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 Mar 2010
February, 2010 has come to a close. March brings spring which leads to BBQ’s, running outdoors and most importantly, trips to God’s country – Walla Walla, Lake Chelan and Woodinville. The short month of February saw nearly 1000 tweets, 27 posts and 21 wine reviews.
DrinkNectar is proud of the following in February:
- Participating in a local Social Media forum
- Top Ten listings at Post Rank for Wine Blogs
- Mention in Wine Enthusiast Online as most engaging wine blog
Below are some of my favorite tweets from February. With the closing of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver – these are the gold medal winners of tweeters!
Wines of the Month
Best Value Under $15
While I didn’t formally review this wine, I did have an impromptu visit with JJ Williams (aka 1EyeWineGuy) during a recent trip to Costco. A bottle of Lemberger was in my future.
- The Stuff: 100% Estate Lemberger from Red Mountain AVA Kiona Vineyards
- The Swirl: A dark strawberry color that was about 50% translucent. Muted jewel tones
- The Sniff: Bright strawberry and cherry with moderate earthiness and minerality
- The Sip: A sweet wash of cherry, vanilla and some cola flavors. The wine is sweet and soft with more substance on the back end with some spice and tannin
- The Score: At just $11 this is easily a 4 (out of 5). An incredible value for a wine that provides a variety of flavor
*Runner-up 2008 Chateau St. Michelle Riesling $6 – Reviewed Here
2004 Croze Cabernet Sauvignon – Reviewed Here
- The Stuff:100% Napa Valley Cabernet, 42 months in oak, 13%ABV, 637 cases made
- The Swirl: Nice dark rust colored plum with a little translucence (almost see to the bottom of the glass)
- The Sniff: I never wanted to stop smelling this wine. Floral perfume kissed me first, then gentle bright blueberry and strawberry aromas held hands and skipped through my nose. They were followed up by some mellow vanilla notes. This is the kind of wine scent you wish for in every bottle of Cabernet!
- The Sip: Definitely does not disappoint – The fruit is soft and supple like a long slow French kiss. The passion builds as some spicy pepper jumps in. The finish is super balanced and longs with enough tannin to keep the wine strong with food.
- The Score: At $35 this is a 5 (out of 5) wine for me. I love the complete package and would definitely buy this bottle again.
*Runner-up 2007 Arbor Crest Cabernet Franc
Random Favorite Highlights from February
The Post that Made Me Spit Wine Out of My Nose – Wine Bloggers Bite the Big One: This post from @DirtySouthWine (aka Hardy Wallace, aka NPAHardy) was in response to recent allegations that wine blobbers are a bunch of uninfluential, wine whores railing against traditional media and seeking free wine. This amazing post will have you laughing from poop to chainsaws.
Best Wine Event: #CaliCabs on February 11 brought over 50 California Wineries and hundreds of tweeters together with one common purpose. Promoting California Cabernet! The event was spearheaded by @RickBakas in the traditional grass roots method. If you liked #CaliCabs you’ll love #SauvBlanc on March 4.
Best wine quote: “A wine so delicious my tongue wanted to make love to my tonsils.” – From @goodgrape from a February 11 post.
Best Social Media Post: This is such a difficult category because so much good stuff comes out each month. I went with a presentation by @lunabeanmedia to a group of Walla Walla wine makers! Social Media for Wineries
Best Blog Feature: Sean Sullivan from @WaWineReport contributes a weekly labor of love for Washington wine enthusiasts. Only one stop is needed to stay “in the know” for everything pertaining to Washington Wine. Washington Wine Round-Up
DrinkNectar Most Viewed Post: Wine Ripped off and Ticked Off (60+ comments) – A look at the horrible wine practices of restaurants and their 400% mark-up, uninspired wine lists and crappy wine glasses.
02 Feb 2010
January has come to a close. Thankfully we haven’t been snowed in this year. The 31 days of January contained over 800 tweets, 28 wine reviews, 19 posts and 1 very cool wine tweetup in Phoenix with a new friend Tim @wklywinejournal
At the end of each month I look back and compile some of my favorite tweets, posts, and wines. This very special honor should be put on par with the Grammys, Emmys and Academy Awards. Be sure to show love to those nominated by visiting their pages, commenting on their tweets / status updates.
Wines of the Month
Best Value Under $15: Bogle Petite Sirah ($9-$11)
On the quest for great value wines, this Petite Sirah is big and bold. Watch the video review
- The Stuff: 100% Petite Sirah
- The Swirl: Very very dark plum, completely opaque, nice legs indicating some stronger residual sugar
- The Sniff: Once again a restrained aroma profile. Some dark cherry, dark blackberry fruit and a hint of spice trying to come through
- The Sip: Wholly wow, this is a big wine. There is some decent fruit on the front end which is immediately attacked by the strong tannin on the back end. This wine needs food! I look forward to pairing it with some BBQ, spicy pork, or a steak.
- The Score: At only $10 this is a big wine with some big back end structure that deserves a 3+. I would definitely consider this for a future purchase to pair with food. NOT A SIPPING WINE.
*Runner Up: Yellow + Blue Sauvignon Blanc (Review coming soon)
Best Wine: Barrister NV Rough Justice ($20)
I purchased this wine during my review of Barrister Winery. This proprietors style blend is seductively amazing and has such immense fruit and a nice balance. Not only is this a ‘best wine’ it is very affordable. Watch the video review of Barrister Winery
- The Stuff: 35% Merlot, 28% Syrah 26% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Swirl: Beautiful dark jewel tone with translucent clarity.
- The Sniff: A-MA-ZING fruit and spice. Very aromatic blackberry, plum and vanilla on the nose. A moderate dose of leather pokes through as well.
- The Sip: A mouthful of jammy berry. If you like bold fruit that is not overly sweet but balanced out with a nice strong acid and spice, you’ll love this wine. The structure of this wine is impressive. Made in a very new-world style that is very impressive.
- The Score: At $20 I score this wine a 5 (out of 5). The wine is beautiful in aroma, strong and balanced in flavor, and immense in structure. This is one blend that if seen on a restaurant wine list that would instantly get my purchase!
* Runner Up: 2005 Signorello Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($80)
Random Favorite Highlights from January
Post that made me spit wine out my nose: From @supplewine and his Box of Red comic (by Brett Underhill) http://www.supplewine.com/comics/box-o-red/2010-01-15.php
Best Wine Quote: From @TishWine 1/9/2010 tweet “Wine tasting notes are like greased pigs. Best hope is to have fun in the process, because very little chance of capture.”
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