region holidays to celebrate  – I’m sure you don’t need a reason to open a bottle of wine, but those holidays solve the problem of choice. Today, I got 3 of them for you. Tomorrow, May 21st, is a Chardonnay Day! Chardonnay needs no introduction – the grape is successfully grown all over the world, a hallmark of Burgundy, Champagne, California and practically any other wine growing country and the region. You should have no problems finding the good bottle to open, and then sharing your thoughts in the social media using the hash tag #ChardonnayDay.

Next we have two distinct regions celebrating its heritage in May – May is an Oregon Wine Month and also an Aussie Wine Month! Oregon today is a lot more than just a Pinot Noir, and Australia is a lot more than just a Shiraz – lots of wonderful wines are made in both places, so you will have no issues finding excellent authentic wines to drink for the next 10 days.

Last but not least for today – the new danger for your wallet had just became a reality. Well, no, I’m not talking about some elaborate wine scam or a new series of emails with unbeatable business proposals from Africa. Last Bottle Wines, one of my favorite purveyors of the fine wines at the value prices, finally joined the 21st century and announced availability of the Last Bottle App for the iPhone – here are the details. Now you can be notified of all the new offerings and will have a better chance to react to them. If you are still not a customer of Last Bottle Wines, I will be glad to be your reference – yes, I will get a $20 credit after your first purchase, and you will get $5 credit on that same purchase – but then you will be able to sign up your friends. And, of course, to thank me again and again. You can click here to sign up for the Last Bottle Wines account.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC16 Vote, #SauvBlanc Day, WTSO Marathon, Chianti in New York

April 22, 2015 2 comments

Meritage Time!

Don’t have a lot today – but a few things are worth mentioning.

First – Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC16, “Finish”  concluded with a very modest 7 entrees. All of you, who were busy (or lazy) – and you know who you are – think about it, this is not cool. I really hope you will eagerly fix that behavior for the next time around, or the whole MWWC will be finished. Nevertheless, it is time to vote note – you can do it here.

Last time I reminded you about whole bunch of coming and going wine and grape holidays, so here I will focus only on one – Sauvignon Blanc Day (known in the social media as #SauvBlanc Day), which will be celebrated this coming Friday, April 24th, [hopefully] right in your glass. Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most delicious wines, showing a great range of expression from Sancerre in France to Marlboro in New Zealand to Chile and on to California – it is somewhat similar and ohh so different. One thing in common, no matter where the wine would come from – Sauvignon Blanc always means fun! Festivities will take place all over the world, both on April 24th and onward. On April 30th, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will be celebrated in New York – information about this event can be found on the New Zealand Wine web site. If you will scroll down, on the same page to the right you will see information about various events taking place on April 24th in New Zealand, Australia, UK and Canada. You should check Twitter and Facebook (look for #SauvBlanc tag) – I’m sure there will be celebrations all over the world, no matter where you are. Most importantly  – pour yourself a glass of delicious Sauvignon Blanc – this is all you need to join the festivities.

Wine Til Sold Out (WTSO), one of the finest purveyors on the great wines at the value prices, is doing “it” again. What “it”? Of course the Marathon! This time it is Magnum Marathon, which will take place on Tuesday, April 28th. WTSO went extra step and created a great information page about all of their Marathons, so now it is easy to learn about what, when and how (and I don’t need to repeat the rules every time) – here is the link.

The last one for today – Chianti anyone? If you like Chianti, and live in a close proximity to New York, you are in luck, as Consorzio Vino Chianti will be hosting Taste of Italy Chianti tasting event in New York on Monday, April 27th at the High Line Hotel. The event will be open to the public – you can find all the information here.

And we are done here. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC16, Grape and Wine Holidays, Spirits Talk on the Radio, M. Chapoutier Tasting, LBW Marathon

April 15, 2015 Leave a comment

Meritage Time!

