Domaine Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay – 2012 – 9.0 (90/100 Pts) – James Melendez

Easily approached; a delightful Chardonnay; essence of green citrus, white flowers, sesame, pine nut and hint of fennel.

Salud!

James

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

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Thierry & Pascale Matrot Bourgogne Blanc – 2011 – 9.0 – James Melendez

An easy to put your arms around this white Burgundy.

Nicely dry; balanced and even; notes of yellow-orange citrus peel and zest, minerals in a stream, white peach, hint of fennel and tea.

Salud!

James

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Wine Videos–An Observation and My Favourites – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

It is no guessing that I like video…. No I love the art and the pulse of video.

YouTube is my main channel and I have posted duplicates on Vimeo as well.

I have talked about how many people are not watching the wine category on YouTube and how ironic that is as there are videos on every topical matter and most categories with decent hit rates.  It is a great resource for “how to” and now the rise of the vlogger has been an important original source of entertainment good for both YouTube and the individual vlogger.  iJustine has 3.2 million subscribers and over 480 million video hits on all of her YouTube channels.

Wine as a category is both simple and complex at the same time.  While wine is a very important beverage category it does not have the same power to get people to view wine videos.  I have examined and theorized a few reasons why that might be the case.  I think the wine interested viewer looks to YouTube for any and all other categories except wine videos.  Wien videos are undiscovered country.   People are interested in whisky, beer, coffee and tea have good click rates on YouTube; I would certainly say that these categories have been discovered to wines un-discoveredness.

Wine is complex because of the many combinations of characteristics:

  • Vintage
  • Varietal
  • Cuvee
  • Vineyard or non-vineyard selection

While the above may not seem, on first glance, to have the power to increase complexity of this beverage category but it does.  Vintage is a rare distinction that perhaps no other category beverage or not does not have a year-by-year difference. There is small category of vintage beer.  Overall vintage is a quality mark that wine has variation while, beer for the most part and spirits do not have.

Wrapping one’s arms around the big, complex and even illusive category of wine is hard for even those who are in the wine trade and media.  Imagine consumers trying to grasp the many aspects of wine—there are many aspects to enter and find content.

Gary Vaynerchuk was wine’s flash star –his videos showcased his boisterous and high energy and for about 5 years.   Gary’s approachability and New York Jets dump bucket and overall New York Jets talk certainly attracted one demographic and perhaps scared off another.  The wine industry’s white knight was everywhere and everyone wanted a snapshot or video with Gary.  Gary ended his videos at Wine Library (his families business) and then started the Daily Grape.  The Daily Grape was not a daily but several times a weekly video.   Though a name change the format was not necessarily a radical change.  My guess is that the hit rate was not an increase but more of the same metrics that he had on YouTube and hence the retirement.  Gary did not given up on the video format all together.  While I have not and will not spend any time giving a statistical analysis his video click rates seems to be very similar to his wine library video days.

Gary Vaynerchuk was very unconventional and many saw this in welcoming ways.  As an example of his way of speaking about wine is his video on Aglianco in Tasting #984 where he termed the salinity of a particular Aglianico to be like Sardines.  To anyone who had not tasted an Aglianco might find that description a warning to stay away.  Gary got a lot of mileage out of his channel and PR program.  Before observing his video click rate I would have assumed his metrics would be at least several thousand to ten thousands.  Some of his videos don’t move the needle as much as I would have expected Episode #838 with 505 views in four years.  Also Gary’s videos are very time bound—i.e. how the New Jets were doing at a particular point in time.  Even for New York Jets that might be less interesting over time.

I don’t doubt Gary’s overall persona helped to recreate and redefine wine library from a relatively unknown wine retailer to a national known one.   Not only just being known but lifting sales of his family’s business tremendously.  Gary’s successes were many fold and still live on today.

When Gary retired it was a topic that was talked about at each wine gathering I attended.  It was a mourning by some producers, fans and some wine bloggers.  I think the wine world was at a loss of who would or who could replace him.  Ultimately wine with it’s inherent complexities is no less compelling beverage that it should be sidelined on YouTube or other video mediums.   Wine as a category requires many voices not just one—and it has always been that way.  I think people harken to Robert Parker days as being a sole voice of yesteryear.

Some producers like Jordan Vineyard and Winery has done an excellent job of creating very popular videos and living the brands potential to give it 3,739 subscribers and 1,1 million hits.  Jordan is alone in this category but I do think it shows potential for other producers and even personalities to have a greater share of the YouTube viewing pie.  Inherently wine has great merits to be talked about.  Whiskey and beer have proven that these categories are alive—and wine can also grow it’s audience and can look to some of these personalities for tips to create a wine presence on YouTube.   There has to be much more content and consistently in order for the wine viewing public to be engaging wine videos.

