Taking my #wine kung fu to the next level: #WSET II & Napa Valley Wine Academy

October 10, 2015

406064_562298363799327_175257724_nI have been immersing myself in the study of #wine in a semi-systematic manner for much of the last 8 years.  Indeed, #Vinopanion‘s 8 year anniversary with @WineLog is approaching in the middle of this month. Yet I have slowly realized that something is lacking in my devotion to the knowledge of the vinous delights: focus, structure and external credibility. You’d think that a trained scientist would have recognized this long ago and I did notice these thoughts in the back of my mind a few years back.  But they were always battered back by “where’s the time?” and “I’m still receiving plenty of media travel & event invites,” along with “my wine consulting services continue to expand.” Then I reached last year and I started to recognize some clear patterns in my wine work. While I had plenty of media opportunities and my fellow wine colleagues were continuing to get work, I could see that the pace of my own trade offers beginning to slow down. It was then that I noticed that most of my colleagues began to sport letters after their names on their business cards: they were taking certified educational courses to formalize their wine training. I needed to set up my wine game. It was then that I contacted the good people at Napa Valley Wine Academy (FB, Tw): “help!”

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#OleWinos: Alicante Love at Bodegas Sierra Salinas

April 29, 2015

DSCN0963As mentioned in my intro post, I recently took another trip across the globe to my favorite foreign country of Spain.  This time I had the great fortune to be hosted by MGWines Group (WL, FB, Tw) in order to tour their luxury #wine properties located across their country. The trip was quite handily organized by Kraynick Consulting. Our first full day was set in the coastal city and wine Denominacion de Origen (DO) of Alicante (WL, FB, Tw, IG, YT).  Here were found the unique estate and affordable wine gems from Bodegas Sierra Salinas (WL, FB).

More details after the leap!

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D.O. Cigales: #wine with savory quality

October 13, 2014

It would be an understatement to say that the Lady and I love the country of Spain.  We’ve been twice together and I’ve been one additional time, on top of those adventures.  Indeed, two years time we hope to take the pilgrimage of Camino del Santiago, during my sabbatical from work.  The people, the food, the landscapes, and of course the WINE…all of it continues to pull me back to this venerable country.  I was recently introduced to wines from a Spanish Denominación de Origen for which I had little familiarity: Cigales D.O. (WLTwFBYT). Once again, I was presented with wines that show off great complexity and straight-up tastiness, but with nary an expensive price to be seen.

More deets after the jump!

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Concha y Toro kicks out a range of great Chilean #wine

February 5, 2014

 Chilean #wine has exploded in the US and around the world over the last decade+. Indeed, during the Lady and my vacation to awesome Belize late last year, we were surrounded by the Wines of Chile, with very few exceptions. While the wines that most of us enjoy in the US are at the very affordable level, say <$12, I have also tasted through some great upper-end Chilean wine tastingsof late, which showed off what the finer, more boutique end of the fine wine range can do from this country. Late last year, I had the chance to attend two tastings that spanned the breadth of wine Chilean wine powerhouse of Concha y Toro (WLFBTwYT).  From affordable to supercrazypremium, these wines showed consistent quality, regardless of their actual price.

I’ll break it down after the jump!

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#Murcia8: Extreme DO’s, beautiful people, & balanced monastrell #wine

October 8, 2013

Take a listen: monastrell wine is on the rise.  Yep, I’m making a call, here in Q4 2013, that the monastrell grape will be a major #wine force across the vinous world in the next few years.  Wine tends to follow cycles and loops in popularity…Napa cab is here to stay yes, ever since it blew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, but then there was chard right along with it, then zin hit, Italian varietals almost did in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but merlot did, big time.  Then sideways pinot took over like a soft-handed monster, and bets on syrah didn’t pan out, while shiraz did (same grape, people).  Now, riesling is on the rise, rosé is finally making it big, malbec has been charging for a few years now and

I PREDICT: monastrell throws down a hammer goblet of good quality, price, and sales.

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A #wine return to Spain: Hello #Murcia!

June 20, 2013

It is with great excitement that I can announce my latest media trip abroad: I am headed back to Spain! Two years ago I had the fantastic pleasure to cover the rich wine, food, and cultural mecca of the Kingdom of Navarra.  Now the Lady, Beth Fontaine of Rollerskating With Scissors, and I have the very fortunate chance to dig deep into another part of our favorite foreign food and wine hub: we are headed to the Region of Murcia (FB, YT, Wiki). We will taste the wines of this lesser known Spanish jewel, alongside the tremendous food that can always be counted upon in this Iberian cultural juggernaut.  We will be attending 06/23/ – 06/28/13 courtesy of Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia (INFO), and led by our trusty leader from Navarra, Michael Matilla (Kraynick/ARGOS). Follow along, as we tweet and Facebook with #Murcia8 (TwFB) & #Murcia (TwFB), post photos on FacebookInstagram, and Flickr, and of course, post here at Vinopanion – WineLog.net.

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#StradaVinoArezzo: Beauty, flavor, & wine along the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo

February 19, 2013

My wine travels during the last few years have been nothing short of spectacular.  I never want to leave the places in which I am so fortunate to have forged lifelong stories about wine.  But it was the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo (TwFBWL) where I *truly* did not want to leave.  Through the benign wills of the Strada and Sally Fischer PR, I was able to tack on roughly 30 hrs to the end of a previously scheduled media trip in Tuscany. It was here, in the beautiful wine road of “Terre di Arezzo,” or the lands of the village Arezzo, that I found the beauty of this wine road. Indeed, you can see many of the highlights in my first brief article and short video that I’ve already posted to Vinopanion. I discovered that the beauty of this wine road extends beyond it’s food, landscapes, and wine, but also to its people.

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ZAP is BACK!

January 11, 2013

Or rather, *I’m* back at ZAP this year!  But what is ZAP you say; what is this electric onomatopoeia?  Why, it is the annual ritual to celebrate the grape of Zinfandel; as performed by the masters of Zin, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (Twitter, Facebook).

The ZAP organization puts on a week-long festival of Zin every year and this year’s ZAP 2013 Festival runs from January 31 until the ZAP Grand Tasting 2013 on February 2, in San Francisco. Four major events are slated for this year’s run, but many smaller events are happening across the city and the bay, in the weeks leading up to the main events.

It is for you lucky readers that I have procured a special discount for tickets to the Grand Tasting, an event that I’m excited to attend again, after a couple years away.   More info after the break!

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2013: It’s So Good to Be Here

January 1, 2013

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!

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Inaugural TasteLive! Café 140 Broadcast: Winemaker Patrick Krutz

May 12, 2012

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.

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