Today’s news are a very eclectic mix – from big international grape celebrations to the interesting, but very local updates. Nevertheless – let’s get to it!

First – this is the last reminder for Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC16, “Finish” – the deadline to submit your entry is Monday, April 20th. I don’t think I saw a single entry so far, which is sad, as I think the theme is great. Come on – I know you can do it (addressing myself as well as part of the group) – so let’s just do it!

Grape and wine holidays, anyone? I don’t know who, where and how comes up with all of those holidays, but still, as oenophiles, we must support them, aren’t we? First of all, April is the Michigan Wine Month. Well, this might be a tough celebration for those who don’t live in Michigan – don’t know about your state, but Michigan wines are nowhere to be found in the state of Connecticut. If you don’t have an access to the Michigan wine, at least you can read about it – here is the link to the Michigan Wine web site.

Up and coming in the glass next to you is… Malbec! Friday, April 17th is a Malbec World Day. Unquestionably associated with Argentina today, but really one of the core Bordeaux varietals, Malbec often creates soft, luscious and approachable wines well appreciated by the wine lovers everywhere. Your celebration instructions are simple – open a bottle of Malbec, pour, smell, sip and savor. Don’t forget to say “ahhh” if you really enjoy it, and tell the world about it #MalbecWorldDay.

Next holiday is a Sauvignon Blanc Day (#SauvBlancDay), which will be celebrated on April 24th, less than 10 days from now. Actually, when it comes to this holiday, we know where and when – it was created by the folks at the St. Supéry winery in California 6 years ago, to celebrate one of the most popular white grapes in the world, Sauvignon Blanc. If should be easy for you to join the festivities by opening the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and then sharing your impressions in the social media.

The last wine holiday for today is a 2nd annual Rioja Week, which will start on May 2nd with the Wine and Tapas Festival taking place in Chicago. Again, easy to celebrate – get a bottle of Rioja and drink it with friends!

How familiar are you with the wines of Michel Chapoutier, one of the oldest producers in France (established in 1808), best known for his Rhône wines? Whether you are well familiar or not, you are not going to miss out on a tasting of a few of Chapoutier’s Hermitage wines, wouldn’t you? On April 19th, Total Wines & More, one of the largest wine retailers in US, will be conducting a virtual tasting event, where you will have an opportunity to taste (for real) some of the great wines made by Michel Chapoutier. The tasting will take place at the Total Wines stores near you – for more information and to get tickets (priced at $25) please use this link.

Be forewarned – the madness is coming! Nope, not the apocalypse type. Just a simple wine madness.  Last Bottle Wines, purveyor of great wines at value prices, will conduct their Madness Marathon tomorrow (04/16), starting at 12 PM Eastern/9 AM Pacific time, and continuing for the next 48 hours, or until the Last Bottle cellar will be empty.

During the Madness Marathon, all the wines will be offered in the rapid succession, without any notifications – no twitter, no e-mails, no text messages. The only way to follow the madness is by constantly refreshing your browser window. There are no minimum purchases to get a free shipping – you can buy 1 bottle at a time, it is fine. All the wines you will buy will ship together after April 27th.

You will need to have an account with Last Bottle Wines, and all account information should be pre-filled – speaking from the experience, the wine you want might be well gone by the time you will finish putting in an expiration date for your credit card. In case you don’t have a Last Bottle account already, I will be glad to be your reference – not that you need a reference, but if you will sign up using this link, you will get $5 credit on your first order  – and yes, I will get $20 credit after your first purchase – but once you are in, you will be the one who will tell your friends about it. In case the link doesn’t work, feel free to send me an e-mail to talkavino-info (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Lastly, two updates more of a local nature. First, last Friday I had an opportunity once again to talk (yep, that is something I like to do) about my favorite subject. Well, with a slight twist – the conversation was about liquid pleasures outside of wine – Vodka, Scotch, Bourbon and the others. Once again, I was a guest at the Off the Vine Radio Show with Benita Johnson – and you can listen to that show here. Next time, you should call in and ask questions – will make it more fun!

