I heartily recommend the Saturday tastings at the Austin Wine Merchant. They’re free and feature interesting, stylish wines that you probably haven’t heard of or tasted before. I have a slight infatuation with the shop right now, I’ll admit, which will likely fade as I start putting out my wine shop feelers closer to my new workplace, Anderson and Mopac. Yes, I know: Grapevine. We’ll see; I could have been much more impressed the last time I was there.
I tasted 6 wines at the AWM last Saturday, all from the Pellegrini Family Vineyards in California. Robert Pellegrini and Moreno Panelli were there, representing the winery, as was Alison Smith of Texacali Wine Company, who represents Pellegrini in Texas. Ali is a fellow blogger, writing about her experience running her small wine sales and marketing business at the Texacali Wine Trail. She’s a charming woman who reps an interesting portfolio, and it was a pleasure to meet her.
Dr. Debs’ interesting post at Good Wine Under $20 about jargon got me thinking about the way we communicate about wine. Her point to ponder was whether “jargon (technical terms about wine), dialects (terminology common to a group of wine writers), and idiolects (terms that a single wine writer comes up with; if sufficiently popular, idiolects can get shared and become dialects)” actually obstruct our ability to communicate about wine.
Jeff’s post on Good Grape got the old wheels churning even harder; for him, Dr. Deb’s post dovetailed with a magazine article in Sante that he read about how menu descriptions affect how we eat in restaurants. As Jeff sums it up, a dish that’s more elaborately described on the menu will be described by those who’ve eaten it as “more appealing, tastier and the restaurant as being trendier and more contemporary.”
This would seem to argue, then, for more elaborate tasting notes, rather than less. If we are trying to get more Americans drinking wine (and we are; you’ll thank us when you’re older), then hopefully by introducing it in elaborate, flowery language will make everyone have better, fonder memories of their wine drinking experiences… and thus drink more wine.
As you may know, if you’re a regular here at the Wine Scamp, elaborate is not a problem for me. And as I commented on Dr. Deb’s site, one of the reasons I love wine so much is that gorgeous juxtaposition of sensation and language that is the tasting note. My first love being poetry, I have always been fascinated by our attempts to communicate the indescribable; emotions and sensations are so subjective that the attempt to encapsulate them in words seems almost impossible. So things get fancy, words get outlandish, and jargon and dialects are born.
Seems like the perfect opportunity for a Friday poll, which I can’t seem to get to work in this post, but which you can vote on in the sidebar to your right. Sound off!
Well, someone at wine.com should be fired by now. Alder at Vinography broke the story (which was originally published in the Wine Market Report – 8k download here) to the blogosphere a couple of days ago. Get this: wine.com organized a sting operation in Washington state, in which wine.com – or stooges thereof – ordered wines from 29 different online wine retailers that could not legally ship to Washington, and then they turned the names of the law-breaking retailers in to state authorities.
Ironically enough, Washington prosecutors have no jurisdiction over out-of-state retailers who ship to Washington despite stupid protectionist wine laws that prohibit such activity. The only people who could be in legal trouble from Washington state authorities would be people who actually ordered the wine, breaking the law while actually in Washington state! Wut?
No company with this much of a rat-like approach to business, coupled with a severe lack of cognitive processing ability, should be allowed to have a link on this site. Wine Scamp is no place for snitches, nor for tattle-tales. So I’ve taken their ad off the site, and I hope you’ll join me in a boycott of wine.com for here on out. Mostly for being morons, and then also for being wine law vigilantes. Oops, I repeated myself.
I must join Tom Wark in directing your attention to the supreme response to wine.com’s perfidy, that of Emily and Stephan at Winemonger.com — it’s both brilliant and hilarious — located near the end of the comments to the post on Vinography.
The best news I’ve heard so far this year is that Dr. Debs at Good Wine Under $20 is founding a Wine Book Club. Similar to Wine Blogging Wednesday, this club will have rotating hosts and all of you, regardless of whether you have blog or not, can participate. Even you guys all the way in the back, there. It’s true!
What’s that? You’re a slow reader? Pish-posh. The Wine Book Club meets every other month, so that you can read with all the slowness you wish to cram in to 60 days. Not interested in joining any club that would have you as a member? You can check out the other joiners by looking at the Facebook group, or on a nifty site I didn’t know about before called Shelfari.
One of the things I love about the book club that I’ve been a member of for two years now is that it frequently takes me out of my reading comfort zone. I get very comfortable in my reading ruts, too, so it’s good for me. The books we read in the PC Book Club (PC= pretentious c**t; Dana will have to tell you that story someday) don’t blow my mind every single time, but I love getting pushed out of my personal cannon, and I really enjoy discussing books with other people. Plus the ladiez in my group are dope, yo.
Here’s my confession, though: I suck ass at reading non-fiction. Big Ass. So a Wine Book Club, though exciting to me from a wine perspective, also provides a healthy challenge to my reading inclinations. Talk about out of the rut – I’m off-roading it here!
That being said, I’ve browsed through Vino Italiano in years past, and found it exceptionally readable for a non-fictional book on regional wine. It’s full of information about food (cookbooks being one of the few non-fictional genres I can peruse for hours – another is dictionaries, what can you do?) and folklore, as I recall, and I’m looking forward to reading it in full. You’ll stick with me to the bitter end, right? Good.
Are you one of those people who prefers non-fiction to fiction? Or do you pine for a good story, like me? Share with the group via your comment, even those in the back of the room!
When I decided to jump into the fray of wine blogging (fray! ha! if anything resembled the word less…), I felt that I was so quickly and generously welcomed into the “fold,” and I will always be truly grateful for that.
Tom Wark at Fermentation was kind enough to write about me very early on, directing a lot of new traffic my way; he also Does Great Things with his promotion of wine bloggers via his Bloggerview series.
Finally, Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours has been truly instrumental in bringing all us wine bloggers together in our monthly wine tasting, Wine Blogging Wednesday. May this tradition never fade: it’s a wonderfully inclusive event, and super-fun on top of it!
I would like to confer upon all of these great people a Community Blogger Award: they make the wine blogosphere a better place to be, for everyone.