Going Online To Find Fine Wines

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - April 14, 2010
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Big potential with aging

Wine has risen dramatically in popularity the world over the past 25 to 30 years. What do you think has caused this surge in popularity and ever-growing abundance?

Certainly the quality of wine today is better than it ever was. We have new technology in the winery as well as the vineyard to make things cleaner, healthier and taste better. Modern shipping and distribution have made it easy for anyone in the civilized world to find a bottle of wine. But something some may not credit as much is the Internet.

The world has never seen such an instrument of mass dissemination. The Internet never sleeps. It never closes for business. It only grows and is welcomed into more homes and businesses around the globe, even as you read this column. It pervades our consciousness. Whenever we want to know something, we go to the Internet to research it. If we want to see something, we look it up on the Internet. If we want to buy something, we can buy it on the Internet.

Wine is now just as simple to buy over the internet as a book. Just search for the name of your favorite wine and you will find at least a dozen links to someone who is selling it. Many of those sites have everything the casual wine drinker would ever want to know about the wine. It has the vintage, appellation, price and a picture of the bottle. Some even advertise scores from wine critics ó usually the highest they can find.

Lost in the fog

There is no shortage of information on the Internet. All the major wine journals, columns (including this one) and critics are found online. You can get instant information from any one of your favorite sources, including Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Burghound, et al. Not to mention the hundreds or maybe thousands of wine bloggers who have their own opinions on the wine you are about to buy. Let’s not forget about the web sites of the wineries and producers themselves. Some are amazingly detailed with vintage and tasting notes on every vintage ever produced and the quantity of each vintage.

So far I have only mentioned the dedicated Web sites that help to market and promote wine. There are also hundreds of cross-merchandised Web sites that promote lifestyles, travel, food, restaurants and the arts. There are the videos and interviews that can be downloaded of your favorite winemaker talking about their wines. The wine auction market is bigger than it ever was because bidders from around the globe can watch and bid on their prize via the Internet.

Think about this. What if the Internet did not exist? Would you know as much as you do about wine? Would your information be as up to date as it is? Would you have those wines in your fridge or cellar without the Internet? The Internet has made the wine world a lot bigger with its promotion and accessibility. And it has made the wine world smaller at the same time since your favorite bottle is only a click away.

Recommendations: 2007 Fog Dog Chardonnay ($30) Buttery with banana and apple fruitiness all combined in a rich and round texture make this a delicious drinking wine. 2006 Rubicon Estate Cask Cabernet ($75) Tightly wound and brooding, this is a candidate for the cellar, but there is so much potential with hugely complex black fruit aromas and flavors. Greatness will come after five years.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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