The following article contains affiliate links, but the opinions on the wines reviewed are my own.
Would you do it?
The other day, we had one of my wife’s co-workers over for dinner the other night, who were just getting into wine and we talked a bit about my blog. A couple of days later, my wife called me from her office with an interesting anecdote. Apparently, the co-worker told my wife that she was talking to her brother, who happened to be a bit of a wine guy and a cyclist (OK, he is a mountain biker, but that is pretty close to a real cyclist).
I am not entirely sure how I came up in their conversation, but my wife’s co-worker mentioned to her brother that he should check out my blog since we shared similar interests. When she mentioned the name of my blog, her brother became a bit excited:
“What?!? You know the Drunken Cyclist? How did you meet him?”
At this point, I stopped my wife as she was recounting the story.
Frankly, I thought she was yanking my chain–I have had a few people “recognize” me as when introduced as the “Drunken Cyclist”, but for the most part, those were other bloggers (there was one exception, at a tasting at Domaine Huet in the Loire Valley, but that is another post, hopefully coming soon), and we are a pretty incestuous bunch.
My wife was insistent, however, insisting that this interaction indeed took place.
After a bit of interrogation and a bunch of navel-gazing, I finally accepted that my wife’s story might actually be legitimate.
Our conversation then shifted to the mundane, but this unwitnessed interaction regarding the “fame” of this blog (yes, I know that is more than a stretch, but bear with me), stayed with me for a while.
A few days later, I sampled a few wines from Tuscany that carried the name of Frances Mayes—author of, among others, the über-successful Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy, which was also made into a movie starring Dianne Lane.
When I was first sent the wine, I have to admit I was hesitant—I have had always approached wines that were associated with “celebrities” with more than an ounce of trepidation; I figured they were trying to use their celebrity to sell wine that was probably not all that good.
But then I tried a few of these “celebrity wines” and truthfully, some of them were not all that bad. Sure, there are some that should probably be avoided, but the simple fact that a wine is associated with a celebrity no longer automatically equates into a wine that should be avoided like Toys-R-Us on the day after Thanksgiving.
So when I was presented with the story above about my modicum of “fame” I wondered if after my novel makes it to number one on the New York Times best seller list, then made into a movie, resulting in my enduring fame, would I parlay that into some sort of wine deal? (Yes, I tend to daydream quite a bit.)
How long do you think it took me to come up with the answer?
2012 Frances Mayes’s Tuscan Sun Pensiero Pinot Grigio: Retail $13. Even though the wines are called “Tuscan Sun” the grapes for the Pensiero (“A little gift”) come from the north–the Alto Aldige region, home of some of the best Pinot Grigios in Italy. The wine sports loads of pear and Fuji apples with hints of lemon that lead to a round yet bright mouthfeel and a lengthy, mineral, chalky finish. I know that I have panned Pinot Grigio countless times on this blog (and I still maintain that position for good reason), but as this wine approached room temperature, it became noteworthy. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2009 Frances Mayes’s Tuscan Sun Auguri Sangiovese Blend: Retail $25. Initially very tight–I was not getting much on the nose nor on the palate, but I was tired and so after a glass, I put a cork in it and went to bed. The second day, a completely different story: good fruit, weight, and a bit of earth. The first night? A good pizza pasta wine. The second night? Much more. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2011 Frances Mayes’s Tuscan Sun Tondo Tondo Sangiovese: Retail $14 Black raspberry a go-go on the nose with a slight medicinal element. A bit fruity on the palate, with some earth, but this seems much more new world than old. A fun quaff, that needs a pasta with red sauce or a pizza loaded with pepperoni. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.