02 Aug 2010
July started by coming down off the high of the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference. With June being a stellar month in traffic, business adventures, and local media attention, I figured July would be a small let down. Boy was I wrong. July saw some major milestones and goals for DrinkNectar. We surpassed 3000 fans on Facebook and on Twitter and achieved 10,000 page views for the first time. One post hit the magical 1000 view milestone (see below). I also made some significant steps in laying the foundation for what will hopefully be a new business in the Fall. Photographers were hired for Spokane Wine Magazine and I started the effort of selling ad space for the November launch.
I continued my focus of writing at least one post per weekday (going on six months now) and ended the month with 26 posts and 22 formal wine reviews. I’m very honored to have the DrinkNectar wine reviews included in the HelloVino iPhone application. One of my favorite events of the month was the blind wine tasting party we hosted with a group of 12 friends. My top wine of the month came from that tasting.
Wines of the Month
Best Value Under $15
2008 Waterbrook Melange Blanc (Reviewed Here)
- The Stuff: 30% Riesling, 20% Gewürztraminer, 15% Viognier, 10% Sauv Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, 10$ Pinot Gris, 5% Muscat; 4000 cases made; 12.2%ABV; 1.4% residual sugar
- The Swirl: Very light pale, nearly clear with a hint of beautiful honey highlights
- The Sniff: Taken by surprise with the abundant perfume, sweet honey, peach and lychtee fruit. A fantastic aroma that keeps you coming back for one more sniff before you sip.
- The Sip: Not knowing the blend, I would have pegged this for a Riesling. The distinctive Riesling / Gewurz flavors come through but are contrasted with a nice mouth coating of the Chardonnay and the floral components to the Viognier. The wine is amazingly complex for the price point and delivers great off dry sweetness balanced by medium acidity.
- The Score: At only $15 retail, this is an amazing value. I love the nice subtle honey flavors that balance well with the wet stone minerality. I score this wine a solid 3+/5
Runner Up: 2008 J.Lohr Estate Syrah $10 – (reviewed in same video as above wine)
My favorite wine of the month completely changed my perspective of Pinot Noir. I gravitate toward Bordeaux varietal grapes of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot and Carmenere. The Pinot Noir Twitter event, rocked my Pinot world!
- The Stuff: 100% Pinot Noir from Las Alturas; Aged 9 months in 60% new French oak; 14.8%ABV
- The Swirl: Medium dark plum and crimson colors that borderline Merlot. About 70% opaque
- The Sniff: Close your eyes and picture yourself in the kitchen. Your grandma just baked her world famous cherry pie. The room is filled with aroma of bright ripe cherry, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and that slight burnt aroma from the pie filling that spilled on the rack. That is this wine!
- The Sip: The aroma comes across very well on the palate as well bringing supple fruit flavors that showcase the amazing winemaking and extraction achieved by Joe Wagner. This Pinot Noir is without a doubt the best Pinot Noir I’ve had to date and is an established baseline for me.
- The Score: $44; a wine to remember, long for and diligently seek out. 4+/5
Runner Up: 2006 Signorello Estate Padrone $110 (Reviewed Here)
Cool video of Joe Wagner, winemaker of the wine reviewed above!
Other Highlights from July
The Posts That Made Me Spit Wine Out My Nose
sipwithme A Tasting Room Nightmare – the most obnoxious tasting room guest http://sipwithme.blogspot.com/2010/07/tasting-room-nightmare.html
A Geeky Fun Non Wine Tweet
The Coolest Use of Technology in a Tasting Room
Favorite Piece of Social Media Information
Favorite New Blogger Feature
DrinkNectar Top Post of the Month
This post was the definition of viral. I tweeted the post a few times and then stepped away to do some “paying job work.” I checked in with Google Analytics at 10AM and the post had already been viewed 300 times. The month ended with the post having 1000 views and being re-tweeted almost 100 times! WOW!
