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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!

 

 

Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC14), Day 3

August 12, 2014 4 comments

Santa Barbara HillsA month after, but we are on the finishing stretch! Don’t know if it makes sense to provide such a detailed account of the day’s events now – but, I feel compelled to complete this self-appointed assignment. Here is what was happening during the Day3, technically the last day of the Wine Bloggers Conference (here are my notes from the Day 1 and Day 2).

We started our morning a bit earlier than the day before, and with the breakout session, not with the brunch (yeah, I was getting very comfortable starting to drink the wine at 10 am, but no…). From the group of offered breakout sessions I chose the one called Business of Blogging. Considering the amount of time, hard work and obsession going into all of the blogs, it is only reasonable to expect that bloggers would be interested in learning about the ways their passion can bear some tangible fruit (yep, I’m talking about money here).

The session was presented by the twin sisters, Alexandra and Kymberly Williams, who run popular fitness blog called Fun and Fit. Their blog is also a successful business, thus they definitely have a lot of good advice to offer. Here are few of the basic takeaways from that session:

  • Ethics – your reputation is all you got. Make sure you have the business ethics rules, and follow them.
  • Referrals! (Cooperate, don’t compete) – help the others, and they will help you.
  • Say no when necessary – don’t take upon every project which might be coming your way – sometimes, “no” is the best answer.
  • Ask what you want (people can’t read your mind) – I think this is quite clear
  • Clarify and define – work on your offerings!
  • Negotiate – find the way to get what you want!
  • Work with brand partners, help them to make money, and build relationships – I think you got this one
  • Know your readers and service to their lifestyle – know your followers and give them what they want

Second breakout session was about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and still no wine…. SEO is literally one and only tool bloggers have to be found and to build the listening audience. The session was presented by Timothy Resnik from the company called Moz, which provides set of tools for search optimization and web site analytics. Timothy’s presentation was excellent and very detailed – unfortunately, I can’t take an advantage of most of his suggestions, as it requires a self-hosted blog web site, such as WordPress.org, and I’m using here WordPress.com, where I pretty much have no control over analytics data. Just in case this information might help you, Timothy’s presentation is available on SlideShare – here is the link.

Next – yes, we got to drink wine, as this was the lunch time! It was the lunch with with the Santa Barbara County winemakers, and there were many of them present, pouring and explaining at the same time. I have to admit that the choice of food for the lunch with wine was very strange – technically, the only choice was green salad with grilled chicken, made in three slight variations of flavor – this is not the food to serve if you expect people to drink the wine. Well, anyway, the were many good wines, and here are just a very few highlights:

2013 Baehner Fournier Rosé de Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley – very impressive, clean strawberries profile on the nose and the palate, supple, plump, with substantial body and overall delicious. Drinkability: 8

2011 Consilience Grenache Santa Barbara County – restrained fruit on the nose, round, well balanced, smokey fruit in the back. Drinkability: 8-

2010 Bedford Archive Syrah Santa Barbara County – elegant dark fruit on the nose and palate, dark and dense. Drinkability: 8-

2012 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Syrah Ballard Canyon – dark roasted fruit, touch of spices, good balance. Drinkability: 8-

We started afternoon again with the breakout sessions. This time all the sessions were dedicated to wine and of course, included the tasting (Theme: Wine Discovery Breakout Sessions). Out of the 3 available, I picked Ballard Canyon Syrah session (two others were Sanford Winery Sta. Rita Hills and Wines of Greece) – I love Syrah in all forms, and I never heard of Ballard Canyon, so it was an easy choice for me.

Let me say a few words about Ballard Canyon appellation first. Ballard Canyon AVA is not even one year old – it was approved in October of 2013. Syrah is the primary grape  in this small appellation located right in the middle of the Santa Barbara County:

Map of Ballard Canyon AVABallard Canyon AVA was created to capture the essence of soil and climate through the noble grape, Syrah, which is significant enough for this AVA to be known as “Syrah Territory”. Well, yes, Syrah is not the only grape growing in Ballard Canyon AVA, but Syrah plantings exceed plantings of all other grapes, red and white, combined.

