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12 September 2006

Blogs Are Por[s]ches

Porsche By Guest Author Jeff Stai of  Twisted Oak Winery

This is in response to the post at Pinotblogger titled "Blogs Are Porches",

I had to drive down to the Bay Area the other day. When I got back I
flipped open the computer and saw (I swear): "Blogs Are Porsches".
Porsches? What is the Pinotblogger saying? Are blogs racy and sexy, or are bloggers just overcompensating for some shortcoming...?

Then I read the post (whew!) and started to catch on a little. What
Josh has to say is right:

a blog is a great way to create a sort of "online porch". A gathering place, a bulletin board, where you go to find out what's happening.

The trick is to not neglect your blog and turn it into a stale web site. Put another way, don't turn your Porsche into just a transportation device.

Fundamentally, blogs are nothing more than content management systems
for  Websites. A blog makes it possible for anyone to add content to a site without having to worry about page design issues. Just upload pictures, type in words, and click "Publish". The whole world can now see your creation - if they care to. If you disable comments and trackbacks, your blog is just a website with the most recent stuff on top.

Real Blogs take it further by adding commenting (to enable a two way conversation) and trackbacks (so you can see who is talking about you.) And with all this commenting and linking the whole thing snowballs.

The main issue for a winery isn't, "to blog or not to blog;" but whether or not to develop the changes necessary to keep your Website alive and interesting. Either you make the investment, or your Website is effectively a stagnant brochure.

editor's note -- see Jeff blog at the Twisted Oak blog, "El Bloggo Torcido."

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05 September 2006

The Best White Under $15

By Guest Author Jameson of Le Wine Blog 

Sglabel 2005 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner Gobelsburger
(Imported by Terry Theise for Skurnik Wines)

OK, here's what the Wine Advocate says:

"Moosbrugger's 2005 Gruner Veltliner Gobelsburger once again represents a sensational value. Scents of flowers and hay introduce a clear, bright, juicy, melony, limey mouthful of wine that is a touch lush, a tad invigorating, carpets the palate with flowers, herb, melon, and pepper, yet ultimately, soothingly, simply thirst-quenchingly satisfies. To obtain results like this for the price demands keenly honed agricultural and artisanal skills..."

Rating: 89 points

Beau has challenged me to find an 85-90 point wine, break down the review, and give it a "yea" or "nay." I was tempted to pick from a sea of highly rated Aussie Shiraz, but then I realized I hate those wines. So since he so rarely writes, blogs, podcasts, etc. about Austrian wine, I thought I would break the seal on Basic Juice (editor's note:  Jameson's a funny guy).

First of all, this is a sensational value; it retails for about 12 bucks. I am going to say something very provocative: This is the best white wine in the world that retails for under 15 bucks.

As far as scent, I don't know what "flowers" smell like. Is this an amalgamation of all floral aromas into a catch-all term? Ok, well, if pressed I would it smells like a flowery, hay-strewn field. One that I am frolicking in.

clear, bright, juicy, melony, limey mouthful of wine

Yes, yes, yes, yes ,yes, and absolutely.

I enjoyed the phrase "carpets the palate", but I prefer "hugs the tongue."

It is super thirst-quenchingly satisfying. I am not sure, however, that "quenchingly" is a word. (I do like it, though.)

I did get a lot of dried-herb, melon, and lime on the finish. It also had a little spritz when first opened that blew off.

I could go through a couple cases a month! If you do not like this wine, I do not want to be your friend.

Verdict: Recommended

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28 June 2006

Coturri Time Capsule

(Editor's note: This is part of a series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers or Basic Juice readers.  If you are new to wine blogging, host a blog out in the remote reaches of wineblogistan, a wine maker or you're simply someone who enjoys writing about food & wine; contact me with a post proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Athor: Paul White of Coturri Winery (California)

Coturri64_2

1964 Coturri Petite Sirah
Sonoma Mountain, CA

Coturri64_1 An elixir, two-score in age – and rates five stars for its rich deep enticing flavor and lusty texture.  The first time I tried this wine I was totally unprepared and had no point of reference - it was after all a wine as almost as old as me - it was eccentric and special and unlike any other liquid I’d ever tasted.
It is a dark mauve with brick hues along the edges – the wine side of the cork had a constellation of twinkling tartaric crystals – and it dropped an inch of wine diamond sediment. The bottle had tarry deposits splotched & tattooed into the sides of the glass.

A hypnotic scent- old cigar box - saw dust on the floor of a butcher shop - freshly turned earth - protein notes like food - I swirled and left my nose in the glass for a couple of minutes before I tasted it - savoring the moment and trying to identify other aromas – pungent incense burning at a gypsy bizarre - no - but something like that – exotic and expressive - freshly crushed black cherry cola nut. It triggered memories of the 1964 Worlds Fair in Queens, NY – mint leaf, pencil shavings, fruit rollups and flower pedals.  Each time I swirled my glass and took another sniff it changed ever so much, offering up nuances I missed before. I loved it and still hadn’t tasted it yet.

