Friday, November 15, 2019

Winding Things Down

After almost six years of relentless blogging, it's time to wind things down. I've spent a lot of time writing articles and reviews, redesigning, scheduling and planning, and have toiled away who knows how many entire nights focused solely on this website.

And, simply, I want to take my nights back. Movies and tv shows with my lady, playing video games in the dark, reading comics and science books, and most importantly: taking care of actual responsibilities. You can't fold laundry or clean the house while you're reviewing wine or writing an article or programming almost every single night.

After December or January I will not be rushing to meet a deadline that I set myself, there will be no more meticulous planning of each month for consistent published content, no more YouTube videos (I hate shooting those and I'm stopping those now), no more long-reads (unless I randomly get inspired), no more spending like 20 minutes a post scheduling on Hootsuite, no more doing all sorts of ridiculous things to keep it all rolling.

I will still be accepting samples for wines to review, but not nearly as many as I have, and they'll be more like the “quickies” I've been writing lately (which people really seem to enjoy more than my full reviews). And Wine Pick of the Month? Sure! Let's keep that up!

I will still be very much active on the social media accounts posting memes, talking about wine and news, and (as I said) still doing quick wine reviews, so TheWineStalker will still be around. But I will not be making the actual website a priority in my life anymore. I cannot continue to treat it like another job.

I thank you for following me through these six years that have allowed me to learn so much and taste so many great wines, and I hope you continue to pop in and see what's going on even if it won't be as often.

Cheers, guys!


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Wine Review: Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva 2014


The Castello di Albola Estate is situated in Radda at the heart of the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation, where the legacy of grape cultivation dates back to the time of the Etruscans. The Acciaiuoli family commissioned the estate to plant its lofty vineyard in Chianti Classico in the 15th century as a symbol of their high status. Over the centuries, many noble Tuscan families have owned the property, and the estate has earned various accolades for its wines. In 1979, the Zonin family acquired Castello di Albola promising to uphold the estate’s excellence for future generations. The wines produced in Castello di Albola have earned the iconic “Gallo Nero” symbol from the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, which guarantees the highest standards in winemaking.

The 2014 Chianti Classico Riserva is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo. The grapes are hand harvested, and the must is placed in horizontal vinification tanks for three weeks until malolactic fermentation is complete. It spends 15 months in oak. 10% is aged in Allier oak barriques, and 90% is aged in traditional Slavonian oak barrels. Then it spends another year in stainless steel tanks before seeing three months of bottle aging. It has a 13.5% ABV.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Bianco 2018


Last week I really liked the Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio and it turns out that their Pinot Bianco is another winner! It's yellow in color with pears, cantaloupe, lemon, graham cracker, and white flowers. On the midpalate it's weighty with a little tiny bit of oiliness to its mouthfeel and a tart acidity. Yum! This right here is a damn good Pinot Bianco for $16.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018


The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia.  With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mould and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.

I've got three reviews for Two Hands this week and it all started with Angels' Share Shiraz 2018, then I reviewed Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018, and now I'm finishing with Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Saké Quickie: Tozai Living Jewel Junmai


This was the last bottle of this saké on the shelf of a liquor store I was shopping in a few months ago, and I had to get it because it was bottled in November of 2017. Normally you want your saké to be younger than that because they're better fresh, but I had to know how it was holding up. $10 out of my bank account later and I was bringing it home. So now it's November of 2019. This saké has been sitting around for two years and who knows how long it was on that shelf. But you know what? It's not bad. The fruits of melon and pears are present but pulled back for more of a rice flavor to take over but I'm not complaining. And the savory finish is still going strong. Also, it's pairing pretty damn good with these crackers and spreadable cranberry rolled cheese. I'm happy with the purchase, and that's all that you can ask for.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018


The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia.  With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mould and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.

I've got three reviews for Two Hands this week and it all started with Angels' Share Shiraz 2018, now I'm reviewing Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018, and then I'll be finishing with Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wine Quickie: Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio 2018

Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio 2018

Well, this was a pleasant surprise! I was expecting a bottle of lemon water but I ended up really enjoying this Pinot Grigio, and the bride liked it even more than I did. It's straw yellow in color with white flowers, green apples, pears, and ginger. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel for a Pinot Grigio and a nicely balanced acidity. I'm adding this one to my favorite Pinot Grigios under $20 (it'll cost you $16) and that list is not very long!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wine Review: Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

Two Hands Angels' Share Shiraz 2018

The idea for Two Hands was born in September 1999 when founders Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz sat at a friend’s engagement party and decided it was time to make their own wine and market it on the world stage. The original aim was, and still is, to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia.  With so much Australian wine being sold around the globe under multi-region labels in a formulaic style, the intention was to break the mould and showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional and vineyard characteristics by allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines.

I've got three reviews for Two Hands this week and it all starts here with Angels' Share Shiraz 2018, then I'll be reviewing Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2018, and finishing with Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November Wine Pick: Yalumba "The Y Series" Viognier 2018


November is looking like another busy month! For full reviews I've got three wines by Two Hands out of Australia, a Chianti Classico, and two wines by Bogle's Phantom line. Scheduled for quickies are two white wines by Italy's Terra Alpina and five reds by California's Federalist. Oh, and I've got a raspberry mead for Thanksgiving! RASPBERRY MEAD! Pretty cool!

With a lot going on last month, including the passing of a friend and a stretch where I was not feeling well at all, I was unable to write an article or pull off Wine Bloggers Off-Topic for October but I'm going to try my damndest to get that out this month.

Yalumba is a winery in South Australia that is constantly winning awards for a wide variety of its wines, and my Wine Pick of the Month is the next vintage of their Viognier coming off of an impressive Wine Spectator Top 100 performance. What is Viognier? Well, it's a white varietal believed to have originated in Greece (although it's not there anymore) and barely hung on to survival in Rhone Valley, France, for most of its existence. Recently it's found a surge of success in Australia and California, and I swear it's absolutely the best wine with lobster.

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