July 28, 2016
Life Long Learning #2
If you are starting to get more serious about building a cellar you will begin looking for more information to guide your purchases. The previous blog post mentioned some great books for background knowledge and some free web resources. Now we get to the paid subscriptions. Most retail stores will reference scores and tasting notes from magazines, newspapers and subscription newsletters.
In my opinion the paid subscription newsletters are the best source for editorially independent in-depth winery profiles and detailed tasting notes. There are a few generalist newsletters and two specialist publications that are worth your time. Maybe ask for a subscription for a Birthday present?
The Wine Advocate https://www.robertparker.com/ ( this will be the new web portal for The Wine Advocate starting September 16 2016 ) This is the granddaddy of all modern newsletters. Originally all tasting notes and articles were written entirely by Robert Parker. Currently The Wine Advocate has 7 contributing writers . 1 year access to the full online database of all wines tasted to date is 99 US dollars. The key is to learn which of the contributing writers taste buds align with yours. Many retailers quote the scores from Wine Advocate without providing you the full review. Resist the urge to buy any wine simply on the basis of a number. The words describing the wines are as important as the number.
Vinous Explore All Things Wine http://www.vinous.com/ Founded by Antonio Galloni and supported by Stephen D. Tanzer, Editor in Chief . Antonio was a contributing writer for The Wine Advocate and Stephen was the founder of International Wine Cellar Newsletter . December 2014 Vinous acquired International Wine Cellar and they merged their efforts into a formidable competitor to The Wine Advocate . Full access to the database and Android/IOS apps is 120 US dollars
Burghound http://www.burghound.com/ Created by Alan Meadows . This is THE Absolute best source for cutting edge information on all great producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from France, California and Oregon. There is some rotating coverage of Champagne as well. The annual cost for four quarterly electronic issues (and unlimited access to the database for the term of receipt of the four issues) is 145 US dollars
For The Love of Port ( FTLOP) http://www.fortheloveofport.com/ 1 year subscription 59 US dollars , PDF newsletter and access to database of notes and articles from previous issues of the newsletter created by Roy Hersh. Roy is a very passionate lover of all things Portuguese . He also reviews Madiera as well. He is well connected in the retail trade and has special buying opportunities for subscribers and participates in special tours of wine producers in Portugal that are one of a kind. If you email me directly at email@example.com Roy has kindly provided a sample of his work and I will send it to you.
July 5, 2016
Life Long Learning #1
Part of the fun involved with learning about wine is the industry changes and evolves all the time. That means avid collectors and wine lovers have to do the same. My early wine education came from sitting in on tastings at Malaspina College in Nanaimo. Later on it was endless reading of a now extinct BC Wine Newsletter called The Wine Consumer. Then I started collecting wine books. The following list represents my earliest and most useful additions to my collection.
The Wild Bunch (Great Wines from Small Producers) Patrick Matthews 1997
Virgile’s Vineyard (A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country)Patrick Moon 2003
A Wine and Food Guide to the Loire Jacqueline Friedrich 1996
Love by The Glass(Tasting Notes from a Marriage)Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher 2002
Wine & War (The French,The Nazis & The Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure) Don & Petie Kladstrup 2001
Languedoc Rouissillon(The Wines and Winemakers) Paul Strang 2002
The New France (A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine)Andrew Jefford 2002
Adventures on The Wine Route(A Wine Buyers Tour of France) Kermit Lynch 1988
The Wine Regions of Australia John Beeston 2000 Very serious with historical context
American Vintage (The Rise of American Wine) Paul Lukacs 2000
A Short History of Wine Rod Phillips 2000
Wine and The Vine(An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade)Tim Unwin 1991 Scholarly
Red Wine with Fish(The New Art of Matching Wine With Food)David Rosengarten and Joshua Wesson 1989
The Taste of Wine(The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation)Emile Peynaud English Translation1987
A Century of Wine( The Story of a Wine Revolution) General Editor Stephen Brook 2000
Vines Grapes and Wines Jancis Robinson 1986
Vintage The Story of Wine Hugh Johnson 1989
The World Atlas of Wine (5th Edition) Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson 2013
Then along came the internet and access to tons of really great information. Unfortunately a lot of dreadful stuff is out there as well.
There are a few really well done newsletters /writers that are worth following. I’m going to start with two free sources.
In 2012 I heard about a newsletter called Loam Baby . http://vinous.com/products/loambaby
There are three PDF examples of this letter that focus on Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Napa. They are 4 years old but the information is still valid and worth adding to your Kindle for those longer flights.
My other source of free fantastic wine writing is Terry Thiese http://www.skurnik.com/terry-theise/
Terry is an import partner for Michael Skurnik Wines based in New York City. His area of expertise is Austria, Germany and Champagne. The PDF versions of his catalogue read like a novel. The wines a beautifully described and the producer profiles add a great deal of insight to your wine drinking enjoyment. If you are an aspiring importer or student of wine these are a must read.