For much of this blog's five-year life, it has dominated the New York wine world, culminating with LENNDEVOURS winning the "Best Single-Subject Wine Blog" category in this years American Wine Blog Awards. I'm proud of that accomplishment and what I have built here, but I'm not one to rest on my laurels.
So, now that I've conquered New York, it's time to shift gears here at LENNDEVOURS and choose a new under-appreciated U.S. wine region to cover in-depth.
At first, I thought about exploring regions like Virginia, Texas or even Michigan wine country. Those places are all making wines worth investigating further. But in the end, I've decided to re-focus this blog's sights on perhaps the world's least talked about wines -- those from California, specifically wines made in the regions that get almost no press, Napa Valley and Sonoma.
It will take me several weeks to roll out all of the planned changes here on LENNDEVOURS, but as of today, you'll notice a revamped logo, one where oak barrels are further emphasized and where the idea of wine at the dinner table is ignored. I mean really, who drinks wine with food? That's what Sunkist Orange and Mountain Dew are for.
Going forward, you will also see me move away from the 5-star rating system championed by some bloggers in favor of a new 1,000-point system that will help me better relate to my readers. You guys all know the difference between 899-point plonk and 900-point deliciousness, right? The 5-star system is just so... unsophisticated.
I will also be changing how I construct wine reviews. Instead of offering useless information like vineyard sources, the growing conditions of a particular vintage and food pairings, I'll use five or six adjectives to describe a wine and then just give you my rating. The number is what matters anyway.
Also gone are the days when I taste every wine over the course of several days, with and without food, and at (in the case of whites) at different temperatures. No one drinks wine like that in their daily lives, so why should I?
Instead, I'll pour a couple ounces into my glass and sniff, taste and spit in rapid succession... spending more longer than 45 seconds per wine. That will enable me to fully capture the wines essence and share that with you. Extraction, tannins and residual sugar will reign over nuance, balance and food-friendliness. Again, does anyone really drink wine with food?
Unfortunately, this editorial change also means that effective April 15 (I'm giving them two weeks notice), the New York wine lovers who contribute to this blog will be without positions here at LENNDEVOURS. I consider them friends and feel badly about this situation, but at the end of the day, this is a business. They prefer wines under 13.5% abv and favor riesling and cabernet franc over boozy chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. There simply isn't room for them on a California wine blog's staff.
Starting today, I will also be selling ad space to the same wineries that I'm writing about. I know and trust myself to never be biased or to give them better scores -- even if they threaten to pull their ads if I don't do so.
In the end, I'm making this move because I'm keenly interested in how wines aged for 3 years in 100% new, high-toast American oak taste both now and over the next decade. I want to learn to identify the type of new oak being used based on nothing more than differing vanilla flavors -- Madagascar vs. Tahiti vs. Mexico vanilla. I also want to hone my palate so that I can detect even the most subtle (2% or so) residual sugar in dry reds.
This is going to be a good shift for me and for the wines of California. Lord knows that they need someone writing about them. They are often ignored in both the mainstream media and in the marketplace. No one wants to drink them. They need a champion.
I think I can win "Best Single-Subject Wine Blog" again next year, just for a different single subject. That's my goal.
Repeat after me: I love high-alcohol wine. I love vanilla. I love oak. I love California!