Afraid that the smell of the wine was going to be the best part I let it linger - but when I did taste it was silky round and pure.  It was full bodied and still had a ton of fruit - pleasing ultra ripe flavors of dark plums and blackberry liqueur and great balance.  A 40 year old - unsulfited petite sirah - it continued to evolve for several hours and kept me in a trance. It was still going strong.

This is the first time Tony Coturri made wine - in 1964 when he was 14 years old under the direction of his father - Harry -Red- Coturri and his grand father Enrico - who was then approaching 80 years old

Continue reading "Coturri Time Capsule" »

25 June 2006

Monterey Foray

Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and/or Basic Juice readers. If you are interested in being a guest author, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.


Guest Author:
Elsbeth Wetherill, co-owner of Escafeld Vineyards, a small family operated winery located in the San Antonio Valley. E-mail her at info@escafeld.com.

Already legendary for world class restaurants, romantic hotels and breathtaking scenery,
Monterey County has another compelling reason to visit—the wines.

Monterey County is home to nine
appellations: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands, San Lucas, Chalone, Monterey, San Bernabe, Hames Valley, and our newest AVA, San Antonio Valley. A wide range of microclimates, with cooler regions in the north and warm, dry appellations in the south, provide local growers and winemakers with the perfect conditions for practically every grape variety and style.

Sanantoniovalley The first stop on your itinerary should be
A Taste of Monterey on Cannery Row, where you’ll sample wines from over 40 Monterey County Wineries, including a number of smaller boutique producers who do not yet have tasting rooms. Then pick up a copy of Monterey Bay Wine and Travel Magazine and hit the wine trail. Monterey County is home to over 25 tasting rooms, renowned as much for their hospitality as for their wines.

New to the wine corridor is the San Antonio Valley, recently granted appellation status. Almost a secret, this beautiful unspoiled valley, just 20 miles inland, is home to
Mission San Antonio de Padua and William Randolph Hearst’s historic Milipitas Ranch House, which is now a guest lodge and restaurant. You’ll also find some of the most stunning drives on the central coast. 800+ acres of vines and over 20 varietals are planted here, where growers and winemakers work together crafting high-quality wines.

Continue reading "Monterey Foray" »

16 June 2006

It's The Weekend

Here's an excerpt from a blog entry I wrote last August, tongue planted firmly in cheek:

Last night I made my world-famous peach melba sangria. It is delicious when it is first made, but it turns the most gorgeous color after a few hours in the fridge.  This time I let it macerate for a whole day.

I fudged on the quantities, as usual:

Dry white wine (I used a Bordeaux blanc)
Triple sec
White peaches
Raspberries (I used frozen)

I dug a little deeper and found the actual recipe, which I adapted from this Sheila Lukins cookbook:

White Peach Melba Sangria

3 or 4 ripe peaches (yellow peaches are okay)
1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh raspberries
1 750 ml. bottle of dry or semi-dry white wine 
1 oz. triple sec
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Peel, pit and finely chop the peaches (Oops. I didn't peel mine).  Place the peaches and berries in a large glass pitcher.  Pour in the wine and triple sec.  Let stand at room temperature for an hour or two. Before serving, add the sparkling water. Serve in wineglasses over ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

Lukins suggests a Chenin Blanc for this sangria. I've used a Sauvignon Blanc and a cheapie Bordeaux blanc, both with good results. (I'm not very good about following recipes).

Fresh raspberries are very dear in France, so I have always used frozen ones for this. However, frozen raspberries disintegrate when they thaw. My suggestion is that if you are serving the sangria to guests, use fresh raspberries or add frozen ones at the last minute. It won't be such a lovely color in that case, but at least there won't be raspberry niblets floating around in the pitcher!

Nehi Peach?

Santé!

13 June 2006

I Need Three Eyes

Rosé wine is one of my favorite warm-weather beverages. I lived in France for 13 years, and learned to love this coral-colored delight during a couple of summers spent in the Minervois region. My daughter was conceived there, and when she was a baby, we used to joke that the color of her cheeks was the exact color of the wine that we drank so much of. (Before you start clucking your tongues, I had no idea I was pregnant, and stopped drinking as soon as I found out. And my daughter has turned out to be an intelligent, beautiful creature). Rosé became a summer tradition for my family and friends. It's perfect on its own or with a meal. 

The only thing I don't like in a rosé is too much sweetness. Don't even try to serve me a white zinfandel; I won't drink it (and I lurve wine). This isn't such an issue in France, although some rosés are sweeter than others. What I do like in a rosé is a deep color and a fruity nature. I want it to taste like a rosé; I want it to refresh me and lift my spirits.

Continue reading "I Need Three Eyes " »

07 May 2006

Welcome to Costconia

Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and Basic Juice readers. If you are interested in being a guest author on Basic Juice, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Author: Jameson of Le Wine Blog

Costcocard Welcome to Costconia

As a monumentally biased person who toils as a sales rep for a local wine distributor in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, I can tell you two things:

1) You can set your watch to me being at
Smarty Pants Friday afternoons, drinking a PBR and eating a Ms. Piggy.  (Mmm…beer and hog fat.)