I think the keys to the ignition of the wine video on YouTube is to do the following:

  • Branding, branding and branding—no doubt a voluminous topic:
    • what is your brand?
    • Is your brand message apparent?
    • Consistency in format
      • Opening
      • Closing
      • Titling – adding your name / brand to title / animation
      • Information
      • Call to action
        • I have seen videos titled only with wine name and vintage – e.g. “Villa Marie Sauvignon Blanc 2012”
          • Is this to introduce the brand?
          • Is it a particular view point on this wine?
          • What is the Call-to-Action or reason for me to view?
          • Why would someone want to watch?
          • Information in comments section
          • Links to your related videos
          • Background music / visuals / graphics, etc.

Below I have selected a few of my favourite videos that I have completed (18 are selected here).  I decided to not select any wine labels/brands and instead larger topics.   I have learned a lot in making 1,501 videos.  Also the more you do videos the more you develop yourself and you will be attracted to do continuous improvements.

I created my video format for wine brands to be a shorter format.  I did this for very pragmatic reasons—wine has so much content and that is the reason I am at 1,501 videos.  There is a lot to talk about and it isn’t a proposition of quantity versus quality.   I use to incorporate topics like “Beverage Arts” in a particular wine label video but the problem with not is having a stand alone video on this topic which cannot be not indexed and ultimately will not be found.

I like what iJustine had to say about subscribers (in her video: Zombie apoalyspe) “…even though thou subscribing really matters anymore….?”  Justine sounded skeptical but in her example I think it has helped  her over time and do think it helps other producers as well.

At time of this writing, I have 544 subscribers and 128,000 views and over 51 hours of content online.   I wanted to share these with you and a brief description on why I selected these videos.

****

My 100th Video – World Wide Wine Day – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

When I began making wine videos I didn’t think I would get to 100 videos.  I also wanted to create and promote a World Wide Wine Day which I think still has potential.  Hence I wanted to not just say a milestone number and not have a specific topic.

My 1,000th Wine Video – 1,000 Thanks! – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

A purposeful goal.  A long distance between a 100 and 1,000 videos.  I was looking at the content I had planned and it was nearly 900 subjects.  Hence I decided to complete this in a certain period of time.  I got to Gary Vaynerchuk’s number but had no intention to retire.

My 1,100th Wine Video – La Bastide Saint Vincent Gigondas – 2009 – 9.1 (91/100 Pts) – James Meléndez

I didn’t plan a certain date to get to this number.  I selected a Gigondas wines.

My 1,200th Wine Video – A Thank You! – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

A delight to give thanks to my viewers.

My 1,300th James the Wine Guy Video & Brand Promise – James Melendez

I had to give my points of difference and brand proposition.

My 1,400th Video – Nino Franco Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV – 9.3 (93/100 Pts) James Melendez

I had to celebrate with something sparkling.

Episode #1,500 James the Wine Guy Video – 1,500 Thank yous! – James Melendez

A time out to give a heartfelt thanks.

James the Wine Guy Comments about 100,000th Hit on YouTube – James Melendez

A rare number to got beyond in the wine video world.

How to Open A Bottle of Sparkling Wine – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Simply…difficult to do this in one take!  Rarely ever happens and once the cork is off I would have reach for another bottle.

The Beverage Arts – #Episode #1484 – James Melendez / James The Wine Guy

Talking about a great movement we have today that I call the beverage arts.

¡Bienvenidos al Dia Mundial del Vino! World Wide Wine Day (en Español)

So far my only video in Spanish.

World Wide Wine Day le 1er Juillet 2011 (en Français) – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

And my only video in French.

A Wine Descriptor I Never Use: ‘Rounded’ – Episode #1472 – James Melendez

Since I never use the word “rounded” when it comes to wine and why.

Keeping an Open Mind On All US Wine Regions – Episode #1461 – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Delving into the a plethora of wines beyond Calfornia, Oregon and Washington.  And central theme is to keep an open mind on other regions, wines and producers.

Not All Wines Are Created Equal – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

One of many reasons why I do wine reviews and that wine is not all the same.

Romanian Wines – Four Thousand Years in the Making – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Fascinated to finally taste wines from Romania; a very large wine producer with a long producing lineage.

Best of Wine times…Is Now – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

Thematically that there has been no better time for quality and artistic input.

Wine and The Power of Brand – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

The power of brand is alive—this is the only producer this day that had such a long line –Kosta Browne

James the Wine Guy Intro – James Melendez

And something I should have done from the very beginning.  Gives a recitation of brand and purpose.

Thank you for your viewing and reading!  And as always more wine videos to come.

James

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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The Audience is Not Listening to Wine Videos on YouTube…..Yet – James Melendez

I had to make a provocative tile to this article—which as you might guess will be a video some day as well. It is true there are very few people are watching wine videos on YouTube compared to ‘how to’s,’ beer, Scotch, daily vloggers or videos like “White crazy cat’ with 1.1 million hits and so fourth.

