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Going to School

My blogroll is getting overwhelmed on my Bloglines reader, which is also the basis of the wine and food blogroll on Wine Camp. I’ve tried to get every wine blogger and a lot of food bloggers on there, but I can’t keep up anymore. As much as I want to, I can’t read all those blogs on a daily basis or even get them all listed. On that note, if your blog doesn’t have a link on my blogroll page give me a break and let me know so I can get you listed. It’s my goal to be inclusive.

Without a doubt the volume of interesting wine writing out there there is both overwhelming and exciting. Never has the consumer had so many sources of information. Only so much of this flood can be digested so ultimately you have to pick - you can’t read it all. There is a small group of blogs I consider must reading. I read far more than that, but not a daily basis - there are just not enough hours in the day. Once a week I plough through Bloglines to read as much as I can of the wonderful writing out there, but on a daily basis I keep on eye on my core group of about fifteen or so compelling wine blogs.

What draws me to this group is that I actually learn something new from them almost every time the author posts. Not satisfied just to spew attitude, opinions and reviews, these writers dig deep and have a unique and passionate voice. What is interesting about these writers is that every last one of them is not obsessed with pumping up their stats. Each seems more concerned with saying what they feel rather than simply inflating Google Analytics. There’s not a carny hustler among them - they simply love wine and love writing about it. I’ve just moved this group into my NetNewsWire aggregator on their own so I can be far more focused on the education they offer me.

Here are my favorites:

Appellation Feiring - Alice Feiring is first and formost a writer and it is a pleasure to follow her quest for natural wines. I’m a fan of her book and admire her passion and integrity. Her voice is an important, if small, counterpoint to the mainstream wine media. Thank the wine gods that writers like this still exist. Listen and learn.

Besotting Ramblings and Other Drivel - Peter Leim’s blog is a marvel and an incredible souce of information mostly about Champange, which for me is reason enough to read it. Peter gives a real inside look at Champagne and introduces his readers to the wonders of small, grower producers. Peter has also launched ChampagneGuide.net, which is an indispensable resource for Champagne lovers - and I think that includes almost everyone.

Brooklynguy’s Wine and Food Blog - A food and wine lovers life in Brooklyn. This is what a blog should be all about as you really share their personal wine and food experiences. Most consumers will not have heard of many of the wines he writes about, but he writes about the real deal - wines that have distinctive character and meaning. Really a must read for American wine drinkers who think there may be something “more” out there than what the distribution system and big media wants them to drink. A current wine of the week was Tissot Arbois Poulsard…enough said.

Do Bianchi - Renaissance man Jeremy Parzen is a scholar of the Italian language, a wine and food connoisseur and a rock and roller in the band Nous Non Plus. He has a lot to say and says it well in a couple of languages. Reading Jeremy will teach you what real Italian wine, food and culture means, which is something very different than the Disney version you’ll get in the mainstream wine media. Jeremy is also a contributor to VinoWire, an important source for breaking Italian wine news along with the dynamic Italian wine writer and blogger, Franco Ziliani.

McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail - David McDuff lives in the wine hell of state controlled Pennsylvania, yet week after week writes about wonderful wines and food. We must assume that the state does not control food the same way they control wine. Despite the wine fascist state laws of Pennsylvania, David finds and writes about wines made with real passion and intensity and his love for them comes through beautifully in his writing. If David can get these wines in Pennsylvania not one of us has any excuse not to make the extra effort to find the beauties he writes about.

Rockss and Fruit - You’ll sometimes feel you’re watching NASCAR and waiting for the crash, but Lyle Fass is the go to guy for German and Austrian wines. His Burgundy commentary is worthwhile too, but Lyle is the definitive commentator on riesling and all things German. Lyle thinks acidity is beautiful and so do I.

Sharon’s Wine Blog - We can all hate Sharon because she gets to live in Paris and drink a lot of great French wine, but in spite of our jealously we can live her life vicariously by reading her blog. Sharon digs out real wines made by real people. It may take some work to get the wines she writes about, but it’s worth the search.

Reflections on Wine - Writer Tom Hyland loves and, more importantly, understands Italian wine. Few writers out there tell the stories of the Italian producers and their wines with more sensitivity and accuracy. Tom gets it and you will too if you read his blog. Tom does us all a service by debunking the myopic view of Italian wine you get from the big American wine magazines. If you want to drink wonderful, authentic Italian wines - read this blog.

La Gramiere - Hands down the best winery blog in existence. Passionate and educational, Amy Lillard recounts in wonderful detail their struggles and pleasures on their Cotes du Rhone estate. On top of it they make a damn good wine. Every winery that wants to blog should admire the honesty and personality that Amy brings to her blogging - they’re the real thing. No PR schmalz here.

Pinotblogger - Josh Hermsmeyer should be the poster boy for American winery bloggers. He has involved his readers in the birth of his Russian River Winery, Capozzi Vineyards, and made them partners in his project. Passionate and open, Josh has truly shared his voyage of creation with us. It’s hard to think of a more anticipated wine. Best of all, Josh delivers the real nuts and bolts of what it takes to bring a winery to life - spreadsheets graphs and all. (Pictured above is the Capozzi Vineyard)

This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, nor exclusive, as there are many wonderful wine blogs, but these writers really speak to me and best of all, almost always teach me something. One thing about wine, the more you learn, the more you understand how much you don’t know. Each of these writers is helping me in my ongoing and never ending education on the world of wine.