Northern Italian White Wines: Stuff I'm Geekin' On

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
Mid-April is upon us in the Valley, which means temperatures are beginning to hint at summer. The macho among us will make a point of bragging about not turning their A/C on until it hits such and such temperature, as if were a contest to see how much heat they can endure. I, however have already turned mine on and have already begun thinking about how to keep cool during the hot season. Naturally, my thoughts turn to which wines will slake the inevitable summer thirst. Northern Italian whites fit the bill perfectly. Northern Italy is home to many unique, accessible, and refreshing white wines. Here are a few of my favorites.

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5 Things Your Sommelier Really Doesn't Want You To Do

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
It's a cork, don't sniff it.
Going out to eat, particularly at an upscale spot, is fraught with landmines of personal interactions with various restaurant staff in an atmosphere charged with one-upmanship and general social posturing. Nothing demonstrates this more than navigating the wine list with a sommelier.

For whatever reason, the subject of wine brings out people's insecurities in surprising ways; trying to stump the sommelier, showing off your wine savvy to your guests, asking for a glass of malbec without looking at the list, etc etc. Good sommeliers want you to have a wine that makes you happy. Good customers will work with the sommelier to that end. So here are five things that your sommelier really doesn't want you to do.

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Riedel: A Lesson in Silliness.

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn

If you haven't figured it out by now, demystifying wine and making it more accessible to more people is my raison d'etre here in my weekly Vine Geeks blog. Whether it be celebrating a new Arizona wine or taking aim at the outright hubris of the "big boys," I really just want more people to fall in love with wine like I did. I figure the way to do that is to peel back the pretentious onion for those who are maybe curious but intimidated by all the silliness surrounding the subject of wine. Some of that silliness is perfectly illustrated by The Riedel Glass Company.


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Why Per Se's Wine List Sucks

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
Per Se's Wine List Gets an F


I try to be positive here in the Vine Geeks blog. I like cheering for Arizona wines, geekin' on what I really like and generally celebrating all the greatness in the wine world. Every now and then, though, I run into something that really chaps my hide. And right now, that is the wine list at acclaimed New York restaurant Per Se.

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Etna Rosso: Stuff I'm Geekin' On

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Pavle Milic
Tenuta Delle Terre Nerre Etna Rosso

I know, I know, when I geek out on a wine oftentimes it's so obscure nobody has heard of it and certainly can't find it. But sometimes I come across a wine or category of wines that are so unique and speak so loudly of their terroir, or sense of place that I just can't help singing its praises. That wine right now for me is Etna Rosso.

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The 5 Geekiest Online Wine Sites

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
Screen Shot of my Delectable Catalogue

Many of our life experiences have been enhanced by the internet. Just think about the days prior to Facebook when all we got were a few birthday cards and now we awake on our birthday to several dozen birthday wishes. Our wine experience is no different, the wealth of content related to wine on the internet is staggering, so here are my top five internet wine resources that are worth your time.

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State Senate Passes Liquor Omnibus Bill

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
Bottling line at FourEight Wineworks

It's no secret that I'm a big supporter of Arizona wine. I feel like we are in the neonatal ICU in terms of birthing a vibrant wine industry here. There are currently almost 90 licensed and bonded wineries in Arizona, some of which buy grapes and make wine; others grow grapes and sell to winemakers; and there are a few who grow and produce wine in their own facilities. In any of these cases, the producers of Arizona wine are no doubt happy with this week's passage of SB 1397, nicknamed the Liquor Omnibus.

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Celebrate Arizona with Dos Cabezas' Pink Wine and other Local Roses

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn
Dos Cabezas 2013 "Pink Wine"

Let's face it, it's been a rough week for Arizona, even with that veto. SB 1062 has made our fair state the butt of jokes across the country. Many of us are responding to pleas from our friends elsewhere to get out of here, what were we thinking, moving to this bass-ackwards state?

I'd like to take a moment to celebrate Arizona. This is otherwise the best time of year here. The rest of the country is buried in snow while we bask in 80 degree temperatures. Spring training starts this week. Soon the whole city will be perfumed by the heavenly aroma of citrus blossoms and, best of all, the Arizona wines of 2013 are beginning to be released. I refuse to allow a few jackass politicians to take all of that away from us.

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Stuff I'm Geekin' On: Port

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn

What do you think of when you hear the words "port wine?" British gentlemen's clubs? Cigars? Mikhail Gorbachev? I think of the delicious, sweet, fortified wine of the Douro River Valley of Portugal. Few wines are as rich in history and culture as Port, or Oporto, or Vinho do Porto, just a few of the many monikers attached to what we call simply Port. One could spend an entire career studying Port, its history, its geography, its production process, the indigenous grapes in it. Volumes have been written about it, so Port is definitely worth geeking out on once in a while.

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5 Sexiest Wines for Valentine's Day

Categories: Vine Geeks

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Nathan Claiborn

Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is upon us. Most people equate chocolate with this lovebird's holiday, but chocolate has been widely available only since the 1500s. I'd like to assert wine's place at the aphrodisiac table; after all, nobody strips down to their skivvies after too much chocolate. Wine on the other hand has an altogether different effect. After trying one of (or all) the following sexiest wines around, your Valentine's Day experience is sure to improve.

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