One of the things I wanted to do in 2011 (other than making sure I muddled through figuring out how to keep our first child alive — so far so good!) is get some formal wine education. I had read a ton of books and articles, gone to tastings, talked to shop owners and, of course, drank a lot of vino, but I wanted to take things a step farther and actually get into the classroom, which prompted me to enrol in the WSET Intermediate program a few months ago. Thankfully, I successfully completed and passed the course, coming out of the summer with my Intermediate Certificate, and I enjoyed the experience so much that I immediately signed up for the WSET Advanced class later in the year. Well, “later in the year” is now two days away — for the next three weekends I will be shut away in a conference room downtown with other like-minded wine die-hards, trying desperately to absorb reams of technical and geographical information while simultaneously tasting 20-30 wines a day. If my course materials are any indication, the Advanced course will be WAY more, well, advanced than the Intermediate, so if you don’t see as many PnP posts as normal until mid-November, you can assume it’s because I’m studying. The blog will be back up to full throttle once my exam (which includes a blind tasting this time) is blissfully behind me.
Thankfully, this blog continues to get amazing support even when I’m a bit lax about regular posting. Sometime in the next two days Pop & Pour will clock over the 10,000 (!!!) hit mark, which is both gratifying and astonishing to me. In each month of its operation, PnP has attracted more views than the month before, and I have all of you to thank for your interest in this site. Once the WSET is done I’ll crack and review a suitable tribute bottle to celebrate both this latest round-number hit target and the fact that school’s officially out for winter. Cheers!
Believe me, I used to be at the front of the line making fun of wine folk for picking guava, pomegranate, shoe leather, pencil shavings and innumerable other bizarre tastes and aromas out of a glass of boozy grape juice. The whole process seemed overwrought and fanciful at best and horribly pretentious at worst — not the kind of thing I’d ever sign off on. But as I started getting more and more into wine, and then as I started WRITING about being into wine, I began to see the method to the madness (or I drank the Kool-Aid and joined the legions of uptight overanalyzers, depending on your point of view) and understanding the necessity behind the efforts people put into sorting out what’s in their glass. By far the coolest and most interesting thing about wine is that, unlike almost any other alcoholic beverage that starts out from a piece of fruit, it ends up smelling and tasting like so many other things apart from, or in addition to, its source material. Apple cider tastes like apples; dark rum tastes like molasses; wine tastes like everything, and the more different wine you try, the more words and comparison references you need to describe it. This, I’ve learned, is doubly important if you ever want to put this description in writing and give a reader who may have never heard of your wine a flavour impression that sets it apart…suddenly descriptions like “plum” and “cranberry”, and its weirder, more memorable cousins like “Band-Aids” and “pickles”, become totally invaluable. Read the rest of this entry »
So I’m still sick, making this currently the most wine-free wine blog on the Internet. Since I can’t DRINK wine right now, I’m doing the next best thing, which is THINKING about drinking wine, and to pump up the anticipation for my triumphant return to vino I thought I’d get your input about what bottle I should crack on that illustrious occasion. I have picked four wines that have been tangentially featured or mentioned in previous PnP posts, and now it’s up to you to decide which one will get top billing in my next review…whichever one gets the most votes by the time my illness goes away (hopefully sometime this weekend if there’s any justice in this world) will be the lucky winner. Without further ado, the very first Pop & Pour Wine Poll:
Here’s a little additional info about each of the four contenders and their PnP history:
2008 Mercer Estates Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon: I reviewed Mercer’s $30ish Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State at the end of March (see the review here) and liked it (88 points), but to me it actually didn’t live up to Mercer’s own significantly cheaper $20ish Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve had the DCR multiple times before (I tend to pounce on wine that good for that price), but I’ve never written it up on the blog…yet.
2007 Amavi Cellars Syrah: I had the 2005 vintage of this wine in mid-March and absolutely adored it (see the review here) — I gave it 92 points at the time, and in retrospect I might even want to bump that up another point. It was everything higher-end Syrah should be: fruity, meaty, savoury, long, lingering and endlessly complex. I’ve now obtained the 2007 version of Amavi’s Syrah and am dying to see if it lives up to its predecessor.
2008 Enzo Boglietti Dolcetto d’Alba: I TRIED to review this wine once before, back in mid-April, but it only took a sniff and a sip to force me to change plans and write about how to detect corked wine instead — yecch. I saved my ruined bottle, and the Ferocious Grape was good enough to take it back and give me a replacement, no questions asked. I now sort of feel like I owe Enzo a mulligan and have been waiting for the right time for a take two on his Dolcetto.
2009 Loosen Dr. L Riesling: When I reviewed Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling in early April, I suggested that the only entry-level (sub-$20) Riesling that I’ve had that could go toe to toe with KFG was Loosen’s Dr. L, which is available at Superstores everywhere for around $15. At some point I will do a Dr. L vs. KFG head to head taste-off, but I figure I owe Dr. Loosen a starring role in a review first.
There you have it — I await your votes! I will readily admit that I have hesitated putting up any kind of poll on PnP before in fear that the ultimate results would end up being 2 votes to 1 or something equally embarrassing, so I am counting on you to keep this blog from looking third-rate…make it seem second-rate at least. Please vote, and please pass this on to anyone else who might want to weigh in! If you want any more info on the contending wines, leave a comment and I will answer ASAP. Cheers!