Selected Wine Resources on the Web
On the one hand, there's a plethora of information about wine on the web. On the other hand, what's worth perusing? Well, I certainly haven't found all of the good stuff, but here's what I've found so far. (The rejected material seems ten times as long.)
Wine Knowledge Search Engine
A new website, Able Grape, is a search engine for research and learning about wine.
What is that smell?
Vinography's Wine Aroma Card - Alder Yarrow has put together what I think is a superior version of Ann Noble's famous wine aroma wheel. Downloadable in English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese and Italian.
Food & Wine Pairing
This, to me, is one of the least "figured-out" wine subjects. My own simplified take is to drink wine that you like that doesn't clash with the food you're eating. But here is a few web resources on this challenging topic.
For a quick and practical guide, check out The Wine Thief, a wine store in New Haven, CT, for their matches.
For a better understanding (from a British point of view), here's Berry Bros. & Rudd guide to Food & Wine matching.
Emily Weissman's blog, the Winemonger, has a great Cheese & Wine pairing page, here. It is focused mostly on Austrian wine varietals.
The best book on food and wine pairing is What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. This book lists foods and what beverages to have with them. And a second section lists beverages and which food to have with them. It's very well done.
A new book we've just begun to evaluate is Food and Wine Pairing: A Sensory Experience by Robert J. Harrington. This book is not what you might expect; it seems to want to teach and train you, and has all kinds of exercises to accomplish this. So, it's more aking to a college text book. Further evaluation forthcoming.
Semi-Professional Wine Sites
Jaime Goode's online wine magazine covers a lot of territory. I particularly like the food and wine pairing section, but, for example, his biodynamics article is quite well done. When you have a few hours, go explore.
Roy Hersh's excellent website/newsletter is devoted to all things port. If port or maderia is your thing, this is the website you, and subscribing to Roy's newsletter is a must. He's also begun offering tours to the land of port. Highly recommended!
This is Rusty Gaffney’s weekly (free!) newsletter focusing on his passion, artisanal Pinot Noirs. He's the Prince, and this is really a wonderful newsletter for pinot heads - I don't know how he manages to get an issue out every week.
Make Your Own Real Wine
CrushPad in San Francisco.
Our Wine Blog page is here. If you’re looking for a lengthy list of wineblogs, go to Vinography. If you scroll down, you'll see them in the left column. They are organized by language. Visit Wine Blog Watch to catch postings by many different wine blogs.
Finding Wine from
Online Wine Stores
Note: The bane of these wine search websites is that some stores don’t update their availability and/or pricing regulary or consistantly. (Daily? Not even monthly, it seems.)
WineSearcher: Gets the most results, but won’t display all of them unless you agree to pay for the Pro upgrade ($30 a year). Still, even the non-pro version usually turns up more wines than any other. I've been using the Pro version for more than a year and I'm happy with it. It's definitely worth the $30. Now links to more 6000 wine stores databases. I do wish the interface would improve, though - it's maybe a 3 on a 1-10 scale. They seem about three years behind in launching the next generation of this software.
Do not buy from: Wine.com (upgraded from Not Recommended - they are anti-consumer)
Wine Sources – Find Wine from online Wine Auctions
The first two (below) are Internet Auction Houses: They inspect the wine at their facility and then place it for auction.
I've had very positive experiences with them and seem addicted to buying something almost every week now. I like their software and interface better than the others, too.
We've had one pleasant auction purchase so far. We've also been happy with their Schott Zwiesel Top Ten series of titanium crystal wine glasses that we ordered direct.
This one, no one inspects the wine – it is shipped from someone’s home or wine store to yours, although WineCommune owns/sells some of the wines themselves (as J.J. Buckley). Two experiences so far does not make me want to check for wines on it more than occasionally.
Other Wine Events
If I live in London, I'd hope to go to some of these Fine Wine Experience events.
If I lived in Paris and had a small collection of 50-to-125 year-old-wines, these are the dinners I would absolutely love to attend. They are run by Françoise Audouze and held at 3-star Michelin Restaurants. (The wines are from Françoise's collection of 30,000 wines.) Upcoming dinners are posted about ten weeks in advance.
If I lived in Europe?
Can anyone recommend a European website that lists the best wine tasting events in Europe?
I’d like this for Australia/New Zealand, too.
Local Wine Events is a website listing hundreds of wine events. I've yet to find an event I'd want to go to that was nearby, but some of those London events listed are way cool.
Eric LeVine’s website allows you to manage and organize the contents of your wine cellar. Because it’s one huge online wine database, inputting your cellar is fast and accurate. It’s also fun to look at other people’s cellars (you can designate your cellar as public, semi-private or private).