Before we part, I want to mention that I finally produced a post #4 in a series of the Spanish Wine Recommendations – this post is focused on the places where you can buy Spanish wines around the world. The reason I’m mentioning it here is because after I published the post, I got very useful comments extending the coverage of the good places to get Spanish wines around the world. I updated the post with those comments, so if you read the post already, you might want to check it out again. Here is the link for you to make it easier. If you also got any suggestions or comments, please make sure to share them.

And we are done here. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

 

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Blog Awards, #MWWC16, Making Money With Your Blog and more

April 9, 2015 10 comments

It’s been a while since I posted “Wednesday Meritage”, the wine world news potpourri, which used to come out like a clockwork every Wednesday. Well, anyway, there are many things I want to share, so the Meritage it is.

Let me start with the Wine Blog Awards subject. Wine Blog Awards is an annual endeavor since 2007, where the best (supposedly) blogs are recognized as standing out in a number of different categories (best writing, best photography and so on). After a few years of poor execution (2013 and 2014 nominations were announced too late and judging lacked clarity), there is seemingly a desire to make things right. Nomination period is now open until April 22nd, and submission can be made for all of the 8 different categories. And yes, if you like this very blog, I would greatly appreciate your nomination, which can be made here.

Next up is Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, now in its 16th reincarnation. The theme of the #MWWC16 is “Finish“, as assigned by the winner of the previous round Jim of jvb uncorked fame. The submission deadline is April 20th, which is less than 2 weeks away – if you plan to finish, the time to start is now. Don’t forget to tag your entry with #MWWC16 and share it on twitter with the same tag.

Now, let’s talk about the money. For those of you who invests countless hours into this product of your obsession, also known as a “blog”, tell me – have you ever thought “that would be awfully nice to get paid, even a little bit, for all that labor of love”? I don’t know about you, but I definitely had those thoughts. Of course this is not why we blog, but still, monetization of the blog is an interesting subject. Thus I want to bring to your attention an excellent assembly of the stories of the 7 bloggers who make money with their blogs, and they all make very decent money, at least in my opinion. If anything, this is an interesting food for thought, and you can find the link here. Also, just in case you are not aware of it, one of the pages in my blog is designated as a collection of the useful tips regarding blogging, search engine optimization and more – you might find it useful and it is available here. It is also available from the top menu under the “Resources”.

Next, I want to bring to your attention a new collaboration project, masterminded by the Margot from the Gather and Graze (which is a blog you should follow in its own right). The project is called The Dinner Party Collective, or TDPC for the short, and it will be focused on creation of the easy to replicate, seasonal menus for both hemispheres. 12 bloggers are set to collaborate on creating of the menus which will be also fully paired with the suggested wine selections. You can find and follow TDPC here, as well as on Twitter (@tdpcollective) and Facebook.

If you like spicy (hot!!!) food, and live in a close proximity of New York, or plan to visit the city in a few weeks, this might be an event for you. 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo will take place April 25/26 in Brooklyn Expo Center in Brooklyn, New York. I’m sure it will be super hot and super interesting, so I’m really contemplating a visit. Here is the link with more information.

I started today’s post with some SSP (yep, the Shameless Self Promotion), and I want to finish with the same. I want to make sure you know that Talk-a-Vino blog has a page on the Facebook, which is used to share different tidbits of information, typically not making it into the blog posts here – wine fun facts, events, special deals and more. If you are on Facebook, and you are not following Talk-a-Vino page, question is – why not? You can solve this problem right here. If you are already following Talk-a-Vino page – thank you very much – how about suggesting it to your friends as well?

And lastly, without any connection to the wine world, I just want to finish this post with the song – again, it has nothing to do with the wine world, but I happened to like it, so.. why not? It resonates with my mood, so there:

And we are done here. Cheers!

