22 Apr 2010
Today’s DrinkNectar post is featured on Cork’d. Head over there and check out the story about Twitter wine tasting events. Cork’d is becoming a fantastic resource for wine news and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Twitter wine tasting events are changing the wine community. I had the honor of co-sponsoring #WAMerlot and saw firsthand the power of the online community. As a wine brand, these events offer little or no cost opportunities for brand impressions, building your customer base and interacting with your existing customers. As a wine consumer, they provide an opportunity learn, engage and connect.
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the following Taste and Tweet events.
Taste Live – The premier web site for online wine and beer tastings
Community Wine Tastings on Twitter – A Facebook community to compliment the Taste and Tweet events on Twitter
Upcoming Taste and Tweet Events
June ??: Shhhh don’t tell, but a very special #WAWine tasting event will help bloggers get their palate primed for Washington wine before they converge upon Walla Walla. Hosted by NectarWine and several other amazing Washington ambassadors – Details coming on May 7!
05 Apr 2010
In My Opinion, Your Opinion Sucks
While not always successful, I try to live by a few key phrases:
- “Will it matter a month from now (or even a year from now)?” ~ Worry
- “The greatest treasure is having someone to share it with” ~ Family
- “All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial” ~ Balance
Lately I’ve been thinking about two other principles as they relate to blogging, twitter and wine. Let me tell you both and then I’ll explain them.
- When given a choice, being nice is always the best option
- Opinions are like assholes, we all have them and most of them stink
As I mentioned in the first sentence, these are words I always, most of the time, try and periodically succeed at living by. Those that know me “IRL” (in real life), are probably saying, “yeah, you remember that one time…” I can be a hot head. Lack of food and stupid people are not a good combination in my world. Other people’s children, disrespect toward my wife and ignorant statements make my blood boil. How is this related to blogging, twitter and wine? Hold tight, you’ll see. The point is, often times we’re presented with situations that tick us off, opinions we don’t agree with and wine that we wouldn’t use as flavoring for the swill fed to our enemies pigs (ahhhh…I see where he’s going with this).
Pulling out a quote from my days as a youth pastor; “A harsh word stirs up dissention, but a gentle response turns away wrath.” Recently a wine writer joined the blogger sphere and caused some excitement with his pompous portrayal of traditional media and his alluding to his vast experience as being superior to the hobby wine bloggers. Were his statements narcissistic, egotistical and uninformed? You bet! Could he have chosen different words to convey his message of credibility? Absolutely! This mini-controversy showed the power of twitter, the reality of carefully crafting your brand and provided three examples of how to respond. Some chose the rude and insulting route. One blogger I read crafted a great post that firmly, yet respectfully, called out the ill-worded bio. Others chose not to comment at all, relying on the very first point in this post, “will it really matter one month from now (or even one year from now). In a world when a single tweet can ruin your reputation, being nice is always the better option.
How does this relate to wine reviews? Reviewing good wine is fun. The hard part is thinking of creative ways to say, “This is the best damn juice since that wedding in Cana,” or “Do whatever you can to get a case of this; mortgage your home, sell your kids, show some cleavage to get your lips on this bottle.” Reviewing bad wine or even average wine that is overpriced presents an option to be nice or to be rude. One approach is to say, “this tastes like yak piss,” or “even looking at this bottle will damage your taste buds, the whole lot should be buried at the bottom of the ocean.” Considering that the bottle you’re holding most likely represents someone’s hard work and dreams, a better approach is to be factual about what you’re experiencing, “the aroma profile on this wine has an off smell of dirty socks and burnt cherries and the mouth feel is thin, tepid and off balanced.” This is actually one reason why I’m a fan of scoring wine, whether it’s a 100 point system, 13 point scale or some sort of A through F approach. Providing the description of what you’re smelling and tasting along with a quantified score leaves no doubt as to your opinion on the wine. A score of 75 points indicates your dislike for the wine without having to be abusive and rude.
This leads me into my final point. These are my opinions. This is how I operate.
Opinions are Like Assholes. Everyone has one and most of them stink.
Blogs. Birthed as a medium for people to provide an ongoing record of their opinions and experiences. The very nature of the web log is a platform on which people can stand and shout out their opinions. Many things in life are based on fact. Two plus two always equals four (except in the world of political economics, but that’s a whole other post). Reviews of books, discussions on politics, dissertations on Star Trek, the quality of American Idol contestants, what LOST is all about, biblical analysis, and even wine is open to many subjective stances. These are called opinions. Chances are you started a wine blog because you had opinions about wine and you wanted to contribute your experiences to other people. How you do it is up to you?
If your blog is a description every night of what you taste, good for you! If you’re attempting to promote a region of the world, go for it. If you are out there and think all bloggers are barking poodles yapping for attention, fine! It’s your opinion. I may not like it. I may think you suck, but that is also my opinion. Why do we get bent out of shape when someone disagrees with us? Will it really matter one month from now (or even one year)? Could we fire back with 720 words of text that would make a hooker blush? Sure, all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. If we disagree, can we put together the point, counter point in a well thought out argument with differing views of the issue in an intelligent and respectful way? Absolutely! When presented with the choice, being nice is always the best option!
I have opinions:
- There is no way that a $200 wine is four times better than a $50 wine, but if you want to pay that kind of money for it, more power to you. I’ll buy four $50 bottles.
- I like point ratings on wine.
- The three tier distribution system is unconstitutional, un-American, and hinders small business.
- Washington makes the best wine in the world.