The session was presented as a panel discussion, with Patrick Comiskey, Senior Editor for the Wine & Spirits Magazine starting it off with introduction into the state of Syrah in the US. Patrick is one of the leading authorities on the Rhone varieties (and Syrah is squarely one of them), and he is also writing the book on American Rhône movement. I was surprised to hear from Patrick that Syrah is not doing well in US, that it is very difficult to  sell and it doesn’t get much recognition. Leaving Shiraz aside for a moment, best known Syrah wines in the world are coming from France. If we will compare Syrah with Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir based on the French wines, and then will look at the US, the proportions of popularity/demand are about the same. And thinking about all the cult and impossible to get wines such as Sin Qua None, Alban, Saxum, Cayuse, No Girls and many others, I think Syrah is doing not that bad… Oh well, I would love to debate it with Patrick over a glass of 1999 La Landonne, but let’s get back to our Ballard Canyon session.

Ballard Canyon Syrah TastingEight Ballard Canyon winemakers presented at our session (which is a half of total of 16 wineries in the Ballard Canyon AVA), and we had an opportunity to try 7 different wines (the Saarloos + Sons was completely sold out). Here are my notes from the tasting:

2012 Kimsey Syrah
Southwest corner of the appellation. Soft fruit on the nose, dark roasted notes. Spicy, mineral, strong acidity. Young vineyard. Drinkability: 7

2012 Beckmen Purisma Mountain Syrah
BiodynamicLly farmed since 2006, certified since 2009. Tobacco on the nose, nice dark fruit, inviting. Nice, soft fruit, perfect acidity, dark chocolate. Drinkability: 8-/8

2012 Stolpman Original Syrah
Nice, open nose, fresh red fruit,blueberries, a bit sharp on the palate, cherries, espresso. Drinkability: 7+

2012 Rusack Syrah Reserve
Nice, concentrated nose, hint of fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries, touch of roasted flavors. Beautiful fruit on the palate, fresh berries, but supported by fresh tannins. Needs time as tannins are overpowering. Drinkability: 7+

2010 Harrison Clarke Cuvée Charlotte Syrah (15.2% ABV)
Hint of barnyard! dark fruit, baking spices. Cherries on the palate, tannins explicit. Drinkability: 8-

2010 Larner Estate Syrah
Bright Fresh berries, touch medicinal smell on the nose (iodine?), inviting. Beautiful palate, a touch of pepper, enveloping tannins, fresh and open berries, lavender. Drinkability: 8

2010 Jonata Sangre de Jonata Syrah
Bright nose of your fruit, touch of blueberries. More bright fruit on the palate, but then green branches and strong tannins, lacking pleasure. Drinkability: 7

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Our day continued with the Panel of Professional Print Wine Writers. Steve Heimoff, James Conaway and Mike Dunne, professional journalists, wine writers and authors of a number of wine books, talked about various aspects of the wine writing. This happened to be one of the most controversial panels of the WBC14, which generated multiple blog posts and whirlwind of opinionated exchanges among the participants. I would have to agree with the Messrs. Heimoff, Conaway and Dunne that in a big schema of things, the quality of writing in the wine blogs can be greatly improved (this very blog you are reading is definitely the subject of such criticism). For the rest of it, just google “Panel of Professional Print Wine Writers wbc14”, and you will get tons of reading material blasting this session, presenters and content – though I have to say that I disagree with a lot of popular criticism. When presented with information, often it is our personal choice whether we will see it as positive or negative, so let’s leave it at that (yes, I do think it was a useful session overall).

Moving on, our next session was the Live Wine Blogging – The Reds, the speed tasting of the red wines, which I already covered in the full detail here.  Well, it was actually the last organized session for the day. We still had more wine to drink events in the agenda, but from point of view of the organized sessions we were done.

Our next event was Wines of the World Reception, where we had an opportunity to taste wines from Greece, Italy, Portugal and other countries. At this point in time, I lost an ability to take any kind of reasonable tasting notes, so I had to go simply by “aha, this is good” or “ouch, moving on”. I have to mention that wines of Greece helped me to make a good progress with my Wine Century Club journey towards the coveted Pentavini (500 grapes tasted level) – I added 5 new grapes:

Liatico – 2011 Domaine Douloufakis “Dafnios” Liatiko Crete (red)
Krassato – 2007 Tsantali Rapsani reserve Rapsani AOP Greece (red)
Stavroto – 2007 Tsantali Rapsani reserve Rapsani AOP Greece (red)
Avgoustiatis – 2013 Mercouri Estate Lampadias Rose, Greece (red)
Savatiano – 2013 Papagiannakos Savatiano Greece (white)

