Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
by Nikki Lincoln
The sold out Outside Lands is quickly approaching and the Bay Area is buzzing with talk of which bands everyone is excited to see. I, on the other hand, have been talking up all of the great wines that are going to be at Wine Lands, the designated wine area of the festival.
It’s always interesting to admit this but I actually have not been to Outside Lands before, despite hearing great things from all of my friends. Knowing my interest in wine, they’ve always been quick to bring up the amazing wine vendors that the festival provides every year. Since I have the opportunity to attend this year, I decided to finally check out the list and let all of you know which wines I’m looking forward to the most. Hopefully, I can hear the music from the wine tent!
If you can only try a handful of wines next weekend, here are the winemakers (in alphabetical order) that I’ve had a chance to try and highly recommend:
As you may recall, Broc Cellars was one of my top picks from the Rosé the Rhone Way event back in June. I had really enjoyed their 50% Cinsault / 50% Counoise Rosé blend. I’ve also had the chance to try some of their more unique varietals – the 2011 Cassia Grenache and 2011 Luna Matta Mourvedre. All three wines were spectacular and will also give Outside Lands attendees a good choice of beverage depending on the weather. I personally love a good red when the weather is chilly (as Outside Lands has been known to be in past years) and Grenache is go-to for me as it’s my favorite varietal. However, I love a crisp Rosé when the weather is hot. The day I tasted the Broc Cellars Rosé was particularly sweltering and if (fingers crossed) San Francisco is lucky enough to get some higher temperatures for the festival – I know what wine I’m going to get to cool me down.
Forlorn Hope specializes in wines that are unknown and uncommon. Like many of the other winemakers here, I first tasted Forlorn Hope’s wine at the Seven Percent Solution – an event celebrating varietals that make up only 7% of the grapes grown in California. Forlorn Hope quickly caught my attention for having several Portuguese varietals and had even named one blend “Que Saudade” – a Portuguese phrase meaning longing or missing of something you have lost. Saudade has been referred to as one of the most beautiful words in a foreign language. Since Portuguese is my second language, I was impressed to see the word used here and the wine was equally as impressive. I went back several times for additional tastes of Que Saudade. I also have had a couple of opportunities to taste Forlorn Hope’s “Trou Grit” Trousseau Gris – a lovely “orange” wine with a very complex and unique flavor. I don’t know if winemaker, Matthew Rorick, is bringing these particular wines to Outside Lands but I’m sure whatever he is pouring will be unique and delicious.
Although J. Lohr has been at a few Rhone Rangers events, I couldn’t find anything in my tasting notes. I even missed a chance to stop into the winery during my recent weeks of travel (also the reason there haven’t been many posts from me lately) so I’d been aching to try some of their wines. Luckily for me, I was out at a bar that was pouring the J. Lohr Sauvignon Blanc. I was happy to see a name that I recognized and even happier to finally get to try some of their wines. The Sauvignon Blanc did not disappoint and left me really excited to try more of the portfolio. I’m happy to know that it won’t be too much longer until I get that chance.
The Scholium Project was another winery at Seven Percent Solution and per the alphabetical arrangement of the event, was stationed next to William and I while we were pouring for Two Shepherds. Ironically, I didn’t get to take notes on their wines as I was always working when I had their wine in my glass but I remember enjoying the wine extensively. My friend was particularly fond of the 2011 Cinsault. The Scholium Project also brought temporary tattoos to the event and I volunteered my forearm to represent their cause. I’m hoping they have tattoos again next weekend as I’m a big fan of them – on that note, I’ve been trying to get William to make some tattoos for Two Shepherds as well.
Wind Gap, like many of the other producers I’ve listed, was another Seven Percent Winery. My favorite Wind Gap wine from the event was, unsurprisingly, one of my favorite varietals – Mourvedre. With cranberry undertones and a beautiful, ruby color, the wine was quite delectable. The Trousseau Gris was another great, unique wine with a crisp and aromatic flavor that will be refreshing if Outside Lands happens to be a warm day. The style of Wind Gap’s wines is much lighter and more delicate and reminded me a bit more of William’s wine making style, specifically with his Grenache, which was nice to see in another wine maker.
Wines of Portugal holds a special place in my heart. Their Portuguese wine tasting was actually the first event I went to as a representative of Simple Hedonisms. I was so nervous to be wine tasting in a more official capacity but I quickly fell into step and felt so comfortable asking questions about the wines I was trying. As a Portuguese speaker, I also relished the opportunity to practice speaking although I stumbled a bit trying to describe certain flavors in my limited Portuguese vocabulary.