05 Jul 2010
June ended pretty much the same way it began…a showcase of Washington Wine. On June 3rd hundreds of people tweeted thousands of times about Washington Wine for #WAWine. June 25-27 hundreds of people tweeted thousands of times about Washington Wine for the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference. In the middle of the month we enjoyed more Washington Wine with Taste Washington in Spokane and Washington Rose with Paul Gregutt (Seattle Times columnist). Drowning in the flow of literally hundreds of wines (close guess would be 300), I managed to review and score 25 wines, get featured in a local magazine, announce the launch of my new project, Spokane Wine Magazine, and have my largest traffic month to date. In fact, looking back through the posts of the month was very fun. June is going to be a tough month to top.
These are the seventh monthly honors that have been handed out here at DrinkNectar.com. What started out as a way for me to track my favorite things of the month has become a fun post to create. The new media of blogging creates some of the most interesting information on wine out there. Much of what I read daily could easily fill a single issue of any major wine publication. The information is FREE and the QUALITY is amazing. Before we get to my favorites of the month, here are the four wines that stood out among the formal reviews.
Wines of the Month
Best Value Under $15
2005 Northwest Cellars Merlot – Reviewed Here
I’m stretching this one a little because the retail price is $17. I’m going to assume you’re on the wine club list and get a little break, or you buy it on sale at a local store This was a fantastic Merlot!
- The Stuff: 75% Merlot, 13% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon from Olson Estate, Roza Ridge and 3 Rocks Vineyards; 13.8%ABV, 3000 cases produced
- The Swirl: An interesting brownish rust colored purple hue that is showing some good signs of aging. Reminds me of cola.
- The Sniff: I love the nose of this wine. Strong dark fruits with leather, stewed plums, and just a hint of sweet milk chocolate. Fragrant and engaging!
- The Sip: Not your traditional Columbia Valley Merlot. Really loving the black tea, coffee and gamey meat components to this wine. Very complex in the mouth. The fruit is slightly thin on the front but the dynamic presence of the other flavors quickly engages your palate.
- The Score: At only $17 this wine surprised and mesmerized me. I loved the different interpretation of Merlot and enjoyed the soft, yet captivating flavors. I score this wine 4 out of 5. Be warned that if you love bright fruity cherry Merlot, this might not be for you.
Runner Up – 2007 Heron Hill Riesling from Finger Lakes New York – Reviewed Here ($15)
Special mention to the Barnard Griffin Rose of Sangiovese for only $12 – great value summer sipper
2007 L’Ecole Perigee $49 – Reviewed Here
- The Stuff: 100% Estate fruit from Seven Hills Vineyard with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc. Wine spent 22 months in a mix of new and used French oak. 14.5%abv; 1398 cases produced
- The Swirl: Dark crimson purple with a thick cloudy look. Presentation is about 90% opaque with beautiful jewel tones at the edges
- The Sniff: The Perigee is alive on the nose with rich cherry fruit and hints of clove, tobacco and vanilla.
- The Sip: This is a beautiful elegant wine with amazing balance of fruit, spice and structure. A slight sweetness grazes the front of your tongue as the dark cherry flavors wash across the middle of your tongue. Slight earthy leather, tobacco box, and cocoa prepare the finish for a smooth velvety wash.
- The Score: At $49, this wine may be out of reach for most people, but is certainly a wine I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to taste, buy or try. I can easily score this a 4 (out of 5). Get it down to $35 and buy a case!
Runner Up – So many wines could fit into this category including 2005 Dionysius from Arbor Crest to the 2007 Matchless Red Wine from Otis Kenyon (had at dinner in Walla Walla)
Other Highlights From June
The Post That Made Me Spit Wine Out My Nose
My Favorite Video of the Month
Showing the Personal Side of Wine Blogging
Best New Blogger Feature (Tie)
- swirlsmellslurp Rewriting the review http://ht.ly/1XpNi (With all due respect for rosé and Mr. @ericasimov )
- stevepaulo Coming up with pairings for 1980s Action TV Shows isn’t easy: http://is.gd/cLLtg #wine
A Heartwarming Recap from the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference
Best Piece of Social Media Information
DrinkNectar Top Post of the Month
For a while it looked like a guest post from Tamara Belgard (@sipwithme) was going to win top honors. Her sexy post, “Why Wine and Food are Better Than Sex” was pretty popular and very well written. A post that went live in the final 3 days of the month quickly gained traction and took the lead. Behold the future of obscure sport TV, the next big reality programming…
01 Jun 2010
Do you ever wonder if life can get any more hectic? If you add one more thing to your plate, it’ll just crack under the pressure? This describes my month of May. The month began with a potential business deal that would have made me about ¼ owner of a local winery. That deal fell apart about half way through the month. I was bummed, but now realize that this just gives me more time to pursue world domination. The crazy hectic month continued with two TV appearances, one newspaper mention, and an interview with a magazine (article comes out in June). DrinkNectar.com was also nominated for a poodle, uh errr award, for best new wine blog (voting has ended, now we wait).
