Yin And Yang, Printed Style (August 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

image: Amazon.com

As my pile of (admittedly somewhat neglected) wine book review copies is growing ever larger, this month’s wine product review roundup will focus on two soon-to-be-released bits of printed vinous educational resources. Both of these books will start to see shelf space in September, both are priced at $24.95, and both are about wine, and both were written in English by carbon-based lifeforms… and those are about the only things that they have in common stylistically. So if you’re up for a bit of an interesting Yin/Yang of vinous-related reviews, by all means read on and try not to get too dizzy.

First, we have Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis’s Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten & Done Wine Guide (The Countryman Press, 189 pages, $24.95). Ten Grapes is an unabashed attempt at simplifying wine for the uninitiated, the premise being that learning about ten key fine wine grapes (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel) will provide pretty much all that one needs to know to begin successfully navigating most wine store shelves and wine lists, with the encouragement to branch out from there (provided mainly through recommendations of similar-but-lesser-known grape varieties at the end of each dedicated chapter).

Each of the chapters in Ten Grapes follows a similar pattern: historical/geographical/taste background of wine made from each grape, followed by food pairings and a recommended price-based shopping list, all sprinkled with anecdotes and concluding with a short quiz. While Fallis’s approach might strike the nerdier among you as overly-simplistic, it works primarily because it mirrors how most normal consumers actually start to experience and purchase wine, and if it has a fault it’s in prose that might be too friendly and familiar. Specifically, Ten Grapes has an un-apologetically feminine stylistic bent. To wit: one of the sections of chapter six, on Sangiovese, begins “I had a nearly religious moment outside the Ferragamo shop in Florence.” If you haven’t shopped Ferragamo in Florence (guilty!), you probably won’t be able to relate, but then it’s hard to fault Fallis for losing some of the audience in brief paragraphs, since there are entire wine books whose prose loses most of the potential audience…

Yin And Yang, Printed Style (August 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Required reading from Goode’s latest (image: Amazon.com)

Next, we have the it’s-such-a-polar-opposite-that-I-think-I-just-got-mental-whiplash Flawless: Understanding Faults in Wine (UC Press, $232 pages, $24.95). Flawless is the latest from the mind of wine-obsessed scientist Jamie Goode, and it might be his driest and most academic wine work to date… which, if you know Goode, is really saying something. In Flawless, Goode tackles the causes, impacts, statistics, and rectification processes behind basically all of the major faults that can ruin wine, from Brett to oxidation to heat damage to greeness to volatile acidity.

Goode approaches each fault subtopic with his characteristic pithy sentence structure and lab-coat-donning thoroughness; personally, despite having spent more time than the average guy researching cork-related wine issues, I learned more in the thirteen-or-so pages of Flawless‘ cork taint section (Chapter 7) than I’d even known before about the causes and remediation of the cork industry’s biggest bugaboo (PSA: cork taint contamination percentages might be as high as 6-8% according to some of the studies cited in Goode’s book). Chapter 8, on smoke taint, should probably be required reading by the entire US wine industry, particularly those in Southern Oregon and Northern CA who will be reading this review during ongoing regional wildfires when their grapes are undergoing verasion, exactly when they are most susceptible to smoke.

Flawless is not without its faults (sorry… you knew that was coming), but it’s very close to being required reading on a touchy set of subjects, and while not exactly an easy read, it’s digestible for both the consumer and those on the inside of the wine biz.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Yin And Yang, Printed Style (August 2018 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

image: Amazon.com

Welcome to the June 2018 incarnation of the ongoing series in which I review samples that aren’t in liquid form. I am so, so, sooooooooooooooooooooo far behind in penning thoughts on various tastings and wine travels, but I’m also so, so, sooooooooooooooooooooo far behind in reviewing the never-ending flood of wine book samples coming my way that I felt compelled to knock off at least a small handful for this product roundup.

First up, we have the small-but-powerful 101 Wines to Try Before You Die (Cassell, 244 pages, about $12) by former Wine Magazine editor Margaret Rand. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of list-style books, but Rand’s clever ploy here – in which she devotes two pages each to the wines on her list, including a bottle/label shot – is not to introduce you to individual wines per se, but to get people thinking more about things like Savennières, Hunter Valley Semillon, or Bierzo.

101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

image: Amazon.com

Rand gets bonus points for employing a writing style that’s equal parts matter-of-fact, personal, and humorous (included with each selection’s vitals, such as trophy vintages and whether or not to chill or decant the wine, is a “What Not to Say” section; my personal favorite is probably “Is it German?” under Hugel’s Riesling Schoelhammer entry). 101 Wines to Try Before You Die is an honest and fun, if not essential, walk through some of compelling bottles.