Since the event, I’ve continued to see Portuguese wines all over the place and they are quickly taking up space in my wine collection. If you’re a white drinker, be sure to try an Alvarinho or Loureiro. For reds, I would recommend a Touriga Nacional. Portuguese varietals aren’t always easy to find so I recommend trying a few while you have the chance!
These winemakers (or distributors in the case of Wines of Portugal) are only a small selection of who will be at Wine Lands this year. The full list of wineries can be found on the Outside Lands website in addition to band schedules and other food vendors. All of these winemakers also represent something I often seek out at different wine tastings – unique varietals and flavors that aren’t commonly found. After writing this article, I am even more excited that these producers will be at such a mainstream event and I know I will be dragging my friends to Wine Lands so they can try all of the amazing, unique wines I’ve written about here. I’m also looking forward to trying the offerings from the wine makers I’m less familiar with – does anyone have any recommendations for me?
By Nikki Lincoln
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Last year, two of my friends got married in a ceremony that was so unique, I buy levitra online would need a whole blog post just to write about it. The short version of the story is that there was a fancy maritime theme for the wedding and as such, we all dressed up accordingly. As part of my outfit, I wanted matching jewelry. I ended up finding a beautiful silver anchor necklace on Amazon for a reasonable price. I thought that I would only wear it for the wedding or similarly themed events, but I fell in love with it and wanted to wear it daily. However, my sensitive skin couldn't handle the metal in the chain and my neck would breakout whenever I wore it so I hung it on the necklace tree and stopped wearing it.
A few weeks ago, after a down trodden few months of applying to jobs with no luck, I decided to look through one of my Pinterest boards full of motivational quotes. One of them caught my eye – it was a little anchor and the words “Refuse to Sink” wrapped around it. I had pinned it back when I got the necklace and like most Pins, had forgotten about it. I went home and had a novel idea – I would put my anchor on a nicer chain from a necklace I didn't wear anymore. I put on my anchor again and was excited to tackle the challenges that laid before me.
The next day at work proved to be exceptionally challenging. A lot of the frustrations that I've had with my role (the ones that led me to seek employment elsewhere) had all converged to a point where I wasn't sure what to do. My job search up to that point had been fruitless and I couldn't afford to quit without something else lined up. I went back to my desk and then I thought about my anchor: “Refuse to sink, Nikki.” I applied for four more jobs. By the end of the day, I had heard back from two of them and one job I had applied to weeks before. By the end of the week, I heard from the other two, passed a few case studies, and had several interviews. Not long after, I accepted an offer and had given my resignation notice at work. Within a few weeks, I was on a plane to visit friends on the first leg of my unemployment trip and was enjoying having time to read for leisure while mentally preparing for my new role.
It's funny how things come together exactly when you need them to sometimes. I like to think that the Universe took a look around and thought “Wow, let's throw you a bone.” But I know that's not it – it's because I didn't give up. I didn't let the things that I was unhappy with beat me. I took all of my frustration at the things I could not change, and I changed them. I look at my life and it's surrounded with amazing friends and all of the amazing things I've been able to do through the blog and it was such a stark contrast to how I was spending 50 hours of my week that I knew I had to do something… and I've done it… and in a way that I am so happy about. My last job change was about getting out at all costs, but this time I knew I would have to make a change that would be fulfilling to me for a long time.
I am also hopeful that this new move will allow me a greater work life balance so that I can continue to juggle all of my wine adventures. It will be hard for me to write on the road but the wheels are always turning in this head of mine and I'm finding the words for a few posts I have in mind. With any big change, it is scary and exciting, but I am lucky in another way too – I know a lot of good wine that I can go home and open up to calm myself down and help me rally around the next challenge. All the pieces are coming together and I never gave up. I refused to sink.
The Northern Rhone is my favorite wine region in France, I have been enjoying tasting through its regions prior to my upcoming trip there.
This is the land of cool climate Syrah, of which Côte-Rôtie is the most well known.
The first night quic
kly sampling this was pleasant, but didn't have that 'ooh' factor I want in a $60 Côte-Rôtie. Fortunately the second night, it improved.
I can't agree with the comments on CellarTracker from a year ago of too much oak or new world style. But its a year later it could have integrated some. If anything the wine was a bit simple
prior to some air. And at 12.5% alc not over done or over ripe.
Its still young (obviously) and improves with aeration, and will do so bottle aging.
