FedEx versus UPS…. Hands Down I Choose…. – James Melendez

I see these all the time… yawn… does UPS even need to print these for their business?

UPS … nowadays it is hardly a contest–it is a no brainer.

I get a fair number of bottles of wine delivered to my house.  The two main carriers are UPS and Federal Express for wines that I receipt.  Just a few years ago I had a nearly opposite view of both carriers than I have today.

Federal Express use to be my preferred shipper that I would get wine shipped to me.  And then suddenly something that happened; UPS took a very different approach to their delivery business and my experience has never been the same.

I had to get my UPS shipments redirected to the UPS Main Office frequently.  I use to complete the redirection routinely and then something changed dramatically.  I stopped having to get my packages redirected.  I started getting my packages delivered to me in the evening.  Not a problem–I like my home more than the UPS main office in San Francisco.  Like clockwork–I even know my primary UPS delivery person by his first name.

UPS incremental improvement makes business sense.  Getting your package at the time of it’s intended delivery date versus a carrier driving around countless packages, many times to many location wasting space and fuel and increasing the carbon footprint.  UPS has no doubt looked at their data set and have understood ways to optimize it’s deliveries.  Because of the ever increasing shipment DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) UPS has understood the importance of getting packaging to customers on first try.

I dread the FedEx door tags; dreaded because that is all I ever get.  I cannot recall the last FedEx delivery person—possibly many months… feels like years.  FedEx makes it hard–they need to look at the 5S for not just making work easier–it is a job for me to get packages….. and worse of all I don’t get paid for it but for a better customer experience.  When I call 1800GOFEDEX they ask for the tracking number as most of the time the DT (door tags they have generated doesn’t work) –someone keeps forgetting to scan them in.  So I spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone with FedEx and ever more time trying to collect in person.  It is less science more Byzantium when trying to collect a package.  I have had many occasion where the “package is here” when the FedEx office team said it wasn’t.  Hence FedEx hasn’t gotten the concept of more efficiency creates not just happy customers but more robust profitability—apparently someone hasn’t gotten the memo.

I am considering revising my sample policy to eliminate samples by FedEx–most likely decrease samples I receipt but the heartache of the FedEx dance is a pain and just a waste of my time.

What is your preferred carrier?  Let me know by listing in comments.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Malbecs Tasted on World Malbec Day 2017 – James Melendez

Here are a few Malbecs I tasted for this years World Malbec Day 2017.

Graffigna Centenary Estate Bottle Reserve Malbec 2014

This wine is mineral forward, Waldo blackberry, clove, espresso and Thyme. 14% ABV

*

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Saurus Select Patagonia Malbec 2015

This wine is 14% ABV – Black cherry, cassis, bayberry, pepper, hint of graphite and violets and comes from Patagonia.

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Vaglio Argelo Chacra Malbec 2014

13.9%ABV – Even, balanced, rich and not over the top; delicate black/blue fruit, Bay leaf, mineral and espresso.

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Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2014 

14.5% ABV; black cherry, Lochness Blackberry, pepper, Bay leaf violets & dark chocolate.

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Catena Alta Historic Row Mendoza Malbec 2013  

Exacting wine of harmonious notes of forest floor, Tayberry, cardamom, rose petal & Tarragon.

***

Wine courtesy of each producer.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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In San Francisco “Do You Want a Bag” has replaced the Greeting “Hello” – James

San Francisco has has a bag charge ordinance since 2013 and ever since the greetings at any store checkout has never been the same.  I thought well all I have to do was to have a bag ready for the sales associate to take notice and so that perhaps a normal exchange could take place….. wrong.

I was in Target in the FinDi in San Francisco and had a bag ready to go but the associate shuffled through the bag, touched it and asked “do you want a bag” a bit too predictable.  I hear from people saying that San Francisco is amazing from those visiting.  I always say try living in this terribly expensive and rather unfriendly town.  Even before the bag ordinance you might find it difficult to get a hello in the past and today–another reason to not say hello.  When I travel I find people to be friendly everywhere when compared to San Franciscans.  No matter what there is always a 49er mindset in the City.

If you look at the ordinance it seems like it is filled with great intentions.  But I ask why the need to pay 10 cents per bag?  I do not know what the intention is and the need to charge.  I think what I have seen is that the bags people buy are not recycled, break often, and I see on the street.  I question if the bag ordinance is truly environmentally friendly and that if we have taken enough plastic off the street so to speak–I think it may be relative in the long run.

Don’t be surprised when shopping in San Francisco you are not greeted but asked “do you want a bag.”

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Locations F Rosé and Corse Wines – James Melendez

I had the opportunity to taste two more Locations wines – F Rosé 5 and Corse White Wine (Corsica) Vermentino.  I rarely get to taste any wines from Corsica–so I am always thrilled to taste anything from this Mediterranean island.  Below are both of my reviews.