Next, there’s   (Mascot, 144 pages, about $25) by Michael Biddick. Biddick is a sommelier with an IT background, and his upcoming book is essentially full of vignettes about some of the world’s most important wine regions, accompanied by a sort of info-graphic that displays the area’s major grapes, soils, climate, and recent vintages.

Now, at this point, you’re probably asking yourself “why the f–k did he pick 43 regions?!?” and the answer has to do with Biddick’s IT geekdom, and is the kind of thing that’s just begging for controversy…

Being an IT guy at heart, the author basically created a matrix/spreadsheet for each potential wine region in the mix for inclusion, scoring for categories such as composite vintage score 2000-2016″ and “weather and climate.” A total point score was then calculated for each wine region, with 50 points being the cutoff for making the book. I can feel you points-haters cringing at this (hey, I’m one of you, and I did, too). For sh*ts and giggles, here are Biddick’s top 20 and bottom 10, based on his algorithm:

101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

Biddick’s Top 20…

101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

…and his Bottom 10

Whether or not 43 Wine Regions will be your particular cup o’ tea when it comes to wine reference books will depend in large part on how you feel about this kind of full embracing of the American penchant for list-making, categorizing, and ranking.

101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup)

image: Amazon.com

Finally, we have a cute reference focusing on one and only one category of wine – Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé (Harper Design, 128 pages, about $12) by Victoria James (author) and Lyle Railsback (illustrator). James is a somm and beverage director, and, presumably, a big fan of pink wines. The pink-all-over cover and the clever/whimsical illustrations throughout will almost certainly have the more cynical among you (myself included) thinking that James and Railsback are capitalizing on the current boom in Rosé popularity; and while I don’t think that’s an incorrect conclusion, it doesn’t mean that Drink Pink should be overlooked. On the contrary, there’s a lot to like about this book: it’s unpretentious, gets into cool levels of detail (for example, in discussing the Cassis, Palette, and Bandol sub-regions within Provence), and offers Rosé-focused food pairings/recipes, and even Rosé cocktail ideas that don’t actually sound disgusting. A bit of Rosé history and production overviews round the book out, and it’s a solid gift idea for those who are not necessarily wine geeks but are enthralled with pinks.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at 101 Wines, 43 Wine Regions, And 1 Rosy Picture (June 2018 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Through The Past, Scholarly (March 2018 Wine Product Reviews)

For the most recent batch of wine product sample roundup articles, I’ve been focusing on reducing the pile of wine book sample copies currently littering the floor of my home office. And so for March, I am slowly whittling away at said pile by offering up two more hardcover tomes for your vinous reading consideration. You still read books, right?

image: amazon.com

Firstly, we have French Wine: A History by Rod Phillips (University of California Press, 319 pages, about $30). That’s an unassuming title for a book with such an ambitious scope. Actually, its scope is bordering on insanity. Beginning from roughly 2500 years ago, Ottawa-based historian Phillips carves up the topical elephant into almost-digestible-sized time period chunks: the period before 1000 CE, the Middle Ages, through to the Enlightenment, the onset of the World Wars, etc. I say “almost” digestible because even each of those chapters is sizeable in terms of the rich historical content and context of the topic (remember, wine involves chemistry, historical events, economics, farming….).

The ground zero / linchpin moment of French Wine if there is one, after which all is forever changed, seems to be the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800s. Like the rootstocks of its precious vines, nothing in the French wine world was ever quite the same after the country’s vineyards were decimated by that little louse.

All of this is told in dense, matter-of-fact prose, but Phillips isn’t afraid to call out others’ opinions (even somewhat challenging the venerable Hugh Johnson at one point). It’s not a fast or particularly easy read, but ultimately a worthwhile one. And its conclusion is appropriately bittersweet: France is growing fewer grape vines, producing fewer bottles, and drinking less wine than in its historical apexes, and yet the standard-bearer wines (in terms of quality and prices) are still at the top of the global game; and while we may be seeing a dip overall, the country’s vinous development has been anything but uniform, as French Wine dutifully shows us…

Through The Past, Scholarly (March 2018 Wine Product Reviews)

image: amazon.com

Secondly, there’s Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine by Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino (also University of California Press, who presumably enjoy sending me sample books; 360 pages, about $39).