It was also more aromatic night two. Also
interesting as I changed to a larger Riedel stem, more oak was prevalent on the nose.
- To The Eye: Dark purple color, unfiltered.
- On The Nose: (Varied greatly by stemware bowl size – tried 3 different size Riedels.) Violets, White pepper, smoked meat.
- On The Palate: Black fruits, olive notes, meaty notes; a finish of mocha, with some structure, and a good finish.
Sonoma County's finest hour is at hand, at the Taste of Sonoma event, the showcase of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend experience. For those of you who waited to buy tickets, it sold out again this week, the earliest ever. (I did warn you!) A few tickets to the Sonoma Starlight Supper Club are still available. That's tonight fyi! Simple Hedonisms will be there to partake of this new event.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Stars from across the US
The Taste of Sonoma offers more than just the amazing AVA based wine & food pairings and tastings. Seminars, food demonstrations, and other educational experiences abound. These are lead by a team of rock star Sommelier's who have traveled to share their expertise with attendees.
Sommeliers from Northern California, as well as cities as far as 3,000 miles away, will serve as resident all-star wine guides at several events taking place throughout Sonoma County this coming weekend at the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, co-produced by the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners.
The rising wine experts, known as the “Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Stars,” are sponsored by Rodney Strong Vineyards and Southern Wine & Spirits. The somms will be immersed in Sonoma to gain an even deeper understanding of the region and the wines. They will also lead seminars and tours at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg on Saturday, September 1 as well as provide custom wine service to auction guests at the 20th annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood on Sunday, September 2.
The 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Stars are:
- Charlie Berg – BOURBON STEAK, Washington DC
- Nichole Dishman – Viognier Restaurant, San Mateo, CA
- Sian Ferguson-Nagan – Root Down & Linger, Denver, CO
- Michael Garcia – Southern Wine & Spirits, San Francisco, CA
- Bjorn Kock – Salt House, San Francisco, CA
- Mariya Kovacheva – Café Boulud, Palm Beach, FL
- Dana Manison – Southern Wine & Spirits, San Francisco, CA
- Christopher McFadden – Hy’s Steakhouse, Vancouver, BC
- Jennifer Perlstein – buy discount cialis online Americano Restaurant at the Hotel Vitale, San Francisco, CA
- Bert Rangle – River's End, Jenner-by-the-Sea, CA
- Stefen Soltysiak – Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Healdsburg, CA
- Deirdre Summers – Scala's Bistro, San Francisco, CA
- Ryan Williams – Ana Mandara, San Francisco, CA
Proceeds from Sonoma Wine Country Weekend benefit local communities and charities serving students, children, farm workers and people in need. To date, more than $11 million has been raised jointly by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners. The 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is set for Labor Day Weekend, August 31 – September 2, 2012.
For those who cannot attend the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction, yet would still like to participate in the charitable effort, an online auction of additional lots, including many of Sonoma County’s finest large format wine bottles and exclusive experiences, is open for bidding through September 7, 2012 at http://www.biddingforgood.com/sonomawinecountryweekend.
Follow Live On Twitter
Those of you who can't attend, can follow the fun live via Twitter. If my Verizon Mifi does the job, I'll be
broadcasting recommendations and photos over Twitter via hashtag #SWCW12
Cheers to Sonoma and her many wonderful people, experiences, and treasures!
One of the beauties of the ever expanding wine industry (new wineries continue to open despite the downturn) is the never ending source of wineries, new releases, winemakers, wine venues, and events to explore.
Frankly it’s downright daunting…I can’t get to all of the 180+ wineries in a 30 mile radius of where I live, let alone get deep into Napa, an hour away, all of Sonoma Valley 45 minutes away, and remote areas I love including Paso Robles, 3.5 hours away, Willamette Valley…and so many more. (Not too mention my full time VP of Sales/Marketing job, the social media assistance I offer, and my runaway garagiste project.
Simple Hedonisms, due to time constraints, has yet to fully evolve into what I want to write; which is the stories of artisans producers, and consumer wine education. It does to some extent achieve it’s goal of “connecting enthusiastic consumers to passionate artisans” via event coverage, and wine reviews, but it is still my desire to go much deeper. By adding more writers, and AVA (wine region) specialists, I hope to be able to capture more individual focus on AVA’s, and free me up to broader focus, as well as add more local insider views and expertise.