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Last two events of the day – Wine Blog Awards Presentation and Dinner. To me, Wine Blog Awards feels like a coveted achievement. However, for the last three years, watching the process of nomination, then selection of the finalists and then, for the first time, presentation of the awards, gives me only a thought of diminishing returns. The duration of the time for nomination is literally reducing from a year to a year, and nomination period is open out of blue (I don’t know if this is the attempt to reduce the number of nominations?). This year, we didn’t even know who the judges were. Selection of the wine blogs for the finalists is very strange, as many of the same blogs are nominated for the different categories, and moreover, the blogs are nominated year after year after year. And finally, out of the 9 awards, only two winners were present at the WBC to pick up their awards… It is funny that if you go to the Wine Blog Awards web site now, instead of finding information about the 2014 winners, you can finally find out who the judges were… The whole wine blog awards process needs a revamp and a fresh start, it is way too disorganized as it is.

You know what – this blog post is becoming one of the longest I ever written, so I need to round it up. The food at the dinner was okay, the wines were very good – there was a good selection of the Santa Barbara County wines present at every table, and the selection was different from the table to a table. After dinner, there was more wine – not only parties continued in the number of rooms and suites, but also a number of people brought the wines with them to share, and it was really the last night to drink them. I tried for the first time Horton Norton from Virginia – I had Norton wines before, but this was the first time I tried any of the Horton wines, which is considered one of the best wineries in Virginia (the wine was excellent). Then there were Texas wines, courtesy of SAHMMelier. She brought  2012 Brennan Vineyards Viognier (perfumy and delicious) and 2011 Bending Branch Winery Tannat (powerful and sophisticated). We also tasted 2001 Cottonwood Canyon Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley (fragrant and beautiful for the 13 years old wine), and 2011 Kalyra MC2 Santa Ynez Valley (restrained and balanced). For some reason, I’m under impression that there was also a wine from Oklahoma (!), but – no picture and no notes, so yeah, it is my loss.

And we are done, done, done here! Sometimes procrastination has its rewards – only yesterday I got the email from organizers of WBC14, Zephyr Adventures, which also included the link to the blog post with all presentations from the WBC14 – here it is if you would like to look at them. And (almost) last but not least  – Wine Bloggers Conference 2015 will take place in the beautiful town of Corning in the Finger Lakes region in New York, August 13-16, 2015 – if you are into the wine blogging, you definitely have to be there, you have to experience WBC to yourself. The registration is open now, and (this is what they say) availability is limited, so you might want to think about putting the stake into the ground now…

Last thing (I promise) before we are done – I would like to thank Zephyr Adventures and Santa Barbara Vintners for the great event they put together for all the wine bloggers. I know firsthand how hard it is to organize a great conference, and especially considering the size and diversity of the wine bloggers group, I can only say wholeheartedly “Thank you very much!!” for all the hard work put into bringing together such a great event.

Yes, we are done. If you are still with me, thank you very much for reading. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Asnwer, Wine Blogging Conference Update, Generous Pour and more

June 12, 2013 10 comments

Meritage time!

First, the answer for the Wine Quiz #60, Grape Trivia – Sangiovese.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about Sangiovese grape, one of the essential Italian grapes. Here are the questions, this time with the answers:

Q1: Grape, blending partner mostly of the past, typically leading to Sangiovese wines becoming dull and unexciting.

A1: White grape called Trebbiano at some point was mandatory blending partner of Sangiovese in Chianti wines, leading to overall diluted character of the wines. Nowadays, when even 100% Chianti wines are allowed, the usage of Trebbiano in the Chianti wines is very minimal.

Q2: What is Fiasco, and how is it related to the Chianti wines?

A2: Fiasco is a straw cover which was traditional with the Chianti wines. It also became a symbol of wines of a bad quality, as many Chianti’s of the past actually had quality issues.

Q3: On some of the bottles of Chianti, you could see an image of the black rooster. What is the meaning of it?