On top of all of this, a team of Washington writers has been planning WAWine on June 3 and I’m a media sponsor for Taste Washington on June 6. I managed to sneak in a trip to NYC for business, where I met Jon Troutman and Kristen Murphy from Cork’d and Wine Library. I also took my wife on a wine tasting weekend to Chelan, WA. To top it all off, there were 34 posts on the blog (thanks to some amazing guest bloggers) and 4 posts on Cork’d. Within those trips and posts, there were over 110 different wines sampled resulting in 37 formal reviews (including wine from Texas, Michigan, South Africa, Greece, and Chile)! The month ended with a Memorial weekend trip to Portland where I had the pleasure of meeting and sipping wine with great wine people Tamara Belgard (@SipWithMe), Mary Cressler (@vindulge) and Jack Colby (@nwwines).
So, what were the highlights? Who / what receives the Nectar Monthly Honors for May?
Wines of the Month
Best Value Under $15
2009 Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc ($13) – Reviewed Here
- The Stuff: 100% organically grown Sauv Blanc from the San Antonio Valley; 13.5%abv; screwcap
- The Swirl: Very pale yellow green color
- The Sniff: Very tight on the nose with only slight floral blossom and citrus present
- The Sip: What was lacking on the aroma comes out to gently play on the palate. The Cono Sur is what you would expect from a traditional Sauv Blanc. Tropical fruit, pineapple, good minerality. Wine blogger, winefoot, described this wine as a grassfield creamsickle. I couldn’t agree more.
- The Score: At only $13, this classic presentation of Sauv Blanc showcases the potential of this Chilean variety. I score this wine a 4 out of 5. Easily the best value Sauv Blanc I’ve had in a while!
Runner Up: 2007 Duck Pond Cellars Red Blend ($12) – Reviewed here
Selecting this month’s ‘best wine’ was very difficult. I had the pleasure of trying some amazing wine that in previous months would have easily made the cut. I decided to select one winner and three runners up. Any of these four wines could be the top, but alas, there is only one winner.
2006 Penche Argent ($40) – Reviewed Here
- The Stuff: 40% Cab, 38% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec; 20 months in new French oak, 14.8%abv 289 cases
- The Swirl: Dark purple with softer tones. Edges move toward jewel tone garnet. About 90% opaque
- The Sniff: A wonderful representation of each of the five Bordeaux grapes. The bright cherry fruit is softened by black cherries and cocoa. A whiff of blueberries graces the nose as well.
- The Sip: A smooth mouth feel from front to back. The fruit that presents itself on the nose is also present on the palate with lively flavor all across the mouth. The tannin is less pronounced than on the Penche Cab, but still provides enough structure to pair with food
- The Score: At $40 I score this wine a 4+ out of 5. It is a large wine that is graceful like a offensive lineman in ballet class. It’s bold, smooth and elegant without losing the strength of the Cabernet grape.
