Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Wine: Year in Review

What an exciting year this has been for Why Wine Blog and for me personally in my quest to further my knowledge of wine. The blog started out in 2008 only as fun thing to do and to give my new wine affiliate web site it's first link. The web-site did not succeed, so I transferred many of my affiliates to the blog and began pretending to know something about wine. Well, at least I thought I knew something, but in 2009 I realized how much I did not know. To understand you will have to know where I came from as far as my wine experience.
Not including the sweet Rose's and $1 bottles of wine we took to Virgina Beach, VA and Revere Beach in Boston in the late 60's while in the service, I actually did not start drinking wine regularly until 1971 or 72. Other than an occasional Chardonnay, it was red wine only for me. The first wine I really loved was Chianti and other Super Tuscans that fell within the limits of my wallet. Italian wines only in my rack until I discovered Rioja and Bordeaux and California Cab/Sauvs. In the late 90's I added Pinot Grigio and Voigner to my limited white wine list. As you see, with the exception of the Cab/Sauv, I liked blended European reds. That did not come close to changing when I moved to within one hour of the New York Finger Lakes region. I honestly tried their reds and for lack of a better term, they sucked. So life went on and nothing changed my wine drinking habits or taste. At least wine shopping was easy, my selection was not vast, actually very slim.
When I made my first Finger Lakes wine tour in 2008, I went expecting to taste only white wines. I decided, since I'm here, why not give a few reds a try. What I did find was some of these reds aren't bad. I only brought a few home and they stayed in the wine rack for a long time. I was afraid to open them. That was until 2009 when I bought a nice Italian vin rosso from Damiani Wine Cellars. The Italian name through me off and I did not realize that it was a Finger Lakes wine until I uncorked the bottle. Yes, I don't always read all the labels when buying wine, especially when in the Italian section where this one was. I thought this was more than just a very good table wine. It was a fantastic red table wine. I had just started posting the Joeshico Wine Reviews in February and New York reds were not supposed to be part of any of my reviews.
After posting a few reviews, I came to the conclusion, that I knew very little about wine and how to critique wine. From then on I started using my blog as a learning tool. I will post articles about only wines I like and why I like them. This is working out very nice. I just have to learn how to write like a half way descent journalist to really enjoy this new found hobby more.
If I am going to review wines, albeit my way,  I would have to force myself to leave my comfort zone and begin to search out new wines and some oldies I just never gave a chance to. This point was made very clear on my first wine tour of 2009 and the first winery visited on what was a Finger Lakes red wine only day. My first stop was at the winery that raised my curiosity about their reds, Damiani Wine Cellars. One of the highlights of this year was barrel tasting, at Amy Cheatles persistence, the Damiani Syrah.
Tried to convince her that I am not a Syrah fan. That was until I tasted. That vintage was not bottled, but I started buying and tasting quite a few Syrah and did my first Syrah review this month. As I write this article, I am finishing another Finger Lakes Syrah from Glenora Wine Cellars and as their label states at the bottom "Beautiful wine"
How far I was going to go with Why Wine Blog and what direction was still undetermined until that day. Still need many improvements, but happy were I am at now.
Now, how exciting a year was this:
1. I now can enjoy and appreciate local wines. New favorites are the Cabernet Franc, Lemberger (Blaufrankisch) and Syrah's from the Finger Lakes.
2. I now search out and try to always add something new in whites and reds to my rack.
3. I have added many white wines to my fave list. Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Cayuga White, Rieslings and Sauvignon Blanc
4. I met some of the nicest people on earth, tasting room employees and owners in the Finger Lakes region. If it wasn't for temperatures dipping below 60 deg in the winter I'd probably retire to that area.
5. I spent two hours enjoying a Heron Hill Blaufrankisch with a blogging friend 1000 miles away on Skype.
6. Ate lunch with another blogging friend in Virgina Beach.
7. Tasted more and different good wines in one year than I have in the past 10 years.
If I have to name the best wines I've tasted this year, I probably would have a difficult time choosing. but I will give it shot.
1. Best Rose': Tried four different Finger Lakes Rose's, best was from Billsboro Winery.
2. Best White: Many good Finger Lakes Riesling's and Gewurzt's, but best white tied between a CA Chardonnay from Clos du Bois the Calcaire and the Michael Shaps 2006 Viognier from the King Family Vineyards in Virginia.
3. Best Red: Loved the Meritage from Damiani, the Atwater Estate Syrah, the Fox Run Pinot Noir and the Heron Hill Blaufrankisch, but the best was the Ravines Cabernet Franc 2007.
I don't know what 2010 will bring to Why Wine Blog, but looking forward to some changes, some new wines and some old faves, some new friends and meeting some friends made this past year.
To all my followers and those just tuning in for the first time:
"May the best of 2009 be the worse of 2010 for us all"


The Wine Whore said...

Happy New Year to you Joe!

I'm looking forward to whatever new experiences it will bring!


in vino veritas said...

2009 was a great year for Why Wine and I am looking forward to following you in 2010. Maybe one of these days we can share a Fingers Lake wine together. Continued Success in 2010 and all the Best to you and Shirley.

Shelly said...

Happy New Year!

I treasure the frienships I made in 2009 and know it will only get better in 2010.

Look forward to all your new finds in the upcoming year!

MoIppai said...

Happy New Year!
Looking forward to reading more of your blog in 2010.
Jim (at MoIppai)

Catherine said...

Happy New Year to you and Shirley!
2009 was certainly a very good year for Why Wine.
Wishing you all the blessings for the coming year!

Kitty Oliver said...

Joe, What a great post! I love the wrap up, it simplifies everything and really makes me think of all the times I've enjoyed wine and with whom. Cheers to a great 2010! Kitty