Sunday, January 14, 2018

Wine bloggers share their favorite posts

Below, in their own words, wine bloggers tell me what post of their own is their favorite and why. It was a fun project, as round up posts usually are. But understanding why a writer likes a certain piece they have written above all their others gives you some extra information, and telling information, of who they are. And really, who we are is what makes the blogging world so great. You need to bring a piece of you, preferably all of you, if you want to make it worth the time for yourself and your readers.

That is an important part of Lori Sullivan's pick. Lori inspired this article when I met her a few months back. She was "in the area". The distance from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is not "in the area" to a Cape Codder like myself. That's *gasp* OVER THE BRIDGE! But she lives in Texas and Texas is huge. The entirety of New England probably feels like a neighborhood to her. Lori is awesome, by the way. There's skulls on her glasses. She goes to metal concerts. She's funny. She took a good portion of her day to go see me where I work.

During our conversation, she was explaining to me why she doesn't blog much anymore. That led to her telling me what her favorite post of her own was. It's a deeply personal story and something only she could write. Over the next few days I started wondering... I have favorite posts but which one is THE favorite? And then... wait... everybody has to have their favorite posts, but what is THE favorite for them? I've been tweeting with and reading the work of most of the following people for years, and this was something I suddenly really wanted to know about them! So I asked.

Get ready for some excellent reads, because these are all great. I'll get to my own favorite at the very end because this isn't about me. It's about my amazing wine blogging friends.

LORI SULLIVAN of LORI'S TWISTED CORK

 LORI SULLIVAN of LORI'S TWISTED CORKWriting wine reviews have always been a chore for me, (that’s why I don’t post much) so I really enjoy when I can write about something personal that incorporates wine. I like the conversational style of writing and posting something that has happened to me; lends itself to that style.

Death is a weird subject. It can be heart wrenching, uncomfortable and sometimes funny. When my Dad died, I knew wine was going to be part of the grieving process for me and help me deal with the roller coaster of emotions. Each wine reflected perfectly each “episode” that I chose to share with the reader. I loved the fact that it ended somewhat humorously with a disgusting “non wine”.

My Dad was a good story-teller and proud to be a Texan. He told me that his dream job was to work on a ranch and be a writer. So when we toasted him, the Pedernales Tempranillo was the perfect choice. Pedernales is a great Texas winery and their Tempranillo is outstanding. Tempranillo is sort of the red wine of Texas.

When it came time for my sisters and I to plan the funeral and just attempt to think about settling Dad’s estate; my emotions were overwhelmed. The Black Beret was so uncomplicated and delicious; perfect with BBQ…comfort wine to match with a comfort meal.

We were at a dear family friend’s house, who is not a wine drinker and bought a JUG of Beringer White Merlot…what a hoot! It was a fun evening despite the wine and I honestly did not care. The jug was bought with love because our friend didn’t want us to go thirsty!

Lastly, that damn Pepto-Bismol! Just the thought of it gives me the shivers. But it helped me make the 4 hour drive to the funeral. It helped me tolerate the awkwardness of realizing that I’m a middle-aged orphan. It let me laugh at the jokes and funny stories that were shared about Daddy…this was the best part because in my family, we try to find the humor in everything.

Follow Lori on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriTwistedCork

JULIEN MIQUEL of SOCIAL VIGNERONS

 JULIEN MIQUEL of SOCIAL VIGNERONS
There are many blog posts of mine that hold a special place in my heart. And it’s probably no surprise to you Joey! We love blogging and writing about wine, don’t we? Otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it! Some posts are more personal than others, some more factual, or simply special to me because they document my tasting experiences of wines I genuinely loved. You know, wine does that. It makes your senses resonate with your soul sometimes. And it’s great to be able to share these experiences with fellow wine lovers.

But since I must pick my ONE favorite blog post, let me put forward this article I wrote about Sulfites in Wine. It’s dear to me because it represents one thing I love doing when writing about wine, demystifying it that is.