 

 

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, WTSO Fall Cheapskate Marathon, Costco Wines and more

October 1, 2014 4 comments

La Rioja Alta 890Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #116: Harvest Time.

This quiz was dedicated to harvests and vintages, and as usual, contained 5 different questions.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Which one is missing:

1928, 1945, …, 1959, 1961, 1982

A1: 1947. The years above represent some of the best vintages in Bordeaux.

Q2: What is common between Vega Sicilia Unico, La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Chateau d”Yquem Grand Vin and Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Riserva Barolo?

A2: All of the wines above are made only in the best years – they are not produced every year no matter what.

Q3: This sweet wine is one of the most prized wines in the world, and it had been produced only 3 times in the 21st century – 2000, 2003 and 2011. Do you know what wine this might be?

A3: Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional Port. This Port in not only vintage, but it is also produced only in the exceptional years, without any regards to the Vintage declaration by IVDP. This port was produced only 3 times over the last 14 years.

Q4: Below is the list of some of the exceptionally good vintage years for this red wine – do you know what wine that might be?

1948, 1955, 1964, 1982, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004

A4: Rioja. The telltale sign here are the 2001 and 2004 vintages, which were generally not the amazing years in most of the other regions, but exceptional in Rioja.

Q5: This wine was released for the first time in 1978, at the age of 100 years. It continues to be released every year since that time, always at the age of 100 years. Do you know what wine this might be and which country produces it?

A5: Seppeltsfield Seppelt Para 100 Year Old Tawny Port.

When it comes to the results, once again, the participation was rather low. But – this was a difficult quiz, so I think 4 correct answers out of 5 is a very good performance, thus we have a winner –oenophilogical, who gets the prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

WTSO is on it again – the Cheapskate Marathon. Tuesday, October 14th, starting at 6 AM Eastern in the morning until midnight, the rules are usual – one wine at a time, offered for 15 minutes or until sold out, prices are from $7.99 to $18.99, 4 bottles minimum to get free shipping, no notifications of any sort except twitter. Yes, you know the drill. Happy hunting!

Do you ever buy wines at Coscto? Actually Coscto is the biggest alcohol retailer in US, with the 2013 sales totaling $3.1B, about 50% of which are wine sales. I thought you might be interested to read this interview with Annette Alvarez-Peters, an assistant GM for mechanizing, to learn what sells, what doesn’t sell at Costco, and what the future holds.

Next up – one of my favorite subjects for W’M – wine in numbers. Wine Market Council, a non-profit association, released the research about wine drinkers in the US, just in time for holidays. According to the research, out of the 230 million of adults in US (drinking age adults it is), 35% don’t drink any alcohol at all (if you ask me, I think at least 10% is lying, but never mind that statement). Another 21% drink alcohol, but not wine (pour souls), and only 44% drink wine. Those 44% are divided into two groups – 15% drink wine more than once a week (yay!), and 29% drink wine occasionally. There are more numbers in the research, of course, but I will leave it up to you to explore.

Last one for today is about nanotechnologies. Okay, fine. Wine and nanotechnologies. As reported by Dr. Vino, scientists in Denmark are working on the electronic tongue, which will take the difficult task of analyzing wine upon itself, and you will be left with the like/don’t like results, and of course,  the rating which will make Robert Parker green with envy. Anyway, I will let you be the judge of it.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

[Wednesday’s] Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Merlot is Back, Harvest Everywhere, About Yelp and more

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Botani Moscatel Seco Sierras de Malaga DO 2008

Botani Moscatel Seco Sierras de Malaga DO 2008

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #115: Grape Trivia – Muscat.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about one of the oldest cultivated grapes – Muscat.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: This Italian wine, made out of the Muscat of Alexandria grapes (which has a different local name), is quite unique in having a given vintage receive top ratings from all main Italian wine publications, including Gambero Rosso, Slow Wine, Bibenda and Veronelli. Can you name this wine?

