Merry Christmas, dear readers! Hopefully by now you've all made your Christmas wine selections, and will be enjoying them with friends and family. Starting Friday, we'll start looking at wines for New Year's Eve, Orthodox Christmas, and assorted other holidays in the next few weeks. Have fun, and enjoy the day off work.
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Brunello Bob's Wine Blog. Bob's been blogging since February of this year but has long been a fan of wine, with a particular focus on Brunello, a style that I have only recently gotten to appreciate.
BWR: Looking back over the thousands of wines I've tried, there is only one Brunello in that list--a glaring omission on my part. What attracted you to this particular wine?
Bob: That is a good question, and I've been asked several times before. It does seem unusual to land on Brunello as a favorite. What's even more unusual is that I went from being a beer drinker to a wine drinker, and shortly thereafter to a fan of Brunello, a big, dry, red. Thinking about it, I believe part of it was the hype that surrounded the wine around the time a became interested. The 1997 vintage was a fairly recent release, and there were raves about it. In hindsight, it is not as incredible as many said it would be. Anyway, I heard about it through the press, and retail advertising. At the same time, I was educating myself about wine in general, and I liked the culture behind Brunello, the Tuscan hills, and the soulfulness of it, if that makes sense. And of course I love it's flavor profile. There's a certain depth of Earthy fruit and special spices that comes through consistently on the nose and palate; it really speaks of its place.
BWR: In New York we talked about your plan to plant some vines from Oregon on your Hudson Valley home. How's that coming along, or what are your plans for those vines?
Bob: Well, I didn't get the vines I was hoping for, and then the rest of the garden started taking off, along with the weeds, so it didn't happen. I did do a little re-con at a local vineyard, about 15 minutes from my house in the Hudson valley, Whitecliff Vineyard. I was tasting there and asked what grew rather easily for them, and they recommended Seyval Blanc. So...my plan is to take a shot with those next year. I did expand my garden this year, so I should have room for a few vines.
BWR: We both work day jobs that have nothing to do about wine. Does it come up often at the office for you? Do you get the odd phone call from a colleague who's stuck with a restaurant wine list or is at the shop looking for a gift?
Bob: I do occasionally get requests for wine advice from colleagues and friends, and I love it. It is very satisfying for me to put the knowledge I've accumulated and put it to good use, especially when I can help someone have a more enjoyable experience. I have actually encouraged people to reach out to me when they are standing in front of the shelves. It's disappointing seeing how many purveyors of wine are not equipped to make good selections, especially on restaurant wine lists. I like to help.
Bob: I am to an extent. My collection is humble, compared to many friends. Mostly Italian (no surprise), with Chateauneuf, Bordeaux, Spain, Burgundy, and US wines. I have a hard time keeping my hands off what's in the "cellar", so my collection tends not to grow, although there are a few bottles that I know would be a waste to drink too young, so I let them be. The cellar is actually two wine fridge units in my basement. They sit right next to the spot where I'm going to build my cellar, just as soon as a finish a few more projects.
BWR: Do you find that you prefer different wines in Manhattan than back in the countryside?
Bob: No, I drink the same in either place. Generally, I favor wines with good acidity and structure, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, and the like. I suppose I drink more high-end wines in the city because of the number of events and dinners there, but my wife and I are not afraid to open something special with dinner on the couch in front of the boob-tube.
Many thanks to Bob for participating in this interview series. You can follow him at Brunello Bob's Wine Blog and on Twitter @brunellobob.