Friday Rave: The Irwins and Naggiar Vineyards

This whole blogging thing is a strange bird. I have been blogging for almost three and a half years, getting close to a thousand posts, and I still do not get it. Sure, I know more or less how works (but fear the uncertain too much to venture into the crazy world of

But that is not what I mean.

I also have a pretty good understanding of articles that will get a lot of hits (controversy), but quite frankly I am not sure why other posts get any hits at all (let alone comments).

That is not it either.

nrm_1420204795-procrastination-flowchart-2I also have yet to figure out how I can force myself to sit down and get articles done–there is one in particular, an interview I did with Mike Drash, that I am still working on. I know that when I eventually publish it (and I will), I will have put a ton of time into it and even though I won’t think it is perfect, I will be more than satisfied. And then it will only get 87 hits and I will be devastated.

I will address that problem in a later post.

Then there is the whole blogging etiquette thing (if that even exists). Basically, if I get a notice that someone started following my blog, I will follow them back. I am not sure if that is common practice, but it seems like the right approach. Well, the end result is that I follow a ton of blogs and there is no possible way that I can read all of them every day, but I try. Is it disingenuous to follow a blog and not always read it? Maybe. There are certain blogs, though, that I always read. To paraphrase a favorite orator of mine, you can read all the blogs some of the time, some of the blogs all the time, but you can’t read all the blogs all the time.

But that is not my main conundrum about blogging either.

blogger1No the thing that I can’t really understand is how to figure people out who blog. I like to think in “real life” I can figure people out fairly quickly—I can generally tell within a few minutes whether a new acquaintance and I will get along. Is that judgmental? I guess, but it is also very valuable—no need to waste a ton of time developing a relationship only to have them discover that I am an insufferable jerk (unlike my blog, my fragile ego can only take so many hits).

I have found, however, that this ability of mine does not work when it comes to blogs. There are some blogs that I really enjoy and then I meet the writer and he turns out to be a anti-social recluse who really should stay in his mother’s basement and avoid all social contact (which is probably what he thinks of me as well, but again, remember my fragile ego).

Then there is the type whose writing is excruciatingly boring or simplistic, but turn out to be really interesting and compelling personally.

[OK, I am not sure that second type of person exists–I just put that in there as a counter-balance to the first one: a sort of a Yin/Yang. I have yet to meet the person that is a terrible blogger but an interesting person. If you are he/she, please send me an email—I’ll follow (but won’t read) your blog, and we can get together, pull some corks, and talk about how we should really run the world.]

Occasionally, however, I meet the author of a really good blog and they turn out to be relatively normal, interesting people.

Such was the case a couple of months ago when I met up with Danielle Irwin, author of perhaps my favorite “trade blog” Danielle Dishes the Vineyard Dirt. Her husband, Derek Irwin, is an accomplished winemaker, who among a bevy of other projects, makes the wine at Naggiar Vineyards. The blog is part of the winery’s website, but Danielle writes with her own voice in a folksy, welcoming style. Every profession has its own jargon—technical words, abbreviations, even slang that is used to keep the lay person at bay. Danielle’s approach is to break that wall down a bit; she taps into Derek’s vast knowledge of the wine making process and then “translates” it into an every day vernacular.

I have written about Danielle and Derek before, and Danielle and I have exchanged countless comments, but we had never met. So finally, on our last trip to Napa, after a full day of tasting (at Mumm and Alpha Omega), we met the Irwins for dinner. When we were finally face-to-face, there was that awkward moment: do I hug her? Shake hands? Stuff my hands into my pockets, lean back, and say “Yo, wassup”?

I settled on the hug.

We had a great time at dinner (well at least my wife and I did—maybe Danielle sees me as one of those that really should not venture too far from the basement).

Upon leaving, Derek asked if he could send me a bottle of Naggiar wine to try (clearly, he doesn’t read my blog).

2009 Naggiar La Boheme2011 Naggiar Vineyards La Bohème Sierra Foothills: Retail $42. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot. Wonderful interpretation of the classic Bordeaux blend. Blackberry, plum, and a bit of forest floor. Good, but restrained fruit—this shows California at its best—sure there is great fruit, but it is held in check—a modern interpretation of the Old World style. What does that mean? Well, it is fruity, but not overly so. It is earthy, but voluptuous, great on its own, but better with a meal. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.

Before I started reading Danielle’s blog, I really did not give the Sierra Foothills much thought. I knew there was a growing wine industry and culture there, but not much else. Now, it is at the top of wine regions I need to visit.

One last thing—I just could not let it go—if the people at Naggiar read this, I implore you to fix the accents on your blog. As a former French teacher, it pains me to see: “La Bohéme” and “Le Pére” on your site. Cringe worthy stuff there….



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rave, Wine and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Friday Rave: The Irwins and Naggiar Vineyards

  1. Cindy says:

    Now you have we worried about what you think of my blog that I rarely write… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth says:

    I wonder where I fit on your blogger continuum? I think I’m the the same in writing and in person, whatever that is. Ha ha. I do know that I use the correct accent marks, though. Whew. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Beth I am wondering where I fit on your scale. I started following Danielle’s blog at your recommendation months ago. It is very interesting and enjoyable, which is not surprising because she is so kind on Twitter. One of these days I will get around to trying Naggiar wines. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice that person and blog added up to nice experience! If someone’s writing is accessible, not to mention fun to read, then there’s a good chance they’re a good egg–you would hope.


  5. You forgot the bloggers that pester you with messages for days and then move in with you – if only for a night. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. northernbike says:

    I don’t think you can judge someone from their blog either. Most folks write on their interest/sport/obsession so you only see one aspect of their life, others who go into their wider life are still going to paint a selective picture so you can never know them like someone you meet in person, even for quite a short time. I suppose that one of the attractions of blogging to many folks is perhaps the chance to be someone a little different to who they are in real life. I like to imagine though that most of the people I follow/read/comment most regularly are people I would get on with in real life though but mostly they will remain mysterious and engigmatic


    • I think you are exactly right–writing is a release for many. Some use it to show who they are, others to portray whom they might like to become or even the way they see themselves. The trick is trying to find out which is which….


  7. dwdirwin says:

    How about writing “I promise to put accents in the correct places” 100 times on the blackboard? Then will you let it go? 😉 Glad you enjoyed the La Bohème ( see, I can be taught).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well, I hope that I am somewhere in the middle of your extremes, even if I am not crazy about that little school you follow in Ohio. I would be tickled pink to know how to get all of the accents and diacritical marks, but I write in Microsoft Word first, and there are only a few words that it automatically changes for me. If you are aware of a chart or cheat sheet, I will gladly try to get back on your good graces, for the most part.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lignum Draco says:

    Some people blog as an extension of themselves, and some blog to be someone they’re not doing the day. I just prefer to remain anonymous, and drink my Krug. 🙂


  10. What about blogs you read because youre sure that the writer is some lind og raving lunatic and youre afraid that he -er, i mean she is going to hunt you down and make you read their blog or else he – er i mean she is going to pee on your lawn or slash the tires on your bike with clip pedals? What about THAT type of blogger?


  11. chef mimi says:

    So much great stuff here! I was following about 900 blogs, and I’ve recently cut it back to about 400. I kind of hate the people who are so popular that they don’t even comment on their comments. Delete. Or once they publish a cookbook – they’re too good, and my motivation is not a potential cookbook or anything monetary. I just want to have fun, and I do enjoy building an enjoyable community with other bloggers – I’ve even met some. By the way, my husband and I are not basement types, and although we’re recluses to an extent, we would all get along great! Although your wife may be too smart for us… But wine blogs are harder to follow because my eyes glaze over when I see the wines listed on blogs – it’s nothing that would make it to Oklahoma, so why bother? Your writing is what keeps me following you. I mean, you could write about a crazy cyclist in France… wait, you do!!! Looking forward to the book!!! By the way, my husband and I need to go to Napa some time and I have no idea how to approach it. All of the wineries sound wonderful, all of the towns sound fun, all of the restaurants sound great, and I’ve heard there’s a train, or that you can get a driver. I don’t want to go the touristy route, and i have no idea even the time of year that would be best. Is that something you’d consider writing about? Thankfully, at this point in our lives, money isn’t an issue, and we’d wouldn’t need to set up a tent, but maybe you could also write about an economical but worthwhile Napa experience, as well as a more luxurious one? Just a thought. Sorry about the long comment!


    • Thanks for the comment! A lot in there…. I try to respond to every comment, it just takes me a while sometimes (like this one!)–I just think it is the right thing to do, no? Someone took the time to actually read my drivel and felt compelled to write something in response. The least I could do is acknowledge it! As for Napa, I do have a post in the works about visiting Sonoma, but nothing really about Napa on the horizon–I just prefer Sonoma these days. If you have never been to Napa, you should certainly go. You are right, I should write about it…. If you go before I do, let me know and I will walk you through it….


      • chef mimi says:

        Thanks, Jeff. I’ve been to domaine something in napa (champagne – the name escapes me) for a day trip, but that’s all. I don’t know anything about Sonoma, either, but you know that’s where my favorite wine comes from ! (hidden ridge)


      • Domaine Chandon, likely. Next time you are going out that way, let me know and I will give you some suggestions!


  12. Barb Knowles says:

    This is great. I try to read as many a day as I can, too. But then I realize that I can’t do that and still have time to read and sleep haha. I’ve wondered, too, if I’d like my fellow bloggers as well. Not counting you 😃 Fun post!


  13. What an interesting post! I’ve always angsted when I haven’t been able to get around to my readerboard to read the blogs I’ve followed. I read each and every one of yours, even though I rarely drink wine. I keep thinking that I’ll eventually learn enough about wine through some kind of blogging osmosis that I’d actually be able to buy a bottle without trepidation. Keep up the good work!


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