Runner Up #1 – 2003 XSV Cabernet Sauvignon – Reviewed here ($38)
Runner Up #2 – 2007 Mer Soleil Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – Reviewed here ($35)
Runner Up #3 – 2007 Barrister Merlot – Reviewed here ($25)
Other Highlights from May
Post that made me spit wine out my nose: Robert Dwyer explores the tweets of @bparkerchuk to determine who is the man behind the mash up of Robert Parker and Gary Vaynerchuk. You’ll score this 100* with added thunder! VIEW POST
Most Tired Story: While bloggers like to rehash some of the same tired stories of debating the 100 point rating system, traditional versus new media, the enclosure debate, etc, Palate Press presents a very well thought out insight into credibility and how Robert Parker may have hurt his street cred by introducing something better than 100 points. VIEW POST
Most Creative Post: Challenged by a Facebook friend, Joe from SuburbanWino did not one, but two creative movie and wine pairing posts. His approach was humorous and insightful while maintaining a sense of satire. VIEW POST
Most Unique Wine Review: This one comes from Joshua Sweeney from Wine(Explored) @wineaccguy – Josh explores wine tasting as part of his brothers graduation present. This is a refreshing and unpretentious look at wine from a newbie. VIEW POST
Best Blog Advice: I saw this post from @frankloveswine about 9 Quick and Easy SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tips. This often overlooked piece to successful blogging can add to your blogs traffic and increase your awareness and influence. Thanks for sharing, Frank. VIEW POST
Most Viewed DrinkNectar Post (not about WAWine) – I’m very excited to share that the most viewed post for May was a video, picture and text recap of our journey to Lake Chelan, WA. VIEW POST
Biggest Whiner AND Most Predictable
This is a no brainer. A recent post by Ron Washam, AKA the Hosemaster of Wine was a predictable entry in light of the Wine Blog Award nominations coming out. Ron uses a lazy and thinly veiled attempt at satire to rail against those he envies the most, bloggers. I envision Ron being a little man, possibly with hose envy of some sorts. While many of his posts are humorous and creatively crafted, the recent entry was a lazy attempt resulting in playground humor. The latest post could have been crafted by my 13 year old with references to retardation, ejaculation, oral sex, marijuana, boobs and porn. It’s obvious that with 100 comments and counting that it doesn’t take much to stir up his cadre of readers.
03 May 2010
Baseball season has begun. The following is a review of the scouting reports for the best of April. These tweets, posts, wines and bloggers are deserving of the Nectar Monthly Honors for April!
April marks my sixth month of wine and social media blogging. The pace continued fast and feverish with 32 posts. With all that writing, I actually only formally reviewed 17 different wines. I promise to do better in May. Some highlights for me in April were starting a consistent writing gig for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Cork’d site. I’ll be posting twice per week through September. I decided to use that opportunity to introduce you to some amazing guest bloggers. Two fantastic posts were contributed during the last week of April with more lined up over the coming weeks.
The Nectar Monthly Honors is a recap of the BEST the Month had to offer.
Wine of the Month
Best Value Under $15
I didn’t get the opportunity to formally review much wine in this category this month. Of the five wines reviewed under $15 the winner for the SECOND straight month was Desert Wind Winery!
2009 Desert Wind Winery Viognier [Reviewed Here] $15
- The Stuff: 100% Viognier, 91.5% stainless fermentation 8.5% new French oak fermentation for 60 days; 14.5%ABV; 414 cases made
- The Swirl: Light, nearly clear with hint of lemon lime soda coloring
- The Sniff: I think Don Ho came up singing Tiny Bubbles bringing aromas of lychee, peaches and other tropical fruits. Reminded me of some mixed drinks I got in Florida last year.
- The Sip: The tropical fruit was mild on the front palate with good zing of lemon zest and minerality on the mid palate. Amazingly strong acid finish was perfect for palate cleansing. The finish was beautiful and balanced.
- The Score: At just $15 this is another winner from the desert heat of Desert Wind. I score this a 4 out of 5. A strong recommend for summertime pleasure or served with spicy foods.
*Runner-up 2008 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir [Reviewed Here] $9
When I reviewed this month’s winner, I was truly floored by the quality calling it, “one of the five best wine’s I’ve had this year.” The April best wine is easily the 2006 Nodland Cellars Reserve Cabernet
2006 Nodland Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon [Reviewed Here] $45
- The Stuff: 94% McClellan Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 % Seven Hills Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot; 50 cases produced, 14.9%abv
- The Swirl: Elegant dark black purple with hints of leathery brown. Edges are subdued tan. Color is about 90% opaque
- The Sniff: Ominous aromas of fresh pepper, big cherries, dark fruit and earthy soil. A hot alcohol smell when taking a deep breath.
