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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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Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

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“Backroads of California”

I can't believe I even made it to this masterclass, because tickets to these GuildSomm events usually sell out quicker than it takes today's somm to name their favourite natural wine producer. Then again, I guess it's a California-themed one held in, well, California, so perhaps everyone else in this city is just more familiar with these tipples. I've lived here for around a year, so a masterclass titled "Backroads of California" implies that the theme is the vinous road less travelled - but considering this state was a quasi-neglected region during my WSET diploma studies, you could imagine how badly this information stuck. That being said, our presenter, Kelli White - author of Napa Valley Then & Now - was a fantastic guide who eventually tipped the scale in my mind...

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Aesop’s wines aren’t fables

I just asked an artist whether or not deadlines interfered with his creative process. His response was that it did a little, but the only thing I can confirm is that I suck at giving myself writing deadlines, and that the thought of deadlines often smothers any inkling of inspiration. Also: I'm not an artist. A stroke of lucky meetings led me to samples of Aesop, whose wines are so limited that the locales in which it's offered can be counted on one jittery hand. One half of Aesop is a designer, and the other half is a winemaker. It's odd how cleanly this translates to the wines, whose impressions of creativity can be both experienced by both the eye and the tongue. Are they called...

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On Vinebox and vials

What entices me about wine startup Vinebox is their potential solution to my half-concerns on purchasing full bottles of wine. (I get that you might be scoffing - not at the their idea, but at the notion that I have genuine concerns about sipping every last drop out of a bottle like a greedy sink drain.) The concept is simple: Vinebox sends you a flight of three wines they've sourced from different producers, catered to the wine colour of your preference and the kind of wine drinker you are - "adventurous", "classic", or "newcomer" - that way, you can have your own alcoholic Dating Game experience and possibly re-order the ones that tickled your fancy in all of their tubular glory, since the leading facet appears in the form of a patented...

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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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Rosé? For spring? Groundbreaking.

Seminar led by the Wine Diva, but I'm quoting diva Meryl Streep, obviously. If you didn't get that reference then why are we even friends? But really: I would wholeheartedly pair The Devil Wears Prada with a Loire wine. You'd need something light - maybe aloof - yet cutting, and dry. Also, that movie turns 10 this year? What? I've once again come a little too underdressed for such an event, but I can't help it because it's muggy, sunny, and I like mesh a little too much. Cool off with Loire wines? Probably one of the favourite French areas of from last year's Europe trip. My wallet cried. Anyways, I think my main point here is that people need to get excited about weird Chenin...

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“Looking to bone in Beaune”

...was the working draft for a Tinder profile in Burgundy. "Que cherches-tu?" I hopped off my bike near one of the villages - Pommard, I think - and ran down the road before jumping up onto a short brick wall surrounding some vineyard so that I could see better. I told the vigneron that I lost my friend and he said that the diverging roads would both eventually lead to Pommard. Though actually, I'm totally filling in the blanks with bullshit and I mostly don't know what he said (except for "tu comprends?" to which I responded with "oui"), but his hand signals sure helped. Theran and I decided to bike to the other edge of the town and wait, despite the itch to haphazardly bike down the next...

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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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Josh tastes 41 New York wines

I can be a combination of thrifty and stubborn. If I'm spending money to fly to New York for the Wine Bloggers Conference, there's no way I'm going to waste a single sober second not writing down a tasting note. I'm getting my money's worth, y'all. Militantly shoving my head in between suits and dresses has trained me for these moments (I wonder if I was born easily?), and I planned to taste every wine in the damn room during the opening reception. Which I did, I think. Followed by cocktails, because why not gloss over my dying mouth with vodka? I obviously tasted fewer wines than that time I tasted 173 BC wines in a row, but the BC torture session was in a brightly-lit room...

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