Wine Reviews Tasting Notes and Education for the Non-Snob, by Vino Joe, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)

How You Pour Wine Affects Your Drinking

This information came out a few months ago, but it remains relevant: did you know that the way you pour your wine can affect how much you drink? [Read more...]

Can You Trust a Wine Critic? Science Says No

Millions of people — and sales of millions of cases of wine — are significantly influenced by the point scores assigned by wine critics. However, research suggests that consumers shouldn’t be swayed by the critics, because they’re not tasting the same thing. [Read more...]

Book Review: Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, The Complete Guide

Malbec is from Argentina, Carmenere is from Chile, and Shiraz is from Australia. Oh, New Zealand makes good Sauvignon Blanc, and South Africa produces a brooding wine you can’t find anywhere else called Pinotage. What more do you need to know about wines from the Southern Hemisphere?

Turns out, there’s plenty more to discover from the vineyards below the equator, and this tome by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen (a.k.a., “The World Wine Guys“) provide the ultimate guide for your wine journey across the bottom half of the Earth. [Read more...]

The Top Seven Wine Bloggers (not really)

No, Vino Joe did not make the list. Rumor has it that I finished 8th.

According to Kansas City Wine Examiner Dennis Schaefer, WineOpinions released the list of the top seven wine bloggers according to the wine trade as: [Read more...]

Shipping for One Penny

pennyEvery year at this time, Wine.com runs a one-cent shipping special — you buy any 12-bottle case of wine, it’s shipped to you for a penny. Why they don’t just make it free, I have no idea, but it’s a damn good deal nonetheless.

However, the deal only runs from now through Thursday, September 10th, and you have to enter a special code to get it.

Follow this link and instructions:

Get 1 cent shipping on any 12 bottles. Enter code SHIP12 in your shopping cart. Hurry, offer ends 9.10.09.

I’ll also keep a banner up on the top of the site between now and Thursday, for your convenience.

Mary Ewing-Mulligan On Martha Stewart Morning Living

mary_ewing_mulligan.jpgSorry for the late notice, but if you read this in time and subscribe to XM or Sirius satellite radio, you can hear Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW on the Martha Stewart Morning Living show, which begins at 9:30 AM EST on Friday, September 4th.

Mary is a Master of Wine (meaning, she’s a goddess among geeks) and the co-author of Wine For Dummies (as well as several other outstanding wine books) and the president of the International Wine Center.

This is a rare opportunity to hear a Master of Wine for free, and you will have the chance to call in with your wine questions. So if you read this in time, be sure to tune in to XM 157 or Sirius 112 at 9:30 AM EST today (Friday, September 4th).

Nick Faldo Launches Wines

faldo_golf.jpgAs if the world didn’t have enough celebrity “winemakers” …

The latest well-known name to dabble into wine production is golfing great Nick Faldo. Faldo has launched a new line of “easy drinking” wines, just in time for the Rhyder’s Cup golf tournament between the US and Europe (September 19-21). We can be certain that the wines’ release corresponding with the tournament is NOT a coincidence.

Interestingly, “Faldo Wines” have been around since 2000 — it is a special line produced by Katnook Estate in in Coonawarra, Australia. Are the wines any good? I have no idea, as I’ve not seen nor tasted these wines yet. I imagine they might have a “green” character …

If I can find the Faldo Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Shiraz, I will be sure to taste it head-to-head against the same wines from Greg Norman Estates and report the results here. It will be much cheaper than watching these two golfers compete in person, and certainly more enjoyable.

Website Review: Absinthe

Every once in a blue moon (the cheesey-looking thing in the sky, not the beer), I’m asked to do a review of a website in return for cash — what is called a “sponsored review” — via the ReviewMe! service. Whenever I am paid to do such a review, I make it clear upfront (as I’m doing right now). Please note that I never have, and never will, accept money to review a wine — so don’t bother asking. That said, the server fees need to be paid every month, so reviewing a website related to wine/food/spirits is, in my mind, a decent way to help pay the bills while retaining my integrity. (BTW I would love to hear your opinion — do you think it’s OK to do these sponsored reviews of websites or no?)

