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Tag Archives: regional wine

Colorado Governor’s Cup 2014

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Colorado Governor's Cup 2014Ten years ago, when I first tasted Colorado wine, I spent much of my time being polite. As in, “This is nice. Thank you for letting me taste it.”

Those days are long gone, as was amply demonstrated last weekend during judging for the fifth annual Colorado Governor’s Cup. The red wines were exceptionally strong, and though the whites weren’t as good, they were technically sound and professionally made. In the regional wine business, that’s an accomplishment.

The best reds were cabernet franc and petit verdot, two Bordeaux grapes that do well in Colorado and that the state’s winemakers have taken to with enthusiasm (and especially cab franc). My panel gave a gold and double gold to cab francs, and a gold to a petit verdot. And the best wine of the competition was a petit verdot, from Canyon Wind Cellars. The results are here.

The wines were varietally correct, but also distinctive and reflected Colorado’s terroir — not a lot of fruit, more dry than a California wine, yet complex and very long. This is not an easy style of wine to make, but the state’s winemakers have made great progress figuring out how to work with their terroir over the past decade.

Finally, a few words about my pal Doug Caskey, who oversees the Colorado Wine Board and has run the competition since it started. One reason I enjoy judging this event so much is that Doug brings together judges who understand that Colorado wine isn’t French wine or California wine and isn’t supposed to taste like it came from those places. Sadly, too many judges downgrade wines that are “different,” which has nothing to do with quality, but with a preconceived notion about what wine is supposed to taste like that borders on snobbery and elitism.

The two people on my panel, Tynan Szvetecz and Sarah Moore, were terrific in this respect, and it was a pleasure to judge with them. I’m always lucky to work with people who put up with my idiosyncrasies, and they were no exception.

Idaho understands regional wine marketing

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The Wine Curmudgeon, despite regional wine’s tremendous success in so many other areas, still despairs about local wine’s inability to market itself. The preferred method remains wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ that the Winestream Media will take pity and announce to the world that it’s OK to  drink local wine. Which will happen when the Wine Spectator hires me to eliminate scores from its reviews.

Fortunately, the Idaho wine business understands this. The Idaho Wine Commission recently released a marketing video that does pretty much everything that regional wine marketing should do. It’s subversive, it’s funny, and it sells the product on its own merits without the usual local wine marketing foolishness — appeals to snobbery, invoking Napa Valley, and using phrases like world class. Plus, it only cost $7,000 to produce.

The video is about a minute too long, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Would that Texas, where the current idea of wine marketing is to do none at all, made something this clever with the only criticism that it’s too long. The video is below, and marvel that no one thought of something like this before.

Doc McPherson, 1918-2014

Doc McPherson, 1918-2014
Doc McPherson, 1918-2014

Doc McPherson, left, and son Kim, who owns McPherson Cellars in Lubbock — drinking and talking about wine.

One of worst parts about this job — probably the worst — is writing posts like this. Obituaries are bad enough, but how do you sum someone up in 300 words in phrases optimized for Google’s search robots?

You can’t, and especially when it’s someone like Doc McPherson, the retired Texas Tech chemistry professor, World War II bomber navigator, Peace Corps instructor, and one of the three or four people who made the Texas wine industry possible. So I’ll just write, and Google be damned. More, after the jump:

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