The Top 5 Articles of 2013

What you read in 2013


Writing for you all is an honor, and a chore. I have to try and anticipate what might be interesting to many of you, without alienating some of you. I do the best I can but of course my guesses are not always perfect. I’ve made it a point this year to ask more questions of my audience and listen more as well. You always surprise me, inform me, and teach me.

2013 was a great year for wine, and I did my best to bring it to you in as simple, clear, and concise a way as possible. I know that not all of us, in fact very few of us want to spend more time that is absolutely necessary learning about wine. It just is not that important that we have to fetishize it, though a not inconsequential group of folks would argue that point. In any event, these are the five articles that resonated with the Snooth audience in 2013. In reverse order of popularity I give you the most read articles of 2013!

Number 5


As I tasted Riesling last week, I considered some of the reasons for its lack of wider popularity. Some say it's because the wines range from dry to very sweet, but I’m not convinced. I think one of the reasons is that too much Riesling out there relies on that sweetness to make the wine appealing, leaving consumers wanting more from their wine.

What follows are 10 of the best values I tasted, wines that can bring a lot of interest to the table even if there’s enough sugar present to make almost anyone enjoy them (though not all of the wines are noticeably sweet). This set of wines would actually make for a good introduction to Riesling, with at least a wine or two that will make your palate stop and reconsider.






Number 4


We’ve been taking a look at some of the wineries that “give back” to various charities, helping to make the world a better place. While this is an admirable part of any effective business plan, it doesn’t absolve the user of these products of at least some responsibility in making sure that the wine industry is sustainable on their end. That, dear reader, means you can (and should) be involved in “giving back,” which in the case of today’s article literally means giving back—your corks, that is.

Number 3


Today I came to work planning on writing an article about wines I can no longer afford to buy, but along the way I took a detour, or rather a detour took me. It took me for an in-depth and frankly, surprising ride as I looked at those wines I had bought relatively recently and then compared their current values to the cost of acquiring a current release of each wine. What I saw was surprising to say the least, though in need of further work if it were to accurately convey meaning.

There are however some takeaways worth noting here, and those takeaways do indeed lead to some conclusions regarding what wines might present great buying opportunities in 2013 and beyond. So instead of discussing what wines I can no longer afford, though we’ll deal with that next week, here are some that I can afford, and why they are worth buying.


Number 2


I recently visited the Napa Valley for the first time in about three years. Like many wine geeks, I’m jaded when it comes to Napa Valley wines, almost programed to dismiss them based on their success. You see, to be a true wine geek has somehow morphed into cultivating an exclusive appreciation of obscure wines. Orange wines? Bring them on. Oxidized? Even better. Wines with umlauts and cyrillic letters? Yummo!


Number 1


I began today ostensibly writing about Meritage wines and Bordeaux, but then the truth interfered. The truth is, Meritage wines, and some of Bordeaux can't really be distinguished today from many other more 'inventive' blends that are creeping into the marketplace. While some blends remain dominated by say, Cabernet Sauvignon, with a little Barbera or Syrah thrown in for some spice and brightness, where can one draw a line between these wines?

The truth is one can't, and one shouldn't. Today's line-up consists of blends $20 and under, not exactly the hotbed of terroir driven wines, which can be an issue with blends to begin with, so what I'm looking for here is enjoyability. What else can one expect from an inexpensive blend? A whole greater than the sum of its parts.


Honorable Mention


It's not often that I have a plan. Well, a detailed plan at least.. Some sort of a plan not being a requirement for those in this business. But a detailed plan, and over-arching theme for a visit to wine country can certainly come in handy. 

This month’s, or rather last month’s theme was, surprisingly enough: Zinfandel. I say surprisingly because in a land full of vines, Zinfandel accounts for about 50,000 acres out of California’s over half million acres of vineyards. That 10% is about half the acreage of either Chardonnay or Cabernet, almost the same as Merlot and more than Pinot Noir’s 40,000 acres, which surprised me. Based on this I should only be devoting about 10% of my California coverage to Zinfandel, right?



This is always one of the most difficult things I have to do each year. Sit down and try to figure out who will Snooth’s Winery of the year be?

I'm never going to please everybody, or most  of the people even, but I try and select someone, or some winery that does two things. The first is to produce wines that I really like. Ha! Sorry about that but in this case I am the arbiter of good taste, or what passes for it.



I’ve been thinking about writing up my thoughts on this issue for some time, but I had always thought it was just too simple an issue; something that might be summed up in a few sentences, but perhaps I was wrong.

The issue of course is wine ratings, we hate them and we love them, but are they really worth anything? It would be sad to realize that something so many people become emotionally invested in is actually not worth the effort, but to a large extent that is what I believe.

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