You Know You’re a Wine Snob When…

…you find yourself ‘aerating’ your milk by swirling it aggressively in the glass. Heather Hope
… you unscrew the bottle cap from a Bud Light. And you sniff it. Jerry Pierson
…you bring your own stemware to a restaurant.
…you refuse to drink out of the box and insist on putting the wine in a glass.
Carol Prucha Evans <— oh SNAP, Should I admit that Carol is my mom?!
….you use a points rating system for the drinking water: 98 points, 2010 vintage ala tap water, some mineral taste on the palate, little to no nose and not dry at all, very quaffable and inexpensive…. Gary Krimont
…you carry a corkscrew in your pants pocket! @WLarryC
… you take some of your wine bottles to a friend’s apartment for recycling so the garbage guys won’t think you have a problem. ;) Naomi Whitmore Pollack
…you bring your own aerator to a restaurant @HipsForHire
…when its Riedel or nothing else! @abryksa
…when you won’t drink a bottle of wine less than $20. @DaveBenjamin
…When your friends refer to you as “The Cork Dork”Jeff Morrow
…you must precurse a statement by saying, “I’m not a wine snob, but…”Jason D. Brumley
…you start making cute things for the house out of all the corks you’ve collected. Steven Petersen
…when you scoff at the fact that a resturant only offers “house red” or “house white.”
… It takes you longer to take the first sip than it did to pour it in the glass. Ariana Emery Burgess
… you fly 1500 miles to drink your favorite wine instead of drinking it at home!!!! Scott Miller
…every time you purchase a bottle of wine, you then check Wine Spectator online for the rating.Emily Campen-Mrachek
… you post a question on FB and twitter asking what makes other people a wine snob :) Tom Black <– Oh JAB!
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THANK YOU Twitter and Facebook Fans For… well… writing this blog post for me! I put the question out there “You Know You’re A Wine Snob When…” and got an amazing response. Any response with an @ symbol and a name after it is the Twitter handle of someone I follow on Twitter. All other responses have a link to Facebook accounts. ‎What a stellar Social Media Community I am involved in!

Is the Type of Wine Glass You Drink Out of Important?

Over the years, I have collected wine stemware the same way I have collected wine itself- by the case. From ‘breathable’ glasses, to the entire Riedel Sommeliers series, which averages $100 a stem (note: there are about 15 glasses in the set). I never stopped and asked myself why it is that I enjoy stemware the way I do.

Is it the aesthetically pleasing  thin, perfectly hand-blown German, Austrian or Swiss made high end crystal or glass that appeals to me, or is it that it actually does make a difference in the way wine tastes?  I have, perhaps wrongfully, assumed that great wine needs a high-end, and varietal specific glass, to be enjoyed. Am I the product of someone’s clever marketing attempts? As a marketer myself, I have really stepped back to analyze my pre-existing beliefs and notions about wine stemware.

My order of 4 ‘The One’ wine glasses were delivered today. when I ordered them, I had no idea that the Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, had only produced one glass for red wines. I figured this was the first glass of many of hers that I would end up adding to my collection. Here are the sentences on the side of the box the stems came in that have me so deep in contemplation right now.

“You Don’t Have to Add a Wing to Your House to Store Countless Confusing Glass Shapes. You Don’t Have to Spend More on Your Glasses Than You Do Your Wine”… “Blind Tasting After Blind Tasting Has Proven That [You Don’t Need a Different Stem To Get The Most Out of Each Type of Grape]”.

YOW Andrea! Thanks for the inspiration of ‘deep thoughts by Seattle Wine Gal’ that are happening this evening. I must note that I really enjoy drinking wine out of the glasses you designed. I have had a few types of red wine in the glasses, and loved the way the glass complimented each and every one. I can see myself putting these stems in very close reaching distance in my cupboard. I also love the height, and find that many of my glasses, including Champagne flutes, are too tall to store anywhere but the weird drawer above the stove that no one can reach. I am quite honest with my ‘reviews’, so I will admit that I’m not overtly fond of a wine glass that touches the bridge of my nose with each sip, but perhaps my sipping style is a bit crude. I am very happy with all of the questions the glass has raised for me, and judging by all of the comments, it’s a topic that interests a lot of people!