A3: Black Rooster, or Gallo Nero, is the symbol of Consorzio Chianti Classico. It can be argued that black rooster serves as a symbol of quality – whether it is true or not, I can only tell that most of the Chianti Classico I tried which had the Black Rooster symbol on them, where of a very good quality.

Q4: Tuscany no doubts is the major source of Sangiovese wines. Can you name 4 sub-regions in Tuscany, producing great wines with Sangiovese as the main variety?

A4: Considering all Chianti sub-regions as one (Chianti, Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina), the answer is Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano.

Q5: Name 3 leading regions in United States producing Sangiovese wines. For an extra bonus, add your favorite producer(s).

A5: The way the question was formulated, it was hard to give a good answer, so all the answers will be considered correct for this question. I actually was looking for California, Washington and Texas and 3 main regions in US producing wines from Sangiovese grapes.

Considering that questions 4 and 5 were somewhat lacking precision, I will count all the answers to those questions as pretty much correct ones. Therefore, we have 3 winners this week – Wayward Wine, Red Wine Diva and The Winegetter are all getting the usual prize of unlimited bragging rights!

And now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and web!

First, the 2013 Wine Blog Awards winners had being announced at Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC13) last week. You can find the list of all winning blogs here. Also, the location of WBC14 was announced, and it will be… Santa Barbara! Here is the link to the announcement. Santa Barbara sounds quite appealing as a location, so at this point I really hope that I will be able to attend the WBC14 event.

Capital Grille is doing it again! Generous Pour program is back – starting July 8th, you can taste 7 different varietals from 7 different wineries, all for $25. Don’t miss it, as this program will only run during summer – and if past experience is any indicator, yep, you don’t want to miss it for sure.

Somewhat on a sad note, as reported by Guardian, wine writer Hugh Johnson is selling his wine collection, which includes bottles dating all the way from 1830. I think it is pretty sad when you have to part with the wine which you wanted to drink, but the moment comes when you realize – there is simply not enough time… You can read the story for yourself here.

Well, that’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty. But it will be refilled, I promise. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Chardonnay Day, Wine Appellation Earth?, Best Blogging Tips and more

May 22, 2013 12 comments

Meritage Time!

wine quiz answers First and foremost, let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #57, Grape Trivia – Grenache. Below are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Name two grapes which are traditional blending partners of Grenache

A1: Yes, we are talking the famous GSM blends, and the blending partners of Grenache are Syrah (Shiraz in Australia) and Mourvèdre (known as Monastrell in Spain and often called Mataro in Australia).

Q2: Below is the list of countries which use Grenache in the winemaking. Sort the list by the area of Grenache plantings, from the highest acreage to the lowest:

A. Australia, B. France, C. Italy, D. Spain, E. United States

A2: The correct answer is France, Spain, Italy, US, Australia (so it will be BDCEA). The culprit here was Italy, in my opinion, there Grenache is known as Cannonau – I didn’t expect that Italy grows so much of it… Here is my source of data – an article at Wine Folly’s web site.

Q3: One winery in US is often credited with spearheading the success of  Grenache in US. Can you name that winery?

A3: Tablas Creek winery in California – they imported Grenache cuttings from France to the US in 1990, and it was the beginning of great Grenache wines in US. Here is an excellent article about Grenache on Tablas Creek’s web site.

Q4: A few centuries ago, Grenache was a popular blending addition in one of the regions in France, until it became illegal by the AOC rules. Do you know what region was that?

A4: Actually, it was Burgundy, where addition of Grenache was popular way to add body to otherwise finicky Pinot Noir wines. Of course it is illegal practice for the long time.

Q5: Same as for the number of other grapes, Grenache exists in three different grape variations – Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris. There is one wine where it is absolutely legal to use all three grapes as the part of the blend. Can you name that wine?

A5: Châteauneuf-du-Pape! Well, I should’ve post the question as “type of wine” – but in any case, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CdP for short) AOC rules allow inclusion of all three different Grenache grapes into the same wine. I always thought that CdP allows 13 grapes to be blended together in production of CdP wines, but it appears that the rules has recently changed, and now there are 18 grapes which are all allowed for use as winemaker desires.

And the winner is…(drum roll)… The Drunken Cyclist with five correct answers! He is definitely on the winning streak for a while and once again he gets unlimited bragging rights. I want also to acknowledge The Winegetter, Red Wine Diva and Eat With Namie who all got 3 out of 5 questions right – definitely a commendable effort.

