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 mightbe the best blog that concentrates on “natural” wines,variously defined by Feiring as “non-trickster” or“made with ultra-minimal intervention.” Though Feiringtreats the subject with an urgency bordering on militant (she recentlycalled the ubiquitous Veuve Clicquot Champagne“undrinkable”), her wine recommendations are frequentlyterrific and always unexpected. Come here for tips on Burgundy, growerChampagne and a slew of little-known and under-valued appellations.
Thanks to Robert M. Parker,Jr., numbers are the most popular way to rate wine. Words, long in usebefore Parker’s 100-point scale innovation, are also a finechoice. But at Château Pétrogasm, visuals are the medium.These reviews can be cryptic (a 2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape isdescribed with a photo of a rooster wearing a knit cap), but the fun isin 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 itwill age well. At the least, it inspires more thought than a naked“93.”
While most wine bloggers focus on specificbottles, Tom Wark looks at wine PR. Wark, a PR guy himself (andexecutive director of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association),ruminates on interstate wine shipping laws, restrictions on what can becalled Champagne and the curiously vague “old vines”designation on many wine labels. He also interviews other winebloggers—from The New York Times’ Eric Asimov to AliceFeiring, mentioned above.
Good Wine Under $20
While it’s hardly a uniqueconcept—budget wines might be the most-blogged subject in the wineweb—author Dr. Debs is remarkably willing to trek through obscurevines in her search for the great everyday drinkers. She’s made ita mission to try 100 different varietals, and as of mid-January 2008 shewas at number 88—Tocai Friuliano. Debs rates wines on QPR, orquality to price ratio.
There is one great frustration in readingabout wine—trying to find it. Quaffability addresses that issue byreviewing bottles almost exclusively purchased from Trader Joe’s.Quite simple, quite brief and quite useful, especially if TJ’s isthe main wine game in your neighborhood.