Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

Wine & Spirits: For the second year in a row, a Texan has been named one of the best new sommeliers in the U.S. by Wine & Spirits Magazine (last year, Houston native Mark Sayre brought the accolade to the Lone Star State). Austin-based sommelier June Rodil (previously wine director for Uciko and now for Congress) took home the "best sommelier in Texas" award two years ago at the annual Texas Sommelier Conference and we're not surprised that New York editors have taken note. Young, beautiful, and talented? Yes, this lady is a triple-threat! Congratulations, June!

Blue State Carpetbagger's Red State Wine Blog: When not lawyering by day, Tom "Big House" Casagrande is always on the prowl for great value in wine. Never afraid to take one for the team, he often buys, tastes, and rates wines simply because they pique his curiosity. He recently gave an A- to the 2007 Domaine de la Terre Rouge Tête-à-Tête from the Sierra Foothills of California after "his curiosity got the best of him" and he was "glad that it did." More and more, wine lovers are pointing to the Sierra Foothills as a terroir capable of delivering excellent expressions of Rhône grape varieties. "Blackish dark ruby. Loads of stony minerals and spicy blackberry fruit in the nose. Mouth-filling and medium full-bodied, it was filled with sandstony, stony, iodine-laced dark berry fruit. Loads of soft tannin are present, and the flavors are very clingy in the long, pleasurable finish... Get some of this!" You'll find it for under $20 at Spec's.

VintageTexas: Although Houston-based Russ Kane is widely considered the leading authority on Texas wine today, he also drinks and writes about wines raised beyond our borders. We loved this post he dedicated to Canadian ice wine after he and his lovely wife Delia returned from a work/pleasure trip to Canada, where the couple escaped the seemingly endless summer of Houston. "In the freezing process," employed in the production of ice wine, writes Russ, "the water freezes and forces the grape's sugars, acids and other dissolved solids into a separate and very concentrated liquid phase. This hyper-concentration of sugar and acids is the 'secret' to the amazing sweet-and-brisk characteristic that ice wines offer. The opportunity for an ice wine harvest gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity." Aaaaa... those magic words: "high acidity"!

29-95: We don't know where he finds the time to do it all but Houston's top sports and wine writer, Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle, has been delivering excellent weekly roundups of Houston wine events for his paper's lifestyle blog 29-95. We're really looking forward to Houston's own Master Sommelier Guy Stout's "series of classes each Monday from October 17 through November 28 at the University of Houston Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management."

On the Wine Trail in Italy: We were blown away by this recent post by Dallas-based "Italian Wine Guy" Alfonso Cevola, who writes about the recent debacle in the Italian appellation system. As the European Union moves forward with reforms that will simplify wine labeling, Italian politicians continue to grandfather in appellations to appease deep-pocket constituents. In a stirring, lyrical post inspired by Spaghetti Westerns, Alfonso imagines a showdown between the pols and the five regions of Italy that remain without the coveted DOCG classification despite the fact that they produce some of Italy's greatest wines.

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