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~ March 2008 Archives ~



The 2008 American Wine Blog Award Winners

This morning, Tom Wark announced the winners of the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards, and I'm thrilled to share that Vinography was lauded for Best Writing and Best Overall Wine Blog. These aren't the first awards that I've won here, but in many ways they're the most meaningful. Three years ago, winning the Best Wine Blog as part of the Food Blogging Awards was great, but when there were only a handful of wine blogs, most of which were barely maintained, someone dedicated like me who knew how to use spell check didn't have much competition, so to speak. In... continue reading


Letting Kids Drink Some Wine at Home: The Debate

If you haven't seen it already, I heartily encourage you check out an excellent article and blog post by Eric Asimov over the last couple of days about letting kids drink wine at home. As you might expect, this is a pretty heated topic in our moralistic American society, with people expressing strong feelings about whether or not it is OK to let kids have a little wine at home with dinner. Eric's blog post has received well over 300 comments already and I'm sure the discussion will continue. Like on many issues, we Americans seem all to quick to... continue reading


Chianti Tasting: April 21, New York City

For as great a wine town as it is, fantastic public tasting opportunities don't come around all that often in New York City. Sure, if you know people, and especially if you're in the business, there's always some place to go to taste a few great wines. But there are rarely large public tasting events like those frequently held in San Francisco, where consumers can spend a little bit of money to taste a huge number of wines. As you know, I consider such events the best possible education wine lovers can get. There's nothing like being able to compare... continue reading


2004 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains

As Paul Draper was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame a couple of weeks ago in a ceremony at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, his acceptance speech offered a simple exhortation to members of the wine industry in attendance: make great wines for yourself and for no one else. His suggestion that winemakers follow their own vision instead of chasing the critics or the appeal of the masses (though he did acknowledge that selling wine is important, too) was backed up by the quite confidence of a man who has been doing that for more than... continue reading


My Next Wine Vacation: Paris Pawn Shops

As a kid, I badly wanted to be an archaeologist for a period of time. When I was twelve, I saved up until I could (with a little help from Grandma) buy a metal detector. I suppose I've never lost the fascination with buried treasure. Heck, I went to Egypt on my honeymoon. And if I had a TV, I would definitely watch the Antiques Roadshow. Which is why, I suppose, that I now desperately want to spend a few weeks canvassing the back alleys of Paris now that its pawn shops are accepting wine. OK, so it's not quite... continue reading


Stop Whining About High Alcohol Wines

It's time for my fellow journalists, winemakers, and opinionated wine lovers to stop whining about high alcohol wines. Along with so called "green" wines, this bandwagon of opinions is the topic du jour for wine journalists and wine personalities around the country, and in addition to being tiresome, it is just plan silly. Complaining about alcohol levels in wines is ridiculous for 5 main reasons. REASON #1 - Alcohol is Not the Sensation People Dislike Apart from the people who are just complaining that they want their wine to be less alcoholic so they can drink more (whom I address... continue reading


The Best Grenache in California: Tasting Rhone Rangers 2008

Maybe I'm getting old, but I just didn't have the energy to taste 300 wines last weekend when the Rhone Rangers came to town. This is always one of my favorite tastings each year, as I deeply enjoy Rhone style wines in all their incarnations, from the crisp whites of Marsanne and Roussanne to the rich dark Syrahs, and everything in between. My usual approach consists of starting at one end of the hall and tasting through the wines like a bulldozer goes through a crowded square. This usually yields a great cross section of wines and lets me highlight... continue reading


Humbly Asking for Your Vote

The finalists for the 2008 edition of the American Wine Blog Awards have been announced today, and I'm pleased to announce that Vinography is up for two awards: Best Writing and Best Overall Wine Blog. I've been publishing this blog for a bit more than 4 years now, and one of the most satisfying aspects of this (second) job of mine continues to be the support that I receive from readers like you. That support manifests in many ways: the comments you leave on the site, the fact that you even bothering to come back here to read every day,... continue reading


