Jumping on WORDLE Bandwagon

Lately there has been some discussion in wine blog circles about a fun little utility called Wordle. This utility creates a word cloud image based upon the frequency of words appearing in your blog. So of course I had to try that. I took the standard output and ‘scrambled’ it. The result ends up being an image that can be interpreted like a Rorschach ink blot psychological test. But looking at the word included, it seems to have selected only the latest few posts.

This looks like, I dunno, an adorable scottie dog with wine on the brain.

By the way – here are the original Rorschach tests in color. Most of these look like x-rays of women’s pelvises to me.


July 31, 2008 Posted by | Fun Stuff | | Leave a comment

Institut Agricole Régional Cornalin, Valle d’Aosta, Italy 2006

Last night my best buddy and I enjoyed a beef stir-fry with a bottle of Institut Agricole Régional Cornalin, from Valle d’Aosta in Italy, vintage 2006.  The Institut Agricole Régional is an agricultural school in the Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley) which is at the very northerly top-western area in Italy and borders France and Switzerland.  Yes, this wine is made by students.  I believe in supporting student enterprises.  This school produces quite a few wines under DOC designation, all with an identifiable painterly label style as shown here:

Cornalin is the grape variety used in this wine.  This is an obscure and ancient grape not commonly seen on the market.  Unable to find this varietal in my Oz Clarke book Grapes and Wines (a book I recommend to all wine enthusiasts) I found this definition on the web:

“CORNALIN: (a.k.a Rouge du Pays). Vigorous ancient variety grown in the Valais canton of Switzerland and used to produce rich, plummy, concentrated red wine claimed by some to be reminiscent of french central Rhone versions and often requires similar aging.”

I found an even more enthusiastic desciption of Cornalin here:

“A jewel in the crown of the winegrowing traditions of the Valais, Cornalin can pride itself on being one of the most ancient vines to be planted in the canton. There is no close or near relative among the other varieties: it is 100% valaisian. On account of its rarity, it is virtually unknown beyond a small band of enthusiastic connoisseurs. Cornalin gives grudgingly of its fruit, demanding the sites best exposed to the sun, and is late-ripening and capricious; it has broken the hearts of generations of winegrowers. It owes its return to centre stage alongside the great varieties to its supremely aristocratic character. With its violet robe, it offers a deliciously complex bouquet and a perfect body, a turbulent but splendid youthfulness, that age transcends in accumulated finesse.”

I did find this wine to be quite enjoyable and would buy it again.  It is less concentrated than the above descriptions would suggest – somewhere between light and medium-bodied.  I served it cold, as I’ve had to refrigerate some of my wines this summer, which was better in my mind than having them cook in the heat.  The color is a beautiful light ruby-red.  On the palate are plums, mint, a touch of cedar, and a definite finish of butterscotch.  My sensation of butterscotch was unusual (to me), and I felt vindicated in this feeling after reading and attempting to translate this page describing the wine on the Institut Agricole Régional site: “..talvolta confinante con il caramello“, which apparently means ‘almost neighboring with caramel’ (literal translation).

I would recommend trying this or any of the other wines produced by the Institut Agricole Régional, always identifiable by those painterly labels.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Wine | , | 2 Comments

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

So these are the celebrities I most closely resemble, Marcia Cross being the top match, according to a fun app at That’s me in the middle, by the way, not some devastatingly attractive supermodel (guffaw). They also have an app that morphs your face into your top look-alike. I found out about this utility at the Bloggess.

MyHeritage: Family treesGenealogyCelebritiesCollageMorph

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Fun Stuff | | Leave a comment

Bin Ends 1st Twitter Tasting LIVE

Last night I participated in local wine store Bin Ends 1st Twitter Tasting LIVE event.  Twitter is, as all Web 2.0 cognoscenti know well, a very popular micro-blogging tool.  (Note – I’ve changed my handle from s_r_m to bloviatrix on Twitter to help establish my ‘brand’).  This was a virtual group tasting amongst several well-known wine bloggers (and people like me) to taste 6 wines on offer from Bin Ends and micro-blog their tasting notes/thoughts at a prearranged time, in an established order.  All wines, Spanish in origin, are from importer Eric Solomon‘s portfolio, and he was also online to answer questions, which was very appreciated.

To test the waters as it were I bought a bottle of one of the 6 on offer not from Bin Ends which I haven’t visited yet but my most local of local wine stores, the awesome Groton Market.  I have read wonderful things about Bin Ends and will visit there sometime soon.  I was able to taste and post in Twitter my tasting notes for the 2006 Bodegas Rafael Palacios Valdeorras Louro do Bolo.  My tasting notes are in CellarTracker, and if you are interested, please look at my CellarTracker notes on the right side of my blog.

I applaud Bin Ends for this effort to integrate a traditional wine tasting event with Web 2.0 technology, and look forward to participating in future tastings.  However, I would suggest that Twitter as such is not the best sort of platform for this kind of event.  I have recently seen 2 kinds of communication technology platforms that are perhaps better suited: 1) Seesmic video blogging conversations, 2) Friendfeed rooms, and example of which is here.  Or really just any dedicated chat forum where regular traffic is weeded out.

Cheers to Ryan and Gabriella Opaz of Spanish and Portugese wine blog Catavino for staying up til past 1AM their time in Spain to participate.  Finding one good time for a world-wide, virtual event is always a challenge.

July 18, 2008 Posted by | Wine | , , , | 4 Comments

Wine Blogging Wednesday #47 – Sharon Sips Sangria Made with Shiraz on a Sunny Sunday with her Salad

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday theme is ‘brought to you by the letter S’, and is hosted by Grape Juice, A Wine Blog. The letter S should figure prominently in the wine name, country, varietal, producer, appellation, vineyard, or really in any way at all!  I assume the folks at Grape Juice are fans of Sesame Street, brought to you by PBS since 1969.  Here is one of my fave bits from Sesame Street.  James Earl Jones sounds particularly Darth Vader-like at ‘Y’.

So being Summer and all, I thought it would be cool to make a nice Sangria.  And why not with a Special varietal like Shiraz/Syrah?  I chose the Torbeck Woodcutter’s Shiraz 2006 and used this recipe for Sparkling Cranberry Orange Sangria which looked pretty yummy from  Except I didn’t use the Cranberry liqueur as I don’t have any in-house.

The Shiraz by itself is meaty, fruit forward, well-made, concentrated, with smooth tannins and a good finish.  The Sangria is mostly fruit juice and it super refreshing.  I used pulpy O.J. and cranberry-pomegranate juice (100% juice) as I avoid any juice with high fructose corn syrup in it.  I used this over-the-top decanter I bought at Pier 1 a few months ago.

I’m late with this posting.  I actually imbibed another S-intensive wine on Wednesday but didn’t write down the tasting notes at dinner.  OopS.

July 13, 2008 Posted by | Wine | , | 3 Comments

Pre-July 4th Wine Tasting at Wine-Sense

Wine-Sense, Andover, MA

Wine-Sense, Andover, MA

Last night with Richard A.’s (A Passionate Foodie) wine interest group The North Shore Winers I attended a wine tasting at a neat little boutique wine store called Wine-Sense in Andover, MA.  It’s really a tiny store but each wine for sale is carefully chosen by ebullient and personable owner Samanta Turner, shown below.

Owner of Wine-Sense

Owner of Wine-Sense

July 4, 2008 Posted by | Wine | , , , | Leave a comment