- Rush is not the greatest rock band ever (sorry, Joe). That title is reserved for The Beatles
- The new health care system is a crime against humanity. Ten years from now we’ll look back on it as being the biggest mistake of government in the last 100 years.
- The Bible is the inspired word of God and I try my best to live up to the words within. My humanity keeps getting in the way.
- Wine, more than any other beverage, is social, living, active and full of passion.
These are my opinions. I have my reasons, many of which I can back up with intelligent discourse. If you disagree with me, I’ll respect that too. We all have our opinions, that’s why we’re here. Being nice in our retorts and cross fire is always the best approach.
Cheers and Drink Happy!
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*
14 Feb 2010
I was working on a Valentine’s Day post, when @winecentury posed the question, “Is wine sexy?” I had found some sexy pictures that really got me thinking. Now, don’t get me wrong, drinking wine with James @winecentury or Joe @suburbanwino is far from sexy, but wine is the sexiest beverage there is.
While there is something very sexy about a girl who knows how to order a pint of black and tan and watching a girl do tequila shots will always get me going, wine is the sultry goddess of drink.
Consider her ways in the glass. Long slender and delicate, the stem is stretched tight like high heels and stockings. You cup the firm, round bowl of the glass in the palm of your hand feeling the anticipation of the taste. The sensual perfume tickles your nose arousing your senses to the heights of explosion. As you let the flavor wash over your tongue there is a release of passion causing your mind to rush and your cheeks to turn flush.
Wine is most definitely sexy. On this Valentine’s Day, enjoy the sultry, sexy images of wine! I want to thank http://drinksareonme.net for the great moments of inspiration for this post.
I wonder if this is how Naked Winery harvests their grapes.
The following image is not for the prude or inhibited. Cheers and Drink.Happy!
Photo Credit 1) Uncredited image from EventBrite.com 2) Uncredited image 3) Sexypictures.dk
11 Jan 2010
Buy Local! It makes sense supporting local businesses; higher profit margins, more money stays in the local economy and the capacity to create jobs increases. For the New Year, I vocalized my desire to buy more of my wine locally. I am extending this challenge to all of my wino friends. The resolution is not to buy ALL of my wine locally, just more of it. I commit, where possible and when fiscally responsible (I’ll explain later) to purchase most of my wine from local wine shops or directly from the winery.
Who’s with me? Does it make sense? For me, this is a major departure from the way I traditionally buy wine. My wine purchases typically come from the grocery store, Costco, and occasionally from a local shop near our home. Going local will mean going out of my way to make an additional stop. Our ‘good wine’ purchases tend to come from our bi-annual trips to Washington wine regions.
2010 also brings a challenge to try ‘new’ and interesting wine. I’ve been challenged by my friend James Yates (@winecentury on twitter) to join the Wine Century club where I taste 100 different grape varietals. Currently, my total is at 42. Have you made the Wine Century club? Who’s with me on this journey? What is your starting number?
Financial responsibility is important. Nothing irks me more than buying something only to find out that I could have gotten it cheaper at another store or online. In a recent post on www.corkd.com Robert Dwyer (@RobertDwyer on twitter) posed the dilemma of buying local or buying for the best deal. This is a challenge for local retailers who have less buying power and run on higher overheads. In our global economy the local retailer MUST compete on price AND relationship. If the local shop offers no additional benefit, service or connection then the price will always win. Wineries should also keep this in mind when selling in their tasting room. I recently purchased a nice $48 bottle of wine at a winery only to hear of a blogger friend who picked it up “on sale” for $29. To be honest, this pissed me off. I have a local buying price threshold. This is the difference in price I’m willing to pay for the service, experience or relationship that the local store offers. My max threshold runs around 8-12% (depending on the price bracket). In the case of the wine mentioned above, I would be comfortable with paying $48 FROM the winery even though it could be purchased for $40 at the box store. For the $16 discount wine at the grocery store, I’m okay paying $20 at a local shop (but not $22 or $24).
My 2010 approach to wine is to support local wine for most of my wine purchases. The two caveats revolve around selection and price. If I discover a wine that fits my goals to have new experiences while at Costco, then I’ll buy it. If the wine is consistently 10% or more less at a box store, then it may get my business, especially if the local retailer offers little or no additional value (relationship, experience, or knowledge).
What are your thoughts? Do you have a price threshold? Are you ready to join me on my 2010 Wine Challenge?
Buying Wine “Locally” in Spokane
Are we missing your favorite Spokane Wine Shop? Email us at email@example.com
- 3319 North Argonne Road Spokane Valley, WA
- (509) 443-4027
- 926 South Monroe Street Spokane, WA
- (509) 358-8955
Left Bank Wine Bar
- 108 North Washington Street, Spokane, WA
- (509) 315-8623
- The Drink Nectar Review (Nov 2009)
Niko’s Wine Bar
- 725 West Riverside Ave, Spokane, WA
- (509) 624-7444
- The Drink Nectar Review (Jan 2010)
- 726 East 43rd Avenue, Spokane, WA
- (509) 343-2253
Vino! A Wine Shop
- 222 South Washington Street, Spokane, WA
- (509) 838-1229
- 8801 North Indian Trail Road, Spokane, WA
- (509) 468-9463
Yokes Fresh Market Stores (6 Spokane Locations)
- Locally owned with one of the largest selections in the NW
- http://www.yokesfoods.com/ visit site for store locations
- Wine365 – Yokes Wine Blog
Williams Seafood Market & Wines
- 10627 E Sprague, Spokane Valley WA 99206
- (509) 922-4868
Jim’s Home Brew & Wine
- 2619 N Division St