Certifiably Certifiable (Talking Wine Certifications For SevenFifty Daily)

image: daily.sevenfifty.com

I was recently asked by my friend Lana Bortolot for a quick interview, to help contribute to a piece she was writing about the value (or lack thereof) of certifications in the wine biz. Lana’s work has subsequently been published in a well-researched and well-considered article, SevenFifty Daily’s Guide to Wine Education.

My dime-store-level philosophizing can be found in the article’s section on the Society of Wine Educators (SWE). I was shocked, in a decidedly pleasant way, at how many of the other sources quoted in Lana’s article that I happen to know personally, have worked with, and/or consider to be friends, which I suppose underscores my comments that Lana quoted in the piece.

It’s kind of difficult to imagine, but there was a time a few years ago when certifications were a bit of a fire-starter topic in the wine blogging community; the value propositions of the programs in general were challenged in general. Over the years, I’ve tended to put up camp squarely in the wine-certs-are-a-good-thing territory, though I’ve often cautioned that not all of them are created equally (Lana hits on what I would consider the most important and widely recognized of the bunch in her article). The TLDR version of my past coverage: certifications are a means to differentiation, which is rarely a bad thing; but do your research, have an “end-game” in mind, and choose your certification path wisely to meet it.

If you’re considering getting your feet wet in the wine certification pool, give the SevenFifity Daily overview a read.

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Like A True Nature’s Child (Exploring The Wildness Of Grignolino)

My latest article for the online celebration of all things vinous in Monferrato, MyNameIsBarbera.com, is now available; and in it, I explore the born-to-be-wildness of one of Italy’s most unsung fine wine grapes, Grignolino.

If you’ve never tried a good Grignolino before, you’re un-enviably currently missing out, but are enviably in for a real treat – it’s one of the most unique red wine drinking experiences you’re likely to have, and therefore one of the most geekily memorable, as well.

Hit up the link below for the full article. When you’re finished reading, if you find yourself feeling the kind of thirst that only a Grignolino is gonna quench, I suggest hunting for one from Vini Evasio Garrone, based in Grana. They won’t be easy to find, but they’re worth the effort. One of that family-run business’  head-honchos, Dante Garrone, is a tireless champion of the grape; he also happens to be a good guy and a serious Raiders of the Lost Ark fan…

GRIGNOLINO D’ASTI: BORN TO BE WILD

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Moonwalking With The Original King Of Pop Wines (Exploring Barbera d’Asti For MyNameIsBarbera.com)

The latest episode in the Barbera: In The Glass series is now live at MyNameIsBarbera.com, and in it I continue my conversation with Vinchio and Vaglio‘s Tessa Donadieu. This time, we focus on the next “level” of the Barbera quality pyramid in Monferrato (which, as I have written before, I don’t think is a “pyramid” per se, but whatever): Barbera d’Asti.

This will, of course, be the level of Barbera with which the majority of those reading these words and viewing this vid will be most familiar. And with good reason; it’s basically the Michael Jackson of Italian red wine (hell, maybe of fine red wine, period).

For the record, I don’t actually moonwalk in this vid. But rest assured that I’m diligently working on it…

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Red (Talking Piemonte Barbera DOC At MyNameIsBarbera.com)

For my latest entry over at MyNameIsBarbera.com, we return to some video action for the Barbera: In the Glass  section. In this short episode, I get schooled by Vinchio and Vaglio‘s Tessa Donadieu on why the wine that forms the base of the Monferrato Barbera quality pyramid – the Piemonte Barbera DOC – ought to be my go-to daily red wine.

As I lay out in the introduction to the vid, Tessa has a (very) good case; not just for me, but probably for you, too, if you dig zesty Italian reds.

You can check out the vid in the embed below, and see more in the Your Daily Wine (Piemonte Barbera) article over at the MYiB site.

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From Nizza, With Love (Talking Nizza DOCG For MyNameIsBarbera.com)

In my latest piece for MyNameIsBarbera.com, we compare the top of the Barbera DOCG quality pyramid to a character who carries an actual piece; namely, 007 himself.