2) There is a lot of talk about
Costco and its successful lawsuit to eliminate a cornerstone policy of the wine distribution system in Washington, commonly referred to as the “three-tier” system.  In a nutshell, wineries sell to distributors who sell it to retailers.  (Washington wines excluded, natch!)  There are numerous other policies related to pricing.

Costco says that by ditching these policies, wine will be cheaper to consumers by eliminating the middle, uh, person.  Yeah, but then Costco, with its incredible buying power, will further consolidate the market.  (It’s already a nightmare; go into most grocery stores and they are probably 90% dominated by three companies at the most.)  But what wines will they order?  Chateau Clown Juice?  How would the selection be?  I think there will still be wineries that have limited production, or are so esoteric that Costco will not want to deal with them.  There will be a need for local distributors to seek out these wines and give them the attention they deserve.  And would wine still be cheaper without distributors?  Chateau CJ will have to add a lot more people and resources now that they do not have a distributor doing a chunk of the heavy lifting.  That costs $$$.

Continue reading "Welcome to Costconia" »

05 May 2006

How To Spit in German, French & Italian

(Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and Basic Juice readers.  If you are interested in being a guest author on Basic Juice, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Author: Emily of Winemonger - an importer and online retailer of Austrian wine.

Spit How To Spit in German, French & Italian

In honor of Beau’s upcoming Live Austrian Wine Adventure, and for all of you out there who are planning your own wine tours abroad, I thought I would put together this small guide of words you may find yourself needing to say when you are in a German, French or Italian winery (in that order).

AGE: alter – age – eta

ALCOHOLIC CONTENT: alkoholgehalt - teneur en alcool - gradazione alcolica

BOUQUET, NOSE: bukett – bouquet – bouquet

CORKY TASTE: korkgeschmack – gout de bouchon – sapore di tappo

DRY: trocken - sec - secco

EARTHY: erdig – gout de terroir – terroso

FAT: fett – gras – grasso

FRESH: frisch – frais – fresco

FRUIT: frucht – fruit – fruttato

GRAPE: beere – baie – acino

GRAPE CLUSTER: traube - raisin - grappolo

GRAPE VARIETY: rebsorte – cepage - vitigno

LEES: geläger – lies – feccia

Continue reading "How To Spit in German, French & Italian" »

28 April 2006

Belushi's Visit to Coturri

Coturri_sidebar_1 (Editor's note: This is part of a new weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers or Basic Juice readers.  If you are new to wine blogging, host a blog out in the remote reaches of wineblogistan, a wine maker or you're simply someone who enjoys writing about food & wine; contact me with a post proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)

Guest Athor: Paul White of Coturri Winery (California)

Noble Rot
John Belushi's visit to Coturri Winery
"when mother nature molds your vines; make a select late harvest dessert wine"

Just before his 33rd birthday (January 24, 1982), John Belushi spent a day at  Coturri Winery - playing basketball with Tony Coturri, doing comedic pratfalls  and drinking some Zinfandel.  With Belushi were Tom Smothers and Don  Novello (aka Father Guido Sarducci).  It was a cold day, but they weren’t  deterred from “shooting some hoops”.

What were John Belushi, Tom Smothers, and Father Guido doing at Coturri  Winery? They were on a scouting mission looking for scene locations for an illfated film that was never produced called "Noble Rot". Some say that John  went on a downward spiral after this screenplay was rejected by Hollywood.  A  little bit of proof to this theory is that pages of the “Noble Rot” script were found  littering the bungalow in which Belushi died. Here’s the six degrees of  separation story:

Continue reading "Belushi's Visit to Coturri" »

21 April 2006

Mauzac to our Ears

(Editor's note: This is the second in a series of posts by guest authors whose own blogs are under-appreciated/under-visited.  If you are new to wine blogging, or host a blog out in the remote reaches of wineblogistan, contact me with a post proposal, and we'll see if we can't deliver more winos to your site.)

9b_blanquette_w Guest Author: Caryl of Château Rives-Blanques


Talk about challenging names and
have-to-be-hand-sold wines ... what about a mauzac called 'Xaxa', then?

In fact, what about Mauzac period/full stop?

Mauzac is an old traditional grape variety of the Renaissance, which used to be widespread throughout the south of France and even featured in Antiquamareto's Livre de Raison  in the early 16th century -  but today exists in only two appellations (Limoux and Gaillac).

The one thing mauzac does really well is, it sparkles.  Some time around 1500 the Benedictines  in a monastery  in Limoux, close to Carcassonne, were blessed by a happy accident (or was it divine intervention?) and  found that out for themselves.  They went into business, and no wonder: at that time, a sparkling Blanquette (the original name for mauzac) was worth twice as much as a non-sparkling wine, so they were on to a good thing.  This all happened over 150 years before another Benedictine, a certain
Dom Pérignon  passed by on his obligatory pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, and probably had his first sip of their famous bubbles on the way.   (Am I implying he stole, or at best borrowed, the recipe - or in this case, méthode?  Well ... perhaps.  Besides, even Robert Parker says that Blanquette de Limoux is much, much older than champagne, so the story must be true.)

Continue reading "Mauzac to our Ears" »

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