Wine Blogging Wednesday #72: Helping Japan (via The Passionate Foodie)

On Friday, March 11, a massive earthquake, one of the largest in recorded history, struck northern Japan, triggering a devastatingtsunami that has affected millions of people. Over 3,000 people have lost their lives and thousands more have remained unaccounted. The destruction has been so extensive that millions of families have been displaced in search of water, food and shelter far from damaged nuclear reactors. Obviously, this has been a terrible tragedy, pulling at every one of our heartstrings with the innate desire to help, to give something that might make their lives easier.

The people of Japan need humanitarian assistance – they need our assistance – to help overcome the devastation. This is why Gabriella andRyan Opaz of  Catavino and I came up of the idea of hosting an event to support Japan, using Wine Blogging Wednesday as ur perfect vehicle. Lenn, the originator of WBW, was quick to support the idea, allowing us to pitch Wine Blog Wednesday #72: Helping Japan.

As we want to Help Japan, then the theme for WBW #72 should be Japan-related and that is what will be done.  The theme gives you two options, hopefully making it flexible enough that we will garner plenty of participation.  First, you can drink and review a Sake, Japan’s iconic beverage. You will earn bonus points if you review multiple Sakés of different styles or types. You will also earn bonus points for pairing Saké with food. I would love to see lots of bloggers try some sake, to expand their palates, but I know that it can be difficult for some to obtain sake.  

Thus, the second option is that you can drink a wine that pairs well with Japanese cuisine.  Japanese cuisine is very diverse, from sushi to sukiyaki, so there are many wines which will pair well with different dishes. Sparkling, white, red, rose and dessert wines will all pair with some Japanese dish.  You’ll earn bonus points if you actuallly drink the wine with Japanese food.

Saké, also known as nihonshu, is a beverage that I believe in taste, style and food compatibility most resembles wine. It is an incredibly diverse beverage with a wide range of styles and flavor profiles. You can find everything from Sparkling Saké to Koshu, aged Saké. Almost everyone should be able to find some type of Saké that will appeal to them.  The traditional Saké toast is “Kanpai“, a rough equivalent to “cheers” though with a deeper meaning. This Japanese term literally translates as “empty or dry cup” though it really means “Let us drain our cups in friendship.” Saké is very much a social drink.

Where can you find Saké? First, there are four all-Saké stores in the U.S. where you can shop or order online. These include True Saké in San Francisco, Sakaya in New York City, Saké Nomi in Seattle, and The Sake Shop in Hawaii. Plus, your own local wine store may carry some Saké.  If you want more information about Saké, then check out myPassionate Sake site.

For those of you in Europe, the Opaz’ suggest contacting the Sake Education Council who is willing to help you source sake’s internationally. They also have a Facebook and Twitter page. I’ll note too that there is a new sake brewery in Norway, called Nøgne Ø, the first and only sake brewery in Europe.  Plus, there is a British Sake Associationwhere you may be able to get some assistance.

You have until Wednesday, April 6, 2011 to post your review. Please email me a link to your post at If you don’t have your own blog, put up your review as a comment on this blog, or email it to me and I will post it for you.

Now, to help raise money for the people of Japan, you also need to place this link to the American Red Cross at the bottom of your WBW #72 post. That will allow your readers to donate directly to the Red Cross for this worthy cause.  As you can see from the link, there is a specific way to donate to support the disaster relief in Japan. Please feel free to make your WBW post earlier than April 6 if it is ready, giving your readers more time to contribute. You could also post about this theme on your blog, alerting your readers to the upcoming charitable donation so that they can save their money until it is posted.

Please help the people of Japan overcome the effects of this terrible tragedy.   


Announcing WBW 71: Rhones Not From The Rhône (via Winecast)

Wine Blogging Wednesday is my favorite group tasting event mainly due to its global scope. And I’ve participated 45 times since joining the monthly virtual tasting back in WBW 7 some 6 years ago. The wine blog scene has changed a lot in those years but the core element that makes Wine Blogging Wednesday so special has remained the same. Each month a blog host picks a theme and anyone who wants to participate, wine blogger or reader alike, posts their notes on a wine that aligns with that theme. And we do this on an appointed Wednesday chosen by WBW founder Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report (formerly LENNDEVOURS).