I have a few reservations about this book, though I suspect in time I will soften on those, considering that partners Nesto and Di Savino have crafted the most complete Chianti overview that has probably ever existed. Chianti Classico is part Chianti history class, part overview of the modern region/geography/winemaking, part review of some of its key and autherntically-minded producers, and part love letter to central Tuscany. This is a narrative that is ultimately scholarly, and quite informative.

But… it’s also a narrative that lacks a sense of cohesion. The style of prose is almost quaint, as if it came from an older time, in a charming way. That will endear Chianti Classico to some readers, and probably turn off others. And the price isn’t exactly on the cheap side. Having said all of that, it’s also a book that doesn’t have to be consumed linearly; and given its depth (history, geography, kick-ass ancient maps, etc.), it’s likely also one that can be consulted many, many times in the future.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Through The Past, Scholarly (March 2018 Wine Product Reviews) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Preservation Situation (August 2017 Wine Product Roundup)

Due to family vacationing, I’m getting a slight jump start on the monthly wine product review roundup (I’ve got plenty of wine coverage coming, so don’t worry your pretty little inebriated heads over that, ok?). And, thankfully, I’ve got two fairly-priced wine preservation gadgets from the sample pool that are absolutely worthy of your (sober) consideration.

First up is the ingenious little Repour Wine Saver (a 4 Pack runs about $9). The Repour is the brain child of chemist Tom Lutz, and employs similar oxygen-absorbing tech used in the produce industry. The idea is that the slightly top-heavy but also non-toxic repour is used in place of the bottle’s original closure after opening, and chemicals in the Repour attract most of the oxygen in the bottle, thus prolonging the life of any wine you have left over in the bottle. Effectiveness is, naturally, reduced the longer you leave the bottle unstopped, and the more open space that’s left in the bottle, etc.

The Repour was run through some independent lab tests, has the nod from some sommeliers and wine pros, and in my limited experience works, almost too well, causing some of the wines I “Repoured” to close up temporarily. The only real drawback is that the Repour is a one-and-done product (you basically use one per bottle) and needs to be discarded after each bottle is finished. It will definitely get you several extra days of drinking from an open bottle of vino; the company claims that you can get up to a month, but anyone who is doing that either doesn’t known how to sell wine (in on premise settings) or doesn’t know how to drink it (in consumer settings)…

Preservation Situation (August 2017 Wine Product Roundup)The other product highlight comes via the Modern Wine Preserver by St. Vine (a vacuum Pump with 2 Reusable Bottle Stoppers, about $25). Now, I know what you’re thinking and I can feel your eyes rolling… those vacuum pump thingies do NOT work!!! I get it… and in most cases, I think that you’re right; the rubber stoppers that come with many vacuum pump wine preserver sets end up losing suction and afterward are no better than sticking the original closure back on the bottle and putting it into the fridge.

The St. Vine solution to this issue is to employ reusable, BPA-free, dishwasher safe aluminum stoppers with push-button tops for releasing the closures. This product was, by far, the easiest and most effective vacuum-pump-style wine preservation solution that I’ve yet encountered. After several days of stopping up a delicate white wine in my fridge, the closure was just as tight and secure as the day that I pumped the hell out of it and first popped it on; and the wine inside was still fresh as daisies. YMMV, as they say, and bear in mind that when you’re pumping air out of the bottle (thus helping to preserve the leftover wine), you’re also likely pumping out volatile compounds (i.e., aroma and flavor, which is what you are paying for in the first place when it comes to wine). But… if you feel compelled to go the vacuum pump route, this is as good a solution as you’re likely to find at the moment.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Preservation Situation (August 2017 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Rack ‘Em, Stack ‘Em, Defraud ‘Em (July 2017 Wine Product Roundup)

In this too-steamy month’s round up of non-drinkable wine product samples, I’ve got two items to highlight that I can recommend without nary a reservation; and for me, when it comes to putting wine products to the test, that’s the wine scribe’s equivalent of a tall, cold glass of Soave on a hot Summer’s day.

First up is one of the Wall Mounted Wine Racks by Ultra Wine Racks (about $75); they sent me the 3ft x 1 (wine bottle) deep version, but there are several configurations from which you can choose (though the options that are multiple bottles “deep” are probably best employed in retail, restaurant, or wine cellar/storage spaces).

The bottom line is that these mostly-metal wall-mounted puppies are well-made, sturdy, and look great once installed (note that the larger you go on these racks, the more important it will be to find a stud on which to mount them… holy crap, that whole sentence fragment sounds mildly, obnoxiously sexual, doesn’t it?). Installation is relatively straightforward, but will definitely require a level, and will go much faster if you have a second person (ask me how I know) to help stabilize the racks when positioning them for the mounts, etc.

