Wine Time

Tasting Notes: This Week in (Women's) Wine Blogs

The Wine Roads of Texas: "If you've never seen the communities that run across that vast stretch of road," writes Margaret Shugart, author of a new blog called The Wine Roads of Texas, "you are missing one of the most unique cultures in Texas society, and certainly some of the most striking scenery" in the state. She's referring to that legendary stretch of U.S. Route 90 that runs from Del Rio to Van Horn, Texas, passing along the way through Marfa.

Margaret's been working on a revised edition of Wes Marshall's The Wine Roads of Texas: An Essential Guide to Texas Wines and Wineries, originally published in 2002 (Maverick) and most recently updated in 2007.

"I'm doing the legwork for the new book," said Margaret when we spoke to her in Austin, where she lives and works. And the blog is a chronicle of her adventures down those "wine roads."

She's about a month into it at this point and we can't wait for more!

Wine Skinny: Sheesh! Houston publicist Robyn Tinsley tastes a LOT of wine. She tastes so many, in fact, that she's begun "publishing month-end roundups of wines that I've tasted over the previous few weeks that, for whatever reason, just didn't fit into other posts. Think of them less as stragglers or misfits, and more as wines that were just too good to leave out!"

Her post yesterday covers notes for fifteen wines, including "Rodney Strong 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Northern Sonoma Charlotte's Home ($14). Nice value on a juicy, everyday Sauv Blanc. With bright grapefruit and crisp melon, and light lemon-lime and floral accents and a kick of spice. Ready to drink now."

Keep it coming, sistah! (But please stop abbreviating Sauvignon Blanc!)

Wine Thoughts: And speaking of tasting notes, Houston wine educator Sandra Crittenden, author of Wine Thoughts, weighs in this week with a great flight of Right Bank Bordeaux.

We always love her balance of geek speak, background info, and impartial tasting notes, as she always delivers some of the most pure wine blogging in town (without ever sounding like a cheerleader).

For around $30 a pop, we'd like to try the "2006 Chateau De Sales Pomerol. Clear, deep ruby color going garnet at rim. Clean, medium intense developing aromas of red cherries and plum with a bit of pencil shavings. Dry, medium body, acidity and alcohol with medium+ dusty tannins and a medium length finish. Good+/Drink now."

Now, that's what wine blogging is all about: Sharing knowledge and experience to help all of us to be more informed consumers! With blogging like this, who needs Robert Parker, Jr.?

Samantha Sans Dosage: And as much as we're digging all the tasting that's going on here in Texas, we're always looking beyond our borders to expand our knowledge of wines available on the U.S. market today.

We loved this post devoted to a seminar "Understanding Burgundy" by one of the top wine professionals in our country, Samantha Dugan who lives and works in Southern California.

"The whole crowd," writes Samantha, went beyond 'Understanding Burgundy.'"

They understood that wine is so much more than something to acquire, read about, hoard or covet. Each bottle has a history, a family, a face and has been made for you to enjoy. My hands never touched that tasting bar again as I flitted about the room pouring, talking, sharing each wine and the people behind them. One of the best classes I've ever had the pleasure to teach. Sure, some of it was digging into my own confidence but the real star, the wines.

With the gentle touch of a loving mother and the passion of a steamy lover, Samantha always reminds us that wine is first and foremost a sensual experience and that wines, like people, have stories, families, and homes.

Her post this week includes tasting notes for six bottlings of Chardonnay.

Decanted (Eater New York): As we reach the end of this post, we realize that every one of our top wine blogs this week is authored by a woman. So we have decided to dedicate this entry to all the great women wine bloggers out there!

Talia Baiocchi, based in New York, is one of our favorites and this week she launched a new "column" for Eater New York called Decanted.

And in her opening volley, she takes on a giant of the Manhattan wine and dining scene: The wine list at Babbo, the restaurant that made Molto Mario a household name.

When the restaurant launched in 1998, the wine list at Babbo reshaped the way New Yorkers and the rest of us perceived "Italian wine."

"Babbo's wine list remains timeless amidst Italian boom," writes Talia in this post.

Italian food in New York has changed drastically over the last 15 years, but Babbo's hasn't. A good portion of the menu has remained the same since the restaurant opened in 1998 and while Babbo's signature dishes might not be quite as innovative and fresh as they were then, they stand as proof of Mario Batali's influence on Italian food in New York...

That said, part of why Babbo is great is because it's been bold enough to not fix what isn't broken. It will no doubt prove timeless as a result.

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Jeremy Parzen writes about wine and modern civilization for the Houston Press. A wine trade marketing consultant by day, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy. He spends his free time writing and recording music with his daughters and wife in Houston.
Contact: Jeremy Parzen