Monthly Archives: September 2015

Stigma, Bias and Choice: Tasting Blind at RdV Vineyards

The Armchair Sommelier

“The biggest challenge we face is overcoming the stigma of Virginia wine.”  ~ Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards

I’ve been visiting Virginia wineries and tasting Virginia wines for over two decades.  And I wish I could tell you that’s the first (or even the 31st) time I’ve heard that.  As an evangelist for Virginia wines, I don’t like it, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  There is a stigma surrounding Virginia wines.

Twenty (even fifteen) years ago, I’d visit a Virginia winery and pass altogether on the red wines. Because (how to put this delicately) they weren’t good.  By way of illustration, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Virginia Meritage wines (Bordeaux style blends) were earning scores in the mid to high 70s from Wine Spectator (WS is by no means the absolute arbiter on whether a wine is good, but it does illustrate a generalized trend).  By 2005, those scores started to…

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MWWC #19: To Wine Or Not To Wine?

The Epicurious Texan

I know you’re thinking “what a silly question,” but an appropriate one for this post…because a) wine why not? and b) Elizabeth of Traveling Wine Chick, the winner of the last Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, selected the theme for this month’s Challenge to be CHOICES.

wine stain

Everyday we make thousands of choices–some are subconscious, some are instinctual, some are habitual, some regrettable, some are hard, some are easy, and a lot are somewhere in between.  But I have a confession about these choices that I hope doesn’t get me lynched by my lovely wine blogging superstars: I don’t always choose wine, in fact, I rarely do.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy, love, cherish, and revel in wine–because I do all the above.  I just…well…usually…pick beer.  I’ll give you a moment to sob uncontrollably while going through all the stages of loss.  I only ask that when you…

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Faites Votre Choix….


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My friend and Napa county neighbor, the Traveling Wine Chick, had the winner’s honor of picking the theme for this Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #MWWC19 . I can only hope the dissertation I am about to put forth is worthy of her motif – “choice.”


I had the good fortune of being a guest at the wedding of two dear friends in Biarritz, France. Merely a week from this last Saturday, I was strolling the gardens and walking the halls of a beautiful chateau on Lac Brindos surrounded by nuptial brilliance and celestial beauty (the wedding designer is genius and there was no expense spared for this union.) I could go enviously on and on and on giving you enough time to stitch a voodoo doll of my likeness, but I shall refrain.


Biarritz is a gorgeous seaside city on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast in southwestern France. A luxurious destination that is popular with tourists…

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MWWC #19: Choice

The Wine Raconteur

wine-stain Monthly Wine Challenge It is time for another foray into the Monthly Wine Writers Challenge and the last winner was Elizabeth of Traveling Wine Chick with her excellent essay, and as the winner she selected our next theme of “choice.” Immediately I had a choice, do I look up the word on the internet or do I go into my library and look up the word in my huge Webster Dictionary that sits on its own stand waiting to be used again. I am old school, so it was the book that got my attention. The main definitions of choice are: selection, opportunity, specially selected and carefully picked (superior).  The easiest part of this essay is done and now the reasons for the wine labels will become apparent.

Ch Margaux 1961 Margaux

There were many ways for me to tackle this subject and the first was all the choices that our esteemed wineries have to make, but…

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The Traveling Wine Chick: Choice: Va La Vineyards

We have another great entry into this month’s Challenge (#MWWC19) from last month’s winner of the Challenge, Beth the Traveling Wine Chick, who is ineligible to win this month.

You can check out the post here:

Choice: Va La Vineyards

Thanks for another great post!

The DIY Bistro: Choosing a Wine for Your Meal – Peculiar Pairings and Common Couplings

We have another great entry into this month’s Challenge (#MWWC19) from another newcomer to the Challenge, the DIY Bistro, our first ever entry from Fairbanks, Alaska!

You can check out the entry here:

The DIY Bistro: Choosing a Wine for Your Meal – Peculiar Pairings and Common Couplings

Thanks for another great entry!

Exploring Wine making Choices with #MWWC


Our lives are filled with choices. Do you chose to drink coffee or tea in the morning? If coffee do you chose to drink it with cream and sugar or black? What toppings do you chose to put on pizza? Do you chose action thriller movies or romantic comedies? Chances are if we were aware of the millions of choices we make each day we would be completely overwhelmed. Thankfully many of choices become rote. Winemaking is also filled with choices. Wine is a craft that involves farming, science, and art, and at each of these stages the winemaker is faced with a number of choices. This month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge topic is “Choices.” The topic was chosen by last month’s winner Elizabeth Smith, the “Traveling Wine Chick.” Let’s take some time together to explore a few of the many choices involved in winemaking.

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Palate procrastinations from Searson’s Shop: Choice

We have another great entry into this month’s Challenge (#MWWC19) from another newcomer to the Challenge, Harriet of Searson’s Shop, a Wine Shop in Ireland.

You can check out the entry here:

Palate procrastinations from Searson’s Shop: Choice

Thanks for another great entry!