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How wine lovers choose: the best insider sites

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“CHEAP WINES too good these days. ” If that sounds intriguing, you can read an essay of the same title on the Wineanorak website.

Created by Jamie Hood, a scientist who became a writer in the UK, Winaanorak is an online “Global Wine Journal” designed to appeal to geeks like me. (In British slang, “anorak” means nerd or geek.) I read it fairly regularly along with a few other resources that I appreciate for their sheer depth of detail as well as authoritative information. While reading them won’t automatically make you a geek, they can definitely help you push you in that direction if you want to.

Wineanorak, which Mr. Hood created in 1999, includes winemaker profiles, wine reviews and videos. His essay on cheap wine, published in the “New in Wine” section, gives a good sense of the style of Vainanarak’s analysis. “One of the problems that the wine category has today is profitability. Wine is just too cheap, ”Mr. Hood writes. “Competition between supermarkets, which sell most of the wine in the UK (and many other countries), has led to price competition. There was a race to the bottom in terms of pricing, and mostly affected producers.

«While reading them won’t automatically make you a geek, they can definitely push you in that direction.

“I think the luxury of Wineanorak is that I can post anything I want. I can be as geeky as I want to be, ”Mr. Hood told me in an email. “I’m not going to chase readers by adapting content to what most people are interested in.” And although the section “Novelties in Wine” seems to be intended to address wine tyros – many of his articles are devoted to how wine is made – Mr. Hood noted that his current audience is primarily “geeks, traders and interested consumers.”

It also describes Meininger’s target audience Wine Business International, another one of my favorites. I am particularly interested in the work of editor Robert Joseph, who weekly explores topics of interest to both winemaking professionals and dedicated enthusiasts. For example, Mr. Joseph’s recent essay on wine classification systems followed the news that two famous castles – Ausone and Cheval Blanc – had abandoned the Bordeaux classification. In it he wonders whether the whole notion of classification is not quite obsolete. “Today, the people tasked with drawing up these hierarchies take into account the perceived quality, marketing and wine tourism,” he writes. “Which begs the rather simple question: if a wine estate gets it all right, why does it need to claim a seat on the bureaucratic board of leaders?”

Felicity Carter was Editor-in-Chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International for more than ten years before joining drop as executive editor last February. Launched in June this year, Drop is an online wine magazine Pix, a search engine / information platform for wine buyers in Napa. Ms. Carter is particularly keen to oppose what she calls “pseudoscience” of wine writing and marketing, especially in relation to wine and health. “One of my goals is to make sure that everything we publish is scientifically sound,” she said.

Ms. Carter is responsible for articles that like non-geeks (red wines for the summer, wine horoscopes). But many of Drop’s suggestions, especially in the “Explainer” section, have great appeal to geeks. For example, writer and blogger Jeff Siegel explores such amazing topics as marketing Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck and why shipping wine is so expensive. As for the latter, he notes: “Retailers and manufacturers must obtain licenses from each state to which they ship, and they may also need federal permits. Therefore, a California winery that supplies to 10 states must send copies of its licenses and permits to each state, complete each state’s paperwork, pay any state license fees, and then send copies of it all to shipping companies. And this is before the wine leaves the winery. ” Anyone interested in making informed decisions at a wine store can take advantage of this prospect.

Mr. Siegel even reveals something I didn’t know: wine transportation laws can vary from city to city even within one state: “[S]shipping to one city in Maryland may be different from shipping to another city. In addition, the laws are different for wineries and retailers.

Probably the most frequently referred to website CellarTracker , a real treasure trove of tasting notes of wine geeks. It was created

Microsoft

CEO Eric LeVine, CellarTracker offers wine reviews and analysis obtained from thousands of experienced wine drinkers and collectors. (According to Mr. Levine, there are currently 755,000 CellarTracker users.) Their collective wisdom makes this site incredibly useful, especially when it comes to deciding whether the wine in my cellar can be ready to drink – or has flourished.

Take, for example, my last raid on the site. I wanted to find out if I should take some Barbara from my basement for lunch with friends. I found 13 CellarTracker community tasting notes on my 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco bottle Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo 2013 and a total score of 91.5. As I suspected, CellarTrackers found the wine too young to drink.

A CellarTracker user, known as Pino Peter, offered perhaps the most thorough assessment from his own wine tasting in May 2021, which should be printed here in full: “2013 for me is a more classic tasting nebbiolo from Barbaresco. Beginning to show a brick-red color, high acidity, tannins soften, and the taste of fruit begins to become more pronounced. Flavors of tar, leather, raspberry and tobacco. Initially, tannins in the sky feel dry, and fruit – only a little sweetness. This is starting to show balance. Opens in the basement at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It opens after the first glass when it heats up in your hand, and begins to show more weight in the sky and sweetness from the fruit. It becomes a wonderful wine to taste when you open the bottle. I will pour or leave the next bottle for a couple of hours. It will age well. The next day tasted the remnants of the wine. Softer and more fruit ahead. That’s great. ” I can only add that when I opened (and poured) the bottle, I found that Pino Peter was right.

If you want to learn more about wine in general; delve deeply into the science of wine, commercial production, shipment and sales; or find out if a particular bottle is ready to use, these websites can be incredibly useful. And if you just want to surpass a friend of the wine geek, they will also help you achieve that goal.

Write Fly in wine@wsj.com

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