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Month June 2016

James the Wine Guy Surpasses Jancis Robinson on YouTube – James Melendez

This is my first wine video: Murphy-Goode contest “A Really Goode Job” in 2009; this shows as my number 3 video in YouTube; I thought I better upload this video as it will disappear from the Murphy-Goode site 

As of today, Sunday 27-June-2016, I have surpassed Jancis Robinson for total clicks on YouTube – me – 248,446 and Jancis at 248,423.  While this may not seem like a large number at least in the wine video world it is very difficult to get in the hundreds of thousands and to surpass a well known wine personality.

While the number may be a small difference it is based on trending that this has been building over time and will continue to surpass.  Jancis has not published for at least a year–she continues to get clicks–my only assumption is that she may no longer be interested in producing wine videos.  I work hard and constantly on wine and video.  My clicks have been by effort and sweat.  Jancis has stated that she doesn’t think of wine video as a spectator sport.  I do think this sentiment truly reflects a negative view of wine videos.  I am a different generation than Jancis and have a very different view of wine and video.  Jancis has a traditional print perspective and I think both has not truly been tuned in on video and wine. I have poured over my own metrics as well as looking at other wine video producers for characteristic viewing behaviours.  I have a core belief in being flexible with video and comfortable with it as well as chief believer that my channel is about community.  I also believe that there is an appetite for vlogged style videos.  If beer, whiskey do well in terms of clicks why not wine.

I have written that previously that when Gary Vee exited at his 1,000th video the industry gave up on wine and video (though not everyone).  I think that there is plenty of room for more wine video content–there are too many demographics that one person cannot support all of them.  My demo is very different than Gary’s as example.  I too think some people have been very dismissive about me and my wine videos hence I created a video James…are you still making THOSE videos!?! and those who ask that question–my video content is for those who want to see it–perhaps there is jealousy?

I think many people give up prematurely on wine videos–and perhaps because there is a misconception in terms of click builds – ‘create it and they will come’.  Wine videos just like any other content needs to be promoted.  Also expectation weights in more than it should.  I will hardly be the first video producer who has said what you expect to be successful rarely is and that which you don’t have a great expectation exceeds it.  Also wine is one of the most unique products in the world today based on vintage, variety, region and limited product and this is both a challenge and blessing for wine video content.  And not surprisingly well known brands or subjects tend to do better than lesser known topics or wines.

Being a video producer means having a very thick skin–comments and those who exercise judgement against you or your comments via video are those who willing to try themselves.

Jancis has done well in my opinion in the YouTube sphere for not believing in it and have a high click rate.  She has succeeded but not truly being active.  Her column and written voice is well known and I think there is video consumer who is seeking video her video content whether it is current or not.

I have come from an opposite experience–not in any major column and having to build my community one subscriber and viewer at a time.  I have had to and will need to be experimental and flexible as wine video content is concerned.  I have had to also explain to the casual observer that not all wine videos are going to have a great click rate–and that wine video clicks are earned over time not in the first month of publish.  Wine videos are almost the opposite of all other video category on YouTube.

I continue this journey and who knows who I might surpass in the future–maybe no one else?  But in the mean time I keep my eye steady on the horizon and have a core belief that wine and video are a good thing.

Thank you for watching!

One of my latest videos on YouTube

Salute,

James

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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Evolution of Wine Blogging to a More Inclusive All Wine Media Front – James Melendez

I have thought for sometime that the standard wine blog is due for evolution.

The Wine Bloggers Conference is an event that I attend yearly (thought this year I may not be attending due to the logistics of getting there) – so close but yet so far away.  No I don’t own a car and the organizer is using Sacramento as their preferred pick up point–never mind that people are flying in from Vancouver, New York, Toronto and so fourth and there are no non-stops to SAC but there are non-stops to SFO.  Wine Bloggers Conference pays a scant attention to video and generally focuses on the written blog.  I have complained about and to no avail will not have my lobby video meet up.  I am sure I will see video friends there and we will chat.  I am doing this because wine video is not a subject that should be ushered into the hallway or lobby as if it is an unworthy subject matter.

