Just along the lines of Is My Blog Burning? -- the monthly worldwide blog cooking event, brainchild of the great Alberto from Il Forno-- came Wine Blogging Wednesdays. The "first press" of this innovative wine writing event took place last month and it was hosted by its creator, Lenn Thompson of Lenndeavours. The theme was New World Merlot. About 17 of us participated and for a collective effort in its mere infancy, it proved to be a real hit.
This past Wednesday, Alder from Vinography hosted the second “Wine Blogging Wednesday” (the name was shortened). This time the theme was Spanish Reds. And just as with the first WBW, it was such a great experience to take part in, along with about 20 other participants, in yet another very interesting wine blogging opportunity.
Hosting a future WBW was something I knew I wanted to do the minute I finished writing my first entry. After all, wine has always been one of my passions and I thought this worldwide wine blogging effort was not only a brilliant idea with a lot a merit and great potential for wine drinking education and promotion.
Soon after, I emailed Lenn and volunteered to host one of these WBW events. However, I was torn as to which type of wine to have for my theme. At first I thought to choose Dessert Wines, one of my favorite categories. I was thinking it might be a good topic for November, with all those beautiful holiday meals at the end of the month. Also, because, frankly, I can not think of a good meal enjoyed in the company of family and friends that does not include a lovely sweet wine as or with dessert. After my initial email to Lenn, a series of interesting and laugh out loud, back and forth emails between Lenn and I ensued.
Could this be a restrictive category? How many other sweet toothed wine drinkers out there were there after all? Lenn and I were not sure many people would blog about a sweet wine if they though that in order to have a good one (thinking Sauternes, Eiswein or Late Harvest Riesling were the only options) one would have to spend beaucoup dollars for it or they do not usually have the time to sip and savor them after a meal or wondered what would they do with a whole bottle of it after the tasting was finished (send it over my way?) or they just did not like (rather thought they did not, anyway) sweet wines. This might not motivate as many to participate when one of the best aspects of WBW was the fun in numbers.
Ok, so then I thought, perhaps Sparkling Wines could be the theme? After all, there are yet another favorite of mine and most everyone likes them. But...should we wait until December or January to do these? Since we are heading towards the end of the year with so many parties and holiday dinners taking place, it will afford so many of you out there a myriad of opportunities to try, taste and serve these wines. And there are so many different ones to choose from, being made in so many places: California, Oregon, Washington, Spain, Italy, Alsace. Heck, even Australia has come out with a sparkling Shiraz!
And it was at that precise instant, that the wine muse made its appearance. What about…Australian Shiraz? (By then I’m sure Lenn sighed with relief! Ha!). So…(drum roll please) for the third Wine Blogging Wednesday I’ve chosen AUSTRALIAN SHIRAZ.
And for many reasons too! Not only because I happen to love these wines but because it is a wine that can be found just about everywhere, from Trader Joe’s all the way to the fanciest of wine merchants and at as many different price points as there are kangaroos in the Outback. They would go great with your turkeys, with a fall beef stew or roasted lamb or short ribs. To keep warm, sipping it by a nice fire, now that the weather has started to turn colder or perfect for the last few grilling parties before covering the grill away until the spring.
Since I am not big into restrictions and rules here is the scoop for our little exercise:
1-How much you wish to spend on the bottle is up to you. There is such an abundance of interesting Australian Shiraz in the market, at very affordable prices, that one does not have to spend a lot to get something exciting to drink and write about.
2-Just remember, the only consideration is that the wine comes from Australia. After all, we will be writing about Australian Shiraz, not Syrah (Shiraz is the Aussie answer to Syrah, the grape of the great Rhône Valley wines).
3-On the first Wednesday of November (3rd), post an entry on your blog in which you review your bottle of Australian Shiraz. Then send me an e-mail with a link to your blog entry or cut and paste of your write-up (for non-bloggers). The following day I’ll post the round-up of all entries. If you have any questions you can A) take a look at the two previous WBW events for ideas or B)just send me a note and I’ll be happy to assist you in any way I can.
A few hints: Share your impressions on the wine, any or all relevant info from the label itself (some labels can be a wealth on technical information about the wine), a breakdown of the official tasting notes from the winemaker or winery website (if any) or perhaps a snippet from a magazine, vendor (those little tags hanging from the shelf) or web review.
Whether you have the wine with friends, family or all by your lonesome, make a toast to world peace and drink up. Tell us what the wine was like. Did you enjoy it? Would you recommend it? Would you buy it again? If you have a camera, a photo of the wine bottle or label would be lovely. And, if you happen to pair your wine with a little nibble, then by all means, tell us about it and include a picture of that too!
Remember, this is meant to be an enjoyable experience. No stressing about how little or how much you know about wine or how good your picture is or even how long or involved of a review you will write. The point is for all to taste a little wine, write about it, enjoy the round up and learn from each other’s hits and misses. Perhaps it will even give you an idea of what to serve on your next holiday meal or gathering!
So, my dear wine blogging mates, whether you travel to Barossa, Eden or Clare Valleys or take a stroll down to Coonawarra, McLaren Vale or Langhorne Creek, have a delightful and delectable time on your Australian Shiraz walkabout and see you next month!!!
Australian Shiraz listings at: