Guest blogger Travis Oke is a high school teacher by day and a wine writer by night. His blog, Pull The Cork, appears in the online edition of the Guelph Mercury. Find out what web links make him more productive.
Do you drink wine? Surf the net? So do I – and I thank Al Gore weekly for both “inventing” the Internet and distracting us when “inventing” global warming (I think I have my facts straight).
Maybe the difference between you and me – apart from my inability to forget Al Gore – is that I write a wine blog. So the question the Linktrap Guy asked me was, “Where does a wine blogger go for inspiration?”
Naturally, I taste a lot of wine. I select the wines for the Red Brick Café in Guelph so I am always on the lookout for the best wines in the $9-$14 range. My personal cellar contains all those, plus, on my bottom rack a row of $20 wines (and an increasingly alarming number worth more than that – alarming to my budget).
But where does a “wine guy” go on the Internet?
My number one favorite place is Billy’s Best Bottles.
I love how Billy classifies wine. It’s the only thing I’ve ever read on the Internet that I honestly wish I had thought of first. “Wine is about pleasure, not prestige” is Billy’s motto. Billy’s wine classification system puts WINE first and wine PRESTIGE way down the list. If Billy recommends a wine then I try it. Furthermore he’s funny and that’s important to me.
My second favourite site helps answer the question, “What ‘Premium’ wine can I get at my LCBO store?” The answer, Vintages Essentials website. It is so easy to use. Any monkey sitting at a keyboard could find a good wine. Let’s try it (with or without the monkey) – the Vintages Essentials Game.
I want a wine from Spain for $20 – voila – my choices are MUGA Rioja or TORRES Penedès. I love both those wines!
Ding, ding, ding! Play again!
Italy / Piedmont – voila – FONTANAFREDDA BRICCOTONDO BARBERA – a wine as fun to say as it is to drink.
It is also useful if you are looking for absurd things to write about. For example, a $2,800.00 bottle of Cognac is plenty absurd. Without Vintages Essentials I would not have known what a Louis XIII was worth!
Thanks Billy. Thank Vintages. You’re both funny and useful to me.
Travis took this photo on his trip to Europe (Summer ’10). I thought this might be a good photo to share during this cold wintry time! Travis took the other photo of the wine in the basket ~ if only to illustrate how inexpensive wine is in France!
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