Now, to the interesting stuff around the web vine – boy, there is plenty to share!

First, sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow is 4th annual Chardonnay Day! Well, Chardonnay is not such a hard wine to get, right? You still got time to make sure you will celebrate in style, whatever your style is – Burgundy, Chablis, Big California, California-pretending-to-be-Chablis, I-am-unoaked-and-almost-like-Pinot-Grigio-chose-me  – anyway, any kind of Chardonnay goes. And if you want to officially assert your participation, here is a link to the event page where you can officially join the ranks of Chardonnay aficionados.

Next, I want to bring to your attention an interesting post by Mike Veseth of The Wine Economist fame. The post is titled Is This the Beginning of Juice Box Wine? and it is talking about true globalization of wine in terms of production – one of the new wines from Barefoot called Impression and it is produced from the juice sourced from all over the world, so the wine doesn’t state any appellation on the label. What do you think of such approach to winemaking? Will this be a fluke, or will we see more of the wines from appellation Earth?

As you know, I’m a big fun of Stéphane Gabart’s blog, My French Heaven. I find his food pictures as some of the most incredible I ever come across, in the blogs or on Pinterest. Now Stéphane was very kind to write a blog post called “20 tips for stunning food photography“, which definitely worth your attention if you want to master your food picture taking skills. Also, as this is not the first time I refer to some of the “best tips and practices”, I decided to create a dedicated page for the Best Blogging Tips, where I will be collecting all the references like this one. If you have any suggestions as to what should be included in that “Best Blogging Tips” collection, please let me know – I hope to make it into a very useful resource for all.

Next subject is … beer! Yes, even in the wine blog there is a place for a beer. When you hear about the beer called Nuclear Tactical Penguin – is that the beer you would want to try? Well, okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely interested. But turns out that this beer is practically impossible to get in US, so the best thing one can do is to enjoy it vicariously. This is what I did when I read this post at Wayward Wine blog. Outside of just great description of the beer, you can also learn about Frozen Beer category and how those beers are made – I think this reading will be well worth the time. Also, while looking for another beer from BrewDog company, this one called Sink the Bismark, I came across the list of 10 most expensive beers in the world! Now I want to try BrewDog’s The End Of History (55% ABV and still a beer!), but considering that it costs $765 for 330 ml, I will need a sponsor… anyone?

And last, but not the least subject for today – Wine Blog Awards finalists are finally announced. No, I didn’t make it to the list of finalists (sigh). But I would like to congratulate Jeff a.k.a. The Drunken Cyclist as he got into the finals in the Best Writing category. Anyway, this week is the public voting week, so you can cast your vote for the best blog here.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but more wine is coming. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, World Sherry Day, How To Start You Wine Book Project, Wine Blog Awards?

May 15, 2013 3 comments

It is Meritage Time, and Meritage posts are back!

Let’s start from the answer to the wine quiz #56, What is it? In the quiz, you had a picture of wine-related object, and you were supposed to identify what is it and how it should be used. Here is the picture which was presented to you:

DSC_0441

And here is the answer, in the form of another picture:

Port Thongs display at Sandeman

Port Tongs Display at Sandeman

The object is called port tongs, and they are used to open a bottle of vintage port or any old wine without fighting with the cork. The way to use it is this: you heat up the tongs until red hot, put it around the neck of the bottle underneath of the cork, hold it for some time, then remove and use cube of ice to go around the heated up circle – the glass cracks cleanly and can be removed now.

I really wanted to have such a device, ever since I read the post about old Rioja wines in PJ Wine blog – and now I do. I’m not sure how often or even when am I going to use this device, but – now I can if I want to (freedom is everything, right?)

I’m glad to say that we have two winners – both waywardwine and thedrunkencyclist correctly identified Port tongs in the picture, and the drunkencyclist provided perfect description for how port tonging is done. Congratulations to our winners – both of them get unlimited bragging rights.

Now, to the interesting stuff around the web. First, the World Sherry Day will start on Monday. This is going to be one long day, as it starts on May 20th and lasts through May 26th, but hey, that means that you can drink more sherry during one day. Find the place near you to celebrate, or just grab a bottle and indulge on the beverage which might be easily hundreds years old, and still affordable at the same time. If you need a crash course in Sherry, here is the link to one of my posts (I also plan to talk about sherry in more details at some point in the near future).