What I liked most about the Ultra Wine Rack kit was that, with the exceptions of a drill and a screwdriver, it comes with everything that you need to install and maintain it, including anchors, spare parts, and even a screwdriver drill bit, just in case. If you’re in the market for combining wine storage with some crowing/showing-off of special bottles as a side benefit, then you should take a serious look at these…

Second, and finally, even though I’ve yet to finish it, I can highly recommend veteran author Peter Hellman’s latest, In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire (about $26), a detailed account of the Rudy Kurniawan wine fraud scandal.

Rack ‘Em, Stack ‘Em, Defraud ‘Em (July 2017 Wine Product Roundup)Kurniawan’s tale is a fascinating one in the otherwise a-bit-too-stuffily-boring world of fine wine; not only because Kurniawan’s fraud shook the fine wine and auction biz to their very cores, but also because the bildungsroman of Kurniawan himself is like a glimpse into both the personal sociopathy of a criminal, and the societal sociopathy that often allows such criminals to initially flourish.

Aside from a sort of forced, affected props call out to Wine Spectator in the forward, In Vino Duplicitas is written with an easy but well-crafted prose, that occasionally seems to get a bit tangential but ultimately does a masterful job in explaining relatively arcane wine concepts and history in non-insider terms.

Hellman succeeds here in getting across not just the facts about the strangest fraud case in the modern history of fine wine, but also in getting inside the dysfunctional heads of most of the major players involved, and in helping the reader get beyond the “what” and “how” and making him/her feel the “why” behind the ripple-effect impacts that Kurniawan left in his wake.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Rack ‘Em, Stack ‘Em, Defraud ‘Em (July 2017 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Open It Up Cool, You Hotheads! (May 2017 Wine Product Roundup)

And you thought that I’d forgotten about the monthly wine product sample round up here, didn’t you?

C’mon… admit it…

The handsome Barvivio lineup

This month, I’ve got two wine gadgets to mention, both of which are technically multi-purpose, and both of which are well worth a look. Unfortunately, only one of them is what I would consider an over-achiever for the price, but neither are going to sentence you to a fiscal future full of cat food eating in the dark.

First up is the Barvivo waiter’s friend style corkscrew. Some of you will recall that I mentioned this little well-made beauty about two years ago, and since receiving that product sample it has become my go-to, most-used corkscrew here at Chateau Dude. The Barvivo folks recently added new handle designs to their lineup, including ebony, a handful (see what I did there?) of resin options, and (my personal fave), Bai Ying wood. Thankfully, they didn’t mess with the overall design, quality, or (somewhat miraculously) the bizarrely low price. I still find it incredible that this thing is so dependable and yet will set you back only about $13. I’ve no idea how they manage that, and frankly, I’m not sure that I want to know how they manage that. And yes, the corkscrew is multipurpose, since it’s also technically a bottle opener…

Open It Up Cool, You Hotheads! (May 2017 Wine Product Roundup)And next, we have Corkcicle’s 25oz Canteen. At about $35, this isn’t cheap. But nothing about this effective canteen is cheap. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Corkcicle’s more famous wine chiller product, in that I love to hate the damned thing; I never, ever use it, and I keep it in the house only so that I can point it at people and say Harrrrrryyyy Potterrrrrrr” in a frightening British accent. But it’s the opposite scenario with their canteen; I kind of love this thing. It’s solidly built, does a bang-up job of keeping its contents cold or hot (not just wine, of course – multipurpose, beeeeatches!) for what seems ridiculously long periods of time, and is just the right size for holding an entire bottle of wine. It’s not exactly cooler-friendly material, but then this thing basically is the cooler.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Open It Up Cool, You Hotheads! (May 2017 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

In The Pink (April 2017 Wine Product Roundup)

Closing out the fourth month of 2017’s spin around the sun here on 1WD means that it’s time for the monthly look at the wine product samples that we can’t drink (at least, not without the use of a blender, and not without probably being rushed to the hospital afterward).

For April, I’ve got only one recommendation, and once again it’s a wine book (because, hey, the market needed more of those, right?): Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan’s Rosé Wine: The Guide to Drinking Pink (Sterling Epicure, 184 pages, about $20).

Full disclosure: I consider Simonetti-Bryan to be like the childhood tomboy friend that I never had, and  drink rosé wines all year long (and think that you should, too); so my take on this MW’s latest written release might be a tad biased.

