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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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Souzãoberry Fields Forever: hang time with Portuguese grapes in Lodi

Of the mad scientist-viticulturist laboratory that is Lodi, California, we've touched upon southern French varieties; grapes classically grown in cooler areas of Europe like Germany and Austria; and Lodian odes to Spanish wines. We reached the part of the conference where we would end up on one of twenty-or-so different excursions - and to complete the circle of a trip, or at least extend the semi-circle or whatever - I eventually decided to go on the excursion that hinted at a visit to a winery with a heavy lean towards Portuguese grape varieties. What the fuck is Souzão, anyways? Let's whip out a tome and read the following paragraph in our Jancis voices. (She is, by the way, in the running for being my...

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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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Brun-hello? It’s me. San Francisco and a throwback to 12 bottles

You guys! It's been around three weeks since I've arrived in San Francisco for what I've been telling everyone are secret wine projects. Which they are. It hasn't really kicked in that I'm here yet, to be honest, and the whole city just seems like a stretched-out Vancouver with Inception-like shifting of buildings. And much less green. It's like Vancouver and San Francisco were made from the same grape - but clearly have different expressions - like Chianti and Brunello, or something. [caption id="attachment_6111" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] vermouth![/caption] And it's fucking tech central, you guys. I mean - yes, obviously - but have you seen HBO's Silicon Valley? I'm convinced that it's not satire. Attempting to suavely grab a baby carrot while maintaining eye contact during someone's pitch during a Stanford mixer, and...

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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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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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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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WSET Diploma – Unit 3 – Week 11: Central Italy

Sangio-crazy. So on some last Tuesday of some sort, we were supposed to have practice (I love referring to practice blind tasting sessions as such because it sounds like I'm vaguely into sports) but it was cancelled because there's a bit of a cold going around. The viruses have decided disregard me over the past few months so I'm lucky, and that's saying something when you're in retail because you're basically touching everyone. I'll get it at the worst time, I'm sure. That one birthday when I invited my friends over but was wrapped up in a blanket the whole time. I hopped onto the 2015 Vancouver Wine Festival tickets slightly more ravenously than I did for Lady Gaga concert tickets last year, even though I'm...

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