Either some wine producers have given up or announcements of retirement. Or you can look at some wine video producers and see low hits per video or low channel subscription rates.

I do believe in video and believe in it wholeheartedly—however, I had not always been a believer.  What made me change my view was a series of tests of written material (blog) versus video of the same subject which always showed a higher click or engagement rate for video.  Look at books and movies.  It is easier to find people who have seen the same movie fewer who have read the same 5 books. I love books and the written form and there will always be the need for this format.

Based on low viewing rates of the entire wine category it appears that it is under-rated and I do believe there is a wine video consumer who has yet to find the videos they are seeking.  The wine video consumer is under served.

It is ironic how few wine producers have a full fledged YouTube channel and when I think of the broader category of social media channels —it is what we have all been wanting—a free media to speak directly with wine consumer.  For producers—it is a dream come true to speak directly with their consumers.

I myself have been cultivating a viewer; upgrading and updating my format.  I have been both consistent in format and yet also an experimenter.  Being a former wine marketing manager I knew that the on or off premise wine business, distributor or importer have been trying to crack the wine “nut.”  The wine nut is not “crackable” because it is both an immensely enjoyable, simple and yet a very complex subject all at the same time.

I do believe that with a few upgraded and better practices more wine videos will find more homes on laptops worldwide.  Just because you film it they will not come (viewers) it is a concerted effort over time and it is a brand building proposition and commitment.

And here I offer 10 recommendations if you are either considering a YouTube channel or a wine producer or if you already have presence on YouTube to consider some of the following recommendations:

1. Watch successful daily vloggers; I glean something off of the vloggers I watch.  Vloggers are great conversationalist.  They have conversations with their viewer daily or weekly.  It is a framework to see where you might land.

  • I have become more comfortable by seeing conversation styles even editing techniques

2. Have your logo and brand image on your home page in YouTube

3. Utilize music and add your logo to each video

4. Use a good video editor like Final Cut.

5. Have a brand position—what are your thoughts on wine and how does that represent in each video you produce?

6. Insure a your video has a Call to Action or as I like to say a Call to Attention proposition

7. Be consistent

8. Be detailed oriented

  • I see so many videos that the title says something like “Russian river valley chardonnay.mov.” If it looks to home spun then you may not give a reason to view videos

9. I like to make linkages of my videos; not all wine videos will be related to all your other videos but when the relationship exists leverage it

  • Believe in your brand—believe in video.

Good YouTube videos often but not always have some great edit work, an element of music, something interesting to say, and are continuously improved over time—that is YouTube videos are getting better over time.

Wishing you the best on your video endeavors!

Salud!

¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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My 2014 Landmark List and NTM (Need to Taste More List) – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

In my videos, I have talked about this year (2014) as another year of diversity in my tasting.  I continue to challenge myself to have as full spectrum of wine videos from as many wine regions as possible.

I know many specialist of wine reviewers and writers and some have a very specific scope of region: California, Northern California, Bordeaux, Rioja and so fourth.  I have always believed, at least, for myself that it would betray my intellect to not taste wines from the furthest reaches.  My home base is San Francisco and whether I was based here or not I would continue to have California wines as another region to review wines.

I published a list that I call my Landmark List (2-March-2013) and here is the article: http://jamesthewineguy.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/wine-country-tasting-wish-list-revised-2013-james-melendez-james-the-wine-guy/

I noted the following as wine countries that I have not tasted:

  • Turkey
  • Ontario
  • Armenia
  • Algeria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Luxembourg
  • Liechtenstein
  • Malta
  • Tunisia
  • Egypt
  • Moldova
  • Peru
  • Finger Lakes
  • Slovakia
  • Serbia
  • China
  • Russian
  • Jordan
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine

I can now remove Jordan, Peru, Moldova, Finger Lakes, Ontario, Turkey.  You will see the one’s I removed from Landmark list have now moved to the Need to Taste More (NTM) List.

***

I have included below my  Need to Taste More (NTM) list.

Need to Taste More (NTM) List:

  • Puglia
  • Sicily
  • Valle d’Aosta
  • South Africa
  • Canary Islands (Islas Canarias)
  • Uruguay
  • Mexico
  • Lebanon
  • Macedonia
  • Morocco
  • Israel
  • Republic of Georgia
  • Romania
  • Montenegro
  • Oregon
  • Washington State
  • Australia
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • New Zealand
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Chile

And I will probably continue to add to my NTM (Need to Taste More) List.

Keep a look out on my YouTube channel and subscribe to keep up with latest reviews and general wine videos.

Please drop me a line if you know where I could obtain wines from either list (Landmark or NTM). – james@jamesthewineguy.com

Thank you and a great year to you!

James Melendez

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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Top 100 Wines of 2013 – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

This was another great wine year.  I have said in many past videos that we “live in the best of wine times” which can be thought of in terms of quality, artistry and availability.  My top 100 I hope is always unique and very different.  It is not what you might find in a mainstream wine media publications.  I think it is unique and varied.  Wines from Corsica, Ontario, Okanagan Valley, Slovenia, Hungary, and beyond.  These wine represent some of the best wines that may not be part of the “usual suspects” but highly polished and integrated and lyrical wines.

This is a a ranking of top 100 in no particular order.  It has been a great year of exciting and Look forward to 2014.

1. Abacela Umpqua Valley Estate Tempranillo – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)
2. Achaval Ferrer Quimera Mendoza Red Wine – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

3. Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella – 2008 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)
4. Alma Rosa Sta Rita Hills La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)
5. Atlántico Sur Single Vineyard Uruguay Tannat – 2006 – 9.5 (95/100 Pts)

6. Beauregard Santa Cruz Mountains Zinfandel – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)
7. Beauregard SCM Regan Vineyard Pinot Gris Orange Wine – 2012 – 9.1 (91/100 Pts)

8. Bellingham The Bernard Series SMV Red Wine 2011 – 9.5 (95/100 Pts)

9. Beni di Batasiolo Barolo – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

10. Big Basin Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir – 2010 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

11. Bott Csontos Furmint – 2011 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

12. Bott Határi Hárslevelű – 2011 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

13. Bodgea Bouza Montevideo Albariño 2012 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

14. Bravium Beau Terroir Vineyardd Carneros Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

15. Bravium Signal Ridge Vineyard Dragonfly Block Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

16. Bravium Signal Ridge Vineyard Sundance Block Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

17. Canard-Duchêne Brut Authentic Champagne NV 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

18. Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé Réserve – NV – 9.5 (95/100 Pts)

19. Chateau De Maligny Chablis Vieilles Vignes – 2010 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)  -

20. Cockburn’s Vintage Port – 1955  – 9.6 (96/100 Pts)

21. Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – 2009 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

22. Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

23. Delamotte Blanc De Blancs Brut Champagne – 2002 – 9.6 (96/100 Pts)

24. Di Majo Norante Molise Aglianico Contado Res – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

25.  Domaine Comte Abbatucci Cuvée Faustine Rosé – 2012 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

26. Domaine De La Verde Vacqueyras – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

27. Domaine de Marquiliani Vin de Corse Rosé – 2012 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

28. Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvée Reserve Pinot Noir – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

29. Ferrari Brut Rosé NV – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

30. Formidable Mendocino County Merlot – 2009 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

31. Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Magnificat Red Wine – 2010 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

32. Frick Dry Creek Valley Counoise – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

33. Frick Dry Creek Valley Syrah – 2005 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

34. Furthermore Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

35. Graham’s Vintage Port 1966 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

36. Hand of God Old Vine Mendoza Malbec – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

37. Hartford Court Arrendell Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

38. Haywire Okanagan Valley Gamay Noir – 2011 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

39. Hedges Red Mountain Red Wine – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

40. Henry of Pelham Ontario Short Hills Bench Estate Riesling  – 2008 -  9.3 (93 /100 Pts)

41. HHV Block 3 Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

42. J Late-Disgorged 2004 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

43. J. Cuvee XB Extra Brut NV -9.3 (93/100 Pts)

44. James Cole Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 – 9.4 /100 Pts)

45. Kabaj Goriška Brda Amfora 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

46. Kabaj Goriška Brda Rebula 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

47. Kabaj Goriška Brda Sivi Pinot – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

48. Klinker Brick Bricks & Mortar Lodi Red Wine – 2011 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts) James Melendez

49. La Rochelle Russian River Valley Pinot Meunier – 2012 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

50. Lange Twins Centennial Lodi Zinfandel – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

51. Maverick Okanagan Valley Sauvignon Blanc – 2011 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

52. Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Pinot Noir – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

53. Merry Edward Estate Pinot Noir – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

54. Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

55. Miraflores El Dorado Zinfandel – 2005 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

56. Monte del Fra Amarone della Valpolicella – 2008 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

57. Montepedroso Rueda Verdejo – 2012 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

58. Mud House Golden Terra Central Otago Pinot Noir – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

59. Murrieta’s Well Livermore Valley Zarzuela Red Wine – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

60. Nico Tanya’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Fiano – 2012 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

61. Nino Franco Primo Franco Prosecco Superiore DOCG – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

62. Nino Franco Prosecco Superiore DOCG NV – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

63. Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin – 2008 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

64. Painted Rock Estate Red Icon Okanagan Valley Red Wine – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

65. Papale Primitivo di Manduria – 2008 – 9.3 – (93/100 Pts)

66. Patricia Green Croft Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – 2007 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts

67. Quinta Cruz Clement Hills Bokisch Vineyard Graciano – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

68. Quinta do Vesuvio – 1994 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

69. Rocca di Montemassi – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

70. Rosa d’Oro Clear Lake Primitivo – 2011 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

71. Rustico Okanagan Valley Old Vine Zinfandel – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

72. S.A. Prüm Beerenuaslse – 2001 9.6 (96/100 Pts)

73. S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese – 2005 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

74. S.A. Prüm Wehlener Ereste Lage Old Vine Riesling – 2004 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

75. Schäfer-Fröhlich Vulkangestein Nahe Trocken Riesling – 2011 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

76. Sequoia Grove Morisoli Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon – 2007 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

77. Seven Directions Okanagan Valley Rosé – 2012 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

78. Skinner El Dorado Syrah – 2008 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

79. St. Amant Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel – 2012 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts) -

80. Stepping Stone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé – 2012 – 9.2 (92/100 Pts)

81. Steven Ken Folkendt Vineyard Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

82. Steven Kent Home Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon – 9.3. (93/100 Pts)

83. Steven Kent Lineage Livermore Valley Red Wine – 2010 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

84. Strying Ribbon Ridge Estate Pinot Noir –  2009 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

85. T Vine Mt. Veeder Grenache 2010 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

86. T Vine Frediani Zinfandel 2010 – (93/100 Pts)

87. Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel – 2010-  9.3 (93/100 Pts

88. Tantalus Okanagan Valley Old Vine Riesling – 20- 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

89. Tinhorn Creek Okanagan Valley Cabernet Franc – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

90. Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2Bench Red Wine – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

91. Tantalus Okanagan Valley Natural Brut – 2010 – 9.3 (93 100 Pts)

92. Tercero Watch Hill Grenache 2009 – 9.3 -(9.3 /100 Pts)

93. Theniot Brut Champagne NV – 9.3 (9.3/100 Pts)

94. Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

95. Trigrammaton Nova Vineyard Yolo County Cabernet Franc – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

96. Unison Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah – 2009 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

97. Waits-Mast Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir – 2010 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

98. Warres Vintage Port 1970 – 9.4 (94/100 Pts)

99. Yves Leccia Domaine D’e Croce Patrimonio Vermentino – 2011 – 9.3 (93/100 Pts)

100. Zonin Amarone Della Valpolicella – 2008 – 9.3 – (93/100 Pts)

****

Wishing you the best in 2014 in wine and all adventures!

Drop me a line!  james@jamesthewineguy.com

James Melendez

¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

About: James the Wine Guy – James Melendez is the world’s largest producer of published wine videos. http://www.youtube.com/user/jamesthewineguy

He has been a Food and Wine Marketing Manager at a large US multi-state retail chain.  He is a San Francisco-based wine writer, videographer, educator and judge.   He has been on both sides of the pouring table and loves what wine is and does to bring friends and family closer.  An fan of history and a great appreciator of everyone involved in making wine.

****

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2013 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Wine Without Borders (A Bit of Prohibition Still Lingers) – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

While Prohibition ended 80 years ago it still lives in on many ways.  Post-prohibition does allow for distribution of beer, wine and spirits, however, ABC (alcohol beverage control) laws have been overly controlling and are a direct result of the repeal.  Often I remind those around that while in this post prohibition period there are approximately 40,000 ABC laws where a great majority of these are ridiculous laws.   Required mark-ups, colour of price label, screw cap allowance, non-allowance of sales or discounts, regulatory required markups and the sundry list goes on and on.    There is probably no other consumer product category with more regulation.  There is no such thing as a free market in the US as it relates to beer, wine and spirits distribution as prices are manipulated by regulated barriers.

Some people point to Canada as it relates to cross provincial barriers are the worst examples in first world nation-states but to be fair while they may be prohibitive but are no match for the overly complex, overly ridiculous laws and regulations in the United States for cross state exchange of wine, beer and spirits.

Prohibition was a grand failure, a constitution amendment of the absurd and a generator of so many more negative social consequences that linger on ad nausem.  I wonder what would have happen to the wine industry if prohibition would not have happened.  There is considerable vibrancy in the wine producing community which has nothing to do with ease of doing business in the overly controlled world of ABC as there is no ease of doing business in this era.  In 2013, we still have US states that are Franchise distribution states, dry or mixed dry counties or zones.    The repeal of prohibition gave too much control to states who controlled every aspect.  More so states now in 2013 do not have the a reason to have exceedingly controlling laws–in this era of online information about wine, beer and spirits and makes price points transparent on each computer screen.  Awareness and knowledge may not bring change immediately but will someday bring much needed reform.

