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Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut twelve seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652...

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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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24 wines for turning 24

This post serves two purposes: a sincere smile-and-nod to the 23rd year of my life, and a spring cleaning wine dump of, coincidentally, a number of bottles that equals the number of anniversaries since I was pushed out of my mother. Alas. The past prime number of a year has been good to me, and I'm stoked for the next. Beyond this whole becoming-an-adult thing, I've done many things including completing the WSET Diploma (i hate to keep mentioning about it - but perhaps the youngest in BC to do so!), changing jobs, travelling to New York, travelling to France, travelling to Spain, and other things that would probably be best not to put on the internet. Heh. And home. Oh God - connecting to your...

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“1000 Years in Tuscany”: Getting Sangio-crazy with Barone Francesco Ricasoli

I was never really a history buff in high school. What I did, though, was take all of the sciences and maths unnecessarily earlier than I needed to, during, which I hate to admit, the coinciding apogee of the Big Bang Theory. I once took pride in every comparison to Leonard Hofstadter I received in university - which was purely from a fashion standpoint, of course - because I realized how dull I found quantum mechanics. Cringeworthy half-stories aside, I really mean to say that I've totally reversed: I've started to appreciate history in general as I got deeper into wine, and sometimes it's such a shame that having serious game plans to taste wines means I have to skip principals and their stories. So I'm glad for...

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A bored ho tastes Bordeaux (2013)

Bordeaux is in a bit of a tough spot at the moment - which isn't saying much - but it's far from being an underdog: Eric Asimov discusses this in a New York Times article in May 2010. The region in question once simultaneously exuded both normalcy and the unattainable; a seemingly conventional gateway wine to all other wines, yet having this aura of hubris and higher social status. But now that so many more wines are available, and with a new generation seeking wines that are anything but normal, it seems that less people are raising their hands for the classic French region. But I mean hey: people still whore out special bottles of Bordeaux for likes on Instagram, and a blog post on the mass-produced...

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Evolve Cellars

Three things immediately come to mind when I hear the word "evolve": Pokemon, Digimon, and evolutionary biology. My childhood aside, let's add Evolve Cellars to the shortlist for a potential fourth: my favourites among this Summerland quartet are the heftier rosé and red that seem to go against the predictable BC pattern of interchangeable off-dry rosés and the oft-disjointed reds. The red of the vintage prior to the current release won a gold medal at the 2015 BC Wine Awards; the wine's birth was crafted by Lawrence Buhler, winemaker. Huzzah. The whites, though, along with the rosé, are part of Evolve's very first vintage release, the grapes being sourced from the Sundial Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, probably attributing the rounder, denser versions of the grapes....

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Josh Likes Paris

I've unapologetically become my parents when it comes to travelling, which primarily means that I like to arrive at airports hours and hours before I realistically need to. Combine that with what Erin and I decided to drink the night prior, which was all of Cava, fresh hop beer, and bourbon. Why?! But the morning turned out fine, and we had shitty mimosas and beer at the airport to satisfy the unending ghosts of the night prior. The short layover in Montreal slowly eased us into our French-speaking modes, followed by a decent 7-hour flight to Paris. I sheepishly told the flight attendant that I would like the chicken option for dinner, which really just means I muttered "poulet". I don't remember what in-flight movie I...

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Canadian Wines with Rhodanien and Tuscan Influence

In August, I was invited to a tasting on two wineries with very specific philosophies and inspirations. Le Vieux Pin and La Stella are wineries linked by winemaker and ownership but emit different energies when it comes to their wines, the former evoking elegance and finesse, the latter evoking power and density. Both take inspiration from the Old World: it's clear that that Le Vieux Pin channels the Rhône, but La Stella channels Tuscany, and more specifically, from the beefy wines of the Maremma coast. They manage to coax the personality of the grapes into a proper expression of the climate in a particular vintage - and without stretching the malleability of the grapes into anything that isn't intrinsic or primal. Pure and fierce, I guess,...

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New York with Age; Brazil on the Page; Tuscany Backstage

There was another set of seminars: I had to choose between a study on South American wines, the range of Riesling grown in Alsace, or the aging potential of New York wines. When Brandon Seager - the Chair of the Winemaking Department at Tompkins College, Winemaker, and Finger Lakes Wine Country LGBT Ambassador (cool, I didn't even know that was a thing!) - used Brad Pitt analogies and pictures to explain the nuances of wine aging, I knew that I had chosen the right seminar. Huzzah. The wines were what I was mostly looking forward to, especially the aged ice wine, which can be quite a divisive topic when it comes to cellaring wine. Opponents of the idea believe that ice wine...

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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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