There’s a wine blog created every minute! OK, maybe not that many, but there are a lot of wine blogs today. The editors of Wine & Spirits magazine asked me to look at some of the best wine blogs “that you’re probably not reading” in the current “25th anniversary issue.” I was honored to help them out. I respect the magazine for looking beyond their own fine pages to the wild world of the internets. Seriously, this is the only exclusively wine magazine that I know that has mentioned the word “blog” without referring to it’s own. Props to W&S! But wait, they don’t have any blogs of their own–boo hoo!
I talk about five blogs in the story, three amateur/enthusiast blogs, one journalist at another magazine, and a proto-winery blog. They are:
You may have discovered these already and there are many more that I enjoy in my blogroll on the right sidebar–and many more new bloggers who participate in the comments on this site (click their names for links to their sites). Consider signing up for the feeds of these blogs to keep up with their latest musings. And if you’re stopping by here for the first time, you can also give my own site feed a nibble! (and NEW! sign up to receive posts once a day via email)!
A couple of other items abobut the story. First, I got to have a debate with myself (that’s either the best kind or a sign of schizophrenia) about the pros and cons of blogging. I list six reasons why you should start a blog followed promptly by my rebuttal of six reasons you should not start a blog. Sadly, there’s no online link to the story so I guess this will be saved for your own perusal off line.
Second, the editors decided to include an illustration of me rather than a straight-up photo. I’m not sure why I was singled out for that, um, distinction. Here’s the photo that I originally submitted compared to their illustration, compared to a “Simpsonize Me” version of the same picture (per Josh’s suggestion). Enjoy them all!
* Slow Food Westchester: July 25, 6 – 8 PM. I’ll be helping out with the inaugural event for this chapter (convivium). We’ll taste seven great wines that also happen to be some hue of “green.” Plates restaurant, Larchmont, NY. $40, reservations necessary. Call Plates to reserve: 914.834.1244
* New York University: Buying and Cellaring, three sessions starting on September 25. Register here
* University of Chicago: Buying and cellaring liquid assets: one monster session, September 29. Register here
In both of these new classes, we will examine the red hot wine market. We will discuss where to buy wines, where to sell, how to store, and when to consume wines. In the longer, NYU course, we will devise a buying strategy for your budget and storage conditions and I hope we’ll be able to do the same in Chicago, even though the time is more limited. Both NY and Chicago will have tastings of collectible wines so be sure to sign up–especially, since the people enroll, the bigger the tasting budget is!
* New York Unversity: Becoming a Wine Expert. Six Wednesday evenings, starting October 17. Register here
This spring, one participant in the course said that he had waited two years to get into the class — I hope it was worth it! This, my core class, has the enrollment limited to 25 because of space limitations at the Torch Club.
* The Gourmet Institute: New York City, October 19-21. Register here
I’ll be participating on the panel “Eat the Web: Blogging’s Effect on the Food World,” moderated by Ruth Reichl. It’s very expensive (think two iPhones) but there are all those celebrity chefs whose food you can eat!
And I’m trying to coordinate an offline meetup, hopefully for next week…More on that very soon.
Now that summer is fully upon us, it’s time to think about the beach. And, of course, books. So why not Beach Babies Wear Shades?
At 16 pages and less than 100 words, it’s far too young for you, discerning wine reader. But perhaps you know someone under the age of two who might like the third installment in Mrs. Vino’s series of board books?
More on wine books for grown-ups after the holiday. Happy Fourth!
Related: Urban Babies Wear Black
That sent me on a quest to find a wine from my birth year. I wrote up the experience for the July issue of Food & Wine magazine.
In case the story piqued your interest in finding a wine for your birth year, check out the fabulous infographic that is the Robert Parker vintage chart. It only goes back to 1970 though so for older vintages, you might consider checking out Michael Broadbent’s Vintage Wine.
And if you’re stopping by the blog for the first time because of the story, then consider subscribing to the site’s feed or monthly email updates on the right. And feel free to poke around and see some wine picks or explore any of the categories on the first sidebar!
If you haven’t seen the story in print (p. 156), or you’re curious to see which wine I drank and how much it cost, check out the magazine, which is hitting bookstores and mailboxes now. Or I suppose you could cheap out and see it online.
“Finding Wine of a Certain Age,” Food & Wine
Yes! I made it 30 days with no (er, little) bottled water! And I’m not even living in a yurt, making clothing from alpacas that I’m raising, and eating exclusively local root vegetables.
Thirty days with no bottled water may not seem like a lot. And, quite frankly, it’s not. I didn’t bring Aquafina to their knees. And I did cause myself a lot of inconvenience.
For those of you who just tuned in, the logic behind my self-imposed ban on bottled water (and soda) is a form of my own carbon offset. Yes, it would have been a lot easier to pay $15 to buy some credits. But I wanted to take matters into my own hands and go bottle-for-bottle offsetting the carbon of my wine consumption. My logic was that the wine I enjoy is unique while the bottled water I can buy at every corner shop is easily substitutable with tap water and a little planning.