When I tried recently ordering a wine from a producer in another state I could not as the producer did have the right permits.  Ultimately there may be little incentive to get a permit to a potential state that may not purchase enough wine to sustain the cost of the yearly permits.   What this means in the bigger picture is that there will not be a level playing field.  This is one area where reform is certainly needed hence wine without borders is my advocacy.

I do think that end of prohibition was a great day and I hope someday real reform of ABCs will happen.

¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2013 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Henriot Brut Souverain NV – 9.2 – James Melendez / James the Wine Guy

9.2

 

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This Champagne was a lively wine–a bountiful amount of tropical fruit notes; passionfruit, Papaya, Meyer lemon zest, almond, biscuit and white tea.

¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2013 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Kelowna, British Columbia: A Delightful and ‘Must Visit’ Wine Country – James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy

Kelowna, Okanagan Valley

Kelowna, Okanagan Valley

Some wine countries are developed as you might expect–all the amenities and much more.  Other wine countries lack and ‘…only if they had more restaurants… more resorts, spas and stores.’  But each wine country is different and it would be dull if they were exactly the same.  Clearly all wine countries are on their own trajectory.  And that is okay as that helps to define character.  Many wine countries have potential—and many if not all work hard to stay where they are and develop further.

Kelowna is at the centre of Okanagan Lake–a pristine lake that is much larger than what you might see in a picture – 135 kilometers (84 miles) length and 5 kilometers wide (3.1 miles) at it’s maximum.  But it is more than just metrics–it is a scenic beauty that is graspable and appreciable–unspoiled and a clear ambiance of beauty and having all of the amenities I crave and need.  I was in Kelowna in June of this year (2013) and I was so looking forward to my visit and I told people around me and each was surprised that Canada had a wine country.  I replied that Okanagan Valley is one of two major wine countries in Canada.  Most people thought it was too cold for Vitis vinifera.

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Okanagan Valley and the lake chains (Okanagan, Skaha and Osoyoos Lake) and the desert (most northern tip of the Sonoran dessert) enter into Canada.  Each of these geographic features set the stage for the right circumstances and conditions for wine grape growing.  The lakes moderate temperate–not too hot, not too cold.  Like other wine countries often a valley is another great condition–can optimise temperature and depending on their formation have some ideal soil types.  The only downside might be lesser acres/hectares available to grow wine grapes while others would argue this is exactly what is needed.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Summerhill Pyramid Winery

My excursions to Kelowna was to start off at Summerhill Pyramid Winery founded in 1991 by Stephen Cipes.  The winery is located in Kelowna facing west and proximate to Okanagan Lake.  The Cipes family is quite involved with their winery from leadership to dynamics and permaculture.  I began my tour from the stunning lake view side–the June sun bright and splendidly warm on my face.  I listened to Ezra Cipes talk about the winery’s organic, biodynamic and permaculture approach to their winemaking.  And walked up the hill to the Pyramid with winemaker/viticulturist Eric von Krosigk –I was excited to see the interior of the pyramid which is 1:8 ratio of the smaller of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.  Unlike the Egyptian pyramid you can see the full interior (i.e. the Egyptian pyramids are a stone structure outside and in).  The geometry allows for a small amount of outdoor light–is made of wood and concrete and this great Pyramid of Summerhill has copper along it’s central support beams.

I then enjoyed a meal at the Sunset Organic Bistro prepared by Chef Jesse Croy.  The five course meal was paired with Summerhill wines.  In my expectation for good not great food–locally sourced, beautiful prepared and plated and matching quite nicely with Summerhill wines.  I was surprised to see so many local items plated so early—the strawberries were gorgeous.  And this was my first time to taste Elk–much more mild than I would have expected—very nice.   A misconception on my part is that there is a later ripening seasons for fruit and vegetables.

Here are the courses and wines paired with each:

Course 1

Shoots & Roots – Radish, Sprouts, Beans and Quinoa

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Cipes Brut NV

Course 2

Scallops & Grilled Okanagan Valley Strawberries

Summerhill Syrah Rosé 2010

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Course 3

British Columbia Salmon

Summerhill Riesling 2012

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Course 4

Elk Medallions

Summerhill Cabernet Franc 2009

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Course 5

Chocolate Duo

Chocolate Gelato Ice Wine Float & Raspberry Dark Sacher Cake

Summerhill Estate Riesling Icewine

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The lingering sun going down much later than my usual northern California sunset was a great way to close the evening–orange sunset accented by deep blue colours from Okanagan Lake and with backdrop of the mountainside.

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A View from Manteo Resort

I stayed at the Manteo Resort Waterfront Hotel and Villas –nicely situated on the lakefront.  Staying in a Villa is a great option if you want to stay in a place that you are centrally located to downtown Kelowna and wineries.  I liked the full kitchen including washer and dryer, comfortable bedrooms, garage, and living room–ideal for a family but good for a couple as well.

