If there's one field that has benefited from the advent of blogging, it's wine. For some, buying wine can be an intimidating crapshoot, while for others, the thirst for more knowledge is quite simply unquenchable.
Wine blogs allow the curious imbiber to learn about wine at their own pace without having to worry about "asking a stupid question," as it were.
The blogosphere is full of wine-related writing at all levels, from novice to sommelier and beyond. Bloggers in most fields are passionate about their subject matter, and wine bloggers are no exception.
My favourite wine bloggers/online writers retain their own unique voice while engaging the reader in a clear, concise fashion. They taste a lot of wine, sharing loads of wine reviews free of charge. Most importantly, they can help a budding enthusiast learn more about the sprawling world of wine without suffering through any stuffiness or pretension. Grab a glass of something, park yourself in front of your computer/tablet/etc. and enjoy.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @bensigurdson
Tyler Colman is an actual doctor -- not the medical kind, but rather one with a PhD on the political economy of the wine industry in France and the United States. Don't let that scare you off; Colman has written two accessible, thoughtful books about wine, and his blog is just as good. Colman's blog masterfully combines valuable information about wine with insightful larger-scale social commentary.
Must-read post: "Freezing wine: harder than you might think"
Wines In Niagara
It's hard to believe I didn't meet Rick VanSickle until last year -- the Canadian wine-writing community ain't that big and as Niagara wine bloggers go, Rick is king. A former newspaper guy, Rick now devotes most of his time to writing about (and tasting) Niagara wines, pouring content into his site alongside area foodie Mike Lowe and beer buddy Brian Yeo. There's always new content, with insight into the Niagara wine industry delivered with passion. He's an excellent ambassador for the region and, as it turns out, a heck of a nice guy.
Must-read post: "Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan's boneheaded plan to save the wine industry is a big pile of hooey"
Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog
Brooklynguy gets it -- he knows how to craft engaging, informative blog posts that bring a unique voice and point of view to the wine blogosphere. While posts are sometimes long and high-level as far as wine info goes, they're always engaging, never lacking a distinct personality. Judging by the food blogs and pictures he posts, Brooklynguy eats some mighty fine-looking meals all over the world, and his descriptors of both food and wine are like poetry.
Must-read post: "Lessons in a bottle"
Twitter: n/a, to my knowledge
For nearly a decade -- a lifetime by blog standards -- Alder Yarrow has headed up this award-winning wine site, providing loads of wine reviews as well as industry info, wine news, and much more. The "Ramblings & Rants" section is a personal favourite.
Must-read post: "Is the wine writing world out of touch?"
OK, this isn't a "blog" so much as it is a self-proclaimed "online wine magazine," but Palate Press is still a must-read when it comes to online wine writing. The Indianapolis-based site has managed to put together an impressive list of contributors, including a few from our side of the border. With so many different tasters and writers, you get a great feel for many of the world's wine-producing regions as well as some trade-type stuff.
Must-read post: "Well-known writer has 'pay-for-play' wine review scheme"
STONELEIGH 2012 SAUVIGNON BLANC
(Marlborough, New Zealand -- $17.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
This go-to New Zealand continues to deliver great quality, even as the price has crept up over the years. Pale straw in colour, it's extremely aromatic -- grapefruit rind, herbal, fresh-cut grass and tart lime notes are all here in great quantities. Light-bodied, crisp and oh-so-fresh, the Stoneleigh ramps up the bright citrus flavours with a fair bit of acidity without tasting sour. Try it with grilled shrimp, fresh salads or white fish dishes. 87/100
NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY 2008 CABERNET FRANC
(St. David's Bench, Ontario -- $20.26, Liquor Marts and beyond)
Students in Niagara College's winery and viticulture program get hands-on experience in all aspects of the wine business, including making this line of wines under the tutelage of Terence Van Rooyen. They've done well with this Cabernet Franc -- a red wine grape that typically does well in the cooler Niagara Peninsula -- crafting a medium-plus bodied wine that balances ripe blackberry and cherry notes with leather, spice and tobacco notes. Tannins have softened on this relatively older vintage, leaving an approachable wine with great balance and finesse. 89/100