Vinography Images: Hairy Vines

Hairy Vines "Winter is always my favorite season to shoot in vineyards, and this photograph is a perfect example of why. The bushy, hairy silhouette of these vines against the bright sky conveys so much personality." -- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag it to your desktop. To set the image as your desktop wallpaper, Mac users... continue reading


Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 Announced: Gary Says "Drink French Cab Franc"

What happens when the wine blogosphere meets the movement that is Gary Vaynerchuk and his nation of Vayniacs? We're about to find out, because Gary, the enfant terrible of the wine world and man behind Wine Library TV is the host for the 44th monthly Wine Blogging Wednesday. Gary's announcement of this fact comes at about 13:45 into his latest show, if you want to hear it from his own lips. The details, however are as follows: On Wednesday, April 2nd, bloggers from around the world (and presumably Gary himself?), and hopefully a bunch of his Vayniac fans will all... continue reading


Book Review: The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson

As casual wine lovers, we live in the daily romance of wine. We thrive on the pleasures of a great glass with a wonderful meal, a fabulous bottle shared with a friend, or the exciting first taste of a new grape variety. But lurking just under the surface of this delightful, even magical world, lies a deeper more complex universe of wine made up of history, geography, geology, meteorology, organic chemistry, geopolitics, economics, philosophy, and more. Some are content to always experience wine in the most casual of ways, but nearly every wine lover I know has at some point... continue reading


Why Are All Wine Studies Done on Mice and Alcoholics?

Scientists are supposed to be really smart folks, aren't they? Then why, in their valiant attempts to understand the effects (good and bad) of wine on people, do they spend their time giving wine mostly to transgenic mice and serious alcoholics? The mice can't appreciate it and the alcoholics won't care what they're drinking. You'd think there would be legions of college students around the world falling all over themselves to be research subjects on studies that involved consuming three to five glasses of red wine per week on a regular basis. Especially compared to the alternative of rubbing lotions... continue reading


Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains: Current Releases

One of the greatest joys in my life remains the feeling I get when stumbling upon a small winery whose name rings no bells, but who produces excellent wines. I don't know why this is, exactly, but it has replaced the childish joy I used to experience as a young boy when finding a small crystal on a hike, or setting a new personal record for stone skipping on a pond. Little wineries with high quality wines are like buried treasure, I guess, but these days my goal is not to hoard but to share as widely as possible. Which... continue reading


1974 Charles Krug "Vintage Selection - Lot F1" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

Do you want to know a little secret? I'm probably going to catch hell for telling you, especially from my friend Jack who served this wine to me, and who let me in on the secret in the first place. But he should know better than to tell a blogger anything. So here goes: Pre-1980 California Cabernets are some of the best buys in the wine world right now. Sure, some of them, especially pristine bottlings of reserve Beringer, BV, Heitz, or Stags' Leap wines are going for hundreds of dollars per bottle, but with a little effort you can... continue reading


WBW#43 Roundup Has Been Posted: Comfort Wines

When you just need to detox, and you curl up quietly on the couch with a favorite bottle, what wine are you most likely to drink? That's the question that drove this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphere's virtual wine tasting party. Hosted by Joel over at Wine Life Today, this month's theme was Comfort Wines, and last week bloggers from all over the globe settled down to review the wines that that provide refuge, solace, nostalgia, and general soothing whenever they need it. In which wines do wine bloggers find so much comfort? They ranged from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, to Napa... continue reading


Food and Wine Pairing is Just a Big Scam

Did I just say that? Yes I did. And increasingly I'm hearing it from wine professionals that I know -- spoken, of course, in hushed tones and off the record. Most professional sommeliers and wine writers wouldn't be caught dead uttering such terms in public, let alone publishing them. So I guess it's up to us bloggers to spread the word: wine drinkers around the world, you've been hoodwinked. Tricked. Bamboozled. Conned. Before you throw that glass at your monitor, let me explain. Wine has always gone with food. In fact, one of the first reasons that wine became popular... continue reading