Dreaming of writing the wine book, you think you got something to say and you think you can convince people to share your vision? Then take a look at this post by Wink Lorch, where she is talking about her successful fundraising project on Kickstarter for her Jura wine book.

Last interesting note for you  – if you remember, a while ago, many of us, wine bloggers, asked for your nomination for the Wine Blog Awards 2013 – and many of us got nominations, for which we profusely thank you, our readers. The interesting part is that the week of May 10 – 17 was designated as voting week for the public, after jury selects 5 finalist blogs for each category – here is the link to the rules for you. Today is May 15th, and it doesn’t look like finalist blogs had been selected and that public can vote on them. Oh well…

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Round and Around WBC and more

March 27, 2013 4 comments

Meritage Time!

Let’s start fromt he answer for the Wine Quiz #51 – Hiding in the plain sight, part 2.

In that quiz, you were supposed to identify as many wines/wineries as possible in my fictional writing. Here is the same fragment, with the actual wines shown in bold and underlined:

– Hey, Gloria, Mr. Giribaldi is here. You really have to tell me if you are going to Sicilia with him. The ticket will cost only $890. Your aunt Elena and cousin Ben will be excited to see you. Your great-grand aunt Olga is turning hundred! Everybody will be there. Remember Livio, the blue eyed boy? He was such a little angel… Anyway, he is coming with Virginia, and I’m sure you will have lots of catching up to do. 

– okay, mom, I will go. By the way, if you see Kay, tell him that I’m through with him.

Now, in the order of appearance:

Chateau GloriaFamous French winery from Saint-Julien

Mario Giribaldiwinery and winemaker in Piedmont

Vega Sicilialegendary winery from Ribero del Duero, Spain

La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva – one of the top wines from La Rioja Alta

Elena Walch  – great winery and winemaker in Alto Adige region

Olivier Cousinrebel natural wines wine maker in Anjou area of Loire

Ben Ryè – spectacular sweet wine produced by Donnafugata in Sicily

Olga Raffault – great winery in Chinon

Turning Leaf – Vineyard in California

Hundred Acre – a cult wine from California

Livio Felluga – great Italian producer from Friuli

blue eyed boyname of the Shiraz wine from the great Australian producer Mollydooker Wines

Ballet of Angels – white wine produced by Connecticut winery Sharpe Hills

Virginie de Valandraud – second label of legendary Château Valandraud (had a mistake in the spelling – should be Virginie and not Virginia, sorry about that)

if you see Kay red wine from Lazio region in Italy, produced by Jason Woodbridge

Whew, this was a very long answer. I guess it was a tough quiz, as there were not that many players, but – I can tell you for sure I had lots of fun putting it together. VinoInLove came up with 10 good answers, even though many of the names he came up with didn’t match my intended answers, but as I mentioned in the description of the quiz, this will be still qualified. Thus VinoInLove is our winner, and Frank from WineTalks get honorable mention for coming up with 5 right answers. Great job!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine web. I got an e-mail from Wine Bloggers Conference, and it lead me to the collection of noteworthy information on Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC) web site. First, a few weeks ago I got an invitation from WBC to complete the wine blogging survey, which I did. Preliminary results are already available here, and you can learn there a few interesting things. For instance, it appears that average wine blogger has 3,418 follower on twitter – I guess I’m well below of an average wine blogger, as I have less than one third of that number. Another interesting fact is that less than 19% of the wine bloggers had being blogging for 6+ years. Anyway, check it out for yourself, and if you didn’t take the survey, you still have time to do it ( you can found the link on that same page with preliminary results). WBC site holds other interesting links – for instance, here is the link for so called Citizen Wine Blogs in America ( which includes both US and Canada) – the WBC web site is definitely worth exploring.

WBA_logo_rotatorAnother important news is that the call for nominations for 7th Annual Wine Blog Awards is now open! It will be open until Sunday, March 31st, so if anyone thinks this very blog worth a nomination, you can do so using this link (needless to say that I will be forever grateful).

