jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Social media encounter: the L'Anima wine list challenge

I took part in a social media experiment today. Before you all groan and close your browser windows in desperation, let me explain what this was about.

It was an initiative by high-end Italian restaurant L'Anima to engage with the wine twitter/blogger community to help shape their wine list. The official spiel is:

On Monday, August 24th 2009 the select group of wine enthusiasts will taste and rate a selection of wines (click here to see the full list) – and probably share a lot of thoughts, pictures and video via twitter (check it out between 3pm and 5pm on Monday). Unfortunately, these wine enthusiasts rarely agree with each other. So, the three most contentious categories will be put to a public vote, via this site for YOU
to vote on. Tasters will be:

Gal Zohar (@zoharwine)
Dan Coward (@bibendumwine)
Jamie Goode http://twitter.com/jamiegoode)
Douglas Blyde (@douglas_blyde)
Anthony Rose (@antrose33)
Denise Medrano (@thewinesleuth)

All we ask is that you watch each team’s short video explaining why you should support their choices, and then give us your vote. The winning selections will then be listed in the restaurant. Simple and fair.

So we tasted through five flights, each of three candidates, and then were paired in teams to present our opinions on the three most contentious categories. As I write, the videos still aren't online, which takes a bit of the immediacy away from the whole venture. But when they are, do take a look and make your vote. You stand to win a bottle of each of the winners, so it's probably worth it.

So, a question. Do you feel this is a useful experiment, or just a gimmick?
[Pictured above: Anthony, Gal and Douglas.]

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The future of newspapers

Thanks to Tim Atkin and his tweeting for alerting me to a a brilliant column in The Guardian by Simon Jenkins. It's about the future of newspapers.

He rightly points out that they are in peril, and suggests that 'paywalls' (charging for content) may not be the answer.
At present the newspaper industry is like the British army retreating on Dunkirk. As before Wapping, it asks only how many boats might there be for survivors, two titles or perhaps three?

Instead, he proposes a different future, and I really like the direction he is proposing.
They [newspapers] have let the torch of cultural championship pass to a new generation of promoters and impresarios. Local newspapers are quietly dying when they should be staging everything from commercial fairs to sporting events and arts and book festivals. There is money in all of them. Newspapers should not be investing in fancy printing presses but in the "long-tail" economics of live enterprise, with the printed word as a mere core activity.

Could it be that what Jenkins is proposing for newspapers also applies to other content-based media? It's a really interesting discussion.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Shareacase dot com

A quick plug for a new venture, http://www.shareacase.com/. Fronted by wine writer Charles Metcalfe, the idea behind it is a good one: if you want to buy Bordeaux or Burgundy en primeur, but don't want to buy in case quantities, you can use Shareacase to mix and match, while still benefiting from the benefits of en primeur purchasing (namely cost and getting stuff that won't make it to retail shelves). I like the concept a lot.

The downside? In these troubled economic times, there's a degree of risk buying en primeur. If the company goes bust, you could lose your wine. But you would expect a venture with Charles on board to be a legitimate operation. From the FAQs on the site: "We understand your concern as purchasing wine en primeur does require a high degree of trust in the organisation you are dealing with. We are all respected company directors who are personally committed to meeting our obligations to ShareACase.com customers. We will only be dealing with reputable and established wine merchants to purchase our wines and you will be kept fully informed at each stage of your wine purchase to give you the reassurance that everything is in order."


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wine on the telly: Oz and James part 2

Just half an hour of Oz and James tonight, and it worked better. The theme tonight was wine and food matching, which is a difficult topic because it reduces most wine commentators to either dogmatism or nonsense. The truth is, most wine and food combinations work sort of OK - while there are a few clashes, and a few real synergies, a lot of the time you should drink what you feel like with your food. After all, how often do you put wine and food in your mouth at the same time? I exaggerate: wine and food matching is quite interesting, it's just that so many people take it too seriously and end up looking silly. All IMHO.

The programme began with oysters, which are raised to a certain size, cemented to ropes in threes and then left in the water for a year before harvesting. James gets frustrated with Oz who is talking oysters with one of the growers rather than eating them. 'Talk about it, talk about it', he exclaims in frustration. 'After a while you think "why actually eat it?", why not just talk about it?' James continues, 'This is a wine programme? We're not turning into foodies are we? We'll end up with out of focus shots of oysters soon!'

James gets to choose a wine to match with oysters and comes up with a beautifully phrased analogy with baroque music. Oz is stunned: 'You make some sensationally intelligent comments sometimes'. James takes a step back in shock: 'I've turned into a ponce'.

The truth is, that when James is sincere, he's great. He's clearly a well educated, thoughtful sort of chap. But on the telly, sincerity is death. Telly demands insincere celebs saying silly things. Oz has been away from telly long enough still to have some sincerity about him, and he remarks that James has 'moments of lucidity in the midst of his bombast'.

The programme falters a bit with a Generation Game moment in a Michelin 2* restaurant when James gets to make a dessert. Then it's off to Pic St Loup (a region I have great affection for) where James gets to try his hand at food matching: the dish? Fried spam and beans.

As an aside, their guide in the Languedoc was Jean-Claude Mas, who once gave me an 'arrogant frog' beret and rugby shirt, which I still have.

It's great to see wine on TV again.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A nice review from South Africa

Really nice review of my book on leading South African wine site grape.co.za. It's by Chris Williams, winemaker of The Foundry Syrah, a wine I like a lot.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Ehrlich's best wine blogger

Richard Ehrlich recently reviewed the wine blogosphere in The Independent, and had some nice things to say about this blog:
"The best wine blogger, for my money, is the UK's own Jamie Goode, at www.wineanorak.com/blog. Goode combines technical expertise with vivid accounts of his travels and a nice bit of personal history besides - though he doesn't
overdo his own presence in his writing, as so many bloggers do."
Sadly, it was Richard's last column. I don't know whether he jumped or was pushed, or even whether he will be replaced.

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