Are we trying to become Palate Press…not even close, completely different intents and focus. Simple Hedonisms is a non-monetized blog (we attempt to cover costs is all, not that anything is wrong with monetizaton!) designed to assist the wine industry and associated local businesses.
Two New Writers
A few months ago we announced the addition of Katherine Parker, a resident of Sonoma Valley. Today I am pleased to announce the addition of new writers Deborah Kravitz (who’s guest articles have been a big hit) and Tracy Logan-Immordino.
Deborah brings a great perspective of both avid consumer and now some hospitality experience. She is my personal go to person for California Pinot, and tips on Mendocino County. Tracy is a long time employee of the Wine Road, representing the AVA’s of the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. You can read more about them in the new Writer’s Bio tab.
- People with decent writing skills and a passion for wine, and the industry.
- Living in or close to, a key area or AVA: Napa, Mendocino, Paso Robles, Monterrey/Carmel, Santa Cruz, Willamette, Walla Walla, etc. and the desire to make that a focus.
- Ability to write two (minimum) – four short articles a month on local events, wineries, related topics. People generally write best about what excites them, so I to embrace each writer’s personal focus and passion.
What Do I Get out of This, Why Not just Start, (or Continue) my Own Blog
- If you think starting a blog presence and getting a following is easy in today’s crowded world, guess again. It takes substantial persistence to get momentum underway, and then maintain it. Not to mention design, creation, maintenance and regular content. The Simple Hedonisms brand is already well established, with a good following, and one that can be easily expanded.
- Training and assistance on using WordPress.
- Readership and traffic grows steadily each month; as of Sept 2010 averaging around 3,000 unique readers and 200,000 hits. It’s not Vinography, but for 12 months that’s respectable, and the wider focus will grow readers.
- If you publish your own blog, with some discussion, content is open to re-use.
- After a successful trial period, you will be provided with business cards, and occasional wine samples and event tickets. This is not the main incentive for coming on board, but an additional perk.
- This format is open, with possibilities for future evolution, growth and ideas.
- You will be part of a collaborative team and benefit from idea sharing, knowledge growth, and exposure.
- We aren’t sample or ticket whores, are fully against bloggers that are, and any discovery of aggressive solicitation, or behaviors will result in parting ways.
- We aren’t argumentative (when writing), engage in ‘blogger wars’, or drama. Our focus is consumers and the wine industry.
If you, or someone you know would be interested, contact me and we can discuss live. We will start with several new writers, then possibly phase a few more in. A sample of writing is request, if available.
What do Readers Think?
Ultimately this is for you. Additional writers means more regular articles, broader coverage, and view points. Would 4-5 short pieces a week be too much? Do you like, or dislike covering more AVA’s?
If you subscribe to wine blogs, invariably you are starting to see the stream of posts about the 2010 Wine Blog Awards.
It’s hard to believe only 6 months ago I launched Simple Hedonisms. Its been incredibly rewarding to watch traffic grow. March traffic doubled with 2000 readers and 180,000 hits. That’s peanuts compared to guys like Vinography and Fermentation, but the difference in Simple Hedonisms is that the audience is highly localized, by design, First to Sonoma, then the Bay Area, and California. Eventually I will focus on growing National Readership, but that can’t really occur until I have the proper time to dedicate, and am not traveling 4 days a week working 12+ hour days. Besides, the main goal of Simple Hedonisms was to “connect passionate consumers to dedicated Artisans” and that’s much easier to do initially on a smaller scale.
For those of you not local, it isn’t just the blog, its the involvement and participation in the local wine industry that I unfortunately rarely write about, that I spend a lot of rewarding time doing. Whether it’s organizing the monthly Facebook Wine Meetups for 60+ people, helping a winery or an association promote an event, or just helping spread the word and help people make connections. I have been blessed to meet and work with many amazing people and organizations, and more importantly, be able to call them friend.
That’s a typical William verbose way of saying its a pure Labor of Love. And to that extent, almost all wine blogs are, since most generate little/no income. (Mine runs in the red.) I’d ask that Blog readers take the time to nominate, and then vote for, blogs that you read. Would I be honored if it was Simple Hedonisms? Of course. But I am not about to embark on the heavy self promoting campaigns that will follow, as its not my style, and your readership is my true reward. I do look forward to attending this years Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla and meeting many of my fellow bloggers in person.
The Categories for Nomination are below with a link; each has a description of the award in more detail:
Thanks for reading, nominating, and voting. Cheers!
