LIFESTYLE WRITER AND CULTURE CRITIC – DSTORYTELLAH
One of my favorite events in Miami of all time is returning. Great Wines of the Andes is brought to us by internationally acclaimed wine critic and journalist James Suckling. Held in multiple cities it will make it’s 2019 debut this Friday October 4th at the Moore Building in the Miami Design District.
With over 160 wines from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay available to taste this event is not to be approached lightly. Even though every single bottle in the building has scored at least 90 points or higher and was personally picked by Suckling to participate, approaching the event with some strategy is a good idea.
Whether you’re attending or not, my interview with Dinkinish O’Connor is filled with tips and recommendations any wine drinker should know. O’Connor is a lifestyle writer and culture critic who has written for The New York Times, INDULGE, The Miami Herald, Wine Spectator among other publications. She is the creator of “B.Y.O.C. with Professor Dink,” a Be-Your-Own-Critic wine tasting experience which combines music and multicultural themes. She teaches Communications, Humanities and English classes at St. Thomas University and Unilatina International College.
O’Connor doesn’t simply go for what’s trending, or hot. She is a trailblazer, mindful of the ecological implications of wine making, and takes that into account when evaluating wines along with the traditional methods of taste, and color. She takes time to understand the motivation behind a winemakers vision and mission. She has respect for the hard work that goes into the craft and art of creating one of earths oldest beverages. Read the interview below.
“I’m attracted to and do my best to write about wines that are thoughtfully-made.” – Dinkinish O’Connor
What should one look for in an excellent wine?
For me, wines produced by winemakers that have a clear vision, even if that results in a wine style inconsistent with my personal interest at that time, I deeply admire and respect.
During a time when the care of our beloved earth is at the helm of many discussions regarding mindful viticultural practices, I appreciate winemakers who are taking extra steps or in some cases, eliminating certain steps to create wines that are beneficial to the earth and human beings. Some producers who come to mind are Catherine Le Goeuil, Clive Dougall and the Villalobos family.
Woah, so true! You are woke girl!
Ok, so what is your favorite wine red, white, rose, sparkling?
Wow. Hard One. I believe your palate evolves as you do, so more than having a favorite, it’s just what style I’m attracted to during that season of my life. Generally speaking, I love discovering those obscure grapes and unpopular regions, for example, two Italian red grapes I recently discovered are refosco and legrein.
Right now, I’m also going through a Jura phase. Jura is located between Burgundy and Switzerland in eastern France. I love the depth and intrigue captured in this region’s light-bodied reds. Two labels I’m excited about are Domaine Joly and Joseph Dorbon Arbois Les Bernardines. Regarding white, a somm recently introduced me to a funky, an “old testament dung”-funky Greek white called Assyrtiko by Gai’a Wild Ferment. Regarding rosé, Thacher Winery makes a lovely rosé. Sparkling wine is a real tough one. Lambrusco is a real, real underdog, but when it’s made thoughtfully, it’s delicious.
What is the most expensive bottle you’ve ever gotten to experience?
I’ve been tasting for many years, so there’s been a few expensive bottles. Among them, vintage Krug and vintage Dom Perignon bottles, but one of the most memorable was when I was in Madrid, the somm tonged a 1977 marques de caceres. It was a SUBLIME bottle and an amazing moment. Not sure of the price.
From the list of vineyards selected for Great Wines of the Andes which ones should I make sure to try?
Errázuriz and Leyda make beautiful, accessible Chilean pinot noirs at a great value, and a few years ago Mascota Vineyard made a cabernet sauvignon was a regular go-to for me. Another delicious value.
What are your wine tasting do’s and don’ts?
Do: Sip consciously (if your goal is to learn). I am a conscious sipper, meaning when I’m tasting wine whether it’s at home alone or at a formal tasting, I’m fully present. I stick my nose in the glass, and I’m deliberately engaging that wine in a sensory dialogue.
Don’t: Don’t be intimidated by fancy wine descriptions that do not reflect your cultural experience. I had no idea what a gooseberry was and had no interest in smelling “cat’s pee,” for example. I grew up in Miami, so my descriptions reflect my experience. So, to me, that “cat’s pee” sauvignon blanc may smell more like bacalao at the Opa Locka Hialeah flea market.
The greatly anticipated Great Wines of the Andes 2019 USA tasting tour organized by JamesSuckling.com is coming back in fall with master tastings held in San Francisco (Sunday, September 29), Chicago (Tuesday, October 1), New York (Thursday, October 3) and Miami (Friday, October 4). - - - - -