Courtney Cochran: November 2009 Archives

Natural Is As Natural Does

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So-called "natural wines" are under the microscope these days
By Courtney Cochran
Twitter: @HipTastesMaven

The natural wine debate reached a fever pitch last week when the San Francisco Chronicle's head wine scribe, Jon Bonne, penned a blog post asserting that "natural wine is toast." At the core of his rant? The co-opting of the term - intended, at least initially, to describe wines made with minimal intervention - by marketers who wish to capitalize on its buzz-worthiness. The problem with buzz, of course, is that as soon as something becomes earmarked as "buzz" it's usually lost most of its potency anyway.

Hoax or No - Twitter to Make Wine??

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fledglingwine.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

It's true, management for social networking phenomenon Twitter.com recently announced a partnership the company has struck with San Francisco-based Crushpad, the urban winery, to make its own brand of wine: Fledgling. Proceeds for the so-called social media wine - which has its own handle, natch: @fledgling - will go to Room to Read, a charity that supports international literacy projects. And with some 49,124 followers as of press time, it sounds like Twitter's Fledgling Wine is off to a buzz-worthy start.

Parker Pandemonium

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parker.jpegBy Courtney Cochran

It's not easy being Robert Parker.

If the recent rash of criticism of the wine ratings czar is any indication, the lawyer-turned-world's-most-recognized-wine-critic isn't sleeping easy nights. Things first turned tough for Parker this spring when respected wine blogger Tyler Colman (AKA Dr. Vino) as well as The Wall Street Journal penned exposes on ethical missteps by members of Parker's tasting staff. And things have only continued to heat up since, with Colman penning follow-on pieces examining the veracity of Parker's so-called perfect tasting recall and discrepancies in the quality of wines rated in his publication, the Wine Advocate, and on the market.
By Courtney Cochran

Another ringer hit the wine industry recently when geologists gathering for the annual Geological Society of America conference in Portland declared there's little evidence the minerals we find in vineyards can be tasted in wines.  Perhaps most shockingly, the geologists said that "the concentration of minerals in wine is below the threshold of human taste and smell."  This all throws a major monkey wrench in the common belief held by critics and tasters-in-the-know (or so they thought) that mineral flavors can be tasted and smelled in many of the wines we quaff.  

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