Corse White Wine – 100% Vermentino and 13.7% ABV.   SRP $18.99

Scent: Mix of gold and yellow citrus zest and peel, beeswax, crushed sea shells, and white floral tones

Flavour characterisation: Amalfi lemon, Comice pear, green apple and moist stones.

 

*****

The F Rosé 5 is 100% Grenache and an ABV at 14%

Scent: fresh strawberries, red flowers, tea, and moist stones

Flavour characterisation:  mountain strawberry, green citrus, white pepper, anise, and hint of violets

 

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Troon’s Tannat Wines 2014 Vintages – James Melendez

I love Oregon wines.  The state (California) which I currently resides touches the border of Oregon but they might as well be thousands of miles/kilometers apart.  Simply because wine lists have few Oregon wines and when they do 90% of the time they are from Willamette Valley.  It is a treat to find wines from Southern Oregon.

Southern Oregon where Troon is based has wines other than Burgundy varieties.  The richness of southern Oregon is a warmer climate able to support and thrive Bordeaux, Rhone, Italian and Iberian varieties.

I think these Tannat wines are the only Tannat I have ever tasted from Oregon.

I have previous vintages of these particular wines and here is what I am reviewing:

 Troon Southern Oregon M&T Red Wine 2014

Scent of blackberry bayberry, suede, underbrush, and sweet spices.  Flavour notes:  blackberry, red cherry, Hoisin, ground cinnamon and pepper.

Troon Applegate Valley Estate Tannat 2014

Scent of forest floor, cassis, Tayberry, pepper, and black cherry.  Flavour notes: black cherry, black berry, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom.

*******

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Travels and The Things You Do: How I Love Being on the Road But Often Dread Traveling Before I Go – James Melendez

Long title right?

Sometimes I have to give great details in my articles otherwise it is a decision point some people may choose not to read.

I love being in a new place but often dread travel. And it is more than just the anticipated travel difficulties… it is about looking at travel in terms of fatigue, delay, terrible food while en route. I am not unique in dreading such things. I also dread the stress of getting ready. I use to be a packer that was last minute—I would forget something… actually I would forget a lot of things.

Over time I have remedied my travels by having one suit case prepared—just in case I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. I switch out suitcases that the clothes I have packed with a fresh set of clothes and keep the cycle going. My toiletries are not quite as in good shape. I just need to prepare a bag ahead of time—I sometimes forget essentials like a toothbrush or floss or something like it—this is easily remedied by keeping supplies segregated from home use.

Travel has changed and often we look at the negative; flight rules, weather, delayed flights, unfriendly or uncaring airlines. The good old days were necessarily good. I remember before Uber or Lyft I had to depend on a taxi or worse a Suppershuttle. The old taxi system was a dread…. I don’t miss the days of waiting to order, pleading for someone to come, waiting outside until they came. I remember on an East Coast flight all of the taxi services were not answering or they were not being responsive (and this before they accepted reservations?!?) I had to walk a block or two to hope to find an available taxi and back then that was stress… praying that you found an available taxi…..ah the good ole days.

Today with all of the trepidations of flying I have come to love one aspect.  While you can buy WiFi service—I always turn it down or if I am flying business I opt out.  Why?  It is great to be connected but it is a luxury to be disconnected.  I get more writing done than when I am plugged in.  I read more…..I might have a cramped seat but have been lucky on numerous occasions flying domestically that I have gotten the exit row on Southwest.   It is probably because I travel alone and I am fortunate.

Even with a painful delay—somehow just somehow it all works itself out for me getting time to do things I love to do.  To find time to write is a luxury…..to read I rarely even have enough time to read a New Yorker article.

I have been fortunate while traveling—and like everyone else have received a healthy dose of difficulty but the upper road is to look skyward…. Being hopeful, appreciating time—having the time to appreciate time.  So when I dread the next trip or I would rather stay in my home base I have to remember my great experiences.  I wish you great experiences while traveling!

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Yelp and TripAdvisor Reviews – James Melendez

I use to be a heavy contributor to both Yelp and TripAdvisor. I was a Yelp Elite for 10 years in a row. I was disappointed when I was not approved and was told that could change through the year that I was not immediately accepted but that did not happen. I did go to the Yelp Elite events and I enjoyed them. I was disappointed that after my years of heavy contributions it didn’t matter much.

I get reminders from TripAdvisor that I am in the top “X” percent. Yeah good for them. I am not sure why I need to contribute more…. There is not benefit or incentive. After all both Yelp and TripAdvisor are publicly held companies and their business model is dependent on a lot of free work.

I have left my accounts open but will I contribute –I do reserve for myself the right to contribute on my terms and not theirs. I find TripAdvisor to be an overly perfectionist model of crowd sourced reviews. If I want to make a correction I have to erase, resubmit and wait till it is “approved.”

I would rather contribute to my own blog sites than to another site where the credit I get is marginal at best and that I think is truly not valued.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Southern Italian Wines in Lock Step of Continuous Discovery – James Melendez

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I love southern Italian wines–they are just as varied and complex and beautiful as anything in Northern Italy.  Italy is a country that has a marvelous history and where each region is distinct and memorable–food, wine, history and art.