I hope that you’ll forgive the somewhat graphic JB image above… it’s one of my favorites, and it’s more dynamic – though not nearly as pretty! – as vineyard images from Nizza vineyards, like this one:

From Nizza, With Love (Talking Nizza DOCG For MyNameIsBarbera.com)

See? No real thrilling action going on there. That comes after harvest, oak aging, and bottle aging, after which Nizza DOCG Barbera wines ought to thrill lovers of Italian reds, because they are as serious, powerful, and age-worthy as Barbera gets. Hit up the link below for the details on that…

NIZZA DOCG, A SMOKING DRESSED BARBERA

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Talking Fun Wine Facts For MyFitnessRx.net

Another quick-hit this week to let you know that I was recently a guest on MyFitnessRx.net‘s Running episode, talking about some recent fun/interesting health-related facts/studies pertaining to our favorite adult libation.

You can check out the specific segment in the embed below. Here’s how you can check out the My Fitness Rx show on  a regular basis:

Wine Facts, Running – e9

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Superiore… SMASH!!! (Talking Barbera d’Asti Superiore For MyNameIsBarbera.com)

The venerable Barbera d’Asti Superiore as… The Incredible Hulk?

Yeah, it’s probably a stretch… BUT

Superiore… SMASH!!! (Talking Barbera d’Asti Superiore For MyNameIsBarbera.com)There’s something to be said for a superhero of an Italian red that is perennially underestimated, and yet in its best examples can stand up in aging to its more glamorous Asti-area cousins Barbaresco and Barolo. At least, that’s the case I make in my latest piece for MyNameIsBarbera.com.

And yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced this stuff first-hand.

When touring the Monferrato region last year, I had the chance to get my grubby little paws on a few older bottles of Barbera d’Asti Superiore, and I was frankly stunned at how well they’d held up over the years. Take, for example, the 1999 Bava Stradivario, Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG. At nearly twenty years old, that wine was vibrantly, energetically alive, still had a tart red fruit core, and earthy, ample spiciness. It wasn’t just “drinkable;” it was refined, elegant, and surreptitiously powerful.  In other words, it was kicking ass.

Anyway, read on and you can tell me if I’m crazy or not…

BIG BIG BIG. BIG BARBERA D’ASTI SUPERIORE

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The King Of Pop… Wines (Talking Barbera d’Asti for MyNameIsBarbera.com)

In my latest article for MyNameIsBarbera.com, I make a case for legitimately comparing Barbera d’Asti to… Michael Jackson.

Yeah, that Michael Jackson.

The King of Pop Michael Jackson.

My penchant for stretching cross-discipline compares to incredibly thin levels aside (I wonder if the Barbera d’Asti folks knew what they were getting into when they picked me up for this gig?), I think that the simile in this case isn’t much of a stretch.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a wine region + grape combination that combines the same wide appeal, high base quality levels, raw potential, and large production/availability as Asti and Barbera at what we often think of as the “entry” level for those wines. Think about it… there are others that could be argued as the King of Pop Wine, but the list is pretty short.

You can read the entire piece at the link below (and then come back to heckle to me if you think I was off the mark… which I wasn’t… ok, whatever…):

BARBERA D’ASTI, THE KING OF POP WINE

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Talking Red Wine And Health For MyFitnessRx.net

Last week, MyFitnessRx.net aired a segment featuring yours truly, waxing all dime-store-philosophical like about the healthy heart benefits of red wine consumption (in moderation, you lushes!). Green screens and open bottles of wine FTW!

My brief segment with show host Tanya Stroh is below; you can check out the full episode as well. If you find yourself among the healthily-inclined, here are some details on how you can binge on past and future episodes of the show:

 

Red Wine, A Healthy Heart

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Puzzle Pieces (Exploring The Quality Pyramid At MyNameIsBarbera.com)

One of the more endearingly maddening things about European wine classifications is that they try to lump location, in aspects that are increasingly specific, and “quality,” in ways that are often nebulous.

Over at MyNameIsBarbera.com, I take this dichotomy head-on, in my dime-store-philosphical way (not yet trademarked, but it might as well be at this point). Obviously, the focus of that piece is on the “quality pyramid” as it pertains specifically to Barbera in Asti and the Monferrato area, but the idea that the pyramid is more reflective of stylistic personality rather than core quality (in the I’m-good-therefore-you-are-bad sense) is, I think, something that plagues many of the most well-established wine regions not just in Northern Italy, but in all of Italy; and, arguably, all of Western Europe.

Pour a glass, have a read, and then we can argue in buzzed pseudo-philosophy about it all!

THE PUZZLE OF THE (BARBERA QUALITY) PYRAMID

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