I studied wine chemistry and everything technical about and around it when I qualified as a winemaker in Bordeaux, France. Using and sharing this knowledge to inform my readers about my favorite beverage is one of the things I love the most. Taking a fairly complex subject most people would be reluctant to read about in fear that it’s going to be scary or too technical, and explaining it in a relatively simple, approachable, scientifically-accurate, yet an engaging way.

It’s what I think I’ve managed to achieve with this post. It’s been very popular, and it’s helped informing tens of thousands of people already about what really are sulfites in wine, why they’re used, and what they really do, factually. I got great feedback about it, and it’s allowed me to engage with many of my readers which is the second thing I love most about writing on Social Vignerons.

I also love demystifying individual wines and share what they really taste like (like Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne or Mouton Cadet Bordeaux), or sharing what I know about wine categories like Prosecco sparklings. I’ve also found videos are a great way to share the wine world, one I’m exploring more and more these days. I guess I’ll have to make a video about sulfites in wine someday.

Read "Sulfites (SO2) in Wine: Top 7 Facts": http://socialvignerons.com/2017/03/02/sulphites-so2-in-wine-top-7-facts/
Follow Julien on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMiquelWine

MADELINE PUCKETTE of WINE FOLLY
"THE MOSEL VALLEY WINE GUIDE"

 MADELINE PUCKETTE of WINE FOLLYHeya! Oh sheesh, tough call. I have like almost 900. It's amazing my carpal tunnel is not that bad!

Actually, I'd say that The Mosel Valley Wine Guide was one of my strongest guides this year. That #$%^er is strong. Took a lot of research, I ended up going down a deep dive into the Devonian Period (the Paleozoic Era leading into the 4th major extinction event) to try to simplify where slate came from and how the Mosel was formed.

Choosing what to say (over what there is to say) is always the hardest part. I use as little words as possible, supported by as much research as possible. It's like a really taught rubber band. That's what I think good writing is; leave you with enough to feel truly smarter but know that there is still... so much to know.

I dunno.  I think of my writing kind of like making things.  Sometimes I look back and I'm like "whoa $H!+, I made that. Turns out I'm not an idiot." Then, other times I'm like "no wonder people think I'm a hack, I wrote this P.O.S." So... yeah... I'm a prolific artist, but genius is like 1/10th of the time.

Read "The Mosel Valley Wine Guide": http://winefolly.com/review/mosel-valley-wine-guide/
Follow Madeline on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WineFolly

THE WANKERS of THE WINE WANKERS
"20% OF ALL WINE IN THE WORLD IS FAKE"

THE WANKERS of THE WINE WANKERSHi Joey! Thanks mate for thinking of us. I'm going to pick this blog post of Drew's as it became so controversial and gained so much traction. It all started when we shared a fake image on social media and got a response from the Aussie expert. Then Drew interviewed him and wrote the story. People went nuts and demanded it get retracted but then the world's leading expert joined the discussions in the comments to back him up. They were adamant it was true. No one wanted to believe it could possibly be so. A lively one indeed. Cheers!

Read "20% of all wine in the world is fake - this expert's guide will save you a fortune": https://winewankers.com/2017/06/23/20-of-all-wine-in-the-world-is-fake-this-experts-guide-will-save-you-a-fortune/
Follow The Wine Wankers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/winewankers

LORI BUDD of DRACAENA WINE
"IN THE WIND OF PLEASURE"

LORI BUDD of DRACAENA WINE
First, I'd like to thank Joey for inviting me to participate in this wine writer round up about our favorite post. As soon as I read the invite, one post immediately came to mind.

Diving into the cliché world; I go with the flow and I am ok with letting the chips fall where they may. I have Irish/Scottish blood in me, so I get fired up but it takes me a quite bit to get there and then I quickly let it go. The main way I release my frustration and stress is by writing. (it use to be playing basketball, but I'm getting too old for pick up games) I grew up writing poems and short stories. I have always enjoyed the fantasy world that comes along with writing. It has habitually been a release for me.

In case you are not familiar with me, my husband and I own a small winery in Paso Robles, Dracaena
Wines, and specialize in Cabernet Franc. I began, what started as a one person mission and has now
gone international, #CabFrancDay which occurs annually on December 4th. In order to promote the day, I wrote the post entitled "In the Wind of Pleasure".

