Thanksgiving wine 2018

thanksgiving wine 2018Four Thanksgiving wine 2018 suggestions

The Wine Curmudgeon looks forward to Thanksgiving like no other holiday. When else do families and friends get to share lots of wine and good food without worrying about money, showing off, or big-screen plasma TVs? Instead, it’s about being thankful that we can be together to enjoy the holiday. The blog’s guidelines for holiday wine buying are here.

This year’s Thanksgiving wine 2018 suggestions should get you started:

Toscolo Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2016 ($14, purchased, 12.5%): Another winner from the Italian Wine Guy. This white, made with the vernaccia grape, is delightful, if a little simple. Look for peach fruit, some almond spice. and white flowers. A turkey wine par excellence. Imported by Empson USA

Fantini Farnese Rosato 2017 ($10, purchased, 13%): This Italian pink wine, part of the always reliable Fantini brand, is a little darker than other roses (black cherry fruit?), but still fresh and delicious. Highly recommended — all $10 rose should be this well made. Imported by Empson USA

Domaine de L’Ameillaud Côtes du Rhône 2015 ($17, purchased, 13%): This French red blend (a little more than half grenache) is competent, professional, and well-made, showing how round and interesting this kind of wine can be. Look for black fruit and soft tannins – another excellent turkey wine. Imported by Dionysus Imports

Carpenè Malvolti Rosé Cuvée Brut ($17, sample, 12%): Nicely done Italian rose sparkling that’s not Prosecco, so it’s a little sturdier in style and bubbles, without Prosecco’s softness. Plus, there is nice pinot noir fruit (cherry and strawberry?). Imported by Angelini Wine

More about Thanksgiving wine:
Thanksgiving wine 2017
Thanksgiving wine 2016
Thanksgiving wine 2015
Wine of the week: Feudo Arancio Stemmari Grillo 2017
Expensive wine 113: Justin Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Friday Birthday Week 2018 giveaway: Wine books

cheap wine book

Yes, an autographed copy just for you.

Win three wine books in the Friday Birthday week 2018 giveaway

The winner is JDub, who picked 900. The winning number is 988 (screenshot to the right). Thanks to all for another great birthday week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 11th anniversary, we’re giving away three wine books —an autographed copy of the cheap wine book, an autographed copy of “Wine Trails United States & Canada,” signed by Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre, and a copy of Peter Stafford-Bow’s “Brute Force.” This is the final  giveaway for Birthday Week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the books.

Thursday Birthday week 2018 giveaway: Four Schott Zweisel wine glasses

Win four Schott Zweisel wine glasses

The winner is George Christo, who picked 75. The winning number was 80. (screen shot to the right).


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 10th anniversary, we’re giving away Four Schott Zweisel wine glasses, just like the ones the Wine Curmudgeon uses. This is the the fourth of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the final prize.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the glasses.

Have we reached the end of wine criticism?

wine criticism

“I’m tired of toasty and oaky. Where’s that damned thesaurus?”

Wine drinkers have little use for wine criticism. Do they know something the wine business doesn’t?

The Internet was supposed to revolutionize wine criticism, making it more accessible, more open, and more democratic. So what has happened in the 11 years I’ve been writing the blog, as we celebrate Birthday week 2018?

Just the opposite – wine criticism has become more button down than ever, a continually increasing jumble of scores and winespeak where every wine, regardless of quality, seems to get 88 or 90 points. Which raises the question: Have we reached the end of wine criticism?

More, after the jump: Continue reading

Wine of the week: Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco 2017

Lageder pinot biancoThe Lageder pinot bianco is well worth the extra couple of dollars that it costs

What better question for the wine of the week during the blog’s 11th annual Birthday Week: How does one know when spending more than $10 on a wine in this age of crappy $15 wine isn’t a waste of money? When the wine is something like the Lageder pinot bianco.

So know the producer. The Lageder pinot bianco ( $13, purchased, 13%) comes from one of the best small wineries in Italy – a 200-year-old family business tucked away on Italy’s northern border between Switzerland and Austria. I’ve written about the Lageder wines many times. All have been worth spending the extra three for four dollars for, including and especially the pinot grigio.

The pinot bianco is no exception. Look for bright, fresh lime and green apple fruit with an almost floral aroma. In this, the wine may be more like an Oregon pinot blanc, since white wine fruit flavors tend to be subdued in Italian wine. The finish is clean and long, not quite stony but still satisfying. It’s an approachable and enjoyable wine, either on its own or with roast chicken or grilled fish. And it would be terrific for Thanksgiving – a lighter style to go with all that food.

Wednesday Birthday week 2018 giveaway: $100 Wine.com gift card

wine.com gift card

The winner is Mike, who picked 333. The winning number was 317 (screenshot to the right).


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 11th anniversary, we’re giving away a $100 Wine.com gift card, good for anything on the site of the world’s largest Internet wine retailer. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog and what we do here. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

Winebits 567: Birthday week 2018 — Welcome, Chinese wine drinkers

What do I write for Chinese blog visitors?

Birthday week 2018 wine news: Welcome Chinese wine drinkers, as the blog truly becomes international

Chinese visitors: Wine drinkers from the United States. have always been the most common on  the blog, and that was true again between November 2017 and November 2018. About 85 percent of you came from the U.S. But China moved up to fourth with almost 2 percent, ahead of Australia and France. Plus, Beijing was third among cities after Chicago and New York. As mentioned yesterday, this number is skewed because two-thirds of you don’t come to the site anymore, but read the blog through RSS or email. Even so, that that many Chinese are reading an English-language blog about cheap wine has to mean something. And I don’t think the wine business likes what it means.

 Getting more mobile all the time: Another massive change: Almost 53 percent of visitors read the blog on their phone, and two-thirds of those use an iPhone. When I started in November 2007, mobile probably wasn’t 15 percent Fortunately, the first newspaper I worked for was a tabloid, so I learned how to write short a long time ago. Hence, writing a review or rant that fits on a phone screen isn’t that much of problem.

Poor, poor pitiful Firefox: Google owns the browser world, and it’s no different here with 45 percent of visitors. Firefox, which was once a terrific product but long ago lost its way, accounted for just 8 percent. That barely beat Microsoft’s various browsers. If that’s the best you can do, then it’s time to do something else.