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  • News

    From Reasonably Pleasant to Absolutely Ghastly: A Brewmaster Reviews Cheap Wines

    by Jameson Fink on 4/18/2014

    Who is brave enough to review some of the most notoriously bad, cheap wines every produced? It's Summit Brewing Company Head Brewer Damian McConn, doing so for Buzzfeed. Kudos for putting it on YouTube.

    McConn begins with M/D ("Mad Dog") 20/20, calling it "sickly sweet" and "jarring". Yellow Tail Sauvignon Blanc, "a wee fruity number", is dammed with the faint praise of "reasonably pleasant". Carlo Rossi Sangria is reminiscent of Christmas pudding and would appeal to his 5 year-old son. Top-scoring Franzia White Zinfandel (3 out of a possible 5 points) is "not too bad, actually". And the abomination that is Boone's Farm Blue Hawaiian Flavored Apple Wine Product? Though it does have a color reminiscent of the 50th state's beaches, the flavor is "absolutely ghastly".

    Read on to check out the video. And take comfort in seeeing McConn rewarded with a pint for his troubles.

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  • News

    You Just Don't Understand: Do Wine Critics Need to Soak Up Culture?

    by Jameson Fink on 4/18/2014

    Does a critic need to live in and around a place, soaking up the area's culture, to be able to effectively write about its wines? Nick Goldschmidt of Goldschmidt Vineyards answers this question in the affirmative on Steve Heimoff's blog. "So what about traveling writers, like Jancis, Parker, Galloni?" Heimoff asks. "They don’t live in the wine regions they write about but they seem to do a pretty good job."

    Who's right?


    So what about traveling writers, like Jancis, Parker, Galloni? I asked. They don’t live in the wine regions they write about but they seem to do a pretty good job. - See more at:
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  • News

    The Second Cheapest Wine Thwarts Judgemental Snobs

    by Jameson Fink on 4/18/2014

    Does the thought of selecting a wine from a restaurant list, accompanied the judge-y leer of a sommelier, make you sweat? Sick of navigating all the selections in a wine shop while Jura-obsessed employees get ready to laugh at your middling pick? Fret no more and pick up a bottle of Second Cheapest Wine.

    "You don't know much about wine, but you do know you shouldn't get the cheapest."

    Learn more by watching a short video.

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  • News

    Wines In Keg Stand For Combating an Industry Dirty Little Secret

    by Jameson Fink on 4/18/2014

    Jordan Kivelstadt of Free Flow Wines, seller of wine on tap, calls material waste "the dirty little secret of the wine industry." read more »

  • Wine News

    Wine news April 18, 2014

    by Christopher Barnes on 4/18/2014

    Wine Enthusiast on Graffiti in wine labels.

    Mouton versus Lafite 2013, The Drinks Business explores.

    Wines and Vines on the large wave of investment in Northwest vineyards and wines.

    In the mid-1930's Algeria accounted for 30% of all worldwide wine exports, W. Blake Gray comments on a report from the Journal of Wine Economics.

    The Hosemaster creates an alternative to Eric Asimov's wine school.

    The Los Angeles Times proposes some late April events in wine country.

    In the Washington Post Dave McIntyre gives a refresher on Rosé.

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  • News

    An Awful Idea for a Wine Name

    by Jameson Fink on 4/17/2014

    If you're looking for a lineup of wines called "Threat Level", you'll thankfully only find them as photographs on the internet. Hopefully you are not disappointed that a bottle of "Murder on My Mind" is not something you can order online. These labels, fortunately, are just glued-on; full images of these wines show a Fetzer capsule atop the bottle of Breakdown, too.

    Can you think of a worse name for a wine? This is the last thing I'm contemplating when drinking a Pinot Grigio, even the most vapid and watery examples.

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  • News

    5 of the Best #grangegate Tweets

    by Jameson Fink on 4/17/2014

    You may have read about an Australian Premier, Barry O'Farrell, who recently had to resign for not declaring a bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange (valued at the time at nearly 3,000 dollars) he received as a gift from Australian Water Holdings Chief executive Nick Di Girolamo. When a thank you note for the bottle from O'Farrell to Di Girolamo was produced, he still professed that he could not recall getting the wine, stating, "I've accepted that I have had a massive memory fail. I still can't explain either the arrival of a gift that I have no recollection of, or its absence, which I certainly still can't explain."

    A flood of snarky tweets involving wine, Jesus, and more began to hit Twitter. See five of the best #grangegate tweets. Warning: groan-inducing puns ahead.

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  • Wake Up Call

    Wine news April 17, 2014

    by Christopher Barnes on 4/17/2014

    In Winesearcher, Sherry-Lehmann (which does $50M in annual sales) CEO Chris Adams says Bordeaux needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Australian wine sales to China decline, Brisbane Times, via Winebusiness.

    Ex Napa Wine exec pleads guilty to $1M fraud, reports The Drinks Business.

    Starbucks expands wine sales to more cities with potentially several thousand of its stores affected, reports Wines and Vines.

    In Punch, a profile on Brooklyn's Shalom Japan - where the wine list tracks the historic flow of the Jewish diaspora.

    The Wineeconomist on a meeting of Europe's wine economists.

    Argentina celebrates the fourth annual Malbec World Day, reports

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  • News

    China's Next Move: How the Wine Superpower Continues to Grow

    by Michael Woodsmall on 4/16/2014

    China has become the biggest consumer of red wine. Their ascension to wine superpower has seen telltale ups and downs, but their influence is undoubtedly on the up as Chinese investors have realized gains using wine as both commodity and real estate investment in vineyards. read more »

  • News

    Nostalgia for a Non-Existent Time in California Wine

    by Jameson Fink on 4/16/2014

    "I like their old stuff" is a phrase uttered by a tumult of indie rock music fans who hearken back to a day when things were smaller, simpler, more lo-fi, less polished. Is the same thing happening with California wine? How good were the good old days? Was it a time when winemakers did nothing put pursue balance, silkscreen their own winery t-shirts, mimeograph wine zines?

    Writing in Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, Charles Olken reflects on "Nostalgia Hitting Wine Country". And with a resounding "pish-posh" he debunks this mythical California of the 1970s. Ok, it's not a pish-posh but an "I don't' get it." (Nor a #IDGI.) Olken recalls that decade as a time of hyper-tannic Cabernets, unapproachable Chardonnays, and Zinfandels not worthy nor able to grace the dinner table.

    Is Olken interested in his remaining stocks of BV, Heitz, and Freemark Abbey bottles from the 70s? Absolutely. "They remind me of where we have been," explains Olken. But I am at least as interested in the new Corisons and Phelps Insignias Cabs and Merry Edwards Pinots and Lewis and Ramey Chardonnays because they are today and they are simply more complete wines than most anything we made forty years ago."

    Do you agree that today's top California wines are more complete than those from four decades past? And what does it mean to call a wine "complete"?

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