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~ December 2008 Archives ~



Last Day to Get Fabulous Wine Prizes for a Steal!

OK folks, here's the deal. Today is the last day of A Menu For Hope charity raffle. You've got until Midnight tonight, Pacific Time, to buy raffle tickets for some seriously awesome prizes. Every raffle ticket increases your chance of winning said prize, and every ticket buys healthy, nutritious lunches for school children in Lesotho. What could be better than that? It's important to realize that even a single $10 ticket can win you some seriously good loot. One of the most popular prizes last year (and this year), the Meadowood vacation package, was won by someone who bought a... continue reading


The Intersection of Wine and Design: The DWR Champagne Chair Contest™

It's pretty rare for the two halves of my life to intersect. As some of you know, by day I run a design agency, while by night I write this blog. There's very little overlap between the worlds of design and wine, except perhaps in the realm of wine packaging design, which is fodder for an entirely different niche blog somewhere no doubt. Other than occasionally bragging about the design work that my firm does that is wine related, I don't find many occasions to explore these two hemispheres of my brain in a joint fashion. But every year around... continue reading


Book Review: American Vintage by Paul Lukacs

Review by W. Blake Gray. Is wine food or alcohol? Most Americans would immediately choose "alcohol," perhaps laughing at the question. In Europe, though, that wasn't the case for centuries. Before water purification became widespread, wine was safer to drink than water. The idea that wine is primarily an intoxicant is relatively recent, and like so many influential memes in the world today, it comes from the United States. Paul Lukacs' book American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine was inspired by the author's realization at an Italian wine event that U.S. wine has become not only the best in... continue reading


Boston Wine Expo: January 24-25, Boston, MA

Wine lovers in Beantown, listen up. It won't be long now before some of you may be asking yourselves what on Earth you're doing freezing your keisters off in the depths of winter. But there is at least one reason for sticking around through January besides the New England Patriots, and that, my friends is the Boston Wine Expo. There are very few reasons that I'd venture out to Boston in the middle of winter, but let me tell you, the Boston Wine Expo is almost enough of a reason for me to jet on out there from San Francisco.... continue reading


Menu For Hope Campaign Extended with New Prizes!

Merry Christmas to all! Today was supposed to be the final day of A Menu For Hope, our annual charity raffle, but it has really picked up some steam in the last few days so we're extending it through the end of the year! A number of new prizes in all regions have been added. So go find some fabulous prizes and bid on them: You can find wine related prizes here on Vinography. Prizes from Europe *including* the UK at Ms.Adventures in Italy Prizes from US: West Coast at Matt Bites Prizes from US: East Coast at Steamy Kitchen... continue reading


Two Hands Wine, Barossa, Australia: Current Releases

One of the things I love about the wine world is the way in which it rewards people with vision, initiative, talent, and above all, passion. I find it magical that someone can fall in love with wine, and decide that the most important thing for them to do for the rest of their lives is to make wine, and then actually make a living following that passion. Maybe the same thing happens in a lot of industries, but you just don't hear such stories about accounting. Or maybe we only ever hear about the success stories in the wine... continue reading


American and Italian Wine: Movin' on Up!

I'm a proud papa, though I don't think myself at all unique in my position. When my little daughter figured out how to roll over this week and shake her head back and forth, I knew it was only a matter of time before she would get her MENSA membership card and first Olympic gold medal. Nothing quite stirs our emotions like the successes of our own children, but I have to say I got a little verklempt last week more than once over happenings in the wine world. I know, I know. I am a total and complete wine... continue reading


2007 Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Chardonnay, Mudgee, Australia

In this day and age of farmers markets, boutique stores, and micro-breweries, it's easy for the upwardly mobile wine lover to forget that there are a lot of great wines on the market that are made in quantities well north of 5000 cases. There are big wine companies that make great wine, and big wine companies that make lousy wine. And some that do both. I've had mixed luck with Rosemount Estate wines throughout the years. I've had some wines that were everything I wanted them to be, and others that sent me running for the hills. In particular I... continue reading


Don't Try This At Home. At Least Not With Good Wine.

I love the Internet. If only because it never ceases to be a source of moments that leave you scratching your head, jaw dropped, laughing hysterically, or in some cases, a mix of all three. For instance, this image... ...which was posted to Reddit earlier today with no explanation other than the title: "Bottle of wine to the FACE!" My guess is that this is one of the new components of the oral examination for the 2009 Masters of Wine curriculum. Thanks to Jack at Fork & Bottle for the tipoff.... continue reading


Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers: The Only Advice You Need

I take special (perhaps even perverse) pride in eschewing all the typical seasonal storylines that are churned out, regular as clockwork by the wine media all across the country. I don't hold it against most wine journalists that they write about pink wines in the summer, what to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, which bubblies to drink at New Years, etc. etc. Their editors come to them begging for such stories. I don't have an editor, and you'll never get such articles from me, both because I find them trite, and because I tend to disagree with most of what they... continue reading


Book Review: The Billionaire's Vinegar

Review by Tim Patterson. If you're getting your morning jollies reading about the amazing collapsing Ponzi schemes of investment wizard Bernie Madoff, you'll love The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Story of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine. It's all there: fraud on a grand scale; apparently smart people who should have known better committing serial stupidities; rich people doing pratfalls in public. It's like a bottle full of schadenfreude; what more could you ask from a wine book? In this particular case, the super-rich and the official arbiters of vinous taste make fools of themselves over a stash of wines... continue reading