Up until now I have been using my personal Facebook site for Simple Hedonisms. I will still of course maintain that and do some wine updates there, but I recognized there may be people who want to follow and interact with the blog and not me per se. Also technically now that the blog is gaining momentum and do advertising and writing for events like Wine Road Barrel Tasting, The Pinot Noir Summit, The Hospice du Rhone, and more, technically its (becoming) a small business, and should have a Fan site. (I am going to keep just one Twitter account however.)
This blog is intended for, and will remain mostly written to consumers; however as I do more and more work and consulting on Social Media and Marketing, I will publish an occasional piece on that as well, given Simple Hedonisms readers are winery’s in addition to consumers.
Lots of great new articles, events, contests, and promotions to come, as Simple Hedonisms continues its goal to connect consumers to passionate Artisans.
Drum Roll Please
I am pleased to finally release my new blog: Simple Hedonisms. (Yes I know ‘Hedonism’ doesn’t normally have a plural tense, I made it that way. Creative blogger license.) It has been a labor of love, gnashing of teeth, staring at php code, and a re-start. Not quite like birthing, but I feel relieved!
Why the Blog? For Whom?
You can gain some insight to the blog’s intent and about me on the ‘About Simple Hedonisms’ page. But who is the blog for? It is my hope to assist both the passionate consumer in their consumption and education of wine and food, as well as the artisan establishments that labor to create these hedonisms for our pleasure and bring enjoyment into our lives. The wine and food industry is full of small artisans and families who barely have time to produce their wares, raise a family and run their business, sometimes neglecting the important part of consumer awareness, through lack of time, experience, or both. I am blessed to live in an area surrounded by such people, and it is my desire to help connect the passionate consumer with the artisan. I have been an avid consumer for many years, and now have gone even deeper.
Giving Back to the Artisans, and to Sonoma County
I fell in love with the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County when I worked for a Petaluma startup back in 2000, and have since been a frequent visitor. I decided earlier this year to follow my heart’s desire and move here, where I now reside in the Windsor area, close to Healdsburg. As the Wine Road web site says, this is “Heaven Condensed.” As someone who has lived all over the US, 2 foreign countries, and 3 other parts of the Bay area, I can say I have finally found home. I think I knew it years ago, and finally changed my priorities. I could wax poetic for hours on the amazing people that live in Sonoma County (and may in a post later.) Warm, friendly, caring people who love life, appreciate the gifts we are blessed with here, and work, live, and play hard to enjoy our blessings. These are people with warm hearts, good souls, and a passion for life.
Networking for Myself, and Now for Others
I moved here knowing almost no one, and in the last five months have quadrupled my Facebook Friends, and more importantly, met face to face so many amazing people; from growers, farmers, wine makers, chefs, store keeps, sales and marketing consultants… every walk of life.
It’s been rewarding to not only meet these people and learn from them, but now recently, actually be able to help others network and make connections, particularly the small wineries. (I recently helped several increase Facebook fans by 20-50% in just a few days.) Many people know me for my avid passion for events here. They follow, and thank me for the visibility and awareness I help bring to the community through social media.
To Give is To Recieve
It has been a real pleasure to be embraced so openly by so many, and now to be able to give back. I hope over the next months and years to grow as a contributor to this community and industry, and help others experience the magic that exists here, if only for a weekend. I look forward to our futures together.
There are four articles to start, with many planned for upcoming weeks. I hope you enjoy them, and look forward to your feedback.
If you like the blog, I would be honored if you’d subscribe, and tell friends.
Built Bit by Byte
<Written on launch day, but moved to bottom>
While the marketeer in me would like to spend endless more hours on the design of this blog, the sales exec in me know’s its time to get this baby launched, especially since my sabbatical may be ending soon, and the return of road warrior executive lifestyle is imminent. (More in a future post.)
The expedient route would have been to launch the blog in a hosted environment, where you pick a name and run. However, it was important to me to have maximum control over the media, tools, and development as the blog evolves over time. This meant jumping into unfamiliar waters and figuring out how to buy and build my own website, learn the suite of tools in WordPress.org to host it, figure out php code, customize all the widgets (SO many hours on the big calendar!) and more. That not being daunting enough, I decided I didn’t like any of the design templates out there (even one I paid for) and purchased software to design my own.
Would I say the design, color scheme, logo etc. is done? Nowhere near, but it’s a start, and over time I will engage outside design assistance. (Many thanks to all in the focus groups who provided feedback this last month.)
Also a special thank you to editors/coaches Karen Newton, Deborah Kravitz, and Rebel Red.