Robin Goldstein and The Wine Trials 2010, part I

Robin Goldstein knows even more about cheap wine than the Wine Curmudgeon, which is saying something. But what else would one expect from the co-author and guiding force of The Wine Trials 2010 (Fearless Media, $14.95), perhaps the best guide to wine that costs less than $15 a bottle?

The second edition has just been published, and it's another fine effort. I don't know that I agree with each of the 150 wines in the book (I've tasted all but 25 or so); many simple, fruity wines did better than they should have. But that's nit-picking, because Goldstein's concept is sound. Price is not the be all and end all the experts want us to think it is. Blind tasting, without the influence exerted by price and ratings, matters.

I chatted with Goldstein via Skype (the unofficial Internet phone service of the Wine Curmudgeon) and was going to run this as a podcast. But there were some technical glitches on my end, so it's a transcript of our interview. Part I looks at the trends in cheap wine and why there is more good, cheap wine than ever before. Part II, which posted Friday, looks at some of the wines that made the book, as well as wine labels and wine names.

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Winecast 13: Bruce Anderson, Sunset Winery

Bruce and Birgit Anderson of Sunset Winery are typical of the second wave of Texas winemakers, the group that came into the business over the last decade. For many in this group, running a winery was not their first career — Bruce was a sociology professor; Birgit was a tax preparer.

In addition, they are part of the group of the 60-plus wineries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which means they buy grapes from growers in west Texas. This adds another layer of complication to winemaking, especially if you're a former sociology professor. Bruce says he thought he  knew what he needed to know to be a winemaker, but learned quickly that that wasn't the case. "They were a lot of surprises," he says.

The podcast is about 6 1/2 minutes and 9 megabytes. Click here to listen to it.

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Winecast 12: Russ Kane, Vintage Texas

Russ Kane of Vintage TexasThe Wine Curmudgeon kicks off's Regional Wine Week with a podcast with Russ Kane, who is perhaps the premier blogger about Texas wine. We discuses what's new in Texas, why Texas wines have improved so much, and what still needs to be done to make them even better.

The podcast is about 6 megabytes and 13 minutes long. To download or stream it, click here.

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The Wine Curmudgeon on Blog Talk Radio

This is last Sunday ?s Art of Living with Olivia Wilder; I ?m on for the first 30 or 40 minutes. We talked about local wine, good cheap wine, and the debut of Palate Press and my wine nutrition label story. We also offered wine suggestions for a woman in the chat room who wanted to start drinking red wine.

Winecast 11: Matt Cain of Yellow + Blue

Matt Cain of Yellow + Blue The Yellow + Blue boxed wines ? malbec, torrontes and rose — have been some of the best cheap wines to come on the market in the past 18 months. And Yellow + Blue founder Matt Cain tell us why: ?There ?s not necessarily a direct connection between cost and quality. ?

Needless to say, Cain is the Wine Curmudgeon ?s kind of guy. We talked about his wines, as well as boxed and organic wines in general; what ?s next for Yellow + Blue (sauvignon blanc from Chile); trends in the wine business; and his days working with the legendary Kermit Lynch. And there ?s a great explanation about how bulk wine is shipped into the U.S. and why that harms quality.

The podcast is about 15 minutes and 14 megabytes. The sound quality is good, and it ?s even in stereo. You can download or stream the podcast here.

Screwcaps — again — on Internet radio

I made my third appearance on Olivia Wilder ?s New Art of Living program Sunday. I ?m the third guest, about 70 minutes in. We chatted about wine for warm weather, how to tell if a wine is sweet, and couldn't avoid screwcaps again. I'm also told the audience was at an all-time high. Click on the The New Art of Living link below to listen.

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