In any case, there’s a lot to like about Rosé Wine, starting with the attractive layout and the hold-it-in-one-hand-while-drinking-a-glass-of-rosé-with-the-other design. This is a book very much geared towards beginners who love rosé, and want to take a deeper dive into it without getting the mental bends. A good portion of the book is devoted to understanding how rosé wine is made, why it’s popular, and what to expect from the various sub-styles on offer in the market (with solid recommendations in each that helpfully include label shots).

Simonetti-Bryan is a bit of a self-professed geek, and it’s nice to see how deftly and entertainingly she weaves that geekiness into the sidebar elements of Rosé Wine. For example, she offers advice on the proper use of the word varietal, facts and figures on moderate alcohol consumption, tidbits on wine region trivia, and results of wine-related scientific studies, all in helpful contexts and in a decidedly non-douchebaggy writing voice.

Is Simonetti-Bryan cashing in on the current market love affair with rosé with this book? Sort of, but that’s a minor cavil to levy against Rosé Wine, particularly when you consider how helpful and entertaining it will be to the novice rosé fan (and when you consider just how little coin wine books net for their authors in general).

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at In The Pink (April 2017 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Balancing Peanuts (October 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

It’s once again time for the monthly wine product roundup here on 1WD, in which I delve into the sample pool of wine-related items that cannot actually be physically absorbed without serious risk of injury or death. Kind of like the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Anyway, this month brings us two totally-unrelated products, both of which I can recommend, but not without caveats (because, hey, that’s just the kind of gal that I am).

image: BalVino Productions

The first item comes to us courtesy of BalVino Productions who, incidentally, are also offering a 10% discount on orders for 1WD readers (if you use the promo code 1WD2016 when ordering before December 31, 2016).  BalVino is a family outfit run by Jeff Burnett in Indiana, who crafts those insert-the-wine-bottle-neck-into-the-hole stands that can then be balanced if set on a flat, level surface.

Despite the too-clever-for-its-own-good company name, I thoroughly admired the quality and craftsmanship that went into the samples of the BalVino ($15.99 – $39.99, depending on the model) sent to me (one of which has a slot with a waiter’s friend corkscrew cleverly attached via magnet inside of it), both of which were hewn out of gorgeous cuts of wood. Personally, these types of balanced holders scare the bejeezus out of me, because I’m constantly worried that I’ll knock them over, but it takes a really good shove to get these things tipping if properly used…

As if the insert-bottle-neck-into-hole thing wasn’t enough of an innuendo, next up comes the ThermoPeanut from SensePeanut, a useful little device that looks suspiciously like a travel-sized marital aid.

Balancing Peanuts (October 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Totally NOT a marital aid. I swear.

The idea behind the ThermoPeanut ($29.99) is that, with the help of a free iOS or Android mobile app, allow you to monitor the ambient temperature of any surroundings in which you place it, such as a wine cellar. This can be done via the app, or on demand by pressing the concave button on the unit itself. Which will totally NOT vibrate or provide any pleasure stimulus whatsoever; I swear. Alarms can be set to sound when the temperature goes above or below user-defined thresholds. The applications for wine cellar spaces and refrigerated wine storage should be obvious.

Connection between the ThermoPeanut and your device is achieved via Bluetooth, so proximity is a bit of an issue. While the device is stylishly clever, I found myself wondering just how much more convenient this little two-inch by one-inch bugger is over a regular old thermometer. There’s no doubt that it’s handy, of course, but at this price point I’d like to see a few more features available (and no, not those kind of features that you’re thinking about… you sick little love monkey, you…).

Since multiple ThermoPeanuts can be monitored from the same app on one device, the convenience factor ramps up dramatically, I think, for retail shops, on-premise restaurant staff, and very, very wealthy people with cavernous wine cellar spaces.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Balancing Peanuts (October 2016 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Drunk People Drop Sh*t (May 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

While I extend my procrastination streak gather together my notes in anticipation of (finally) getting around to writing up my most recent wine jaunts, I figured I’d get a jump on the wine product roundup for May (part of my monthly attempt to put some wine product samples through the wringer).

image: amazon.com

First up this month is the Premium version of Bacchus Break, a set of two stemless, flexible – and presumably unbreakable – wine glasses made from silicone (about $18). The product tag line, appropriately, is “because drunk people drop shit.” And, indeed, we do.