- The Sip: Velvet blackberry and plums on the initial attack with a strong pepper mid-palate. Subtle hints of toasted cocoa add intrigue. Very bold tannin without being chalky. The acid is big and makes your mouth water. There is a slight high alcohol heat on the swallow. A beautifully elegant representation of Cabernet without being over worked by the oak.
- The Score: At $45, it may out of the price range for some consumers but rest assured I can score this wine a 4+ out of 5, being one of the five best wines I’ve had thus far in 2010.
*Runner-up Anelare 2007 Saint Helena Syrah [Reviewed Here] $28
Random Favorite Highlights from April
The post that made me spit wine out my nose – On March 17, Ron Washam, the HoseMaster of Wine (HMW), announced a hiatus. Missing the glories and riches of blogging, Ron makes a glorious return, on par with fat Elvis’ comeback concert in Hawaii. In his first post of his far too short retirement, Ron lovingly shares his praise of Joe Roberts from 1WineDude – 1WineDoody
Best Social Media Post – Sean Sullivan from WashingtonWineReport.com exposes 10 myths about wineries and social media. I like to think of this post as a calling out of excuses wineries (and many small businesses) use. Great work, Sean!
The Best Use of Social Media – In April, several great posts brought new legislation out in the open that attempts to undermine the constitution, secure distributor shipping monopolies and effectively cripple small business wineries. HR5034 is the single biggest threat to wineries and consumers since the prohibition. On the up side the issue seems to be a rallying cry for wine lovers across the US. Thousands of words have been written on the subject, nearly 10,000 people have joined the STOPHR5034 Facebook page, and people are sending letters to their representatives in droves. It goes to show the power of a connected community through Twitter and Facebook.
A Post Where the Comments are as Fun as the Post – Steve Heimoff’s’ recent post “5 Questions for Robert Parker” generated 50+ comments. Steve asks the questions respectfully and eloquently. These are legitimate questions. In the 10 days since the post, there has been no response from Mr. Parker, but the comments are entertaining to read.
Sexy Wine Labels – I saw this tweet from Ken at @alawine about sexy wine labels and couldn’t resist. I’ve always said that wine is sexy. It’s good to see a label that lives up to what’s inside. Sexiest Wine Labels for Your Romantic Evening.
DrinkNectar Most Viewed Post (NOT HR5034 Related) – My most read post for April was “7 Social Media No Brainers” – While these tips may seem basic, I guarantee there is more than one that you’re not doing. I see these basic rules broken every day. You should check it out. Let me know if you are doing ALL seven.
01 Apr 2010
March came in like a lion and went out like a lion. An all time high of 30 posts with 28 formal wine reviews made for a busy month. Aside from the ‘formal reviews’ I bet I tasted close to 100 different wines at Taste Washington, at restaurants, and ‘relaxing’ at home.
With amazing online wine activities like #SauvBlanc on March 4 and #WAMerlot and Taste Washington 3/25-28 the wino activities were never ending. It’s pretty inspiring to think that the two main Twitter events for March could have driven sales upwards of 350 cases of wine and millions of brand impressions, engaging thousands of consumers world-wide. Sit back and think about that for a second.
The Nectar Monthly Honors is a recap of the BEST the Month had to offer.
Wine of the Month
Best Value Under $15
2007 Desert Wind Winery Sauvignon Blanc [reviewed here] $15
- The Stuff: 100% Wahluke Slope Sauvignon Blanc, Stainless Steel fermentation; 432 cases made
- The Sniff: Wholly tropical fruit Batman. This wine instantly transported my nose to Hawaii with Guava, Peach, and Pineapple aroma. I instantly fell in love with the nose and wished it could be bottled as a summer body spray for my wife.
- The Sip: Less dynamic on the flavor profile. The guava was mellow on the front and earthy herbs presented themselves on the mid-palate. The finish was lemon/lime tart but washed away nicely after a few seconds.
- The Score: At just $15, I score this a 4 (out of 5). This is a great value and is a wine that will impress at parties and provide a fantastic drinking experience in the summer months.