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In Locorotondo

I remember when I was at the Fancy Food Show in New York over a decade ago.  As always I have appointments or just running round to see each aspect of the show–this show was not exception.  This show I slowed down when it came to the Italian Pavillion and there was a seminar put on by Radici del Sud–from that point forward I was in love with the mission of showcasing southern Italian wines.  I tasted Negroamaro and octopus–and who knew this could be so sublime.   Negroamaro– a wine meaning black from bitter is more earthy and tart than bitter.   I had tasted Primitivo many times before but it is always wonderful to taste the Italian expression simply because both region and style come through in ways that it is not Zinfandel.  What I mean by this is that many producers in California are using Petite Sirah-nothing wrong with that but it is highly influential and I say there is a point of departure where these wines can no longer compared against to each other for many reasons.  

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Southern Italian wines have been shining through more now than ever.  There are certainly a ‘country to be discovered” Southern Italy is discovered but discovery is still happening.  I am happy to have been a judge at Radici del Sud 2016.  I remember getting the invitation and I had to re-read again and again–it was a dream to be in Puglia once again.

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Gallipoli

Radici is essential to tell the story of the southern Italian wines.  I loved tasting the treasury of Aglianico–there is so many Aglianico in Italy and much fewer in North America.  Aglianico is certainly a noble red wine of the south.

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Bari Duomo

I am eager to taste more Fiano, Nerello Mascalese, Cataratto, Gagiliopo, Nero d’Avola, Nero di Troia, Malvasia Bianca, Verdeca, Greco di Tuffo, Grillo, Falanghina, Vermentino, Susumaniello, Pallagrello Nero and Pallagrello Bianco.  I do think that we will be tasting more wines from Southern Italy in North America–I do think it is about having vino veritas come to the forefront of dazzling wines to pair with food.

I was so delighted to participate in Radici and I am so glad to go back to participate in Sicilia en Primeur 2017.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Wine and Basel B Chocolates – James Melendez

I love beautiful things and especially if they have a dynamic flavour.  I know that I am not unusual in being an appreciator of the finer things in life.  But it is hard to find fine art and food united together.

Wine, great food, art, clothes, furniture and travel goes hand in hand.  Sometimes things intersect; Basel B Chocolates certainly intersect exquisite art and fine food.  The intersection is a passion of culinary artist Basel Bazalmit has developed a brand that encompasses the physical beauty with the compelling flavour characteristics.  I love that when I eat a chocolate with wine – it is a great experience of the truffle–a compelling 85% Columbian dark chocolate with the wonderful crunch and dynamics of the chocolate.  I eat a truffle to compliment my wine journey.  I eat a truffle to match and marry with wine and give the proverbial hand shake… no proverbial hug.  There are few unique truffles on the market place and having had a grand tour of year last year (2016) I was tasting many chocolate truffles.  While many had beauty on the inside it lacked an appreciable appearance or vice versa.

Basel B. Chocolate Truffles

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I eat chocolate the way I drink my wine–with great appreciation and not doing so in terms of consuming a massive quantity of one or the other but to enjoy in moderation to gain insight into my wine and chocolate journey.

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basel-b-truffle-flavours

Basel B Truffle Flavours

 

I love the vividness of each flavour – the Holiday Spice is an evocative and sweetly spiced truffle, the Blueberry is a definitively rich flavour and handsome snapshot of the fruit, the Caramel and Hazelnut is a thrilling combination of flavours of rich caramel and further elevated by the earthly sweetness of the hazelnut.

My luxury is to enjoy one or two with a glass of wine.  I am fully satiated when I just a few to be my after meal experience (i.e. dessert) with either a full bodied red or a Madeira, Port or Sherry.

I do plan on a doing a video and compare the chocolates with the wines I will be pairing with his truffle flavours.  A par excellence experience that I recommend to everyone.

Basel at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show - San Francisco

Basel at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show – San Francisco

 

Here is information on his chocolates – currently available online:

Basel B Chocolates

And he will be exhibiting at the San Francisco Chocolate Salon on March 18, 2017.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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Locations I and P 4 Wines – James Melendez

I recently tasted these two locations wines:

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Locations I Wine 4 NV 

9.0

This is a composition of Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola and Barbera from Italy.

Scent characteristics: blackberry, cassis, leather, fruit orchard during autumn, and dates.

Flavor characteristics: Black cherry, earth, red pepper, Tamarind, and Thyme.

 

Locations P Wine 4 NV

9.0This wine is a composition of Touriga Naçional, Trincadeira and Touriga Franca

Scent characteristics: Red cherry, under brush, bay leaf, violets and cinnamon

Flavor characteristics: Black cherry, red plum, pepper, cardamom and clove

Wine courtesy of producer.

Santé,

James

James the Wine Guy

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

Wines courtesy of producer.

© 2017 James Melendez / 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 GuyJames the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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