A1: Donnafugata produces dessert wine called Ben Ryé, made out of Zibibbo grapes, which is the local name for Muscat of Alexandria. Ben Ryé typically gets awarded highest ratings by various Italian publications, year in and year out.

Q2: This Muscat wine was the last solace of exiled Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. Can you name the wine and the country where it was made?

A2: This legendary wine is Klein Constantia Vin de Constance from South Africa

Q3: Which one doesn’t belong and why?

a. Banyuls, b. Beaumes de Venise, c. Frontignan, d. Rivesaltes

A3: Banyuls – while Banyuls is known for its dessert wines, same as the three other AOCs, Grenahce Noir is the main grape used in Banyuls, not the Muscat which dominates the others.

Q4: Muscat wines often get very high ratings from the reviewers. Based on Wine Spectator Classic wines (95 – 100 rating), which country do you think has the most Muscat wines rated as Classic:

a. Australia, b. France, c. Italy, d. Portugal,

A4: It might come as a surprise, but this country is the Australia – 9 out of 10 Muscat wines with topmost ratings are from Australia, including a 100 points Campbells Muscat Rutherglen Merchant Prince Rare NV.

Q5: Which should be excluded and why?

a. Muscat of Alexandria, b. Muscadelle, c. Moscato Giallo, d. Muscat of Hamburg, e. Morio Muskat

A5: This was a bit of a tricky question – actually 2 grapes don’t belong – Muscadelle, which has nothing to do with Muscat, and Morio Muskat, which is a blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc.

When it comes to the results, we had no winners, unfortunately, but I’m glad to see Oliver the winegetter back in the game. There is always the next time!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

Let’s start with … Merlot! Merlot is back, and to make sure everyone will notice, October is designated as the  Merlot month! If you think about it, Merlot never left, and Chateau Petrus didn’t switch all of a sudden to  the Cabernet Sauvignon as a main grape. Still, Merlot wines are now demanded by name, so it is definitely a reason to celebrate. Drink it, talk about it, write about it – just don’t be indifferent about it. Here is the web site which will help to plan your Merlot festivities.

Harvest is under way in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, so here are few of the updates. Long stretch of a warm weather in September greatly helped vintners in Burgundy and Bordeaux. The summer was cold and rainy in both regions, and the hailstorms didn’t help either. However, warm and steady September weather greatly improved the overall outlook; while the 2014 vintage is not expected to exceptional, both Bordeaux and Burgundy expecting good results. White Burgundy look especially promising in many appellations, including Chablis. Here are the links with more details – Burgundy and Bordeaux. California weather was quite opposite compare to France – very hot and dry summer forced an early harvest start in the Northern California, with some estates picking up grapes as early as July 29th – one of the earliest starts in a decade. Here is the link with more information about California harvest.

When I’m looking for the good restaurant, especially in the unfamiliar area, my first choice of information source is usually one and the same – Yelp. I generally can’t complain, and for majority of the cases I’m quite happy with Yelp recommendations – I’m sure it saved me from the number of a bad experiences. This is why it is even more upsetting to read about the issues businesses face with Yelp forcing them to take advertizing deals or be punished by artificial manipulation of ratings. Unfortunately, this is what happens when shareholder value becomes the purpose of business existence and trumpets the relationship with the real customers (which eventually drives company out of business). Case in point – the restaurant called Botto Bistro in San Francisco, which refused to badge with Yelp’s demand for advertizement placement, and instead started fighting back with Yelp by undermining the core of the Yelp’s existence – the rating system. The restaurant requested all of their patrons to leave negative one-start reviews, which people did. Take a look at the this article which lists a lot of examples of such a one- star “negative” – or rather super-funny – reviews. Yelp have to get its business integrity together, or it will disappear.