While the European wine bloggers became Digital Wine Communication Conference in recognition that it may not be the standard written blog as the only way to communicate about wine online.  I have not seen a 2016 conference planned on the website–not sure if they are going to do one.  But I think there was that recognition of ‘wine blogging” as an evolving subject.

I write this because there is a community of people who scoff at someone like me who both writes and completes video on wine.  I have people who have said to me “James are you still making ‘those’ videos” To which I responded which of ‘those’ videos are you speaking of… I had to complete a video.

I have heard this dismissive statement and I think these ways of talking about video and in particular my channel in a demeaning fashion.

Even producers and those that promote wine have not been embracing.  Thought I do have a very nice community and certainly get invites and samples and sometimes site visits.  But I do get the distinct feeling some people would prefer that I write only.

I look at the beer, whiskey, even coffee and tea communities on YouTube and look upon with awe and wander.  I also point to the food community which is superbly active, engaged and engaging.  I have written about many times that wine isn’t there–I have not thrown in the towel–I think there are some interesting aspects to wine that make it so much more difficult than any other category.

Wine is different–one characteristic is vintage–few products have a vintage or at least the same way wine does.  I can look at my videos at popular labels get more hits –lesser known ones get less.  Wine behaves vastly differently.  When I attend VidCon the conference is for popular categories.  And the framework and even data points evolve popular subjects and even the way the YouTube algorithm is different for wine–not because it is singularly targeted–it isn’t.   For example, most videos that are released gain most of their momentum and clicks in the first week to two–after that it is trailer off time.  This is simple because some of it is about being current.  Wine is the opposite–it builds over time as there is someone looking for this content.  Wine has a great shelf life than other categories.

I have written about it before that some of the wine world hasn’t gotten over that Gary Vaynerchuk is no longer producing wine videos as he once use to.  I did challenge wine distributors of the value in just holding Gary Vee up to a certain light–as it doesn’t allow others to come up and only Gary could do this media well.  Gary had limitations in his demographic and content that is dated simply by talking about football games of days past.  Gary did ‘jump the shark’ when he was eating the soil in a vineyard.

I think that wine is so expansive–that we still don’t have the coverage for all demographics.  I see many people start and then taper off and discontinue.  I think YouTube probably has a whole rainbow of difficult video content that is “not popular” yet because the algorithm is only designed for ‘winning’ numbers.  I do think YouTube is interested in promoting it’s producer base.  I do think that they do at some point should look at tough categories and help to make them less tough–allowing talent to use a YouTube studio, algorithmic recognition of the lesser known categories.

I do see the evolution of just blogging as something that needs an evolution.  There are plenty of ways to expanding that scope–Vine, Periscope, YouTube and Vimeo to name a few.  I think the more successful wine writers who have or will explore other medias will be better able to give dimensionality to wine and that is a frontier that has been barely scratched.

When I do a wine video I publish on all my medias and reference in my playlists.  I do hope that the producer will at minimum RT the video on Twitter and post on their respective social medias.

I do think it is inevitable that readers, audience members, community members that we have developed will be asking/seeking more…if not those people may upgrade to other people.

I will be reaching a milestone soon on my YouTube channel in a few days–I’ll announce later.

What are your thoughts about all online medias?

Is the written blog about wine needing an evolution?

Are people reading at the same rate as they once did about wine in the blog format?

Drop me a line in this article or in the social media’s I list below.

Salute,

Salute,

James

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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

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There are Simply Too Many Wine ‘Days’ – James Melendez

World Wide Wine Day Rev

There are simply too many wine days–the wine days I speak of days marking Tempranillo, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel etc.  I am pro wine and for wine promotion.  I am for all of the organising bodies who have developed each of the days.  And I still think there are too many “days of” celebrations.