*Runner Up: NV Segura Viudas ARIA Estate Brut – Spain [reviewed here] $8
The best wine I had all month actually came from Taste Washington and was the Cote Bonneville 06 from Yakima Valley. Since I didn’t do a formal review, it doesn’t qualify.
2006 Fielding Hills Merlot [reviewed here] $36
Yes, I drank a ton of Merlot this month (8 to be exact) – what do you expect with March being #WAMerlot?
- The Stuff: Single vineyard Wahluke Slope AVA, 80% Merlot 11% Cab 9% Syrah, aged 19 months in 77% new oak, 14.3%abv, 163 cases
- The Swirl: Dark plum with beautiful jewel tones toward the edges. Mostly opaque
- The Sniff: Overwhelming aromas of cherry, smoke, and hints of spicy bacon. Amazed at how aroma profile changes as it comes through the nose.
- The Sip: A mouthful of joy! The black cherry fruit skips across your tongue and then transforms into undertones of smooth violet perfume, that then release themselves to cocoa flavors. The acidic finish brings a nice wash across the back of the mouth as the finish lingers for eternity.
- The Score: At $36, I score this wine a 4+ (out of 5) and would easily buy it again and again. The balance between complexity, flavor, and drinkability are impeccable.
Cellar Tracker Score 93pts (1 score); Wine Spectator Score 93pts
*Runner Up: 07 Longshadows Pedestal Merlot $55
Random Favorite Highlights from March
The post that made me spit wine out of my nose – Sommelier Starts a Winery: Originally seen on Wino Magazine, the credit for the humorous video goes to Greg from Gramercy Cellars. “Campy and rough, it still demonstrates the ridiculous misconception of what being a winemaker (or owning a winery) is all about. Winemakers watching this will snicker if not guffaw.”
Best Wine Quote: From Rudy @merlove during the #WAMerlot Twitter Tasting
”#wamerlot our most expensive Merlot smells of Gasoline and unshaven armpit and tastes like wooden strawberries”
Best Wine Post (sensual) – This goes to none other than my good friend and stellar writer Tamara at Sip With Me. My Date With Pinot Noir (warning either have a cold shower running or your significant other nearby)
Best Wine Image – This month’s award goes to the amazing Andy Katz whose image “The Golden Oak” was featured on Vinography, March 12.
Best Social Media Post – I recently discovered super tweeter @sung_h_lee. It seems that every tweet he provides becomes a favorite. Of the amazing articles on Social Media I read this month, my favorite was, “Thirty Best Ways to Build Blog Traffic”
DrinkNectar Most Viewed Post – “How do you define a bargain” (50+ comments) The post really struck a chord with people looking for value wine. While the post and videos that followed were birthed from a Grocery Outlet promotional campaign, visitors resonated with the message. My favorite part about this post was the fact that actual consumers, and not other bloggers, were the ones that read it and made comments.
Best New Blog Series – United Slurps of America; This incredibly creative concept is the brain child of the he said / she said blog at www.swirlsmellslurp.com. The premise, drink wine with another blogger in all 50 states. The challenge, damn distribution laws. The results, so far Pennsylvania, Washington (with yours truly) Michigan and Texas. This is a MUST bookmark just see if they can make it through with their livers in tact!
Lastly, I’d like for all of us to pause for a moment of silence in remembrance of two dear blog brothers who are no longer with us. March 2010 saw the loss of two of the most entertaining blogs related to wine.
Hosemaster of Wine; RIP
On March 17, Ron Washam, Hosemaster of Wine announced a hiatus from his controversial, humorous and satirical blog. He leaves us with these words.
“First of all, thank you to everyone who took time out of their lives to read my crap. I sincerely appreciate it. Secondly, to anyone I genuinely offended, I humbly apologize.”
Dale Cruse Drinks are On Me; RIP
March 30 was a dark day in the wine world. Wine bloggers around the world lost a trusted friend, good resource and visual inspiration. Dale Cruse announced he was shutting down his site in pursuit of new explorations. Personally I will miss Dale’s brand of wine humor. Good luck Dale!
*Just an observation, but could Dale and Ron be the same person? Maybe this is an elaborate scheme to break through with some super uber new sexy snarky blog that will blow the world away… #justsayin*