Win Dinner for Six, Free Wine, and Vinography as Your Sommelier

One of my greatest joys in the world is turning people on to good wine. And I love when I can do it in person. It's the season of giving, and as you know Vinography is the proud sponsor of all the wine prizes for this year's Menu for Hope charity raffle. I've made sure there are a lot of fabulous prizes to win, partly by talking generous folks in the wine industry into donating some really choice things. But I haven't yet donated a prize myself this year. So let's change that, shall we? My friend and fellow blogger... continue reading


Announcing A Menu For Hope 2008: Win Fabulous Wine Prizes

How would you like to go a luxury wine vacation all the while knowing that you're enjoying Napa luxury because you helped to feed some hungry schoolkids in Lesotho, Africa? That, my friends, is the beauty of the charity event called A Menu For Hope. This is the fifth year of A Menu For Hope, the grassroots charity event for wine and food bloggers that started in response to the horrible Tsunamis of 2004. Last year's event raised more than $90,000 for the UN's World Food Programme, which set up a special arrangement so that 100% of the proceeds went... continue reading


Donate a Prize to A Menu For Hope, Become Famous!

This is the official request for prize donations for the 5th Annual Menu For Hope charity raffle, sponsored by wine and food bloggers around the world. For those who are not familiar with this initiative, it is essentially a raffle, with prizes donated by bloggers (or other kind folks who want to participate but don't have blogs). Participants post a description of their prize (or get me to post one for them if they don't have a blog) and do all they can to attract donations (which will be made made on the designated donation web site) in increments of... continue reading


The ISP vs. the Wine Blog

The company that hosts this blog (Dreamhost) just got themselves on the list for a stocking full of coal this Christmas. For the last 4 days I have been unable to publish new entries here on Vinography because... well, no one seems to know. What I DO know is that without receiving any notifications from them, my account was moved to a new server, my mail server failed and was not replaced, and for four days I've been trying to get technical support to help me, and all I've received is a single e-mail saying "everything looks fine to me."... continue reading


The Sadness and Irony of a Wine Museum

Meet Michel Chasseuil. He's 67, drives a beat-up old car, never goes on vacation, and is perhaps not unlike so many aging Frenchmen of his generation. He does have one particular thing that makes him somewhat unique, and of great interest to most anyone interested in fine wine, however. Chasseuil owns what many consider to be the greatest single wine collection in the world: 20,000 bottles of 18th, 19th and 20th century wines from the world's greatest producers, especially those in France. He started off as a serious wine enthusiast and investor, and the thrill of collecting eventually took over,... continue reading


Wine Bloggers Get Charitable

Ok all you wine bloggers out there, listen up. Later this week, the 5th Annual Menu For Hope campaign will be announced. This annual charity raffle, coordinated by top food and wine bloggers around the world raised $91,188.00 last year to feed school children in Lesotho in a truly awesome display of reader generosity and blogger power. This year's campaign will go from December 15th to December 25th. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, you should check out the main event posting from last year, as well as my wine specific event page. Here's how it works: 1.... continue reading


2002 Bressan "Special Bottling" Pinot Nero, Friuli, Italy

I'm not entirely sure why some of the best wines in the world are made by people who are more than a little crazy, but there are enough wacko winemakers out there to make it clear that the connection between great wine and reclusive eccentrics is more than mere coincidence. Even more telling are the number of these "eno savants" (to perhaps coin a phrase) that live in Friuli, in northeast Italy. Once upon a time, there was no Italy, there was only the river Isonzo, winding its way down out of the Alps towards the Adriatic sea. From the... continue reading


1996 J. Rochioli "West Block" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

To paraphrase Shakespeare, there are wineries that are born great, those that achieve greatness, and those that have greatness thrust upon them. To explain: some fantastic wineries are started by people who are superstars already, and it hardly seems to matter what they do -- these properties are destined for success. Some top wineries seem to come from nowhere, and indeed have greatness thrust upon them, when out of the blue, their wine scores highly somewhere and they are vaulted from obscurity to fame. The majority of the best wineries in the world, however, fall into Malvolio's second category through... continue reading


Surprises Among the 2009 Vintner's Hall of Fame Winners

Every year the Culinary Institute of America sponsors an induction of several luminaries in California wine into the Vintners Hall of Fame (which really should be called The California Wine Hall of Fame, since it includes people who are not winemakers and it is exclusively focused on people who have made an impact to the California wine industry). Despite its misnomer, since its founding in 2007, this organization has admirably sought to recognize the individuals (historical and current) that have contributed to the remarkable success of California wine. The contenders for induction are decided upon by a nominating committee (in... 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

Last Day to Get Fabulous Wine Prizes for a Steal! The Intersection of Wine and Design: The DWR Champagne Chair Contest™ Book Review: American Vintage by Paul Lukacs Boston Wine Expo: January 24-25, Boston, MA Menu For Hope Campaign Extended with New Prizes! Two Hands Wine, Barossa, Australia: Current Releases American and Italian Wine: Movin' on Up! 2007 Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Chardonnay, Mudgee, Australia Don't Try This At Home. At Least Not With Good Wine. Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers: The Only Advice You Need

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