After a return from hiatus last month hosted by my friends at Catavino, it is my honor to host Wine Blogging Wednesday 71 on March 16th. This is the fourth time I’ve hosted but the first in some 3 years since I asked everyone to return to the Old World and taste my favorite white variety, Riesling, with me. So I thought it only fitting to feature my favorite wine region this time out – The Rhône – but with a twist that makes WBW so fun.

The theme for WBW 71 is, “Rhones Not From The Rhône.” Pick any wine made from a variety best known in The Rhône but not made in that famous French region. It doesn’t matter if the wine is white, pink or red; still, sparkling or fortified. Whatever you choose just needs to be made from primarily a Rhone grape and come from a region not in France. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Want to stay Old World? Check out Spain where Mourvèdre goes by the local name Monastrell. New World more your bag? Pick up a Roussanne, Marsanne or a blend from California or Australia. I even hear they are making some pretty decent Viognier in Virginia these days so finding a wine should be pretty easy wherever you call home.

If you need some inspiration, just check out this link for all the varieties I’m talking about. Although your choice is totally up to you, I encourage you to look outside the familiar Syrah and Grenache and try something new.

The Details:

  • Choose one or more wines made from Rhone varieties but not made in Frances’ Rhône region and post to your blog, Posterous or Twitter stream by Wednesday, March 16th.
  • If you announce your entry on Twitter or Facebook, please be sure to add the hashtag #wbw71 to your status update.
  • Send me an email at winecast (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know where I can find your post so I can produce a summary after the event.
  • Don’t have a blog, Posterous or Twitter account? Just send me your entry via email and I will post it up on the WBW Posterous.

I hope you can join me in just 3 weeks for the next edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Let’s get our collective Rhone on folks!

WBW 54 Summarized, WBW 55 Announced


David from McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail has posted his round-up from Wine Blogging Wednesday 54. Over 50 bloggers tasted more than 85 wines from the Piedmont region of Italy. If you are looking for Nebbiolo, check out David’s write-up.

Meanwhile up in Quebec City, Rémy from The Wine Case has announced the theme of WBW 55 as “North vs. South.” Instead of a Civil War theme, his tasting will be all about tasting the same wine variety made in cooler (northerly) climates versus the same variety in warmer (southerly) climes. Sounds like a good time to go back to Riesling or find that Zin from Baja California. Whatever you choose, taste and post your notes by March 18th and let Rémy know.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #54 Announced: A Passion for Piedmont


How great is it that we’re coming up on the 54th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday? It never ceases to amaze me that the little virtual wine tasting event I created over four years ago is still going and is still so popular. February’s edition will be hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, David McDuff of McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail. The theme is one that I’m looking forward to as well: A Passion for Piedmont. I have to admit, I don’t know a whole lot about the wines of that region in Italy, so this will be a fun edition of WBW for me. David offers a brief run-down saying:

While there are some fine white wines made in the region – from Gavi di Gavi to Roero Arneis to Moscato d’Asti – there’s no denying that Piedmont is red wine country. The Nebbiolo-based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco may steal the thunder. But it’s the wines made from Piedmont’s other two primary varieties – Barbera and Dolcetto – that appear most often on the Piedmontese table. Less common regional specialties like Freisa, Grignolino and Brachetto add local color and help to make Piedmont one of Italy’s most diverse wine zones.

Join us on February 18!

Wine for Breakfast For WBW 53


The ever twisted El Jefe, Generalísimo of Twisted Oak Winery has asked us to pair wine with breakfast foods this month for WBW 53. No, you don’t need to pour Pinot on your Cheerios but figure out how to match a dry table wine (not the easy sparkling or wine cocktails of brunch fame) with traditional breakfast fare. You know, like you are having french toast for dinner.

El Jefe has even just posted a handy guide spelling out exactly what he has in mind at El Bloggo Torcido. And you best get right on this as WBW 53 is TOMORROW (sorry again for being a bit late here). This looks like one of the most interesting, if twisted, themes yet… Join us!

WBW #52 Roundup: Put Chile On Your Radar!

Tim of Cheap Wine Ratings was this month’s host for WBW. The topic? Value Reds from Chile. It was great to see several different varietals on the list of reviewed wines, spanning from the ubiquitous cabernet sauvignon to Chile’s own pride and joy, carménère. The complete roundup can be found at Cheap Wine Ratings. Thanks for the great topic, Tim!