Not only are there too many wine days there are too many promotional product days from donuts to oysters to books from the known to the obscure.   I am a fan of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, and Zinfandel (too name a few) and I am not picking on this beautiful varieties.  I created World Wide Wine day to recognise all varieties as a more inclusive “Day of” celebration.  I started this day in 2011 for each July 1.  The idea was to celebrate and focus on wine; all varieties, all regions and all styles–July 1 is a way to look back and to look forward–it is the middle of the year.  I thought there was potential but after half a decade I know there is little interest.  I do not think there is a tipping point.  I wonder if the varieties I just mentioned have the traction they want?  I would say probably not.  I think there is a severe fatigue on “Day of” celebration are so overwhelmed with a day for everything.  And with wine–as I saw on Twitter someone said “Isn’t every day wine day.”  I think there is merit to that comment.  I think it can be a day to remind someone about say Albariño but it may not necessarily make me open a bottle on this day–I may open on another day.  I also think there are many varieties that are wondrous and will never have their day: Nebbiolo, Negroamaro, Aglianco, St. Laurent, or Schioppettino amongst others.

My page on Facebook has a small “like” base of 500+ and is gaining at a higher rate than my own presence on Facebook (James the Wine Guy).  But I do expect that my own presence will eclipse World Wide Wine day at some point.

I think “days of” have a limited appeal and marketability–I don’t detract and on occasion I’ll open up a bottle on those days especially if I have a sample.  I do think thought that every day is a wine day.  So open up a bottle of what you want to open.

Salute,

James

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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

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Challenge Your Wine Merchant – James Melendez

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Often wine merchants want to carry wines that sell.  I think many but no all are receptive to hear what their customers wants–some even paternalistic.  The paternalism is that “father knows best” but there is a relationship of wine merchant and customer and it is a dialogue.  The dialogue is being keen enough to understand customer needs and to also from the merchant point of view be willing to sell interesting wines–wines that don’t get a lot of shelf space or attention.

Many of the world’s wine regions are producing high quality wines and deserve a spot on a wine shelf at wine merchants world wide.  Coming back from Radici del Sud–what did I want first thing–wines from Puglia and other southern Italian wine regions.  I went to my favourite grocer which has well what can best be described as eclectic?  Perhaps I am being too nice–it is incoherent–there I said it.  I asked for a Fiano, Negroamaro, Aglianico or Primitivo–the answer was simple—no, no, no and no.  I was offered substitutes which I offered a polite “no.”  I asked for wine merchant if they could bring them in—of course–no feedback.  My job and yes I do buy wines is that I want a specific region.  I have fallen in love with southern Italian wines for sometime and I believe they have been ready for the world stage for some time.

Wine merchants and even the paternalistic ones will have to be listening to their customer base.  Today more than ever is a large online presence and I think many people are going to devote themselves to buying online solely if they feel there needs are not being met.   Online wine retailers also offer ease of shopping–so there is that competitive pressure.

I believe as a wine writer, wine judge, wine educator and wine videographer and wine consumer it is my obligation to ask for what I want to see at a retailer–online or off.  Why not take that posture yourself–ask for the wines you want to see at your favourite wine merchant.

Salute,

James

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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

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Taste Hungary – A Great Destination for Excellence in Hungarian Food & Wine in Budapest – James Melendez

 

