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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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God damn it, Riesling.

If Tyra banks were a Riesling (spoiler alert: she probably is, but like a Californian one or something), she - and I, for that matter - would be yelling at wine consumers à la Top Model cycle 4's Tiffany. Alas. We coerced the masses to join the Church of Riesling and tried to convince the world that it was everyone's undiscovered main bae: I did my best to promote the versatile berry, including the times I poured the gamut down the throats of university students during multiple hilarious post-secondary stints, or the time I shared some with a friend out of a thermos in the library while studying mathematical proofs. I've often dubbed Riesling a Millennial gateway grape (I'm talking about you, Sean) since it's famed for...

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If Austrian wines could soothe sunburns

When you plan a brunch date that unexpectedly turns into a day at the beach and a breathtakingly kaleidoscopic art show. If there were a handful of wines that could pair with the sun and simultaneously be soothing enough to cure slow-forming sunburns on one's bald head, Austria's take on Sauvignon Blanc would be one of them. C'mon, sunscreen! I forgot Austria did Sauvignon Blanc. Master Sommelier Matt Stamp describes the style of having a mint-like character throughout; the Wine Grapes tome states that the best producers "typically combine the refreshment of Sancerre with the creaminess of a rich white burgundy"; Oz Clarke's Grapes & Wines describe the style as having "classic nettly, blackcurrant-leaves fruit, while from the Sudsteiermark region come Sauvignon Blanc wines...

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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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My neck, my Bacchus

Most of the wine people I know got into its magical world after tasting some kind of superlative bottle that made them orgasm right into the industry. Like, we get it: you had a teaspoon of 1982 Bordeaux and wept. I literally had canned cranberry sauce with a corner store sandwich just a few weeks ago that was so good that it made me re-evaluate my life, so I guess I understand you. As much as I say that Marechal Foch is better as a drag name than it is a wine grape, and that most Canadian Cabernet Sauvignon is best used to remove dead skin off the soles of your feet, I absolutely live for the weird unorthodox shit. After waking up at...

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2015 ends and 2016 trends

I'm a bit late to this #bye2015hello2016 stuff! Anyways, I've said it way too many times than you care to read: I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. But this is the first year where reflecting and looking forward to the next year has felt the least forced. Despite my abrupt and perhaps ephemeral positivity, I won't be superimposing any fortune cookie pieces of advice onto filtered landscapes anytime soon - March seems to be my I-fucking-hate-everything downfall month anyway, so we'll see how much my outlook relapses. At the beginning of 2015, I made the tongue-in-cheek resolution to be a bit more selfish: to not to be guilt-ridden about having a balanced serving of things that make me happy and to give less of a shit about what...

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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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Fox Run and fun rocks

We went to Fox Run right after Anthony Road, for the WBC15 pre-conference: the sun was sure punishing me for being bald, and slathering scented sunscreen on my head would be a death sentence to the people trying to sniff the shit out of their glasses of Lemberger. At least my head would be shiny enough to be used as a security mirror at a grocery store. Yes? Yes? Halloween costume idea? [caption id="attachment_4815" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] I saw no foxes running.[/caption] A display of the vineyards, winery gadgetry, and discussions with the winemaker were followed by a lunch involving six wines, and then a geological tasting on different vineyards and the subsequent expressions of Riesling. Here, we compared the Hanging Delta vineyard to the Lake Dana vineyard, the...

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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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