I love the concept of this sort of product; ideal for casual parties (especially outdoor gatherings), I’ll take a properly (tulip) shaped wine glass made of just about any inert material over a standard-shaped glass or cup, any day. The Bacchus Break glasses provide that, once their silicone-rubbery-smell dissipates (which, for me, took several days). Light, and flexible to a fault, you’re not going to be able to break these things; and the Premium set includes an expandable bag for holding wine, something of which I’m also a big fan (because they’re so much more cooler-friendly than bag-in-box or glass packaging).

The flexibility comes at a cost; two costs, actually. First, the rim of the glasses is a bit thicker than is ideal for wine imbibing. Second, the glasses seem almost too flexible; they don’t feel sturdy in the hand, and require a gently touch (lest you grab it too forcefully and create a sort of juice-box-squeeze mess). In my experience, the similar Govino products perform slightly better; they are more apt to break if you step on them, but have a nice balance between flexibility, rigidity, and size (the new 10oz is a particularly good choice for bubbles, by the way).

Next up, something for your reading pleasure…

Drunk People Drop Sh*t (May 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Given my experience with the Furmint USA project, one could argue that I’ve now garnered a deeper knowledge of the Tokaj wine region than your average wine scribe. Which is why I’m happy to recommend Tokaj: People and Vineyards ($50, and worth it) a recent guide to the area written by Dániel Kézdy.

While the English translation is, I suspect, not entirely perfect, the prose captures the essence of what some of the best producers in the region are about, in terms of their wines, vineyards, and overall winemaking philosophies and approaches (the photos by Ferenc Dancsecs perform the same impressive feat, visually).

The best summation I could give for Tokaj is that I wish I’d had read it before doing such extensive work with many of the people and brands highlighted in the book. Overall, it’s informative, accurate, and just plain gorgeous.

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2016. Originally at Drunk People Drop Sh*t (May 2016 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

A Near Miss And A Potent Hit (March 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Forthwith, I present the March 2016 wine product roundup, this time on time, but only juuuuust!

This month, I’ve got two items from the sample pool to present, one of them a bit of a miss, the other potentially a hit (in both the it-totally-works and the painful-punch-to-the-gut senses of the word, which will make more sense in a minute or two).

Dialing it up? (image: sponti.com)

In terms of the near-miss, we have Sponti’s Catalyst Ultimate Wine Server, which as far as I can discern is not yet available for purchase. The idea behind the Catalyst is a combination of wine pourer and aerator, only the aeration is adjustable thanks to a nifty little dial on the back of the pourer.

As a pourer, the Catalyst works as well as any similar in-bottle-pourer, minimizing post-pouring-action dripping. As an aerator, I get decidedly mixed results from the thing. The adjustment of the dial is easy, but I had two issues with that: 1) the lower settings seemed to do very little in terms of actually impacting the aromas and flavors of the wines on which I tried it, and 2) it’s easy to go a bit wild and end up turning the dial so far that you loosen it entirely (adding a simple plastic notch in the design might prevent this, but might complicate cleaning the unit if it prevented the dial from being removed).

It’s easy to clean, but its plastic design also feels a bit on the cheap side. I’d have to wait and see the final price, but generally speaking I think more works needs to be done to tweak this item.

Now, onto the Potent Hit portion of this month’s round-up…

A Near Miss And A Potent Hit (March 2016 Wine Product Roundup)

Skeptics, rejoice! (image: amazon.com)

If you want to have your wine mind blown, I recommend turning to science, specifically the controversial take on vino given by Mark Matthews (Professor of Viticulture at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science at UC Davis). His latest book, Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing ($35, University of California Press), takes a rather skeptical (and rather long overdue) scientific look at some of the more romanticized (and even more taken-for-granted-and-regurgitated) notions about growing and crafting fine wine (including the impacts of soils, berry size, and biodynamics).

I’ll quote briefly from the Epilogue of Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing, which sums up what you can expect from this somewhat-difficult but also somewhat fascinating read:

“…viticulture could just as well drop terroir and the other myths of winegrowing. We clearly do not know as much about winegrowing as the conventional wisdom indicates, because predictions of the popular myths are so often not realized.”

That’s not a spoiler, because the meat of the book is in how Matthews gets there (hint: by citing experimental data and trying to disprove hypotheses, rather than sucking down the conventional wine biz Kool-Aid). It’s not a quick or an easy read, and at points the prose becomes excessively academic to the point of almost being tedious; but it’s a worthwhile read, and one that you cannot “un-know.”

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

Shop Wine Products at Amazon.com

Copyright © 2015. Originally at A Near Miss And A Potent Hit (March 2016 Wine Product Roundup) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!