Dining | Wine: Vino Lovers on the Web | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Dining | Wine: Vino Lovers on the Web 

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Since the local media—City Weekly being the obvious exception—doesn’t devote much space to wine, preferring typically to cover homemade root beer, the logical place to look for information about your favorite fermented beverage is on the Internet. There are a number of really good wine-oriented Websites, but since every other Joe Blow now has a site or blog, there are a lot of bad ones as well. Here are a few of my favorite wine Websites and ones I think you’ll find worth investigating.

WineLoversPage.com is the creation of Kentucky-based wine enthusiast Robin Garr. Having previously written a weekly wine column for the Louisville Times and Courier-Journal in the 1980s, he created WineLoversPage.com in 1994. The site includes interactive forums where you can chat with other wine geeks as well as read Garr’s wine notes and his useful Best Wines Under $15 section, Wine Tasting 101, How to Taste Wine, along with his very popular 30-Second Wine Advisor. The latter is available as a free subscription—delivered directly to your inbox daily—and features short synopses of specific wines ranging from the very unusual to the very common. Since the wines Garr reviews are purchased at his expense, he’s not beholden to advertisers and his reviews—many of which include food-pairing suggestions—are written in down-to-earth language that everyone can enjoy. Frankly, I don’t know how Garr manages to do the 30 Second Wine Advisor daily, but I’m glad he does.

Not surprisingly, wine expert Jancis Robinson’s wine Website is called JancisRobinson.com. Like many such sites, hers is a combination of free information and her members-only “purple pages,” which are accessible with a paid subscription. One of the most tantalizing freebies on her site is Jancis’ Wines of the Week. Each Tuesday she recommends and reviews a particular wine. Many are wines you’ll never be able to find, such as her recent reviews of Verus Furmint 2007 Stajerska Slovenia or Hollaia 2005 Wrattonbully from Australia. But mixed in with the esoteric are also readily available wines like Coudoulet de Beaucastel and Dr. Loosen Riesling Mosel; it’s about a 50-50 mix. JancisRobinson.com also offers very useful information for beginners such as How to Open a Wine Bottle, How to Store Wine and Matching Food and Wine.

BasicJuice.com is the brainchild of local boy Beau Jarvis, a certified sommelier who takes pains to do away with wine snobbery. His Website is simultaneously refreshingly irreverent and dependably informative. One thing for sure: It’s always entertaining, with articles like “Paging Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli, Stat!” and “From the Annals of Unfortunate Adjectivery.” Hell, you don’t even have to like or care about wine to enjoy Jarvis’ wine writing, but it helps. His Wine ABC’s section is probably the clearest (not to mention briefest) introduction to how wine is made I’ve ever read.

And of course, there’s always Robert Parker’s well-trodden Website ERobertParker.com. But access to most of that site is limited to paid subscribers; someone has to pay for all that Grand Cru vino Parker gets to drink. For free, you can click over to TV.WineLibrary.com and watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s hilariously un-snobbish daily wine video blog. This is a guy who spits into a New York Jets bucket, talks about smelling wine as “sniffy-sniff” and name checks NHL and NFL players more often than he does Mondavi or Montrachet. But imbedded in all the silliness of these highly entertaining Web videos—“That’s how I roll,” he often says—is an in-depth knowledge of wine and a rare ability to bring it to life.

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