How To Taste Wine Like a Pro – Part 2


Photo courtesy of Eligible Magazine

Beauty comes in many forms. It might be a question of measurable symmetry or a juxtaposition of opposites – ruggedly handsome, heroin chic – but the origin of physical beauty is set firmly in the eye of the beholder. In wine, beauty is most often equated with aroma and balance: a beautiful bouquet, a beautiful wine.

Though appearances are important, they regularly take a back seat to aromas as the trigger for physical contact with a subject. In this case, the subject happens to be a glass of wine.

In part one of this series, I touched on visual cues that can be found in wine.

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[This article was written by Benjamin Spencer, AmericanWineWriter, and published by Eligible Magazine. Follow this link to read the full article.]

I Joined The Mutiny …

In 2010 I went to Romania to write a story for MUTINEER Magazine. This is a story about that story and the end of an era. Photo courtesy of WineRO.

In 2010 I went to Romania to write a story for MUTINEER Magazine. This is a story about that story and the end of an era. Photo courtesy of WineRO.

I met the MUTINEER Magazine team in 2010 at the Hospice du Rhone, in Paso Robles, California. They were there promoting the magazine, emceeing tastings, and otherwise trying to raise the energy level in the room. The temperature of beverage industry was rising, consumers were excited – about wine, mixed drinks, and micro-brews – but very few bloggers and journalists knew which direction to focus. The MUTINEERs knew exactly what they wanted to do. They wanted to turn up the heat.

Eight years ago, in Executive MUTINEER Alan Kropf‘s first open letter to readers he set the tone for the magazine in this way:

… The Mutineer is based on the idea that the world of wine, beer, spirits, and all fine beverages has been somehow perverted within the void that exists between maker and drinker. This is a void that has overstayed its welcome, and it is a void that has now found itself in our crosshairs.

It is of our opinion that the people, ideas, and culture surrounding the world of fine beverage are far more relevant and interesting than count-less pages of beverage ratings. We, the Mutineer, will NEVER reduce something as complex and beautiful as a fine beverage to a mere number.

I Joined The Mutiny

We don’t presume that we will change the landscape of fine beverage, but we can do our damnedest to try, and you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish with a little raw passion, blind optimism, and reckless resolve.

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How To See Wine Like A Pro

Photo courtesy of Eligible Magazine

Without a doubt the question I get the most in my wine classes is “How can I learn to taste wine like a pro?” The short answer to this question is practice. The long answer is that there is no short cut to being the best. Practice is the key to success in everything.

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[This article was written by Benjamin Spencer, AmericanWineWriter, and published by Eligible Magazine. Follow this link to read the full article.]


New Somm Movie Looks to Demystify Wine

A snail clings to a grape cluster … Is this a sign of biodiversity in a vineyard, or just plain gross?

As a winemaker, wine journalist, and a wine educator, it’s never easy to ascertain exactly what a guest or client knows about wine until you have a few precious moments to spend with them.

Unfortunately, so much is left out of the conversation because the conversation is rarely long enough to speak about the part of the wine that really matters – everything.

Forgotten Man Films, the team that delivered SOMM: the documentary, has returned with a SOMM: Into the Bottle, due out this summer. This time, the focus appears to be as much a celebration of what’s in your glass as it is a turning of the compost which was used to …. Forget it, here’s the trailer.

The sea of wine education films and videos seems to grow by the day. Many of them inevitably fall short of rippling the liquid surface of wine’s depth. That being said, if the cast from the first film has anything to say about it, many of whom are returning for this second run at professional wine edutainment, my hope is they extend the conversation … at the very least, until they need to make a third film, which I would probably also watch.

Personally, I can’t wait to see this movie. After nearly fifteen years in the wine business, and seeing the overcoat and the underbelly of the trade, I can say with sincerity that there are many reasons why someone would turn away from Wine after bathing in it for so long, but there is virtually nowhere else I would rather be.

Honesty, Honestly

wine hands

Photo © by Ali B.


I had a dream last night. Okay, it was this morning. Right before I woke up. Maybe that’s why it’s still fresh in my mind. I can feel myself moving through it, talking in it, even now, minutes into the future with my morning toast and coffee in hand, as I try to wrap my words around the central point of the dream.

I don’t analyze my dreams on a regular basis, I dream about too much nonsense. This one, however, I believe is worth writing about. Partly because it has to do with writing, partly because it has to do with wine, or the “blogging about wine,” and some problems I’ve been mulling about Social Media in general.

The premise of the dream – at least how it started – was rather simple. I was invited to a conference of writers. Most of them were wine writers, wine thinkers, wine communicators, promoters, etc. There was the expectation that I would be giving a presentation. I told the organizers that I hadn’t anticipated attending the conference and that I hadn’t prepared anything, but that if they wanted me to be there I would try to prepare something.

I struggled to figure out what to present to the audience that I anticipated would be in attendance. Certainly, they were professors of wine, wine doctors, masters of sommeliership, theoreticians and the like. I certainly couldn’t take this assignment lightly.

Finally, an idea occurred to me. Honest Wine Writing. It was a nebulous theme, but I am not immune to building something concrete from an unformulated concept.

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The Best of 2014: Nemea, Greece

The short film above was produced by Ballenadepapel Bdp for Nemea Wineland during the #NemeaWineTour2014

As 2015 opens its doors to new opportunities, I find myself looking back on my favorite parts of 2014. There are a few experiences that I will remember, but there are also those memories that I will never forget. My trip to Nemea, Greece was that 2014 event.

In June, I had the unique opportunity to join an elite team of communicators from around the globe during the #NemeaWineTour2014, led by Ted Lelekas. Over the course of three days, we met with nearly 30 wine producers and tasted more than 200 wines to learn what makes Nemea a player to watch in the international wine games.

Over the last two decades, thanks in large part to subsidies from the European Union, significant investments have been made in Greek vini-viti-research, vineyard management and winery technology, turning what was once an international reputation of retsina producers into a quality-focused national collective of distinctive wine regions.

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Sparkling Wines For New Years

Champagne – American Wine Writer, Benjamin Spencer

Photo Courtesy of Eligible Magazine

Sparkling wines are synonymous with happiness, joy, and hope. There is no other wine in the world so intrinsically attached to one set of human emotions. For centuries, people have been popping corks of effervescent wines to celebrate special occasions and end of the year festivities. Why should this year be different?

Following is a list of sensuous sparkling wines that can be found on most market and specialist-retailer shelves. I hope they help you find something to make your memorable moments extraordinary.

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[This article was written by Benjamin Spencer, AmericanWineWriter, and published by Eligible Magazine. Follow this link to read the full article.]