All content belongs to Barbara Evans. Please note that I was not paid by Andrea Robinson to endorse her glasses nor was I asked to promote them in any way.

Think Outside the Box: What’s With the Weird White Wine?

Want to bring something besides Chardonnay to your next BBQ?

It’s starting to feel like Summer again here in Seattle, so lets talk white Wine! I have been lucky to travel many parts of the world in the name of cheese and wine. During my travels I have discovered all sorts of  white wine varietals and blends that I would deem unique Summer Sippers. Here are a few wines that my Twitter Wine Master Minds and I recommend tracking down for  swig of something a bit outside the box.

Vernaccia (one of my personal favorites). I discovered this little easy drinker while riding my bike through San Gimignano, a little medieval town in Tuscany, Italy. My first taste of it was in the form of gelato flavored Vernaccia, which I admit was not as good as the wine itself. I buy about a case every Summer; most wine shops carry at least one bottle (which usually has dust on it and can be found behind quicker selling wines).

Soave (Highly recommended by myself and @YasharWineMongr). This is a wine that Yashar and I have agreed upon as one of the easiest to drink Winter white wines (next to Champagne). For me, it is a year-round sipper that drinks amazingly well with food. Soave is a dry white wine from the Veneto region in northeast Italy, principally around the city of Verona.

Vinho Verde (@AtlantaWineGuy): This wine is great for St. Patricks day, and just about any sunny Summer day! It’s a drink now kind of wine that has a green tint to it. Many of my friends think it’s only suitable for white Sangria, but I disagree. I have consumed plenty of $7 bottles of this affordable green wine.

Merwah & Obaideh (@RickBakas and @TexasWineGuy). Man oh man, I had to look this one up. These are Lebonese grape varietals that make up wines such as Chateu Musar’s popular white blend. Obaideh has been rumored to be the ancestor of the Chardonnay grape, and has a Semillon-like appeal.

Catarratto (@DivinaCucina) is a white Italian wine grape planted primarily in Sicily where it is the second most widely planted grape after Sangiovese. Overproduction in recent years has led to this grape being a substantial contributor to the European wine lake problem. Catarratto can make full bodied wines with lemon notes… Learn More

Siegerrebe (@WineBeerWA) is a white wine grape that is grown primarily in Germany with some plantings in England, Washington State, and British Columbia’s North Okanagan… Learn More

And that is just a few! Please add your favorite ‘outside of the box’ white wines in the comment section below… I’m always looking for new treats!

~Some descriptions in this post were sourced from Wikipedia, with links to learn more.

Tasting 200 Wines in 3 Days: Sensory Overload?

Do you think an average wine blogger can really ‘taste’ wine and get a good assessment of it at the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 (#WBC10)? A discussion with Jay Soloff, owner of Delille Cellars (@DelilleCellars on Twitter).

I’m sitting here having tea and gluten-free muffins with Jay Soloff, co-owner of Delille Cellars, which has been deemed ‘Washington States Best Winery’ time and time again. My meeting with him was not to interview him, it was tea between friends. But our conversation developed into a perfect blog topic. It went a little something like this…

Barbara: I tried well over 30 new wines a day at the Wine Blogger Conference 2010 last week. Not only was the amount of wine tastes that were thrown our way overwhelming, but there was a constant buzz of music, conversation and sales pitches, along with a general palate fatigue of 30+ WA wines a day, which started at 9am, and ended well past 10pm. Can a non skilled palate make a sound judgment under these conditions? If the point of our tasting is to let our followers in on some best kept #WAWine secrets, is an event such as this effective, as say, an hour in a tasting room or sipping a bottle of WA red with dinner?

While at WBC, I avoided any attempt to tweet or blog wine reviews, and wonder what type of assessment could truly be made in an atmosphere of that nature. For me, tasting wine in a crowded room, filled with music, people chit chatting with me about up-coming wine events etc is almost impossible (even with many years in the wine industry, and many trade tastings and events such as Taste WA). The distractions are just too numerous. I decided, instead to focus on the personalities of the wine makers, their history and story, and how I could help them get the word out on their wine. Every wine maker I spoke to, and every wine that I tried did leave an over all impression on me… but man was it tough to make a sound assessment!

