Niche Wine Blogs

There are too many wine sites to count—F&W’s alone is a source for 12,000 bottles to buy and pair with food—and they can sometimes be wonky or too broad. Here, five wine blogs that have carved out smart and focused niches in the wine Web.

Veritas in Vino

Written by Alice Feiring, Veritas in Vino might be the best blog that concentrates on “natural” wines, variously defined by Feiring as “non-trickster” or “made with ultra-minimal intervention.” Though Feiring treats the subject with an urgency bordering on militant (she recently called the ubiquitous Veuve Clicquot Champagne “undrinkable”), her wine recommendations are frequently terrific and always unexpected. Come here for tips on Burgundy, grower Champagne and a slew of little-known and under-valued appellations.

ChÂteau Pétrogasm

Thanks to Robert M. Parker, Jr., numbers are the most popular way to rate wine. Words, long in use before Parker’s 100-point scale innovation, are also a fine choice. But at Château Pétrogasm, visuals are the medium. These reviews can be cryptic (a 2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is described with a photo of a rooster wearing a knit cap), but the fun is in decoding the images. Take the 2005 Tenuta di Trinoro Passopisciaro, an intense Sicilian red illustrated with a vintage shot of Sophia Loren. We can guess that means it’s dramatic, vibrant, or maybe that it will age well. At the least, it inspires more thought than a naked “93.”


While most wine bloggers focus on specific bottles, Tom Wark looks at wine PR. Wark, a PR guy himself (and executive director of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association), ruminates on interstate wine shipping laws, restrictions on what can be called Champagne and the curiously vague “old vines” designation on many wine labels. He also interviews other wine bloggers—from The New York Times’ Eric Asimov to Alice Feiring, mentioned above.

Good Wine Under $20

While it’s hardly a unique concept—budget wines might be the most-blogged subject in the wine web—author Dr. Debs is remarkably willing to trek through obscure vines in her search for the great everyday drinkers. She’s made it a mission to try 100 different varietals, and as of mid-January 2008 she was at number 88—Tocai Friuliano. Debs rates wines on QPR, or quality to price ratio.


There is one great frustration in reading about wine—trying to find it. Quaffability addresses that issue by reviewing bottles almost exclusively purchased from Trader Joe’s. Quite simple, quite brief and quite useful, especially if TJ’s is the main wine game in your neighborhood.

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