So, the website under review is called Buy Absinthe and it is place where, as you might guess, you can purchase absinthe, variations on absinthe, and absinthe accessories.

As soon as you visit the site, you can see right away that it was most likely put together by someone whose first language is French — in fact the top of the site is in French, and you have to scroll down a bit to get to the English text. The left sidebar offers images of absinthe products, each with a link underneath exclaiming “Buy it now!” … you can probably guess that those links lead you to an order page.

If you scroll down far enough, though, there are a few fairly useful links for those who want to learn more about absinthe. Specifically, there are three links for education: one, a thorough FAQ covering common questions (What does absinthe taste like? Is Thujone dangerous? etc.); second, a link to a page with a brief history of absinthe; and third, a simple explanation with image instructing you on the traditional way to serve absinthe. There is also a link to absinthe “accessories” (who knew?) for items such as spoons, glasses, and a “traditional absinthe fountain” (it’s not cheap).

The copywriting on all these pages leaves a bit to be desired — the wording was obviously translated and there are numerous grammatical and spelling errors. However, if you can get past that, and you are interested in absinthe, it’s a decent if general resource on the spirit.

In addition, there is a Buy Absinthe Blog. Again, the translation of the posts could be better.

As mentioned earlier, the focus of the site and the blog is to get you to buy absinthe, and you can do so easily by clicking on the following link: Buy absinthe here. However, I did not order anything from this site, so I cannot comment on the company’s shipping practices, the quality of their products, nor their customer service. Personally, when it comes to digestifs with mysterious backgrounds and hallucinogenic tendencies, my choice is Chartreuse.

Beaujolais Nouveau This Week

For those of you too snobbish to give credence to the “new wine” of 2007, please click away from here until next week.

For the more adventurous and open-minded readers, you may be interested to know (if you don’t already) that the first wine of 2007 from Beaujolais, France will be arriving in the USA this Thursday, November 15th. (Ironic, isn’t it, that it gets here exactly a week before Thanksgiving?)

Anyway, if you’re interested, I will be posting my tasting notes and overall impression of these first wines beginning just after midnight this Thursday. It appears that the first bottles I’ll be able to get my corkscrew on will be from Georges Duboeuf, and as young wines from other producers become available in my market, they will be reviewed as well.

If you’ve never had Beaujolais Nouveau before, understand that “it is what it is” : a new, young wine, produced from grapes picked and pressed only weeks ago. So don’t expect it to taste like a well-aged, barrel fermented Aussie Shiraz, Napa Cab, or Meritage. Instead, think of it as something between a rose and a “real” red wine. Enjoying Beaujolais Nouveau is all about managing expectations.

Come back here tomorrow to read “all about Beaujolais Nouveau” and early in the AM on Thursday for my first tasting notes.

Sokol Blosser Winery Awarded for Sustainability

LEEDS certification sign in Sokol Blosser vineyardsIn the spirit of Earth Day this week, Sokol Blosser Winery has been recognized by the City of Portland, Oregon, for its commitment to “green” practices. As part of the city’s 15th annual “Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow”, Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development granted Sokol Blosser with the “BEST Practices for Sustainability—Small Company” award.

One of Oregon’s oldest wineries, the 80-acre property includes a 75-acre estate vineyard, wine production facility, and a tasting and retail sales room that are all dedicated to the principles of The Natural Step, and are the first winery in the world to have obtained LEED certification.

Their efforts go way beyond the usual recycling and use of unbleached paper products (though they do that, too). For example, they’ve recently installed 12 giant solar panels to provide about one-third of their energy needs — a move which reduces dependency on fossil fuels and reduces greenhouse gases. Their vineyards have been fully certified as USDA organic (since 2005), and are cultivated with farm tractors that use 50% biodiesel fuel. For more detailed information on their green practices (and their wines), visit the Sokol Blosser website.

For those who follow a strictly organic diet, and/or have a strong affinity for buying products from socially-responsible companies, you herewith have a selection of fine wines from an Earth-friendly winery. Even if you’re not a member of Greenpeace, you can still enjoy Sokol Blosser wines — there’s just as tasty as other Oregon bottlings — and in the process feel like you’re doing your small part in saving the Earth.