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I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.
 
They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

 

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 17, 2018 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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The future of wine writing: kill, or be killed?

The future of wine writing is kind of like… GrimDark.

No, I don’t mean that wine writing is headed for GrimDark as a cultural style of expression. Though that conceivably could happen as a symptom of where things are headed.

What I mean is that the future of the wine writing profession is f*cking bleak. As in, step-over-the-dead-bodies-of-your-former-comrades bleak.

Sorry to bust up your Holiday Cheer, but this topic has been weighing on my mind since my friend and wine-marketing-maven Tom Wark published the latest incarnation of Wark Communications’ Wine Writers Survey. He also took the time to add a bit of additional commentary on the more influential wine writers (as cited by other wine writers) on his Fermentation blog. Full disclosure: I happen to be among those writers cited, for reasons that I still don’t fully comprehend.

I love me some Tom Wark, but I am in a state of some disagreement with the Wark Communications conclusions from the survey; specifically, this tidbit:

from warkcommunications.com

If wine continues to grow in popularity, if the now fully adult Millennial generation is as committed to the beverage as they seem, and barring any economic catastrophes, I’m confident that the wine writing project will continue full speed ahead. More new voices are coming. More new publishing exercises meant to meet the needs of new generations will arrive. Even new ways of understanding and communicating about wine are likely to appear.

from warkcommunications.com

While it’s of course true that more new voices are coming, the Millennials are devoted to the beverage, and that new ways of understanding and communicating about wine will appear, I have severe doubts as to the viability of the “wine writing project” in the future. Why? Well, that same survey serves up some very compelling reasons in some of the take-away commentary on the aggregated survey responses…

-No more than just over a quarter of wine writers earn 50% of their income from wine writing.

-Most writing about wine earn very little income doing so.

-No more than just over a quarter of wine writers earn 50% of their income from wine writing.

-Most writing about wine earn very little income doing so.

-Maintaining a living writing in the wine genre is the greatest concern.

-Two-thirds of those who primarily write for their own blog or publication earn 10% or less of their annual income from wine writing.

-Despite the rise in digital publishing, there has been almost no change in the breakdown of publishing frequencies from the 2004 survey.

In the end, the viability of wine writing as a profession will, like other literary and journalism genres, depend on the financial health of the publishing industry going forward.

from warkcommunications.com

Ok… sooooooo… Wark’s rosey future is based on what, exactly? The facts that a) most wine writers cannot make a living now, b) wine writers are worried about ever being able to make a decent living, and c) wine writing is tied to the viability of writing as a profession, which has seen a decline as precipitous as a Mosel vineyard slope?

Well, F*CK ME, then.

There are more people wanting to write and communicate about wine, with fewer outlets outside of personal blogs and social media, and even fewer that are willing (or able) to pay anything even close to resembling a living wage for it.

You’ll forgive me for not getting the warm and fuzzy feeling all over about this theoretical future that Wark is seeing on the horizon, in the hopes that, hey, something is bound to come along and make all of this ok, despite the ever-mounting volume of evidence to the contrary! That’s not really hope, that’s… well, I want to write “delusion” but that seems a bit harsh. But then, if we’re headed for wine-writing-dystopia, then sure, let’s go with “delusion.” To quote Interstellar‘s Cooper, “that doesn’t even qualify as futile.”

Of course, I am hoping that Tom is right, and that I’m wrong; it would have helped if Wark had offered up more insights as to why those conclusions were drawn despite what seems like a much grimmer perspective from the survey respondents. Personally, I’m not quitting my gig any time soon, but I’m not about to recommend the wine writing path to budding enthusiasts of the written word – and the grape – as a means for building any kind of wealth, either.

Cheers (I guess)!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at The Future Of Wine Writing: GrimDark from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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We’re going to end the year with a bang on the Wine Product Review Roundup front, given that my travels in November necessitated that I miss that incarnation of this monthly post, and double-up on the number of products put under the review microscope. Hopefully this “holiday edition” (in terms of timing and volume, at least) will point you in the direction of a great stocking-stuffer (or two) for your greedy-ass self that wine geek on your Nice List.

