I have some very exciting news to share with my happy and wine-loving Vinopanions! While I hinted at this news earlier this year, I can now announce the official Kickstarter campaign for the fantastic new wine store and web destination, Block122 (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog). Founded by four BOULEVARD restaurant employees, Block122 will showcase the finest, small production producers of wine from the left coast, much of which lies along the meridian 122° west of the Prime Meridian. These boutique wineries are those that many times, only produce wines for 1-2 small stores or restaurants, have no distribution, and can’t even provide an online web store. It is these vinous finds that Block122 will revel in sharing with you on their website with stories, videos, and a retail store; all inclusive, with all snobbery excluded.
Welcome, Year 2013 of the Gregorian Calendar! I am normally not one to set New Year’s Resolutions…if you want to accomplish something, just DO IT! Don’t wait until the arbitrary date set by a Pope to change your life. On the other hand, I happen to have a number of things in flux at the moment and today just happens to be the best day to start doing them, following some weeks of
drinking wine contemplation.
First off, and perhaps most importantly for all of you Vinopanions, look for a much higher frequency of postings, including many shorter ones. While I have been rather prolific at reviewing the many wines that I taste and receive as samples, I have not been so good lately at doing actual Vinopanion posts. This will change and as such, the Vinopanion Facebook page will also be a lot more active.
Find out more, after the jump!
This Wednesday 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST, I will be a part of another very cool online wine tasting courtesy of the great folks over at Wines of Chile (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube). Chilean wines have had tremendous success in the US over the last decade and a half, with much of that market penetration coming from their tasty, but value-driven brands. Their discovery of the long lost Bordeaux grape variety of Carménère has further cemented their status in the US drinking game, with that grape becoming their signature wine. Our tasting will be of a different sort however, as Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer (Twitter, Facebook) will be leading the tasting of 12 wines, live from Santiago, Chile. The point of this tasting is not only to drive home the value that can be found in these wines, but to also show off their burgeoning sense of place, as the Chilean wine industry continues to come into its own as an winegrowing nation of international quality.
I will also be writing about this event in a different manner than the norm, here at Vinopanion. Much like a WBC Speed Tasting, I’ll be writing most of my educational and tasting notes in real-time, as I follow Fred Dex and interact with all of the other bloggers tasting from around the world. You can preview the wines after the jump. Check back in on 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST and join in the fun using #BlogChile!
OK, yes…Italy is IT-tal-ly, I know. But still, I was not expecting the wealth of life experience that I encountered in the rolling Tuscan hills of the Chianti Classico (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) wine region. As announced previously, in late May of this year, I had the chance to tour through the majestic, rural countryside of the Chianti Classico DOCG. Much our our time was spent in many of the nine small, ancient villages that dot the rolling hilltops of that portion of Tuscany. They sit above the long-planted vines, gaining sustenance from the fantastic soils that have produced renowned wine for over a thousand years. One of these truly unique villages, Panzano in Chianti, lounges above the Conca d’Oro or “Golden Shell,” considered the most beautiful and highly regarded vineyards in all of the DOCG. It is here that we spent some of the best food and wine moments of my life.
This last day (09/22/12) in the Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) were both a happy and a sad dream, in multiple ways. On the one hand, we visited another stunning estate in the Navarra DO of Spanish wine country, but on the other hand it was our last day of the trip, so…As you can imagine, we had many moments of elation and wistfulness that day, all bouncing around together, in our heads and hearts. Similar to the previous days on the trip, we began our morning with a historical lesson followed by an eye-massagingly beautiful bodega, with lunch provided at said estate. It was a tremendous way to end our #Navarra5 trip.
Regular followers of the Vinopanion wine madness know that I regularly partake in the fun online Twitter tastings, brought to us by TasteLive! (Twitter, WineLog). Many a post has been written and a wine has been reviewed about their solid tastings. Now the innovative wine minds behind #tl_wine are kicking it up a notch, launching Café 140 as their latest online, and now physical, wine & lifestyle event series.
Dawn broke for our third day (9/21/11) in the Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) with brilliant signs pointing to even more glorious weather to accompany our travels around this Spanish wine kingdom. From the window of my hotel room at the historic Palacio Guandelain in Pamplona, I could see and hear the rumblings of the (rare) early rising Navarrans in the plaza that stretched out from the hotel front. I couldn’t wait to get started on our travels back to the Ribera Alta sub-region of the Navarra DO appellation. I felt rather rested, since I had given my body the morning off from my usual run, following my great success at getting thoroughly lost, the prior morning.
Bubbly is a beautiful thing. Sparkling wine has always been considered a wine of celebration; its intriguing bubbles rising up to toss forth a froth of scented effervescence, enlivening spirits at any accompanying event. For me however, bubbly, bubbly, and more bubbly is the way that I prefer to shimmy through life. My lady Elizabeth Fontaine, the beguiling star behind the brightness of my life, would only agree, with a most sensible of nods. Bubbles are her vinous companion, and at times, her artistic muse. We go through stretches where there is a bottle of bubbly to accompany each day…the other nice thing about sparkling wine is its low percent alcohol.
TasteLive! (WineLog, Twitter) is back at it again, with yet another great online Twitter tasting for us wine and chocolate grubbing fools. On the night of 01/26/12 at 6pm PST, we’re taking in another seasonally appropriate wine and food pairing by pre-tasting some of the wines and chocolates that will be at Rodney Strong’s 23rd Annual Wine & Chocolate Fantasy event, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Our second full day in Kingdom of Navarra (Twitter, Facebook) (day 3 if you’re counting our travel day) started off a bit scary, due to the usual amount of stupidity that I tend to afford myself. As you’ve probably noticed from my previous post about Day 1 in Navarra, I love to go on a run in the cities that I visit around the world. I feel that it is one of the best ways to get to know a new foreign land and its people. Like
an idiot always, I only carried my hotel keycard and a bit of cash in case I got into trouble and needed a taxi. I then headed out way before dawn at about 5:50am to streets unknown. Oh, and did I neglect to mention that I have absolutely no sense of direction?…I’m a total Marcus Brody. An hour later, my 20 minute jog has clearly turned into the definition of a lost tourist, replete with Spanglish as my only tool to communicate…no phone to call for a taxi, nor to even let my #Navarra5-mates know why I wouldn’t be in the lobby at 7:45am!