The question that I am most often asked is, "What should I bring ?" I'm here to make life a little easier.
I have three simple rules that I go by and I believe that they are solid enough to pass along to you. People invite you to their party to accentuate their party. Return that compliment by bringing something that reflects you.
1)I don't care where you are from, if you are invited to a party, you must bring a host/hostess gift. It's not a 'southern tradition,' it goes for everyone. And these days, an invite is considered a phone call, email, and most certainly a snail mail invitation.
2)Buy a case of wine, whether it is a mixed case or one that you are extremely fond of and want to recommend. And more often than not, your local retailer will give you a discount on that case. Also pick up some wine bags, usually close to the front of the shop. And for those who are worried about offending somebody who may not drink, there are great sparkling ciders and other non-alcoholic bottles that can be purchased.
3)Here are my four standbys. These are categories that will cover your basis and I have a brand recommendation as well.
Port- Fonseca Bin 27
Red Blend- Stags Leap Hands of Time Red
White Blend- Conundrum White
Whether you are a traditionalist or looking for the next big thing, you are going to have to get on board with the new terminology and practices in winemaking. There is no possible way that with all the new wineries, winemakers and tonnage of grapes, that you can't view wine today as a combination of art and science. We talk about the winemaker putting his signature on the wine, but more and more, his signature is relying on science. This is the future of what we are drinking. It is going to be a part of it, get comfortable with the terminology; because sooner rather than later you are going to need it to understand what is going on in your glass.
They have a passion for what they are doing. They are excited about what is happening in the industry. And when it comes down to it, for all of us, who may be jaded by the business or tired of the "sameness" that we see each day, it takes an infusion of passion and joy like these men exude to really get us involved. It is going to be people like these men who lead us and want us to experience wine like they do. I feel rejuvenated. That's the secret to success.
Ann is the researcher who put together the Aroma Wheel, which changed the wine business. It gave people a baseline, a comparison. It wasn't a grading scale, it was a beginning to assist people in describing the tastes, flavors and aromas of wine. And once we had this baseline and started speaking the same language, things began changing overnight in the wine business. So when you when you discuss women in the business and the impact they had, remember Ann and the others before her that gave us the language and resources we have today.
When more wineries start putting the actual ingredients on the back of their labels, it will be a very interesting day for some. I’m not trying to panic the consumer, it will just clearly define the fine wine producers. It will be an eye opener for many. It will define the have and the have nots. But ultimately, if producers are doing the best they can with what they have and they are striving to do better each day, then of course it will show in the product. And hopefully, ten years from now, these winemakers will look back and say “I remember when I learned that.”
Wine has captured our interest for generations, but currently we have wine grabbing our attention for another reason.
The jury is still out on wine in a can. The jury will be discussing celebrities buying vineyards for a while as well. We are also seeing experiments of aging wine under water. All of this is showing that we are being very different with wine. We are being progressive. The intrigue is heightening the putting attention to the grape and what is in the bottle. That is what I like to see. Stay tuned to many more discussions on these advancements, the revolution is just beginning.
Somebody wrote the show to ask about wine trends for 2013.
I think you are going to start seeing some great wines in places where you might not normally think you could grab a nice glass of wine. Maybe you will be in your local sports bar, or shopping at your neighborhood grocery store. New wines are out there and you need to take notice. Whether it is a South African white wine in a phenomenal bottle, Protea White, or a Syrah based blend 13 years in the making, Sokol Blosser Evolution Red. Try something out of your comfort zone. Toss the playbook around and If You See Kay (Red Blend), let me know.
I strongly believe there are 5 P’s that make wine your beverage of choice. Why you drink what you drink when you drink it.
Proximity, Price, Publication… And the last two are very simple, I preach them all the time. The fourth is Paradox. Let’s face the facts, the health values of wine shot up wine consumption 15% in the first 3 months after the reports began coming out…and sales continue to rise due to these statistics. The argument still rages on, but it is still a deciding factor on why consumers switch to wine. The fifth P is the life and soul of the what the Wine Crush represents .. Perception. The lifestyle, glamour, fun…easy drinking. You can define yourself by what you drink. There is a different varietal for each of your moods. Again, it is based on what you like. Ultimately, the perception has change. You can sit at a pub and order a glass of wine, it is not the rich man’s drink anymore, and you will always find something you like.
I get a lot of emails and calls asking how a certain winemaker becomes famous, why his or her wine is better than another, and it has always been a challenge to find the right words. A recent guest, Winemaker Charles Smith, assisted me on this…
“You can’t talk a wine into being great.” I love this phrase and I thank Charles for his unique perspective. You can’t manipulate the wine, you can’t stand over the barrel and will it to be great, it is the sum of all the parts that come together that make that wine outstanding. It is the art of the winemaker and their building abilities. It is a process to be respected.
Expiration dates, Kegs, Junk Food, Brats…Am I discussing wine?
Yes! It is part of our every day, every outing, or it can be. Wine has a place at your table, no matter where that table may be. A bar, a courtyard, on your patio watching your grill. Wine has a place in your lifestyle, all you have to do is find it! Wine drinkers are expanding. My odd cravings haven’t stifled my regular glass in the evening. You know what I have recently discovered? Chardonnay goes great with fried cheese sticks and that stop at the Mexican place down the street… Riesling does pair nicely with tacos and nachos! Email me your pairings at firstname.lastname@example.org.