Oenophiles have waxed philosophical about their beloved tipple since antiquity. “No poem was ever written by a drinker of water,” wrote Homer, and bringing that appreciation right into the 21st century is the app and subscription-based wine review website Vinous (from $120 per year).
Founded by world-renowned wine critic Antonio Galloni, the website is fizzing with high-tech features (interactive wine region maps; video interviews with growers and experts; a smart search engine that scours the web for the reader’s nearest retailer of any chosen wine), while the app can scan wine labels and provide reviews, ratings and tasting notes (useful at home, if trying to find what to serve with a particular bottle; in a shop, when considering what to buy; or at a restaurant, if a particular bottle impresses and stocks might be required at home), and store photos of labels from favourite wines for future reference.
Galloni cut his teeth as The Wine Advocate’s lead critic for California, Italy, Burgundy and Champagne, but his passion began in graduate school when he founded his Piedmont Report, and Vinous features engaging reviews on the region’s wines, including Barolo. His recent article about 2013 Barolo vintages spans topics from the weather and vineyard sale rumours, to Bordeaux comparisons and forecasts for future harvests. Articles that review regions or vintages also have a sidebar listing all the producers in the piece (46 in the case of the Barolo story) and linking to ratings of their wines (with a handy list of online and nearby bricks-and-mortar retailers), plus tasting notes and information about their history.
Bordeaux fans are well served too. Galloni spends half the year on the road, notably tasting each Bordeaux from barrel before it is bottled, and is equally fastidious with the Napa Valley – not only is he usually the first critic on site at new estates, but he also created a set of comprehensive Napa Valley vineyard maps (from $25).