Wine 22

I’ve been watching Wine Library TV since about episode 10, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed an episode since. Gary V. has really enlightened me in many ways, and I’m pretty stoked that such resources exist. Without Gary V I wouldn’t know nearly as much about French wine as I do now, and also, on many occasion in New York, I was able to order specific wines that were going for a steal and have been able to save many a dinner party that way.

I try keep my finger on the pulse of the wine world as much as possible, Podcasts like 3 Wine Guys, Eric Asimov’s The Pour which discusses not only wine, but spirits and aperitifs’ as well (this week Asamov discusses Irish Whisky, and I’ll be sure to be keeping close to a tumbler or two of Jameson’s tomorrow… though a little champagne with some green food colorant wouldn’t be out of order either.)

For the epicurean gastronome, the internet has never been a better resource. Gone are the days of Zagat, and in with www.theamateurgourmet.com and www.chowhound.com, all through which I’ve discovered some of my favourite dishes and little eating spots.

But I’ve built up a list of bookmarked sites over 3 years, and have really made it my mission to try find what’s out there, and I’ve often found that in being able to give friends recommendations about wine or restaurants, when they ask me how I’ve been able to find interesting places or unique and rare wines, when I try explain its nowhere near as simple as I make it out to be: purely because if one spends a lot of time on the net they just accumulate lots of knowledge that relates to their industry.

So perhaps for the amateur there needs to be a site that brings all the different blogs and wine sites together.

Though, it wouldn’t only be for the amateur.

Gary V. is well and good, however, the other day I was at one of my favourite wine bars and had a selection of world wines that I’d never even dreamt of.

Nebbiolo La CettoThe first was made of a variety I don’t have too much experience with, Nebbiolo. And it was from the region of Guadalupe Valley in Mexico. This wine had the rare combination of a strong oak-backbone coupled with a berry burst and the faintest floral accent of what I could only describe as crushed rose petals and cinnamon. The producer is L. A Cetto. Now I’m not going to pretend I’d heard of this wine before, and that when I thought of a beverage from Mexico, I only imagined Tequila and frozen margarita’s, but this wine was just amazing. And call me naïve, but I didn’t even know that Mexico had the terroir for grape growing. Although, before I started on this project, I would have told you the same about Arizona. Although come to think of it, Mexico is rather close to Napa, so it would make sense.

The next wine we had, which was quite topical, was from Uruguay (I’d just been reading about Bush’s visit.) The 2004 Bouzat once again featured an unfamiliar variety, Tannat, with the not so unusual Merlot. The wine’s colour and texture were unbelievable for a wine so young, deep violet at the centre with garnet shades showing at the edges. This wine had a real fruit-cake aroma of white raisins, plums and blackberries with prevalent overlays of Columbian coffee and vanilla pods. The plump and smooth tannins prop the wine up and give it an unbelievable follow through. Not something you’d have more than one glass of, but it’d be a good fireside wine.

I had to track both of these wines through www.cellartracker.com to find them in the United States, I couldn’t find either on www.winelibrary.com or www.wine.com, and I guess this is just one of the looming gaps in the market. Retailers are taking a gamble if they give shelf-space to a wine (which happens to be good) from Mexico or Uruguay. But if you try find proper websites for these wines you can’t do that either. If you’re interested in wines from different places, then it’s a bit of a Catch 22. Just in case you don’t follow the link to get the exact definition, I’m going to quote the definition of Catch-22 here, “A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions.” Now isn’t that just the best darned description of the 3-tier system you ever saw?

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