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I was recently in Budapest. I used Vienna as my base—I didn’t want to tote around my super heavy luggage piece. But I decided to spend the day in Budapest—I should have left much earlier and left later. I have my phone roaming all the time but it does not always pick up quickly enough to give accurate pin points on your map application. On my many city visits I have the metro map as well as the city map downloaded—this morning I forgot to do that—as I was on the train outside of Vienna I remembered and the network coverage was not that great. I waited till I got to Keleti pályaudvar and found the tourist office. Though I might have found them they didn’t find me—I oddly didn’t find anyone who spoke English (or the other languages which I can speak at least at an elemental level – French, Italian and German; I didn’t try Spanish). I was concerned about the language barrier before I got to Hungary—I know just a few words but not skilled enough in Hungarian to ask for too much. I left the office and thought Budapest seems walkable—let me see on the primitive map I was finally able to download. GPS is beyond valuable—I ended up going north and I didn’t seem to go on the directional path I needed. I knew I was off base. Finally GPS kicks in and I am way off path—I realize Budapest is large, very large.
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I was very intrigued to be walking the streets of Budapest—not quite what I expected. I was fascinated by the history and language of Hungary. I wasted about 40 minutes and I see how I could have take M2 – I get back on track and take a few stations to the historical district—Dohányi Synagogue, St. Stephens Basilica. I ran across the beautiful scents of Goulash—spectacular is the only word that came to mind. A smell that reminds me of New Mexico red chile. I see almost all of the monuments that I want to see (but I can tell you I need to go back). I want to go the spa and if I had more time I so wanted to visit Memento Park; the park showing relics from the communist era. And I of course need to visit the spa.

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My good friend Eric Danch recommended to me Taste Hungary—a wine shop and wine bar. It was centrally located and needed a respite—I had spent most of the day walking.   I walked in and saw such a beautiful spread of Hungarian wines.   I meet Ferenc Juhász and Tamás Kovács who are both Sommeliers and store manager. Both Ferenc and Tamás had spent time in the UK and California and have both had immense experience of wines from around the world and of course a deep knowledge of Hungarian wines and the artisan food movement in Hungary. I ordered their white wine flight and a cheese board with charcuterie. You cannot go to Hungary and not taste a dry Furmint—it is impossible—but that is not a bad thing. Furmint is the star and I think it is a good thing and I also think it is necessary to balance that out with other wine and red wines from Hungary. Hungary has a quite a number of indigenous varieties including: Ezerjó, Hárslevelű, Irsai Oliver, Cserszegi Fűszeres, Juhfark, and Királyleányka. Hungary also produces Kekfrancos, Portugieser and Bikavér as well as International varieties. My friends at Blue Danube Wines in California have an impressive portfolio of Hungarian wines that I have been privileged to taste many of the wines they import.

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Ferenc prepared the optimum cheese board for me. Probably most of you know that I have not been a life long cheese eater. Strange I know. I have only been a cheese eater for about 5 years. I still can’t eat anything too strong in flavour or smell. I am also not an egg eater and I don’t think I can ever get there. Ferenc put together an outstanding board of small producers of Hungary’s finest all of which was within my range of enjoyment and appreciation. I like that Taste Hungary works towards sourcing the finest. I did get a goats cheese which normally I can’t eat—too strong for me. The goat cheese I had was finished with an ash rind. The flavour was mild, fresh and not just tolerable but exhilarating. I also got a fresh herb cheese and a triple crème; the charcuterie was fantastic—I tasted some with sweet paprika and something with a spicy paprika; there was a duck jerky. There was also pickled white peppers and a truffled jam. This board was so satisfying and filling-it was much lunch and my dinner.

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Left is Ferenc and on the right is Tamás

 

The wines were:

Samuel Tinon Tokaj Dry Furmint 2014

9.3

Scent characteristics: Green apple, white tea, Adriatic fig, and almonds

Flavour profile: Lisbon lemon, white fleshy peach, flowers and stones in a stream.

****

Bojt Egri Csillag 2015 which is a blend of Olaszrizling, Sauvignon, Muskotály and Leányka and coming in at 12.5% ABV

9.3

Scent characteristics: Exotic green citrus pulp and zest, yellow peach, and Heirloom apple.

Flavour profile: Spitzenberg apple, fresh green fig, hint of sweet spice and pine nuts.