But the real bonus is the sharing of tasting notes with others; this gives you extra knowledge about when to pop open a bottle. Highly Recommended!
Click on the image above to get a better idea.
Vinfolio's cellar management software has a different set of bells and whistles. It is tied into wine merchant Vinfolio's database of wine for sale. The auction pricing part is cool. Alas, it lacks the huge community tasting notes database of CellarTracker.
Cool Web Wine Knowledge
Keith Levenberg's listing of Wineries making wines from ungrafted vines. (Scroll down!)
Doug Collins posted on eBob reviews of many manufacturers of Laguiole corkscrews.
Roy Hersh's, Creating a Restaurant Wine List article, goes long and deep, providing a new restaurant with extensive information and advice on how to do it right.
Allen Meadows Chablis Primer article (from the Balmaati website).
Theise is one of the two top importers of German and Austrian wine, alogn with Grower Champagne). So, understand his catalogs do promote the wines. But they’re also written for someone with little or no knowledge of these wines (i.e., your typical liquor store owner/wine buyer), so there’s a LOT to glean! Terry is not a dull writer…read his introductions and see.
If you’ve never read his Introduction to Champagne (begins on page 2), it’ll be one of the funniest things you’ll ever read on wine. Yet hits home, too.
I’m not sure how to describe it, but it really helps if you can read latin.
Burgundy Primer - Short, succinct.
Professional Wine Reviews (Publications/Websites)
$90/yr for website, $60/yr for 6 print issues, 64 pages each (about 1000 wines per issue) In particular, Robert Parker is world renown for his Bordeaux, Rhone and California wine reviews; prices around the world change based on them. This publication is a must for most wine enthusiasts and wine professionals. Each print issue gets added to the searchable database a couple of days after it’s mailed. Parker recently added two of my favorite wine reviewers to his staff: Antonio Galloni and David Schildknecht.
($80 web/yr, $60/yr for 6 print issues, or $114 combined). You never read a bad word about Steve Tanzer and that says, perhaps more than anything, what a great palate and wine critic he is. Subscribe! Online subscribers get a searchable database.
($135/yr for 4 (136-page) online issues, $156/yr for web and print combined) If Burgundies are your thing, you won’t be able to live without reading it.
All three of the above publications are excellent values and highly recommended. For each, you have the choice of subscribing to the print, online or both versions.
Two others that I'm just not experienced enough to fully recommend are:
John Gilman's View from the Cellar
($120 for six bi-monthly .pdf emailed issues)
Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages
($119 for one year.) The famous wine writer's pay section is most useful if you live in the U.K.
For those in Australia (or who love Australian wine, The Wine Front costs $39.95 AUS$/year.
Iberian Peninsula Wine Map: DeLong's new map is great! A must have.
Burgundy Wine Map Posters from Burgundy Online. Very high quality: This pair of maps are quite beautiful and make a great gift.
Napa Valley Wineries Map - Very cool!
Kobrand's - Many, many online maps - some excellent but others lack useful detail.
Burgundy Maps (from Burgundy Report via Kobrand)
Berry Bros. & Rudd - Even less detail, and tied into selling wine.
VinMaps - 17 maps, priced from $50 to $125.
Wine Maps of France - 85 of them to purchase.
OmniMap Wine Maps - Quite a few countries. I might order from them.
Four from Dr. Vino (some links have his reviews):
More Wine-Related Links
Read A History of Wine in America From the Beginnings To Prohibition by Thomas Pinney
Fun to glance at. Need a winery in China? Barrels in Illinois? The place to go.
Friuli Venezia Giulia Wine Varietal Composition A page that lists most every wine in this region and what grapes make that wine. Lists quite a few of the cult producers.
The German Wine Society - As you may guess, the focus is entirely on German wines, with events and tastings.
Domaines Chateauneuf - A huge database of the wineries of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Pretty cool!
The Wine Century Club - This is a small group that encourages wine lovers to try wines made from all kinds of grapes. Once you've tasted wines made from more than 100 different varietals, you can join the group. They also have this excellent poster:
Willi's Wine Bar Posters (Paris) - These have got to be the most famous posters in all of winedom. The link goes to the primary source, but an internet search will turn up out-of-print ones, too.
RAP —The Rosé Avengers and Producers – Rosé advocacy group
Rhone Rangers - California Rhone-varietal based wines advocacy group.
elmundoVino - The wine portion of elmundo, a Spanish publication.
Bottle art - From elmundoVino's website.
The above two links are pages created by Ken Vastola to help those trying to decipher and determine what wines these two great producers produced each year.
Professional Friends of Wine -Wine & Health