It tells the tale of how Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc came in a torrid and exhilarating, yet short lived romance that brought us the king of Bordeaux wine, Cabernet Sauvignon. I had so much fun writing a love story that included bits of wine science! I hope you enjoy!

Read "In the Wind of Pleasure": https://dracaenawines.com/wind-pleasure-repost-cabfranc/
Follow Lori on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dracaenawines

THE BOYS of WINE WALKABOUT
"CIAO ITALIA TI VOGLIAMO BENE! LOVE LETTER TO ITALY"

WINE WALKABOUTThis is my favorite story. Why? Because it was such a rush! Not the story but the adventure that was the subject of it. We had planned a trip to Italy for Kiwi Chris's wife's big birthday year. Little did we know how amazing it would be? From Rome to Venice to Verona (where I proposed to my now wife) to the mountains just north of Lucca where we rented a beautiful Villa as a base for many great adventures. Florence, almost to Sienna, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Lucca and a number of other beautiful places. Italy, the wine, the food, the places, and the people, it was simply magical. The people and places that are Italy, stole our hearts and we will never be the same again! We rate it a 'Must do' again!

Read "Ciao Italia ti vogliamo bene! Love letter to Italy": https://www.winewalkabout.com/blogger/search/Ciao%2520Italia
Follow Wine Walkabout on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kiwiandkoala

CATHRINE TODD of DAME WINE
"THE TRUEST SENSE OF PLACE WITHIN YOURSELF"

CATHRINE TODD of DAME WINEIt is always difficult to decide your favorite post, just like picking your favorite child, but the one from 2017 that immediately popped into my head was “The Truest Sense of Place within Yourself”. As I explored wines from Southern Oregon, specifically the producer Troon Vineyard, and their decision to use Rhône varieties that are not typically associated with this state, it brought back some tough yet ultimately heart warming memories of being a teenager.  The lesson of these wines, which to me is to tap into the truest sense of place within yourself, made me reexamine where I am in my life now as compared to my past recollections. This is the power of good wine… it transports you so eventually you can transcend and fly.

Read "The Truest Sense of Place with Yourself": http://damewine.com/2017/11/the-truest-sense-of-place-within-yourself/
Follow Cathrine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/damewine

MOHAN of DRUNK FOR A PENNY
"WINE TASTING - NOT AS HARD AS IT LOOKS"

MOHAN of DRUNK FOR A PENNYI've been blogging since May 2016, and my primary goal has been, in brief, to make wine a THING here. There's a lot of stigma attached to wine in India, and while some producers here are making some truly phenomenal wine, it often goes completely unnoticed because consumers are discouraged or intimidated by the price, or by the connotation of elitism, luxury and wealth that it implies. And it's difficult for them to look beyond that, because they haven't the other side of wine enough.

My idea with the blog was to break that image, and to show everyone that wine belongs as much in a backyard garden party, or on the binge-watch couch, as it does on the President's table at the State banquet. People here are justifiably terrified by wine etiquette, and looking foolish in front of people who know their wine better. And it's very, very counter-productive to the wine culture. My philosophy is simple: First start with just drinking it. The etiquette will come with time. And to a small degree, it has worked! My audience is limited to just my friends and my Facebook feed for now, but the feedback I've gotten is encouraging, and only fuels my passion for wine even more.

India is practically an infant in the wine world, but we are well on our way to reaching the global scene. It's just going to take long, serious, concerted effort. I intend to be one of the people that helps to make it happen. And to be the voice that says "Don't worry, you're not an idiot for not knowing your Cab Franc from your Cab Sauv. That's precisely why I'm here, to help. Relax, and enjoy your wine." Even as a wine student, I sometimes have difficulty understanding everything I read on blogs written by people abroad, simply because they have a better innate understanding of it. I want to help bridge that gap, and make it more accessible to people here.

Here's the article that I had the most fun writing - I actually had to hold myself back from making it three times longer than it is right now. Kind of like I'm holding myself back a little right now.