(image: Amazon.com)

First up is a product that, to this reviewer, at least, has an incredibly limited use-case scenario: the PortoVino Wine Messenger Bag (about $70). The premise here is that someone (presumably you) needs to a) be able to tote around an entire bottle of wine, b) keep it the appropriate temperature for as long as possible, c) pour it at a moments notice without drawing attention, and d) look incredibly stylish while doing all of the above. I don’t get it, either, but the PortoVino sample that I was sent is more handsome than just about any other piece of luggage that I own. It can function as a normal cross-body messenger bag, with a well-designed and modern interior, but also contains a “secret” compartment into which 1.5L of wine can be poured via removable plastic bag, with a bag-in-box style nozzle pourer that pops out of a flap-closed area on one side of the bag. A rather pricey novelty, I suppose, but one with classic good looks. If you’re a style-minded booze-hound. OK, whatever…

(image: Amazon.com)

Next, we’ve got Amber Revolution: How the World Learned to Love Orange Wine (Interlink Books, 304 pages, about $35), a new book by Simon J. Woolf (Author) and fiend-of-1WD Ryan Opaz (photographer). This is a beautifully constructed, deftly designed, approachable, and well-written tome with one of the most flawed premises in the history of wine writing. The bottom line is that orange wine, as a category, has not been, is not now, nor will it ever be loved by the majority of wine drinkers. Having said that, the level of acceptance of the most capable examples of that much-maligned category has never been higher, and so the release of a good book that masterfully tells the stories of the regions and producers making the best orange wines – which as heart is what Amber Revolution truly is – has never been more timely…

Probably more like “7 minutes,” but still…
(image: Amazon.com)

Another noteworthy new book release (c’mon, bear with me, I get tons of these, folks) worth checking out – and one with arguably much more broad-brush appeal for even casual wine drinkers – is Choose Your Wine In 7 Seconds: Instantly Understand Any Wine with Confidence (Universe, 228 pages, about $24) by Stephane Rosa (Author), Jess Grinneiser (Illustrator). Sure, it’s part of the ever-crowded how-to-sort-of-pick-wine-the-easy-way book market, and you’ll need your reading glasses to make out the curiously chosen undersized text in this otherwise pleasingly-designed paperback. BUT… I’ve rarely seen a choose-your-drink self-help guide with a better premise; start 30,000 feet up by dividing wines by body category (Crisp & Fruity, Powerful & Balanced, etc.), and start to zoom in like a hawk on the hunt from there by typicity of region. Along the way, each regional wine “cheat sheet” contains illustrations of the area, a sliding scale of Firmness/Heat/Crispness, food pairings, and further recommendations. 7 seconds might be a stretch, but this fun little book could very well have visual learners trying new wines in no time.

Abandon hope, ye who enter here
(image: Amazon.com)

We’ll bookend (ha ha!) that recommendation with another that has an incredibly limited use-case: Deborah M. Gray’s How to Import Wine: An Insider’s Guide (Wine Appreciation Guild, 200 pages, about $25). This is the second edition of Gray’s guide, and she’s been in the importing biz for over 25 years. It reads like a brain dump of her thoughts and ideas, organized over the entire spectrum of wine importation steps – from building a portfolio, to shipping, to navigating distribution and marketing (not surprisingly, these last two thorny issues constitute the meat of the book). If that sort of sounds like a wine importation class being taught, that’s because Gray teaches the topic at San Diego State, and I suspect this book is as close to attending her class as you can get without, well, actually attending her class. Probably essential reading for those of you in the weeds (or considering entering the weeds) of the wine importing business.

TRON meets wine preservation in the ZOS HALO

Finally, we have a mini wonder of a wine preservation gadget (I know, I know…): the ZOS HALO Wine Preserver (about $65). On the surface, I should be hating on this thing: it sits awkwardly atop an open wine bottle, requires batteries for its admittedly-ckinda-cool LED halo/rim lighting (which tells you the status of the preservation and readiness of the unit), and works on cartridges that you can reuse a few times but eventually have to replace (they run about $16 per set). BUT… I set this sample up, and popped it atop another sample: a 2012 Quinta da Muradella Gorvia Blanco Monterrei, which is a white that’s already on to showing all kinds of glorious secondary and tertiary aromatic action upon release, and theoretically should have been deader than Lincoln in no time even with the help of more expensive preservation systems. Nope. After a couple of weeks with the ZOS, the Muradella tasted nearly exactly the same as the day I first opened it. It took a solid month under the ZOS in the fridgebefore the wine was on the decline. YMMV, of course, but a month of drink-ability? Daaaaaahhhhaaaammmmnnn!

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Product Review Roundup, 2018 Holiday Edition from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.

They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 10, 2018 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.

They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For December 3, 2018 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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The (3rd) Joe Ginet, of Plaisance Ranch, demonstrating the art of vine propagation

The third Joe Ginet is a bit of a torch-bearer.

