2014: Favorite Wine-Related Items
December 12, 2014
Let me continue the lists of my best recommendations and favorites of 2014. I have already posted my Top Ten Wines Under $15, Top Ten Wines Over $15 and Top Ten Wines Over $50 lists. This post will now concentrate on some of my Favorite Wine-Related Items, which are not specific wine recommendations. This is certainly not a complete list but it is more a sampling of compelling and memorable matters I have experienced and posted about over the past year.
This is also a purely subjective list, based on my own preferences, and makes no claims about being the "best" of anything. But all of the items here have earned my strong recommendations and I hope you will enjoy them as well. For more wine related items, you can just search my blog posts for the past year.
Favorite Wines Analysis: In my three prior Top Ten Wine lists, I mentioned a total of 42 wines, which included wines from 12 different countries. At the top was France, with 10 wines, four of them from the Alsace region. In second place was Portugal with 8 wines and third place went to Spain with 7 wines. About 60% of my picks came from just these three countries. Uruguay made a strong showing with 5 wines, and the Hudson Valley of New York had 3 wines on the lists. Chile, with two wines on the list, was the only other country with multiple listings. The rest of the lists included wines from Argentina, Austria, California, Croatia, Italy, Lebanon, and South Africa,
Favorite Wine Book: A comprehensive book about Spanish Rioja, The Wine Region of Rioja by Ana Fabiano, is an excellent resource. It possesses great photography, is easy to read, and provides lots of insight into the wine makers of Rioja. My favorite sidebar of the book was "Voice of the Vintners" which provides quotes from about 30 different wineries on Tempranillo. There is such poetry in those quotes, and they provide a fascinating insight into Rioja. If you read those two pages alone, I think you would actually have a nice grasp of Rioja.
Most Unique Wine Tasting: While in the Hudson Valley, at one of the grand tastings, I got to sample the wines from Pazdar Winery, which included two chocolate wines! Previously, the chocolate wines I have tasted have seemed artificial and overly sweet. However, these were actually tasty and interesting wines, with real chocolate and a restrained sweetness. These aren't your normal type of wine, but they are well made and would appeal to many people.
Favorite Wine Trip, Domestic: This year's TasteCamp was held in the Hudson Valley of New York. It was informative and fun, and I discovered plenty of interesting wines and spirits. The region is beautiful and it was great to visit this developing wine region, which also possesses a rich and vibrant history. TasteCamp always does a good job of showcasing different wine regions, and this year was no different. Wines and spirits from this trip have ended up on my Favorite lists.
Favorite Winery Visit: While in the Hudson Valley region, our visit to the Hudson-Chatham Winery was a major highlight. Carlo Devito, owner of the winery, was an excellent host, leading us through a tasting of their wines, giving a tour of their solera, and feeding us lunch, including plenty of sliders. We saw Carlo's passion, and also saw the potential of hybrid grapes, such as Baco Noir. If you visit this region, you must stop at this winery.
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