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The next day I visited Tantalus Vineyards–a gorgeous and clear day and warm and gentle June sunlight warming the vineyard.  Tantalus is the mythological figure who was near fruit and yet it evaded him when he reached out–surrounded by water but each reach for a drink of water flowed away.  Tantalus is a gorgeous site of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay situated on gentle hillside facing west in nine blocks.  There are old vines of Riesling which some may find surprising given that Vitis vinifera has only recently been planted in mass.

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Breakfast is a necessary meal but rarely do I ever find it to be a stellar meal until my breakfast at Tantalus Vineyards prepared by Chef Mark Filatow.  Mark Filatow’s restaurant is Waterfront in Kelowna is focused on superbly fresh, perfectly prepared, local ingredients.  My breakfast was a waffle, house made yogurt, fresh fruit, honey, granola, potatoes, and house cured bacon was something I still dream about today.  This set the stage for an ideal breakfast–easily in my top ten of all time–wonderful view and paired with Tantalus sparkling wine, Riesling and Pinot Noir–thought it was morning it felt so natural and welcoming to take a few sips of Tantalus superb wines.

(L) David Patterson – Winemaker; (R) Jane Hatch General Manager

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Helen Kennedy – Arlo’s Honey Farm

After breakfast Tantalus winemaker David Paterson gave a wonderful tour of the vineyard site.  The old vine Riesling was planted in 1976; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier was planted in 1985 and more recent planting of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was planted between 2005 and 2009.  Walking down slightly on the hillside we stopped to see beehives tended by Helen Kennedy of Arlo’s Honey Farm.  Tasting fresh honeycomb and hearing Helen’s love for bees and beekeeping was a special treat.  This visit to Tantalus was a total senses experience of Kelowna, Okanagan Valley and Canada.  I recommend a visit to this pristine site; superbly nice staff and outstanding wines.  Tantalus shows a full capability of growing it’s grapes to create and sculpt gorgeous wines–the sparkling wines, rosé, Pinot Noir and Riesling show how Okanagan Valley creates world class wines.

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The next stop stop I made was to visit CedarCreek Estate Winery to taste Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Ehrenfelser, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris from the estate.  Syrah, Merlot, Shiraz Cabernet, Cabernet Merlot, and Meritage are sourced from the southern Okanagan Valley in Osoyoos. CedarCreek is divided in two labels CedarCreek and the Platinum Series.  CedarCreek winemaker Darryl Brooker gave a tour of the estate.  Darryl has a full pedigree of experience in New Zealand, Ontario, and Australia.  Darryl talked about the totality of vineyard management, the people who care and pick the grapes workers from Mexico to the soil profile, clonal expression and favorable growing conditions.  The winemaking approach is to create wines that are fully in touch with Kelowna and Osoyoos and letting the fruit craft what Okanagan Valley does best.  Ehrenfelser is the curiosity grape that is a combination of Riesling and Silvaner developed by Dr. Heinrich Birk; Okanagan Valley is the only place beyond Germany where you will find this grape.  This grape was created to handle shorter growing period–Darryl says the result is that Ehrenfelser ripens at the same pace as Riesling.  Regardless it is a delightful wine; one to certainly pair with seafood or to start any drinks party and this wines name will certainly be a conversation starter.

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While the climb at the CedarCreek Estate was steep there was a reward of appetizer paired with Platinum Series Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; outstanding vistas and wondrous nibbles.  Then another reward of walk down to outdoor seating terrace to enjoy pulled pork sliders with CedarCreek Merlot and Cabernet Shiraz both 2011 vintage.

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Kelowna’s food and wine experience was a perfect way to start my wine tour of Okanagan Valley.  Outstanding wines, food, and people who are deeply committed to producing wines of any worldly palette.  A compelling landscape supporting ideal growing conditions, climate that is optimum and finally felt to put to rest this land “is too cold”–rather this land is rich to support a great variation in wine grapes, fruit and vegetables.   A land that confirms great accommodation and all of the amenities any sophisticated traveler might want.  I give a hearty recommendation to visit.

Website Links:

Summerhill Pyramid Winery (www.summerhill.bc.ca)

Tantalus Vineyards (www.tantalus.ca)

Tourism Kelowna (www.tourismkelowna.com)

Manteo Resort Waterfront Hotel & Villas (www.manteo.com)

About Arlo’s Honey Farm (www.arloshoneyfarm.com)

Cedar Creek Estate Winery (www.cedarcreek.bc.ca)

Waterfront Restaurant (www.waterfrontrestaurant.ca)

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¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2013 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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James The Wine Guy Reaches 100,000 Views; A Difficult Yet Worthwhile Feat to Achieve

JTWG at 100,000 Views

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeoQi-pIDdA

I just reached 100,000 clicks for my total wine videos on YouTube–James the Wine Guy channel-that hit on 4-September-2013 (It takes a few days for the YouTube metrics for public update) to see the north of 100,000 number. There is often if not always a lag in metrics between public viewing and behind scenes metrics viewing.

