Web design and wine

The Wine Curmudgeon is getting ready to upgrade the blog, which means moving it from TypePad to to a self-hosted WordPress site. That means I need someone who can design the new site and move the current content to the new site. In addition, I’m going to launch a mobile website, which will feature my database of 2,500 wines — every wine I’ve tasted over the past five years. That will involve adapting my CellarTracker entries so it can be updated monthly on the mobile site.

If you understand what the previous paragraph meant, and if you enjoy wine almost as much as you do this sort of web work, . We can disccus what needs to be done, what I’d like to do, and how much you’ll get paid.


Win tickets on the Colorado wine train

The California Zephyr

Not bad scenery for a regional wine state, no?

Who says regional wine can't be any fun?

Obviously, people who don't read the blog — or who have never enjoyed the wine train in Colroado, which travels between Denver and Grand Junction on the state's Western Slope.The train goes through the Rockies, some of the best scenery in the country, before arriving in Grand Junction, the gateway to wine country in that part of the state.

DrinkLocalWine is giving away two round-trip Amtrak tickets on the California Zephyr, between Denver and Grand Junction, as part of the fun for DLW 2012: Colorado. (Thank you, Amtrak, for the tickets). Entering is simple — just go to the DLW Facebook page and fill out the form. If you don't like DLW already, hit the like button. It's not a requirement, but it would be nice. A drawing will be held during the conference to select the winner.

(Note from the DLW attorney: The wine train that we're talking about here is not the Napa Wine Train, which is completely different from any train in Colorado that travels to that state's wine regions. DLW received an email that said the Napa Wine Train has trademarked the terms Napa Wine Train and Wine Train, and DLW doesn't want any confusion about which is which. Or that anyone should think it is giving away tickets to the Napa Wine Train.)

2012 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

image from www.luxuo.comThe world of cheap wine is in flux as we celebrate the 2012 $10 Wine Hall of Fame. Cheap wine is more popular than ever, but the wine industry — and especially the wine writing part of it — seems to resent cheap wine more than ever.

Their reasons aren ?t quite clear, but chalk up much of the backlash to the fact they ?re tired of cheap wine and want to get back to making and writing about the expensive stuff. The wine business can be snobbish, no?

Nevertheless, and in one of the best years ever, the 2012 Hall added eight wines and dropped only four. The new members are:

? Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, a sweetish white wine that has been in and out of the Hall several times over the years. The wine “isn’t complicated, but it is a good example of what dry riesling can be.”

? Dry Creek Fume Blanc, a stellar sauvignon blanc from California that restored my faith in inexpensive California wine.

? Chateau de Riviere, a French cabernet franc from the Loire that is “fabulous cheap wine, and raises the question yet again of why we don’t see this kind of effort from California more often.”

? La Fiera Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a classic Italian red made with the montepulciano grape; “one sip of this and you’ll be thinking of your mom’s spaghetti and meatballs.”

? The Santa Julia + torrontes and malbec, Argentine wines that combine quality with price. The malbec would humble wines at twice the price, while the torrontes is easily the best example of that varietal I’ve tasted in years.

? Segura Viudas brut and rose sparkling wines from Spain. Cheap — sometimes as little as $8 — and so well made it’s almost spooky. Or, as one competing winery executive asked me, in a very plaintive voice, “How can they do this so inexpensively?”

The four wines dropped were Anne Aimee Muller-Thurgau and the Vinum Cellars chenin blanc and CNW white blend, which aren ?t $10 any more, and the Toad Hollow Pinot Noir Rose. It ?s especially sad to drop the Toad Hollow, which has been a fixture since the Hall started. But the current vintage, for whatever reason, is more white zinfandel than rose, and it doesn ?t meet the Hall ?s standards.

The holdover members of the Hall of Fame:

? Notorius, a white wine from Sicily. This was just one of more than a dozen Sicilian wines that cost $10 or less and offer spectacular value, almost all of which are worthy of inclusion. I have not had a bad Sicilian $10 wine in four years of tasting them.

? The $10 wines from California ?s Bogle Vineyards, and especially the old vine zinfandel.

? Cristalino, the Spanish sparkling wine, which comes in brut (dry), extra dry (sweeter than brut) and rose.

? The Yellow+Blue box wines, and especially the sauvignon blanc, about $12 for a 1-liter box.

? Chateau Barat, a French rose and an incredible wine. It started with lots of strawberry fruit and then morphed into something with a long, minerally finish — and does it with only 12 percent alcohol. Is on Hall watch, though, because of limited availability.

? Casamatta Toscana, perhaps the best cheap sangiovese I’ve ever had, though it’s on Hall watch this year as it price fluctuates above $10.

? Chateau Boisson, a white French wine that is “about as close as I have come to finding older-style white Bordeauxs that don’t taste like New Zealand sauvignon blanc.” On Hall watch because of limited availability.

? Ch teau Parench re Bordeaux Blanc Sec, a white Bordeaux that is pleasantly floral and fruity (lime and melon?), but with a firm backbone.

? Marqu s de C ceres Rioja Rosado, a grocery store Spanish rose that “is full of strawberry fruit, is bone dry, offers great value, and is barbecue friendly on a 100-degree Texas afternoon.”

? The Gascon Musketeers: White blends from southwestern France, including Domaine Tariquet, Domaine Artigaux, and Domaine Duffour.

Finally, the Hall’s Asterisk Wing — for the Vitiano red, white and rose made by the great Riccardo Cotarella. These Italian wines are sometimes $10 and sometimes $11, and it’s kind of silly to keep moving them in and out of the Hall because the dollar fluctuates against the euro or because retailers are playing with margin.

Previous $10 Wine Hall of Fames:
? 2010
? 2009
? 2008
? 2007

Some maintenance on the blog

A couple of notes on some changes that you may see over the next week or so:

? The current ad service is probably going to replaced by one that offers ads that make a little more sense. The current service is uneven to say the least; not sure why visitors to the site should see ads for alcohol rehab services.

? I may have to start moderating comments — not because of anything anyone has done here, but because the amount of spam has increased markedly over the past couple of weeks and TypePad's spam system can't keep up. I haven't decided whether moderating comments will be more trouble than deleting the spam, but I'll decide soon.

? The PostRank widget in the upper right hand corner hasn't worked since Thanksgiving, which apparently has something to do with the service being purchased by Google. Google is notorious for the way its acquired products suddenly stop working, and I spend as much time messing with those as I do anything else. I like the widget, since it gives a quick update on what's been posted, but if I can't find something to replace it, I'll have to take it down.