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2016 was questionable, so here are 20 wines to pair with 2017

I ended a past blog post - themed: a review of 2015 - with the words "Welcome, 2016. I will cut you." Though I feel like I did personally make some substantial dents in this crunchy titanium can of a year, the general consensus seems to be that we created a blueprint for goodness, but then said blueprint was stolen, lit on fire, and then puréed with an unwashed beige-coloured towel embroidered with the words "~fUcK yOu~", styled in Comic Sans MS. I won't fill this post with hopes for 2017 so that I don't build myself a bigger bowl of disappointment, but instead will list wines that remind me of an upwards trend of hope, a vague connection to the vapid consolation of Pantone's Color of...

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It must have been clove, but it’s over now: Speed Wine Tasting at WBC16

I used to love the hectic clusterfuck of the two Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting events, each involving twenty or so different tables and winery principals that rotate tables every five minutes for a total of ten sessions. Every micro-meeting involves at least a pour of a wine followed by a spiel, while we each have to: absorb as much information as we can; taste and take notes; desperately yell out questions as if the internet doesn't exist; take blurry bottle shots; and perhaps come up with a witty tweet. I've mostly given up on giving my 110% on the whole shebang, but hey: I tried. Newcomers to the conference were all "well, this isn't so bad!" I side-eyed in tacit protest but actually mostly agreed. I'm...

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Gamay Noir: the Sansa Stark of Wine Grapes

(The night is dark and full of small spoilers. Tread carefully past the picture for the wines!) I mention Beaujolais to people - in the same way that I might bring up Sansa Stark in a Game of Thrones discussion - and I watch as faces crinkle before I make my case for the dark horses. Gamay is a red grape that hails from the Beaujolais region in France (and Sansa hails from Winterfell, but you knew that), and it's fashionable to dislike Beaujolais. The ditzy Beaujolais Nouveau variations of the 1970s and 1980s - all laden with pear drops, banana, and bubble gum flavours from carbonic maceration - once represented half of all Beaujolais sold. It's since dropped to around a third, but I...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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#WBC15 Tinder Wine Session #2

I'm pretty sure Mykha'el and I sat at the same place for our second round and we were still relatively pretty empty for a table (which was awesome) but this time we were also with fellow wine baes Brianne and Cory. Standing Stone 2013 Saperavi (Finger Lakes, New York) $30 Deep purple. Lots of compelling dark berry fruit and some plum. Peppery and bunch with a curvy body and soft structure. Fruity depth and very satisfying. "My Boxer" by Oh Land? Apparently the only winery in the Finger Lakes that does a Saperavi. https://twitter.com/joshlikeswine/status/632636887115673600 Fox Run 2012 Lemberger (Finger Lakes, New York) $21 Stinky, perhaps a bit reductive. Peppery with blackberry and brown spices. Echoes flavours on the palate with a dark and shadowy finish. Notably slightly...

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Sun rays and Vouvrays

Studying for the upcoming diploma exam in around 4 weeks is just as terrifying as it is satisfying, with each strikethrough on my study planning sheet providing temporary pleasure before moving on to another daunting section, though I was particularly proud of myself for the past few sections on Australia and USA. The sun's also begun to commit to bright and humid days, which means more exposed skin and mostly, weekend days that equate to regret when I'm literally rolling around in my bed with my laptop trying to relax and study at the same time. And it works - almost too well, to the point where I'm questioning why my growing talent for memorizing soil types isn't better put to use by,...

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WSET Diploma – Unit 3 – Week 18: Workshop #4

Because I skipped Workshop #3 for drunk studying. Like I know I'm supposed to be pseudo-sentimental right now because it's the last class of WSET ever, but all I can think of is how much material I have to learn until the exam in June. Holy shit. I really need to make a study plan. That I won't end up sticking to. Ugh. Life has been on the rise in a vague way. A good (wine) friend has moved to the other end of the country which really sucks, but it was a good sendoff. [caption id="attachment_4278" align="aligncenter" width="500"] How alcohol nerds celebrate.[/caption] 2005 Coulée de Serrant = amazing. 2006 Elderton Botrytis Semillon = amazing. Everything in between = amazing. Taxi rides home, hugs in...

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WSET Diploma – Unit 3 – Week 17: Southern France & South America

I just realized that this is the penultimate WSET diploma class ever, and the next Monday will be the last, so perhaps I'll temporarily be free from making these posts instead of legit studying. It's almost been exactly two years since I started the diploma. WOAH DUDES. I'll save more I-can't-believe-it's-been-this-long-etc-etc-omg sentiments for next week. My best friend's birthday was on the 4th and he planned some long string of activities including pool, clubbing, and other miscellaneous turnt-esque activities. Still not feeling life, generally, so I stayed for just the first bit, which means I attempted the geometrically bro-y activity of pool (after much external convincing) while studying German flash cards on my phone when people weren't looking. I went home after that to...

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Vancouver International Wine Festival 2015: “Mod Oz”

It just feels slightly unfortunate that this seminar didn't sell out - I mean, if the idea of Australian Shiraz is being purportedly tired, why aren't we getting excited about every other fucking grape that can be grown there? Did you see Australian Grüner Veltliner coming? The answer is no. You didn't. I mean yes - I tire my face out by tensing my eye sockets and resisting an eye roll every time someone says they "don't like Australian wine", which is somewhat fair considering that the market can be saturated with its own stereotypes. I suppose it's just good business sense, but there's so much potential past the generic back-of-the-bottle tasting notes that preach deep berry fruit, "smooth", and an empty promise that it'll pair well with...

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