****

Pannonhalma Apátsági Traminer 2015 – 13.8% ABV

9.2

Scent characteristics: freshly sliced grapefruit, orange peel, white flowers, tea, and almond

Flavour profile: Meyer lemon, white tea, Hibiscus, and essence of beeswax

****

When you go to Budapest the Taste Hungary is a must visit. It may seem unassuming but then you will be delighted by the offerings, warmth of experience and a picture into Hungarian’s artisan food and wine movement. Taste Hungary does tours—I so want to go on one of their tours or their wine maker dinners. My only regret was not taking a bottle of wine with me. I was carrying so many thing things through the 31 cities I visited I though I couldn’t take another bottle with me but I wish I did. Another trip to Budapest is in store for me and a tour and winemakers dinner and to sit down again and see what Ferenc and Tamás will serve.

Taste Hungary

Bródy Sándor utca, 9

Budapest, Hungary 1088

+3670 261 711

****

Egészségére,

James

 

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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

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Carneros Pinot Revisited and Re-appreciated – James Melendez

 

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Carneros is a magical AVA that straddles both Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Many of my earliest memories of visiting Napa Valley was going through Carneros. Carneros is a gateway to Napa Valley for many visitors—especially those coming from San Francisco on the 101.

Carneros gave us the first cool climate Pinot Noir – the response is obvious – what hot climate Pinot Noir was the norm? Louis Martini planted Pinot Noir at Stanly Ranch in the late 1940s. Carneros Pinot Noir is thought of as lacking “richness, body and finesses” as Steve Heimoff says in Carneros: A Reflection. He states that since September 1, 2012 only 8 Pinots from Carneros had ranked above 90 points out of 173 – “…a pretty dismal showing” he says. The article is relatively negative and he ends with talking about his last six month score of 90 point and above Pinots… felt like a conciliation prize for Carneros and Pinot Noir.

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Some people I know have been equally hard on Carneros especially the Pinot Noirs.   Basically the overall message is that Pinot Noir and Carneros are a mismatch. There have been excuses for why “Carneros doesn’t do Pinot Noir well” and it has come to soil conditions. But the soil content is not uniform and wouldn’t explain that reasoning and also significant sloping and draining patterns.

When I have tasted Pinot Noirs—and especially if I have them on my tasting table and I am tasting many Pinots I am going to bring together regions and not mix and match. The reason is simple. Wine regions as it relates to Pinot Noir differ—I don’t want to be tasting Oregon and Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs at the same sitting or any other region. I think sometimes taster get influenced by one style and it may be at the subconscious level…. Perhaps someone has a preference for fruit intense wines versus leaner styles. As a wine reviewer, I do believe it is paramount to recognize style and to not punish one region over another. I do think it is essential to make the distinction. For me and over time I have truly enjoyed many Pinot Noir and have rated over 90 points not sparingly so but with true merit.

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I have been searching for the reasons of Carneros differences for Pinot Noir might not just be soil but more than that—anecdotally every time I visit and especially during growing season there is an noticeable cool breeze—that cool breeze is from the San Pablo Bay. Russian River Valley doesn’t have a San Pablo Bay. Carneros is sunny but cooler than many Pinot Noir growing regions in California. Most Pinot Noir regions have a connection with the Pacific Ocean and that is the evening’s cool down treatment. Carneros has the cooler temps in day as well as evening. I do think this is particularly influential to the region. Please read into this that I never put down one region in favour or another—that would be a wine reviewers quick demise. I still love Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Santa Rita Hills, and my palette lives in the best of all worlds—enjoying all wine regions.

I thought it was about time to write a piece in defense of Carneros Pinot Noir—I do believe now more than ever Carneros producers are doing a very good job with their materials and brining to the market place a point of difference Pinot Noir. Give Carneros Pinot Noir a try—and when tasting use a different lens. I harken back to earlier memories of Carneros and think of the beauty, quality of light year round is amazing. I sometimes on my way back to San Francisco I go down a road to see and feel Carneros when most people are on a rush back to get to the City—it is magical.

Salute,

James

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

Read more of my wine reviews:   WORDPRESS

© 2016 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 Guy and photographs.   If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

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

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