Good Reads Wednesday

by Jeff Miller of Artisan Family of Wines (Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, Red Côte Rosé)

jeff-smEvery Wednesday I post my recommendations of the best of last week’s postings concerning wine, whether blogs or news. I list them in the order I read them, so you shouldn’t infer anything about the order in which I list these posts.

Ins And Outs Of Wine Competitions

Jim Clarke

An interesting discussion of wine competition judging, by a competition judge. Personally, I don’t think these competitions are worth a whole lot. See my post, Wine Judging – Does It Mean Anything? at

How To Taste & Talk Wine - What You Smell & How To Smell It

Michael Homula

This a really good basic summary of wine tasting 101 in video form. There’s a very good chart summarizing the main flavor descriptors for wine.

Sardegna Sunday

Two Dogs, a Flamingo and a Bottle of Wine

Dan McGrew

While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the review, never having tasted this wine, this is worth checking out for two reasons: 1) it’s great to see someone reviewing a totally different wine from a totally different region (Sardinia) not often encountered, and 2) the recognition that the grape, Grenache, can and does result in a very different wine in one growing area (Sardinia) as opposed to the Rhone, where it’s best known.

Outlying regions, and their wineries, face uphill odds

Steve Heimoff

A good discussion of the hurdles for up and coming wine areas. In Steve’s opinion, a wine region must meet at least 2 of these 3 criteria to make it big:

- attain a critical mass of wines that have been highly-rated by respectable writers

- be close enough to major transit routes to be easily visited by writers and tourists

- develop an infrastructure of amenities (restaurants, lodging, tasting rooms and other recreations) to provide hospitality for visitors.

If he’s right, I think a lot of regions (including my Suisun Valley) are going to have a tough time of it. No matter how good the wineries, a small region, with only a few wineries, is going to have a problem achieving the “critical mass” of good reviews. And getting that infrastructure of restaurants, lodging, etc., is often going to inhibited by zoning restrictions, not to mention the difficult economics facing the pioneers in these ventures. I hope (for my own sake), there’s a place for wine regions that produce excellent wines even if they can’t meet Steve’s criteria.

For keeping up to date with what’s going on the in wine world, the best all around source is

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