Wine Blogging Wednesday #8 – An Italian Obsession



 WBW #8 – Vini Siciliani Rossi was announced for April 13th and will be hosted by  The topic is going to be a bit of a challenge for somm but you can probably guess that its Sicilian reds.  This should be a learning experience for Kelly and I seeing as we’re not really big on the Italian reds.  Should be fun!

Of course, for those that don’t know, Wine Blogging Wednesday is the Internet’s premier monthly Virtual Wine Tasting event.  Bloggers post their tastings on their sites and let the host know who, in turn, posts the summary on their site.  Its open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike.  For any non-blogger, you can either e-mail you tasting directly to the host or go ahead and post a comment here and I’ll post it with Vivi’s entry to the wine tasting event.

Juice Round-up – Wine Reviews

Here are the reviews from last week.

Collectively, the wine blogs of the world represent a little less “high and mighty” and more of an approachable view of wines they’ve tasted. In fact, they often rebuke “the establishment” of wine. More approachable wine discussions are good for everyone. Wine Blogs of the world make good reading and more often then not they find some smaller winery wines that may get overlooked elsewhere.

Enjoy the Wine Life!

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Three glasses a day?

OK, I think its going a little overboard now.  Medical News Today is reporting that a study by a Yale School of Medicine researcher published in the Journal of American College of Surgeons shows drinking two to three glasses of red wine daily is good for the heart.

You have to start to worry about this doctor’s recommendations.

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WineHacker – Instant Drip Ring

Tired of the ring of wine that gets on the counter or table while serving wine? You know, because a drip got down the neck of the bottle while you were socializing at a party. There are nice drip rings you can buy and other accessories and for formal dining occasions they’re probably the right way to go. But for bigger parties a paper towel is all you need! Simple, fast, and cheap. So you can mingle without worrying about the ring-around-the-counter.

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Monster tasting events – Good or Bad?

This weekend Kelly and I went to Rhone Rangers tasting event in San Francisco. The Rhone Rangers is a group of wine enthusiasts that organized and created a mission which, according to their site, is:

The Rhone Rangers is a non-profit, educational organization, established to advance the public’s knowledge of the Rhone varietal wine grapes grown in America and the production and enjoyment of these wines with emphasis on integration into our daily lives.

This is great. A basic marketing engine organized and run by anyone with an interest, business or otherwise, in Rhone varietal wines. They have all sorts of events and you can check their sitefor more detail. Plus, they also usually have a charity component to their events, so thats a positive point.

The wine tasting event itself took place this weekend and featured 130+ wine makers showcasing their Rhone varietals. We made some notes of 20 some-odd wines that we tasted but I think I want to focus a bit on what an event like this is like in terms of its part in the wine lifestyle. How do you optimize your fun at one of these monster tasting events?

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A Week of Ballentine

So I’ve said before that wine blogs are a great source of discovering smaller wine producers that remain largely overlooked by the large magazines that, quite frankly, don’t have the bandwidth to deal with all vintages and varietals from all wineries. If you’re a publisher of a wine blog, however, you are part of a wine blog-based army of tasters going out and tasting wines from all sorts of producers and, more often than not, finding gems that have never been written about.

So now I’m going to put forth one that is a bit of an unknown quantity. Ballentine Vineyards – a small producer established in 1993 on 100 acres in St. Helena that produces less than 10,000 cases a year of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Chenin Blanc, and a Cab Franc/Merlot blend called Bg Integrity. When I say small, I mean small. They employ about 7 people and one day the sales/pr/spokesperson/jack-of-all-trades Mesha Provo contacted me to tell me about their newly released Chenin Blanc. After speaking to her I asked why she was small and why they haven’t scaled up the operation. Her response was that Van and Betty Ballentine have a simple philosophy of “we like it small so we want it to stay that way.” While I can’t speak for their consistency of great wine making, I will say that the Kelly and I did a Ballentine Week and made notes each night of a different wine and we were pretty impressed overall.

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