Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bringing The Thunder

Gary Vaynerchuk- Photo by: Jonathan Saunders for Time
Once in a while I have a Homer Simpson "D'oh!" moment. A few weeks ago my 10 year old Imac finally bit the dust. I upgraded to a new Mac and I have to say that this was like upgrading from a 12" Black and White television with rabbit ear antennas and 3 channel reception to a 42" HDTV Flat Screen with 300+ channels (including The Food Network).
I had come across Wine Library with Gary Vaynerchuk some time ago and to be honest the video quality of my old computer made this almost painful to watch. Well, suprising what a serious hardware upgrade will do to your viewing habits.
Today I watched Gary and his guest Jim Cramer (Yes, the Mad Money Jim Cramer) discuss fine wine and investment strategies around wine.
Click on Gary's latest video and you are in for a crazy, irreverent, educational AND wine filled show.
I have seen the future of wine in America and his name is not Robert Parker, his name is Gary Vaynerchuk (Vay-ner-chuk!) This guy is doing more to take the snob out of wine than anyone I have ever seen. He has a terrific palate and his "wine vocabulary" makes thinking about and tasting wine what it should be (FUN!!!).
Joel Stein of Time magazine wrote this about Gary-"Vaynerchuk has mastered all the Food Network tricks. He curls his palms to describe the "oak monster" he finds in so many barrel-aged American Chardonnays. He uses catchphrases like"sniffy-sniff", "pop, pop, pop" to describe the buttery-popcorn taste of some wines; overly sweet Shirazes are "RWC" (red-wine cocktails). He makes a rumbling sound effect when wines "bring the thunder." But some stunts are uniquely his own. He throws corks at the camera, spills wine as he shoves the glass at the camera to show the color and yells at "lurkers" who don't post comments on his site. He aggressively plays to the CKC (college-kid crew). In one episode, to teach viewers to train their palate, he took off his sweaty sock and sucked on it to demonstrate what he means by earthy Old World--red notes. Only on the Web could Vaynerchuk review wine, not just because he describes one as the "kind of bottle you want to take on your date and hope she consumes the entire thing, and then it gets interesting" but also because he's trying to sell wine on the very same website where he's rating it--which, despite his deep knowledge and spot-on nose, reduces his trustworthiness. But, Vaynerchuk says, what people seek from him isn't individual reviews but lessons in how to enjoy wine. "There's always a wine bully. The one person who did read the Wine Spectator, who tells you what to drink and why the '97 is better than the '98. I want to punch the wine bully in the face," he says. "I want to make sure this generation of wine drinkers isn't élitist and snotty. I want it to be about family and bringing people together."
So, instead of me taking up precious time and space, do yourself a favor and click on the Wine Library link. It really is for your own good (if you like wine and food).
Also, remember, and I am paraphrasing Gary's statement that wine is meant to be shared with friends. Expand your palate (learn how to taste wine in episode #42) and drink wine from all over the planet.
You will be glad you did.