Posts Tagged ‘Secret’

As he often does, wine scribe Joe Roberts wrote something relevant the other day. He explained that for those considering how they might make a name for themselves, for their writing and for their wine knowledge through publishing, this person should strongly consider SPECIALIZING.

By this, Joe simply means it’s much easier to get the attention of potential readers if your authority and wine writing revolves around a specific subject within the wine niche, rather than trying to publish information that broadly falls under the larger subject heading of “Wine”. In other words, the writer looking to gain an audience for his wine thoughts and ideas is more likely to achieve a larger audience by writing regularly and authoritatively on “Zinfandel”, than just on “wine”.

I’ve heard this advice before. I’ve been in seminars where this advice is given. I’ve given this advice myself. But what you rarely hear is advice on exactly what niche wine subject is ripe for owning by a smart, new writer dreaming of success as an author or blogger. What you don’t hear is someone pointing out a subject area that has largely been ignored, but that is also ripe for extensive examination and exploration because it’s a fairly large niche. Identifying that kind of subject matter would be a gift to the wine loving writer that wants to make their mark.

This is what I’m going to do right now.
Read on …

Tuscany's Golden Coast.

Tuscany’s Golden Coast.

 

Now that the land rush is subsiding, the true worth of the region’s vineyards is being reflected in spectacular wines.

 

Map of the area.

Map of the area.

The Viale dei Cipressi offers an unforgettable journey to those who travel down its path. At approximately three miles in length—with 2,000 columnar trees on either side of the gently undulating avenue—it’s said to be the longest cypress-lined road in the world.

The road cuts a route across coastal Tuscany, from the shimmering Tyrrhenian Sea to hilly brush, slicing through some of the world’s most prized vineyards along the way. The strada provinciale starts at the octagonal San Guido chapel at the shore and finishes inland, at the gates of the medieval Castello di Bolgheri.

The Viale dei Cipressi represents a cultural, historical and environmental continuum by which the entire area is measured. But in spiritual terms, this glorious passageway leads to the Shangri-La of Italian wine.
Three-quarters up the Viale dei Cipressi on the right is the 42-acre vineyard of Sassicaia, named after the many stones (sassi in Italian) that pepper its gravelly clay soils. This vineyard lends its name to the wine that fulfills the enormity of Italy’s enological promise.

“We are all children of Sassicaia,” says vintner Michele Satta, whose eponymous estate produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sangiovese. “It is the inspiration for all Italian wine past, present and future.”

That inspiration drives the exciting work underway in coastal Tuscany. Previously known as the birthplace of super Tuscans—a passé catch-all name for iconic wines made outside obsolete Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) regulations—Tuscany’s coast now bustles with a new generation of pioneering vintners.

From concept wines without roots (like the nebulous super Tuscan category), the region’s vintners now pursue wines in tune with their geographic origins comparable to the greatest appellations of Tuscany: Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

The emphasis has clearly swung in favor of territory, territory, territory.

The 120-mile coastline that extends from the port city of Livorno to the postcard-perfect hilltop town of Capalbio is home to six wine regions, plus the island of Elba. Each possesses unique climatic and geologic conditions, grape varieties and individual wines.

 

Bolgheri
Ribot, according to many, was the greatest racehorse of all time. Undefeated in 16 races throughout the mid 1950s, the British-bred, Italian-trained “horse of the century” was owned by Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, of the fabled Marchesi Incisa family.

Banking on more successes, Mario created Cabernet Sauvignon-based Sassicaia in 1968 (the first commercially released vintage) in what started as a playfully competitive nudge at Bordeaux.

Since then, Bolgheri has undergone radical change. Despite the continued success of Sassicaia, the region is practically a newborn.

In 1985, there were just six producers that—like Ribot—raced to success as individual brands. Only when producers embraced the concept of territory, united behind a single Bolgheri identity, did the region hit its winning stride.

Read on …

 

Moët Hennessy's first winery in China

Moët Hennessy’s first winery in China

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THE FREEMASONS are said to be one of the most secretive societies in the world. They have many mysterious rituals, special symbols and words and at least 12 different handshakes (some of which can be seen on YouTube). Some wine societies are almost as secretive, although their members are less likely to employ a special handshake than they are to break into song.

Two of the most exclusive wine societies, La Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Commanderie de Bordeaux, have special songs that accompany an evening of drinking and are delivered in French (naturellement). The Tastevin tune is a traditional Burgundy chanson, while the Commanderie song, “Toujours Bordeaux,” is a more recent work. Created in 1998 by Eric Vogt, the music-loving maître (or head) of the Boston Commanderie chapter, the song won a prize at a competition in Bordeaux. (The prize was Mr. Vogt’s “weight in Bordeaux,” or 10 cases of wine, although Mr. Vogt maintained that the prize committee erred “on the generous side.”)

The Commanderie ditty is a fairly rousing number and, save for a few references to the region’s major varietals and great châteaux, it might well have been my college drinking song. On the other hand, the group I saw singing “Toujours” at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington a few weeks ago didn’t look like anyone I knew in college. The members, mostly in their 60s, were an accomplished group of women and men with careers in government, law, banking and finance—and possessed an impressive knowledge of French.
Read on …

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In The New Yorker magazine years ago, the brilliant Montreal-raised American writer Adam Gopnik chided people in my line of work for a glaring failure. “Remarkably,” he wrote, “nowhere in wine writing … would a Martian learn that the first reason people drink wine is to get drunk.” It was, I think, an exaggeration. I know people who enthuse about wine but rarely court alcohol’s buzz. Some are readers of this column who have declared that they always stop after a glass or two.

 

But I take his point. We scribes give wide berth to the subject of alcohol. We’re pompous sophisticates – or at least we feel compelled to cultivate that image to advance our credibility (shame on us). Inebriation is for the vodka-cooler crowd, not for connoisseurs who “understand” Volnay. And what columnist wants to remind the world about the social costs of alcohol abuse? Wine columns are supposed to be about hedonism.

There is hedonism in today’s tasting notes, and I don’t want to end on a downer. But it struck me at a recent tasting – what with the holidays approaching – that the alcohol-by-volume spread from one wine to another can be jarring. One terrific white from Germany, Dr. Pauly, weighed in at 8 per cent, while Darioush Duel 2007 from Napa (which I didn’t love) tipped the scale at 16.4. You can drink six glasses of the former and be no less fit to drive than someone consuming three of the latter.

Read on …