Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

Know a Houston-based blog we should be paying particular attention to? Leave the address in the comments section below.

Blue State Carpetbagger's Red State Wine Blog: We always follow along over at Tom "Big House" Casagrande's blog. Why? Because we know we can depend on him for "fair and balanced coverage" and solid tasting notes. We like his blog even better when he posts about wines that he actually buys in Houston (wines that we can buy, too!) like the 2009 Chapoutier "Bila-Haut" Côtes du Roussillon he picked up at the Houston Wine Merchant for a sweet $17. "Full-bodied, and with substantial but refined tannins, this wines has a balanced, long finish. Very nice indeed. A-". Never any inflated grades over at Tom's blog. (Now if we could only teach him the keystrokes for making a circumflex accent ˆ when he types Côtes!)

Uncorked Daily: If ever there were a wine bar conceived as a meat market, it would have to be Max's Wine Dive. As veteran Houston Chronicle restaurant reviewer Alison Cook wrote in one of the early reviews, the place is a "maelstrom" frequented by "Masters of the Universe (and the babes who would like to hook up with them)." Max's also has a virtual wine store called the Back Door (just in case you hadn't had enough sexual innuendo for the day), including a blog, Uncorked Daily. It's surprisingly tasteful, authored by a dude named Greg Steiner (who doesn't seem to have an online presence beyond the Dive). We need more wine bloggers in Houston and we're now following along.

Barbed Rose Wine of the Week: Wine director Roy Schneider (what a name!) runs a much more tame program down at the Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Company in Alvin. Although Roy still isn't using RSS for his blog (so no feed), he does update his html-based site (relatively) regularly with posts on wines offered at the restaurant. Currently, he's featuring a Blanc du Bois by Texas winery Haak Winery in Santa Fe, Texas (not far from Alvin). Blanc du Bois is a hybrid grape that was developed to thrive in inhospitable terroirs like Florida and Texas, and it's one of the most promising grapes grown today in the Lone Star State. We're thrilled to see local restaurants championing local wines, and we're looking forward to tasting Haak's wines. Blog on, Brother Roy.

On the Wine Trail in Italy: This is one straight from the "no good deed goes unpunished" department. Dallas-based Italian wine guru Alfonso Cevola made the mistake of offering to set up some winery visits for Europe-bound (now ex-?) friends of his. When the folks didn't make the appointment, Alfonso got the e-mail one never wants to get from a winery in August. We feel Alfonso's pain, and however much we enjoyed the post at his expense, we hope his experience will help people realize that winemakers are people, too: They have lives, families, and professional obligations; they are not actors wearing mouse suits at Disneyland for our enjoyment.

Brooklyn Guy Loves Wine: BrooklynGuy's blog is a seemingly never-ending source of great, honestly and concisely written information and insights about wine and tasting. If you thought that umami was something that you only tasted in Asian cuisine, think again. "Wine can have a savory taste," he writes, "I've experienced it countless times. It is not specific to a grape variety, I find, more to certain places and techniques of wine making. For example, Jura wines, some red and almost every white have a certain umami taste to me. And most Sherries aged under flor. Many Champagnes too. Where does this umami taste in wine come from?" Find out by reading his recent post here.

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