I am celebrating as this is a very difficult task.  The beer YouTube community is vibrant and the hit and follow rates outrank most of the YouTube wine community.

Here are the follow and total view rates for the following:

  • Gregsbeerreviews’s – 8,804 subscribers and 890,379 views
  • Joe B – 7,382 subscribers and 2,273,219 views
  • CraigTube – 26,811 subscribers and 6,814,170 views
  • BeerGeekNation – 14,217 and 1,700,333 views
  • Ralfystuff (Scotch) – 25,667 subscribers and 7,180,589 views

Now there are what I view as three categories of wine reviews:

  1. Brand or corporate perspective – reviews/videos of one brand only
  2. Wine as object not subject – good example is to see Sam Child’s (samwellchilds) drinking a bottle of wine in one gulp
  3. Pure play wine review and education videos – I consider myself in this category

I believe in wine video reviews if I didn’t I wouldn’t have 1,320.  Several of my trademark thoughts on wine video reviews that all quality bottles of wine deserves a video review.  Given the large number of wines coupled with vintages means that the wine category is superbly simple and outstandingly complex all at once.  Perhaps because in the beer and spirits communities the product is plentiful and yet there isn’t the distinction of vintage (and certainly a few beers do have a vintage).  There are so many fewer labels of beer and spirits and the wine world has the added factor of vintage and the complexity of many labels.  Quality wines also have very finite quantities–only so much fruit from any given wine region and then if it is a vineyard specific the quantity available decreases rapidly.

Even with the fundamental nuances of wine this is such an interesting category and I do believe that wine reviews can enhance the written word–the spoken and filmed word is captivating and conveys emotion and non-verbal communication elements that are valuable.

I have steadfastly believed in the media–I remember seeing some early wine videos–not so long ago (5 years ago)…they counts ticked by so slowly for each video….5……(ten days later) 7 hits….(20 days later) 11 hits.  You get the idea.  There seemed to be no pulse or audience for wine videos.  I sat on the sidelines and decided against it.  Then a contest for Murphy-Goode came up called a Really Goode Job campaign.  While the contest was not well designed as it was hard to understand the parameters (here is a copy of the wine video submission: http://youtu.be/7T7F_5bj32I) of what they were seeking.   I saves my video submission because I knew Murphy-Goode would not.  The original video from all contestants were not saved – I got above 250 hits in a short period.

I did not win but more determined than ever that this wine video thing was not just intriguing but a way to give emotion and colour that the written word could never do.

I started to test my written blog versus my published videos–often but not always the performance of the video was much more engaged.   I reviewed the traffic for both wine views and written reviews and it was helpful to see the differences.   I began to think that the written blog was becoming much more anachronistic; that is blogs with just text were not going to be compelling as the spoken and pictured word.  Leveraging one’s videos and placing them in the blog posting–much more in line with a compelling presentation.

I look at my videos (and not all of them are about wine, a few on beer and spirits; my wine videos are an overwhelming percentage of what I do north of 95%) as ways of cultivate a following and an audience.  I am looking for what I did not do as well but also what I did well.  I know my audience and realized early on that I had to take a more international viewpoint–simple things refer to metric system in addition to US customary units.  I have and will continue to be about worldly wines and all things. I think on the production side–I have asked a few people to consult but most people have not seriously engaged me.  Sometimes if you want something done you have to do it yourself.  I will move forward to learn, enhance and have continual improvement in my videos.

I will focus on what I am doing already but to engage more people to be in my videos.  I would like to increase visibility and bring more attention to my channel.  I do think that one has to do more than “build it and they will come” – one can build something but one must publicize and advertise and use the levers of brand management for active engagement with audience.

I also am recommending to you–if you see my videos and like them – give them a “Like.”  If you like my YouTube channel subscribe.  And use my video content from my YouTube channel on your website.  If you feel compelled share my video through a variety of social medias listed on YouTube sharing buttons.

I did think of adding features like a dump bucket in the shape of a 49ers helmet–San Francisco being my home base but I also thought–hadn’t this be done with a New York Jets helmet before?  I don’t want to copy anyone (laughing).  No seriously, I do have a plan for continuous improvement–videos are not just a nice to have but I believe it will be a requisite for overall wine reviewer personalities as a relationship vehicle for their audience.  And I do believe that most people seeking wine videos still have not discovered YouTube and other video hosting sites for their wine curiosity.  Wine videos are still an undiscovered wine country soon to be discovered.

***

¡Salud!

http://www.jamesthewineguy.com

***

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2013 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:

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