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...]

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.

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.

Free Wine for a Name

name our winery contest link for Washington Wine CompanyA new winery is playing their version of “Name That Tune” … except, the game is called “Name That Winery”.

The Washington Wine Company is running a contest to name their new winery, which is scheduled to open in Woodinville Wine Village, Washington State, in 2008.

The contest runs from April 6–May 30. The winner of the contest will receive two cases of the winery-to-be-named-later's best wine each year for a decade. The prize will also include an annual private wine tasting hosted by winemaker Jeff Schackman when the winners come in to pick up their yearly cases of wine.

Go to the Washington Wine Company website for details and to enter your suggestion for a winery name. Who knows, you may win two free cases of wine for the next ten years. Good luck!

Wine Classes in Spanish

Wine EducationGood news for Spanish-speaking wine connoisseurs in the New York City area — the International Wine Center (IWC) in New York City will be offering an Intermediate Certificate course “en Espanol”.

The eight-week program covering the major grape varieties and wine regions of the world as well as the fundamentals of grapegrowing and winemaking has been taught in English by the IWC since 1995. Beginning in mid-May, the same course will also be offered in Spanish — instruction, course materials and exam included.

Students who successfully complete the course will earn the WSET® Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits, an internationally-recognized credential awarded by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), which is the world’s largest wine educational organization. International Wine Center is the U.S. headquarters of WSET.

“Considering the important role that Spanish-speaking individuals play in the wine, food and hospitality trade in New York City, it is only appropriate that a serious wine program be available to them in their native language,” said Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW, who serves as Executive Director of WSET programs in the United States, as well as President of IWC. “We are honored to be able to provide this opportunity to them.”

The Spanish WSET Intermediate Certificate Course begins on Thursday, May 17 and concludes on July 19. Classes meet weekly from 6:00 to 8:00pm at International Wine Center, 350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1201. The fee is $668.

For detailed information on the WSET programs, call 212-239-3055, email info@internationalwinecenter.com or visit www.internationalwinecenter.com.