Italy's Best Wines: Tasting the Tre Bicchieri Winners 2008

I pride myself on my broad tastes in wine. I like wine from everywhere, and don't believe I have a specific bias towards one region or another. However, each year, that claim is shaken a little bit as I emerge from what is one of the best wine tasting events held in San Francisco, The Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting. For those unfamiliar with the Gambero Rosso, it is essentially an organization focused on the promotion and evaluation of Italian food and wine that each year publishes a guide by the same name. The Gambero Rosso is the Italian Wine... continue reading


The Magic of Wine Aromas

One of the most enduring and compelling attractions of wine for me lies in the nearly magical array of aromas that I can find in a glass of fermented grape juice. These aromas, which are actually airborne molecules capable of interfacing with our exceedingly complex sensory apparatus, appear nearly infinite in their variations and subtlety. The science of smell, as it might be described, has gotten us to the point that we can isolate compounds in the air, and can associate some of them with objectively determined standards. We know, for instance, the exact molecular configuration that "is" the smell... continue reading


Vinography Images: Under the Vines

Under the Vines "This is another shot from my recent winter trip to Sonoma. There are still a few vineyards like this one, whose wild canes remain unpruned for the winter. These dark shapes are a stark contrast to the bright mustard that has fully carpeted many vineyards by now." -- Michael Regnier INSTRUCTIONS: Download this image by right-clicking (Mac users, click and hold) on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image and drag... continue reading


The World's Best Burgundy? Tasting La Paulee de San Francisco

It's not every day that I get to leave a wine tasting knowing that I've probably spit out a volume of wine that would cost more than the entire contents of my own personal cellar. OK, I'm probably being slightly hyperbolic, but I did spend last Saturday tasting wines that for the most part I will never be able to afford to own. The Grand Tasting at La Paulee de San Francisco offered an opportunity to taste approximately eighty top Burgundies from recent vintages alongside food samples from some of San Francisco's top restaurants, including Coi, A16, Boulevard, La Folie,... continue reading


Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 16th, San Francisco

Strict astrologers will quibble with my pronouncements, but I'm ready to officially declare that it is Spring! My feckless abandon is no doubt due in part to the fabulous weather we seem to be having here in San Francisco. My real sense of the season, however, derives from the wine tasting events that are popping up with increasing frequency on the calendar. The Annual Rhone Rangers Tasting in San Francisco is certainly one of the harbingers of warmer weather and good wine in San Francisco. Held at Fort Mason, like all the other big tastings, Rhone Rangers offers the change... continue reading


Kapcsándy Family Winery, Napa: Current Releases

Napa has a way of turning modest dreams into major productions. Lou Kapcsándy and his wife Bobbie decided to retire to Napa mostly out of nostalgia for the picnics and wine tasting they used to do as a young married couple living in Sausalito. Forty years after the first of these romantic escapes, their retirement dream included only a little cottage with at most an acre or so of vines, so Lou could putter in the garage and make a barrel or two of wine from his backyard fruit. Three years after the family, including their son Louis, made the... continue reading


WBW#43 Coming This Wednesday, March 5th: Comfort Wines

February is the sneakiest month. It lulls you into thinking it's just like any other month, and then it pulls the rug out from under you a couple of days before you're ready. Well now it's March, and the first Wednesday of the month approaches, which means Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphere's virtual wine tasting event is right around the corner. This month's edition, the 43rd since we began the event, is hosted by Joel over at Wine Life Today. His theme for this month's event is Comfort Wines, which loosely translates into: buy and drink a wine that helps... continue reading

But Wait, There's More!

This page only has the last sixty entries in this category. If you're interested in digging farther into my archives, you'll want to use the complete list of archives to access my articles by month.

Calendar of Postings

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Most Recent Entries

The 2008 American Wine Blog Award Winners Letting Kids Drink Some Wine at Home: The Debate Chianti Tasting: April 21, New York City 2004 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains My Next Wine Vacation: Paris Pawn Shops Stop Whining About High Alcohol Wines The Best Grenache in California: Tasting Rhone Rangers 2008 Humbly Asking for Your Vote Vinography Images: Hairy Vines Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 Announced: Gary Says "Drink French Cab Franc"

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud