Deeming himself "the wine guy for the average Joe," Vaynerchuk avoids the pomposity of traditional educators. Unlike wine guides that lack animation and lecture rather than inspire, 101 Wines shows you how to develop the necessary go-drink-wine attitude. Vaynerchuk encourages you to trust your own palate—stressing that your love of a certain wine makes it good regardless of what the experts or the price on the bottle say.
Vaynerchuk's recommendations span a wide range of prices, nations, grapes, and styles—allowing everyone from novices to connoisseurs to expand their wine horizons. Unlock the secret to why Vaynerchuk labels wines "From Ruins to Riches," "Red with Fish," and "Not Your Father's Spumante." Discover wines that taste like ones 10 times their price. Read as Vaynerchuk illuminates his top choices with vivid terminology such as "Bring the Thunder" and "Riding the Rainbow." Demystify conventions that once limited your wine-tasting desires. Journey through wine styles and break down barriers with his technical notes and stories behind the vintage. Smile as you realize you too can become a wine aficionado.
With your newfound knowledge, you will out-entertain and enlighten your friends, host extraordinary parties and treat your taste buds to an exhilarating ride. So if you are ready to become a "Vayniac"—one devoted to selecting wines based on Vaynerchuk's innovative principles—grab that corkscrew because a wine sampling adventure like no other awaits.
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A CHATEAUNEUF IMPERSONATOR
Mas de la Barben, Les Calices, 2003; $44
AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, France
Grapes: Grenache (90%), Syrah and Cinsault (10%)
800 cases produced
This wine kicks off my list for totally over-delivering on value. At 44 bones, it may be an expensive wine for the south of France, but what it actually brings is the quality and flavor of top-notch Chateauneuf-du-Pape that would easily fetch $75. It is so similar to Chateauneuf, it's like watching a really great Elvis impersonator--you are so engaged, it feels like watching the real thing. And this guy is good. He starts off rocking the youthful, vibrant, "Blue Suede Shoes" Elvis, then seamlessly transitions to the badass-black-leather-1968-comeback-special Elvis-- because this wine can do it all. It is not only delicious, but has something for almost every wine lover.
For the New World fruit bomb fans out there, there is a huge explosion of fruit that is so clean and gorgeous, with seductive strawberry flavors that are incredibly sultry. I'm listening to my glass and instead of "snap, crackle, pop," I hear these lusciously plump berries whispering, "Gary, you know you want me." All that fruit is mixed with this taffy-toffee thing and some sticky cough syrup. But beyond the initial bomb of fruit, there is some pepper, and a little smoky ham and bacon along with this great structure and backbone on the palate that will have Old World fans totally pumped. There is also a little bit of leather strap, like chewing on leather, or standing in the outfield trying to fix the lace on your baseball glove with your teeth. The two are coming together, all intertwined and totally balanced.
If you want to get the flavor, I need you to take some pigs-in-a-blanket-- you know, those mini hot dogs. Now you're going to take a strawberry Fruit Roll-Up and wrap on one more layer. That's right. We're going one more layer! Now bite it. Eat it. Sprinkle some black pepper on it! That is this wine.
This wine simply rocks--it has a huge mid-palate, and it's kicking this encore through the long finish. It can really handle all your biggest foods, from boar to Chateaubriand. If the dollar were in a good place right now, this wine would be a total steal, because the values coming out of these southern regions of France are just blowing me away. And the way in which these grapes truly resemble one of the great Rhone reds is just uncanny. Ladies and gentlemen, Les Calices has left the building.
Based on traditional fruit leather, Fruit Roll-Ups are snacks manufactured by Betty Crocker and distributed by General Mills. According to urban legend, Roll-Ups have their unique parallelogram shape because their design and production were inspired by the coiled cardboard of a toilet paper tube. Flavors include Electric Blue Raspberry, Flavor Wave, Strawberry, and Strawberry Kiwi Kick.