Read "Wine Tasting - Not as Hard as it Looks": https://drunkforapenny.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/wine-tasting-is-easy/
Follow Mohan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/drunkforapenny

LARRY BAKER of LARRY THE WINE GUY
"DRINK..OR HOLD? DRINK..OR HOLD? I SAY DRINK!!"

LARRY BAKER of LARRY THE WINE GUY
Happy New Year. My favorite blog of this year was geared towards people who are wine collectors. They might have 50-60 bottles of the same old vintage of a wine and they might be senior citizens but they very very rarely open one up to drink. My inspiration for this blog whether to drink your wine now as life is short or hold on and lay them down? I watch too many people leave this earth leaving a 50 year old wine collection behind because they look at wine as trophies instead of a product to share and enjoy now while you still are here. It inspired a lot of my customers who collect to start popping some corks and not just keep adding to their Cellars without drinking some now..

Read "Drink..or hold? Drink..or hold? I say drink!!": https://larrythewineguy.net/2017/11/14/drink-or-hold-drink-or-hold-i-say-drink/
Follow Larry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LarryWineGuy

FRANKIE COOK of FRANKLY WINES

FRANKIE COOK of FRANKLY WINES
My favourite blog post (of my own) is 10 ways to mildly irritate a wine enthusiast from a couple of years ago.  I have Jim Dunlop (@jimofayr, a real gent who I met and drank with the subsequent summer) to thank for the inspiration as he gave me the idea in the first place; a similar type of article but based on whisky rather than wine.

(I like to think, at least, that) I'm a fairly reasonable bloke, but some things just tend to make my blood boil, especially if they relate a subject that I'm very passionate about such as wine.  One of the best ways of responding to stupidity is with sarcasm, scorn and laughter, and that's what my post set out to do.  And given the feedback received, I think it was successful - the majority of people who read it found points which resonated with them, even if they weren't total wine geeks like me, and found it amusing...it was one of my most popular posts ever!

Read "10 ways to mildly irritate a wine enthusiast": https://frankstero.com/2016/02/15/10-ways-to-mildly-irritate-a-wine-enthusiast/
Follow Frankie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/frankstero

JIM LOCKARD of JIM LOCKARD ON WINE

JIM LOCKARD of JIM LOCKARD ON WINEMy blog, JimLockardOnWine.com, is all about making the world of wine enjoyment accessible to all kinds of people. This post, "What Kind of Wine Drinker are You?" was written after a visit to England (and the Costwolds home of the folks in the photo at the top of the blog).

Realizing that there are many "types" of wine drinkers is often a revelation for people. Whether you always drink Chardonnay, or always drink something new, whether you stick to First Growth Bordeauxs or "value wines," there are plenty of ways to enjoy this great beverage and its lore. I had more response to this post than any other over the past four years. My goal is to open the world of wine to more people - whatever type of wine drinker they are!

Follow Jim on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JimLockardWine

JOEY CASCO of THEWINESTALKER.NET
"SOIL AND WINE - PART 1: STARSTUFF AND SEASHELLS"

 JOEY CASCO of THEWINESTALKER.NETThis was not an easy decision for me. Leaving reviews out of the equation, I had my favorite posts but they were all favorites for different reasons. Even though I try to focus on wine history and wine science in my articles, I do run the gamut because I still like to change things up. A favorite article could be for sentimental reasons. It could be for informative and educational reasons. It could be because I was particularly humorous. It could be for a strong performance on my stance in an opinion piece. The CSW Experience is about all the hard work that put the letters at the end of my name. Wine, Lies and Glycol got me on The History Channel. I have four years worth of favorites compartmentalized.

After careful deliberation, I decided that it wasn't so long ago that The Adventures of Aglianico would have been deemed as my favorite. It has a connection to my grandmother. It also set the standard for what a wine history article on TheWineStalker.net should be. It was a long read, it gathered a ton of information by digging deep through sources, it made a connection to the people in each era, and it cracked a joke at every opportunity it was given. Most importantly, it used all of that to tell a story. I love telling stories. After that, every wine history article had to live up to the original.