Jay: Yes, that is something that wine makers/owners think about when at tastings. We at Delille Cellars have discussed our presence at large tastings numerous times, and what it means to us in terms of Return On Investment (ROI). We conclude that we don’t care about ROI at all… not even a little bit when we pour our wines to hundreds of people. We can’t weigh the value of any of our marketing effort, our aim is just to be accessible! You never know today what participation will yield down the road. What you give is what you will get. Not everyone we taste on our wines in a crowded, distracting, room will take away what we really want them to (a great introduction to our wine), but they may take with them the experience, a bit of our history, and the ability to have asked me direct questions.

Barbara: That is so perfectly ‘wine’. The wine industry is particularly unique to me in that you are selling more than the juice. You are selling a lifestyle and an experience. It seems similar to what you are saying to having a presence at a large tasting. I am glad to hear that you don’t need to measure the results of giving tastes of your wines to people, such as the Wine Blogger Conference. This leads me to ask you a question about why Delille doesn’t seem to be investing much in Social Media. Why is it that wineries are apprehensive to use that same ROI marketing concept with Social Media?

Jay: Wow… that’s a very great point Barbara, Social Media marketing has been sitting in my gut as something we need to do. Unfortunately, there are 4 owners, not just me.

Barbara: We’ll talk about that next time we meet for muffins Jay. Thanks for answering my questions.

I would like to hear more from the people that feel they are able to make a sound judgment about the wines tasted in this type of environment, especially during ‘speed tasting’. For me, WBC was a great way to learn about new wineries, places to eat and stay etc as a way of steering my followers to new cool things. As for getting a good grasp on the wines that were poured, I may have to buy them all and taste them one by one in my kitchen with dinner!

Inside the Head of The Owner of A 9,000 Bottle Wine Collection!

An Interview With Cliff Chung, Owner of One of Seattle’s MEGA Wine Collections

* See Below for Information Regarding How YOU Can Purchase Some of Cliff’s Collection at a GREAT Discount!

I have known wine makers, Sommeliers, Master Sommeliers, Certified Wine Educators, General Managers/owners of 5 star dining establishments, and pretty much anyone I could introduce myself to in the wine industry. The inter-workings of the industry are very well known to me. What is not, however, is the consumer side of wine. Sure, I know people who have beautiful collections, fine dining parties, and even some who sip Cristal with lunch like it’s water (though I have yet to be invited along). What I have never tapped into until now, however, is the deepest layer of consumer that can be found. I call it Obsessive Collective Disorder (OCD), and I finally got to meet a fellow who’s been hit by the bug! While many of us in the industry are completely enamored by them and their very mysterious existence, the normies may consider them over the top, and just plain eccentric.

*Email Cliff at cfchung@comcast.net for Information About the part of His Collection He Is Selling!

Thank You Purple Cafe And Wine Bar in Seattle

A Few Quotes I collected From Cliff After The Interview:

“From the mid 2000’s till 2009 I bought 95% of my wine from Garagistewine.com, after a friend recommened I check out it’s website. I did and was hooked after that. So now I have about 9000 bottles, 3400 of which were purchased fro Garagiste over the last 4 years”.

“I buy bang for the buck wines that can age. I didn’t but to be a collector, but a drinker and sharer of wine. People point out that I can’t drink all that wine, but when i past on, someone will inherit a nice stash of wine”.

“People drink wine too early and too fast at meals. We look for instant gratification. Open the wine, especially reds an hour or two before the meal, decant if needed, pour into a glass to let it breathe, sip while you cook and notice how the wine flavors and aroma evolve”.

“Make friends with the venues that sell wine. Some local food stores have great discounts available”.

“There is a glut of wine out there. Many bargains to be found. And winemakers throughtout the world are getting better at making good to great wine at good prices”.

Social Media and Networking- Are We All Becoming Idiots?

I have heard about, read, watched and pondered deeply about people declaring that Facebook, Twitter and Blogging is destroying our brains. Where has reading gone? Why don’t kids play anymore, or old folks gather to play chess? What about college students meeting for coffee to discuss the unique relationship dynamics between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre?

