Anne and Mike formed OddBallGrape.com because we believe that there is so much more in the world of wine to celebrate than just cabernet sauvignon and the Napa Valley.
Wine is as much about the experience as it is anything else, and that experience can range from a first-growth Bordeaux served at a white-tie dinner all the way to sipping young zin in paper cups at a picnic. The problem is the vast majority of the wine press focuses on the higher end (quality- and price-wise) of the experience.
So we decided to feature the types of wineries that we love. The blue-collar joints with a couple of planks set up on barrels, where the winemaker pours and expounds on wine and life, in general, and if you catch it just right, you might just get a barrel sample.
Don’t get us wrong. We don’t have anything against the Screaming Eagles of this world. Pour some in our glasses and Anne will probably kiss you. We just also want to catch up on the Blaufrankisch grape, try a little Negrette, suck on some Malvasia Blanco or anything else we’ve never heard of. We like Napa. We just also want to check out Colorado, Virginia, Texas – you name it.
Gotta concede this blog will be a tad California-centric. We live in California and we can get to those wineries a lot more easily. But we will be looking for wineries from all 50 states in the Union and around the world. If we see a great bargain at a national chain like Trader Joe’s or BevMo, we’ll post it. And from time to time, we’ll post a calibration wine – a readily available bottle with our tasting notes so that you can taste it and see how your taste resonates with ours.
Because wine is an experience, it’s also a subjective process. Anne, for example, thinks jam belongs on toast not in her glass. Mike loves that jammy thing. And for all the joking we might do about white zin, hey, if that’s you like, than that’s what you should be drinking. We want to empower you to stand up and decide what you like.
So here are a few things you won’t find on this site.
Ratings scales – oh, come on, like that 90 points is going to tell you whether the wine has the nice, soft tannins that you love or tons of fruit on the front, middle and back of the palate. All a ratings scale tells you is that someone else liked the stuff.
Notes on Wines Somebody Gave Us – Unless they were giving it to everybody else, and we will tell you. This ain’t pay for play. We get our tastings and bottles just like you do. We pay for them. We might use our status as a blog to get passes to an event, such as one put on by the Family WineMakers Association. But generally, we prefer to get our wines like everybody else.
High-end Wines – See above. You can’t afford $100 a bottle? Neither can we. If we run across one at an event, we might do up notes, just for the fun of it. We prefer paying about $20 or less, unless it’s really good.
Pictures of Us – We’re trying to be as anonymous as possible. That way, if the tasting room manager is extra nice, it’s because that person really is that nice.
So feel free to join the conversation. Kick back, pour something you like and tell us about it. Tell us we’re idiots. We’re open. This is about the fun of exploring wine and that means it includes everyone’s opinion. Even Napa snobs.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne Louise Bannon and Michael Holland