If you are actually a writer, how often do your read your writing, edit it, then read again and edit again? You don’t need to answer this question, but the number of the read/edit cycles is better be substantial if you want to end up with the quality outcome. Here is an interesting article by Jo Diaz, where he talks about the importance of the editor and the editing process. It is clear that most of us are not going to hire an editor for our “labor of love” blog posts – however, the editing still remains an essential part of the “writing well” process, and you really should find the way to implement it.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

[Wednesday’s] Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, High Tech Gadgets, Wine in Numbers and more

September 18, 2014 6 comments
Cvne Rioja Monopole

Cvne Rioja Monopole

Meritage time! Yes, I know it is a Thursday, but…

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #114Grape Trivia – Viura / Macabeo.

In this quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Viura in Rioja region of Spain, known as Macabeo through the rest of Spain and in Roussillon in France.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Which one doesn’t belong and why:

a. Chardonnay, b. Sauvignon Blanc, c. Trebbiano, d. Verdejo

A1: Trebbiano. The rest of the grapes are growing in Rioja and allowed to be blended with Viura in white Rioja wines.

Q2: True or false: Viura is one of the 10 most planted white grapes in the world

A2: True. According to 2010 data, there were 102,615 acres of Macabeo planted worldwide, which gives it a number 8 spot among the white grapes.

Q3: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Viura/Macabeo-based wines rated in the Classic category

A3: False. I was able to find one (but only one!) white Rioja – 1918 Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta (yep, 1918!) rated at 95 point. But – one is more than none…

Q4: Which grape is missing: Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasia, …, Xarel-lo

A4: Parellada. All of the white grapes above are allowed to be used in production of the Cava.

Q5: Fill the gaps: If Macabeo is blended with Grenache Blanc and Malvasia, the resulting wine is most likely a ___from_____ ; if Macabeo is blended with Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, the resulting wine probably a ___ from ___.

A5: White Rioja from Spain; a wine from Roussilon in France (can be both red and white).

When it comes to the results, we have a winner! apuginthekitchen answered all 5 questions correctly, so she gets to coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights! Well done!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!

Let’s talk about some useful gadgets and uneasy thoughts. When you are about to step out of the restaurant or the friends house, and before you get into your car, do you ever get that tough question, a whim of the uneasy thought on your mind – “did I drink too much”, or in the semi-scientific terms, “what is my blood alcohol level”? Of course you can rely on the common sense and watch the amount you drink (and you should), or have a designated driver (but still control that amount). But we live in the era of technology, don’t we? Yes we do. And if you happened to have an Android phone or tablet, you will be able to take the guesswork out that “BAC level” estimate, and use a little device called DrinkMate. Plug it into your phone, breathe into it- and an application will tell you exactly what your BAC is. The device is finishing up the Kickstarter campaign (they have already twice exceeded the goal), so jump in if you want one – here is the link with the information.

Next up is one of my very favorite subjects – numbers, and more numbers. Based on the article in Wines and Vines, it appears that the number of the wineries in US exceeded 8,000 – it stands at 8,049 as of September 1, 2014. The biggest growth is happening in Oregon, where the number of wineries increased by 10% in the last year. Still, Oregon is trailing Sonoma County, which has 782 wineries, with total number of wineries in California standing short of half of the total US amount at 3,798. I suggest you will head over to the original article for many more interesting numbers.

In the last week’s meritage I mentioned the Wine Video contest run by the Wine Spectator magazine. The contest concluded, and the winner was the video about Norton, the most American grape. Here is the link to the final contest information.

The last one for today is an interesting article from the new professional wine blog called SWIG. When I started reading the wine blogs years ago, I found it very surprising that many blog posts are written in rather an antagonistic fashion, and critical notes and comments are often flying in multiple directions. This post at SWIG, called “How To Respond to Attacks And Criticism in the Wine Industry”, is a very useful guide to the best course of action if you are the subject of such an attack. The idea can be well extended outside of the wine industry specifically, so it makes a good general reading on the subject.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!