So what I’ve learned:
* Try not to blast the air conditioning with the windows open (actually I jest–the AC was coincidentally–and annoyingly!–broken during the entire period).
* NYC tap water really does taste like chlorine. And it is best served cold, VERY cold.
* Refilling the same Poland Spring bottle for a few weeks straight isn’t the best idea.
So am I going to keep up the ban forever? No. But I’m going to reduce the amount of bottled water, especially non-sparkling, that I buy. In fact, British consumers were urged last week to substitute French wine for New Zealand wine in the name of finding a wine that had fewer “food miles” under its belt.
This is nonsense. British wine consumers should instead celebrate the diversity of distinctive wines from around the globe and instead perform their own offsets and drink tap water. Or something else less fun. Just don’t give up the diversity of wine!
So what am I going to drink to celebrate? You might think a big glass of Pellegrino. But actually, since I included all club soda and tonic water, I have been thinking about a Tom Collins (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda) ever since I read Eric Felten’s WSJ article ten days ago. So tonight I’ll be mixing up a cocktail before dinner. And maybe I’ll just have a glass of tap water to go with my wine at dinner.
Yes, I’ll be in Bordeaux (somewhere between a green grape and a dark one) the third week in June covering the massive wine trade show. Given that I have previously written that France is a wine lover’s paradise yet an internet purgatory, I can only hope that the press tent will have wifi since I know there will be plenty of wine.
I’ve bought my plane ticket (ouch!) and am bracing for the full, sobering effect of the dollar’s decline. Ack.
The hottest place in the wine world in mid-June may also have high temperatures. The last time I attended, during the heatwave of 2003, almost 50,000 people packed into a series of exhibit areas that had little or no air conditioning. (Now they could do it in the name of reducing their carbon footprint.) Mmm, hints of barnyard aromas in the wine? Try: hot convention center.
This time, I’ll be able to taste some 2006 barrel samples from Bordeaux and will be on the lookout for some of the yummy 2005s. All with the goal of keeping you informed, dear reader. But with more than 2,300 exhibitors from 43 countries, there will be a lot of swirling, sniffing–and spitting! More anon!
Last week I sat down with reporter Lisa Altobelli to taste three wines whose profits benefit various charities associated with the Boston Red Sox. As a Cub fan (why bother?!) I may have been the only non-partisan taster in New York.
The Chilean wines were the Schilling Schardonnay, Manny being Merlot, and Caberknuckle, selections from Red Sox stars Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez (described as “a budding enophile”) and Tim Wakefield. Check out the May 28 issue, p. 26 for my detailed comments but I’ll tell you here that is the order that I preferred them. Even though they won’t be available to Red Sox Nation and beyond until next month, 264,000 bottles have already been pre-sold.
And if you’re stopping by the blog for the first time because of the story, then consider subscribing to the site’s feed or monthly email updates on the right. And feel free to poke around and see some wine picks or explore any of the categories on the first sidebar, including wine and sports!
“A very good year: three Red Sox enter the world of wine” [pdf, from SI]
UPDATE: if you’re looking to order the wines, surf on over to Charity Wines to order directly. They say specific stores will be posted soon. Or try wine-searcher for the Shcardonnay, Merlot, or Caberknucle.
I’m giving up water for 30 days. Bottled water that is.
In the discussion of the carbon footprint of wine here last week, I floated the idea of purchasing carbon offsets to assuage carbon guilt. In case I had any doubt of the efficacy of this matter, an excellent column in the Financial Times last week on the subject of offsets made me put paid to this notion.
A hilarious quote compared the system of carbon offsets to “the medieval system of indulgences, in which corrupt priests absolved sins for haggled fees.” The author, John Guthrie, went on to say that the practice of buying tracts of forest land for protection as offsets may be out of favor now. The band Coldplay bought 10,000 mango trees in southern India to offset the carbon produced by the release of their second album. Five years later, the trees have now withered and died.
So if I am to make my wine drinking carbon neutral, I can’t buy my way out of it: I actually have to give something up. I figure I should go beverage-for-beverage, in other words, keep wine, and give up something else. I’d love to say that I would give up soda, but since I haven’t had a soda in something like 15 years, that would kind of be like my giving up snowmobiling, jet-skiing, and being driven to work in a stretch Hummer limousine (oh wait, that last one actually WILL be tough to give up).
Because the kind of wine that I enjoy is a unique product that can’t be replaced locally, I have another target in my sights that can: bottled water. It’s one of those paradoxes of the global era to be able to buy spring water from the French alps or the islands of Fiji in New York when there is abundant drinkable tap water available (unlike some countries, the efforts of a current UNICEF campaign). And, as a commenter pointed out in a previous posting, this chart shows that bottled water’s growth rate is faster than wine–it must be stopped!
So for 30 days I’m not going to consume any bottled water. Just what kind of a sacrifice will that be? Granted, not a huge one. I might save the world something like 30 bottles of water. But it’s a start. And I may even extend it if I can live without my favorite Gerolsteiner. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and fill up my water bottle at the drinking fountain.