He and wife Suzi preside over Plaisance Ranch, a former dairy farm, now turned organic beef cattle ranch, which also happens to be a twenty-acre vine nursery (now with over twenty varieties), and (since 1999) a vineyard as well, in keeping with the tradition of his father Joe and grandfather Joe. It’s grandad Joe who lived a the-kids-are-gonna-be-talking-about-this-one-for-generations portion of this little tale or Rogue Valley viticulture.

One hundred years before the third Joe Ginet planted vines at Plaisance, his grandfather Joe Ginet made his way from France’s Savoie to the USA, after having been discharged from the French military, and established Plaisance Orchard near Jacksonville. About six years later, he made his way back to France to pick up his fiancee. Instead of a bride, however, a jilted Joe G. returned to Oregon alone. Well, alone apart from some vine cuttings from his family vineyards.

Not to be deterred, ol’ Joe eventually did get hitched in 1912 – to a French Canadian bride that “he mail-ordered” according to Plaisance Ranch’s Joe G., who now makes about 2,000 cases of wine annually from 21 different grape varieties, derived from “about 42 different selections, if you count all of the clones involved” (apparently, the third Joe G. is into complexity). One of those varieties (a Savoy specialty), in particular, is so geekily and entertainingly interesting, that I felt compelled to write about Plaisance after my visit based on that varietal wine alone…

But before we get to that, it’s well worth taking a deeper look into some of the other 21-some-odd wines that Ginet now offers, many of which encapsulate both a sense of deep history and an undeniable charm (check the Plaisance website for availability).

2017 Plaisance Ranch Viognier (Applegate Valley, $20)

My notes indicate that this lovely, lively, and peach-and-pear-filled white is “floral AF!” NOt my most eloquent descriptor, but if you like your Viognier less on the overripe-melons-in-yo-face side, and more on the zesty, white flower-laden side, this one is your jam (without the jam).

2015 Plaisance Ranch Mourvèdre (Applegate Valley, $30)

Joe G. digs on Bandol, and so this red ended up being one of his passion projects. “I don’t get to make a red wine out of this every year,” he told me, due primarily to the difficulties in getting it properly ripe in the Southern Oregon clime. In the case of 2015, however, this is on-point: inky, with notes of green tobacco and herbs, dark berries, black pepper, and a lithe, beguiling mouthfeel.

2015 Plaisance Ranch Cabernet Franc (Applegate Valley, $25)

In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s a rare thing to find a Cab Franc in the USA that nails a sense of balance on the palate, but this one does just that. The mainstream critics will likely hate on the green herbal notes here, but I love that this red manages to keep those while also flaunting some of CF’s darker, plummy fruit flavors. There’s ample jump to the palate, and the end result is just a fresh, tasty, honest homage to European expressions of the grape.

2013 Plaisance Ranch Mondeuse Noire (Applegate Valley, $30)

Now we get to the main event, an ancient grape known primarily from granddad Joe Ginet’s native Savoie, and a labor of love for the modern incarnation of Joe Ginet, who has been making a varietal labeling of Mondeuse since 2013, but began his journey in bringing this grape (once nearly wiped out by phylloxera in France) about fifteen years before that vintagee.

Naturally, the vines are from his family’s vineyard in Savoie, and had to spend a few years in quarantine, after which began what seems like a simple, 97-step process of vine cuts and plant propagation, taking roughly five years to get enough vines to actually make up an entire row in the vineyard. Apparently, the TTB also had some issues understanding that Mondeuse noire was an actual fine wine grape variety, and so (today’s) Joe G. also found himself having to make a case to convince a government agency that his Mondeuse vines were, well, actually for wine grapes and all that.

Generally, only a few barrels of this get made, so coming by it will not be easy. It’s worth seeking out, particularly if you find yourself in the Applegate area, because it’s got uniqueness to spare. Minerals, cranberry, cola, earth… the nose is characterful, rustic, and fun, with notes of meat, violets, and red plums, and it wears its age with aplomb. This one is deceptively versatile, and I found myself wanting to grill up some of the Plaisance Ranch burgers after getting a mouthful of this stuff…

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Mail Order Bride, Mail Order Vines (Plaisance Ranch Recent Releases) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes in a “mini-review” format.

They are meant to be quirky, fun, and (mostly) easily-digestible reviews of (mostly) currently available wines (click here for the skinny on how to read them), and are presented links to help you find them, so that you can try them out for yourself. Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For November 19, 2018 from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!
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