Moving on, I still have a few interesting things for you. There are new wines on the market from the state of Washington, produced by Paul Gregutt, who you might know by his blog called Unfined and Unfiltered. The wines are produced under the label of Waitsburg Cellars. While I’m sure it will be difficult to find those wines, at least you can enjoy the descriptions coming under the theme called The Aromatics.

While this might be an old news for many of you, but it is interesting to see that now Parker is suing Antonio Galloni for the breach of contract. The world of wine, as everything else under the sun, becomes anything but boring once the big money start talking. Not sure if wine lovers will benefit, but the lawyers will be able to afford a few extra bottles of Petrus.

Last for today is a local update. I added a few links to the blogroll for the blogs I follow, and I also created a new link category called Wine Travel. American Winery Guide, To-Tuscany, Winerist and Napa Now are the four web sites listed there. If you have a blog or site dedicated to the wine travel, please let me know and I will be glad to add it to the blogroll.

It was a long post – but the glass is finally empty. Enjoy your Wine Wednesday and until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Lighter Wines from California?, WBC2013 and more

March 13, 2013 4 comments

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #49, Once upon a time. In the quiz, you were presented with three well known expressions ( okay, of course “honeymoon” is just a word), and you were supposed to explain the origins of the expressions as it connects to the world of wine (or any other type of alcohol). So the expressions were:

  1. Honeymoon
  2. Wet your whistle
  3. Rule of thumb

To tell you honestly, I wanted to play this quiz for a while. What was stopping me is the fact that all of the “right answers” are just some forms of legend – the exact source of the expressions will stay the subject of prolonged debates. But – I’m glad that I finally decided to ignore my doubts – judging by the number of answers, this was definitely a fun quiz.

Let me give you my version of the answers, which I will call the “correct answers” for the lack of the better term.

Honeymoon: both armchairsommelier and thefoodandwinehedonist provided the correct answer – in the ancient times, when the couple was married, the father of the bride was supposed to provide the month-long supply of the honey-based alcoholic beverage called mead. As months were measured by the lunar calendar in those times, hence the reference to the “moon” – honeymoon.

Wet your whistle: according to the version I like, in the old but not such a distant times, England pubs were serving beer in the mugs with the whistle baked in as part of the mug, like in this modern version shown here – when you want a refill, you just use a whistle. I like this version despite a lot of dismissal over this version on the internet – the other version has to do with one simply being thirsty and “whistle” being used as a reference for one’s throat – this is again what both armchairsommelier and thefoodandwinehedonist offered as an explanation. I still like my version more, so there.

Rule of thumb: I appreciate all the versions offered, however, even if they are true, I can’t connect beating one’s wife with the wine (unless someone way too much of it, but this is definitely way off). Many of you correctly assumed that the thumb is a measuring device, however, not for the size of pour – instead the thumb was used in the beer brewing to measure the right temperature.

To round it up – I was glad to see many people playing, and the honorable mention definitely goes to the armchairsommelier and thefoodandwinehedonist.

Now, to the interesting stuff around the web. Have you heard that there is a new movement in California to make lighter, more food friendly and easier to love wines? Whether you did or not, the phenomena is there, as requested by many consumers. Here is an interesting blog post by W. Blake Gray, talking about an article in Hemispheres magazine, which in turn is discussing the subject of the lighter California wines. As it is the case with many blog posts, be sure to read the comments – that is the most entertaining part.

Next subject – Wine Bloggers Conference 2013, or WBC2013 for short. WBC2013 will be taking place in Penticton, British Columbia, on June 6-8. What I really want to know – who is going? Despite blogging for almost 3 years, I never attended any of the WBCs. But – if there is a good company, I’m ready : ) Let me know if you are planning to attend – that will give me a good reason to do the same : )

Somewhat related subject – Wine Blog Awards. While I respect and appreciate all the Versatile, Creative and all other blogging awards, Wine Blog Awards are something else. They are awarded in the number of different categories, based on both popular vote and decision of panel of experts. Why am I talking about it here? Two reasons. One: Nomination period for Wine Blog Awards 2013 will open on March 25th (very soon!) and will last for one week. Two: Yes, I would love to get a Wine Blog Award, and therefore, would greatly appreciate a nomination!

Last “news” for today – totally not related to wine. Spring is here!

DSC_0161 Spring!

DSC_0167 Spring!

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty. Until the next time – cheers!