But careful deliberation calculated that right now my favorite post is none other than Soil and Wine - Part 1: Starstuff and Seashells. The year of 2016 was my most productive on this blog. This article, along with the following two parts in the series, is myself at peak geek performance. I was focused, driven, and obsessed with science, history, and wine. I was on my game and looking for every opportunity to learn more about wine and the universe. During my studies, I realized that I knew about soil and wine but not enough about just the soil. Yeah, slate is important for German Riesling because it reflects and retains heat from the Sun. But what makes slate slate exactly? The opportunity arose to write while learning. That is my favorite kind of educational post; when I'm not preaching things that I already know but I'm learning along with the reader. This is how blogging can be such an invaluable tool. So I dove deep.

I can't just explain soil types. That's not me. I had to start us from the very beginning... as in the birth of our Sun. Referencing the books of my heroes, such as Carl Sagan, for verification of accuracy in Solar System creation was a completely natural reflex given zero thought because that's just the thing to do. But coming off fresh from rereading their words, it was so satisfying to passive aggressively say "Listen, this is what happened. There's no arguing this." I'm not strafing around portions of history to avoid controversy. I'm leaving no window for mythologies and superstitions here. Everything you see is just the facts, ma'am, whether you like it or not.

Planning and mapping out the structure of this entire series was intense. I remember the notes, the corrections, the squigglies squiggling things out, the arrows drawn to move something somewhere else. It's not like there's anything like this series out there to borrow ideas from. This was a first. So even its organization was an exploratory process that shapeshifted as it was being written. The excitement of blazing a trail that was only previously touched in portions, or rushed through like it was flown over and seen from a window, was super cool. And of course, there was the research and the learning. Reading articles on geology and pedology was like entering a whole new world of wonder. Things I never knew and probably never would if I wasn't a blogger insistent on over-doing everything.

So there's all that, which I freakin' love, but here's a three paragraph explanation on why it's REALLY now my favorite post. After this series was published in February of 2016, I decided to take the year off from actual wine studies (My Year Off: Trading in Wine Studies for Science and Comics) but I wrote more for the blog than ever in the remaining ten months. Around August we found out my wife was pregnant with our second child, and then Daisy was born in late April of 2017. Have I been obsessed with science and history and wine since late 2016? Nope. Not at all. My whole life has been all about balancing working hours and family responsibilities. I've done the absolute minimal that I could do, while maintaining consistency, to keep this blog and its social media accounts active... until recently when I could focus more on it as we began reclaiming the night as parents.

But when I can start writing and researching I'm exhausted. It's like 9:30 at night, I've been up since 5 am, and the last thing I want to do is anything that resembles work. I'd rather play video games for an hour and call it a night. So yeah, every article I wrote in 2017 was not fun. Despite what I said at the end of My Year Off, it just wasn't materializing. I mean, I love Louis Pasteur but my biography on him was written while I was half asleep a few hours a night throughout an entire week. I'm still not sure how I found the energy to write Bordeauxing Rioja. I may have summoned demons for assistance with that one.

Soil and Wine - Part 1 is my favorite post because it's where I know I COULD be all the time on this blog, and I don't know if I will ever be able to get there again. There are some things I need to take care of right now for the sake of my family, and I don't know if these changes will allow me to put as much focus on the blog to be able to write something so detailed and planned like that. Recently I was hit pretty hard with an unexpected and crippling expense, so one of those things will be hustling for more money after I clock out of my salary position. That alone takes some serious time away from this blog and, most importantly, my family. It's heartbreaking. I'm devastated.

I have more reviews coming this month, then I'm taking February off for Flashback February like I did last year. Then I'll return in March and April to complete the reviews that I promised I would do. After that, who knows? We'll see. Maybe everything will be okay and I'll be able to keep nerding out with monthly long reads, maybe I'll solely write reviews, or maybe The Wine Stalker will have to retire from blogging.

We'll have to wait and see. Thank you for reading. I love you guys. < 3

Read "Soil and Wine - Part 1: Starstuff and Seashells": http://www.thewinestalker.net/2016/02/soil1.html
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWineStalker

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