I have a bachelors degree in History, Political Science, and English, with a minor in Philosophy and a MA in Social Anthropology, am I allowing a finely tuned noggin to turn to dust by permissing myself to be immersed in these new fangled Social Media Networks?

During a discussion with one of the countries greatest Social Media minds, Chris Pirillo, a week or two ago, I caught myself admitting that Twitter has forced me to re-think making a point. It has conditioned me to make my point quickly, clearly, and in a way most everyone can understand. As an English major, and someone who has been public speaking and teaching for many years, this was an interesting revelation to me. I also feel that my years of archival research experience were a joke compared to the access of information I have now, the type of information, and who it is coming from. OK, so maybe the content has changed a bit… but so has my life. I went from 15 hour nights spent in the NYU library ten years ago, researching one question I had about Elenore Roosevelt’s involvement with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to tweeting “What’s the best Banana bread recipe” last night, and getting 30 answers in 10 seconds.

It is obvious that the type of information we get from each other over these social spaces is quite different than the information found in archives and the works of Nietzsche, Marx and The American Anthropological Association, but who cares! The information is relevant and applies to our every day lives… and it comes real time! I have not lost the book worm nerd in me… the girl who reads Shakespeare well into the night, just because I tweet. If anything, I have exponential access to new information, not to mention friends and connections with people who I truly believe “are there for me”. I write this, by the way, as I eat a banana muffin- the recipe of the grandmother of someone I have never met who is on Twitter. It’s the best muffin I’ve ever had. Her name was “Grandma Jo”.  A few key take-home points: 1. I like muffins. 2. I am not an idiot, and neither are you, we just like to tweet and connect on Facebook.

“Not everyone would think that the actor Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter musings on his daily doings constitute part of “the universal body of human knowledge.” But the Library of Congress, the 210-year-old guardian of knowledge and cultural history, thinks so”. See HERE for a recent New York Times article about Twitter and historical archiving.

Wine Tasting Etiquette: From an Ex-Tasting Room Manager

Don’t: pet the winery dog then bury your hand in the bowl of oyster crackers (in front of anyone).

Don’t: pour your unconsumed taste of wine in the water pitcher, use the spit/dump bucket.

Don’t: ask for each pour to be put in a separate glass. They are pouring you wines in an order for a reason, it won’t make a difference. Rinsing the glass with water in between each pour is silly, don’t do that either.

Don’t: take sips of your cold Starbucks during your wine tasting.

Don’t: wear perfume, it impedes on other tasters olfactory experience, most of what we taste is directly related to what we are smelling. Don’t wear deodorant either, this will add to the ‘funky’ smell of everyone’s wine, giving it a more Old World appeal.

Don’t: have long drawn out conversations with the tasting administrator and guests standing around about how much you LOVE the winery next door and visit them each year etc.

Don’t: use the cheese and crackers set out as a substitute for your lunch, especially after you have loudly proclaimed that you are only at that free tasting to taste, not buy.

Do: (if you like to be handled rough) get drunk and hit on the woman pouring your wine- she’s the wine maker’s wife and knows how to deal with brash, impulsive, messy, loud drunk men. Also, make sure to call her “waitress”.

Do: if the wine maker is around, try to come up with original questions that they don’t hear all day. Instead of “so which one is YOUR favorite wine”, ask how they feel about Obama’s new Health Care Reform and what they’re favorite flavor of muffin is.

Do: swirl obnoxiously while stick your pinkie up when you sip, put each glass of wine up to a white piece of paper, and blather on about the legs of the wine, how it needs to open up, and how you spend more money on wine than groceries; this will ensure the tasting room administrators and other guests respect for you.

Do: ask to “revisit” everything you already tasted so you can make an informed choice about which to purchase, start with the sweet Riesling and move to the Cabernet.

Do: ask if they will waive the tasting fee if you buy, if there is a case discount, if there in an extra one for wine club members, and if you can have the ‘industry discount’ on top of all of that. The wine maker is working full-time at a gas station because he or she likes to make wine, not because he wants to sell it for a living.

Do: buy the wine your wife wants… trust me, it’s best for all involved.

~All Content Written By Seattle Wine Gal

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