Linkin’ logs: 11-15-17

This and that from the wine world:

• So there are old vines, and then there’s this.

• So there are old wines, and then there’s this.

• I love stories that deliver on the headlines, like this one about dealing with Thanksgiving’s inevitable awkward moments.

• I knew about his wines, but I had no idea that this guy was so cool and wise.

• And then there’s this:





Notable quoteables: Vinous wisdom from the ages

I love learning what other people write about wine almost as much as I love writing about it myself. Herewith, a few snippets from eloquent wine lovers past and present:

• “I like my coffee black, my beer from Germany, wine from Burgundy, the darker, the better. I like my heroes complicated and brooding, James Dean in oiled leather, leaning on a motorcycle. You know the color.” — Barbara Crooker

• “Not only does one drink wine, but one inhales it, one looks at it, one tastes it, one swallows it, and one talks about it.”  — King Edward VII

• “Wine, starry child of earth, smooth as a golden sword, soft as lascivious velvet, wine, spiral-seashelled and full of wonder, amorous, marine; never has one goblet contained you, one song, one man, you are choral, gregarious, at the least, you must be shared.” — Pablo Neruda

• “Wine is a chemical symphony.” — Maynard Amerine

• “The beauty of great wine is revealed not by adding adornment, but by removing it.” — Alexandra Marnie Lapostolle

• “Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking Champagne.” — Oscar Wilde

• “In water one sees one’s own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another.” — French proverb


Linkin’ logs: 11-7-17

In search of Web-ilicious delights, I uncovered these:

• My friend Elizabeth Schneider co-penned a nifty, spot-on piece on how to sound cool while ordering wine.

• Fun and funny and actually quite useful: VinePair’s guide to Thanksgiving pairing.

• Esther Mobley deftly blends the personal and the technical in this take on the aftermath of the California fires.

• Here’s the best wine review I’ve read in eons.

• I’ll be seriously bummed if I don’t get a review copy of this upcoming Salvador Dali wine book. Here’s one of my favorites among his works:



Linkin’ logs: 11-1-17

Scrollin’ away, vying for the best vinous news:

• The wrong kind of party poopers have cost a Long Island winery its license. H/T to my friend Rolf.

• Cayuse is losing gobs of money because of faulty corks. My buddy Joe sez: “I’m fairly certain that someday people will look back on cork closures like we remember eight-track tapes.”

• I love these kinds of things: When certain wines get too expensive, try these alternates.

• The Prohibition era was an endlessly fascinating time, prompting endless resourcefulness. But I never had heard about wine bricks from back in the day.

• Some spot-on postmortems on the Wine Country fires, which have proven to be the costliest in U.S. history, by Jon Bonné and Elaine Chukan Brown.

• Finally, a variation on the dating game:





Wines of the Week: Oct. 23-29

Everyday: It snowed here the other day, which means it’s time for … white wine. In recent years, I have found that the lift and energy from vibrant whites, mostly from Europe, often suit me better than big-ass reds at the end of a wintry day. The 2015 Cecchi La Mora Maremma Vermentino ($10) is just such a wine, super-clean, full of life on the palate and smooth and savory on the finish. The sun-splashed fruit cocktail of flavors doesn’t hurt, either (not to mention the price). Of course this Italian white plays well with all manner of seafood, but roasted winter squash is an equally swell accompaniment (especially this one). And ooo baby baby, would some Smokey Robinson provide another perfect pairing.

Occasion: Autumn is also a great time for Spanish reds, the topic of my latest piece as the U.S. correspondent for the Spanish Wine Lover website. One of the best ones out there, year in and out, is the Remirez de Ganuza Rioja Reserva, a superb value at $52 for the current vintage (2009). A robust, rich nose, perfect melding of red fruit and earth and gobs of stuffing and structure are hallmarks of this gem. The finish seems to last for days. Grilled sausages, roasted lamb or beef and of course paella are splendid matches for this rustic but refined red. Ditto for the polished but rough-round-the-edges vocals of Linda Ronstadt.



Wine economics 101: More than supply and demand

This week brought news that lower worldwide production might mean price hikes.

I’m not buying it. While respecting the supply/demand rubric, I’m a stronger believer in the principle that “the price will be what the market will bear.”

For decades as a sports journalist and fan, I have tried to convince cynics that the salaries of the athletes have absolutely no bearing on how much game tickets and concessions cost, that those are completely determined by what customers are willing and able to pay. If ducats or beers are overpriced, sales figures for these items will go down. That’s where (wait for it!) supply and demand enter the picture.

Greedy, craven owners have tried for years to claim that the salaries of their “talent” drive prices, but that’s hogwash. In fact, the converse is true: How much money is available to pay players is determined by how much moolah the owners get from TV, merchandise, game revenues, etc. Union contracts call for a percentage of the revenues to go to the performers’ salaries.

The “what the market will bear” principle completely holds true in the wine world. Yes, increasing demand has been a factor in driving the costs of high-end wines ever skyward, but that’s pretty much equally true for both Domaine Romanée-Conti (1,780 cases a year) and Château Lafite-Rothschild (35,000 cases a year).

Those.Wines.Cost.Exactly.What.People.Are.Willing.To.Pay. Not a dollar more or a dollar less.

Consider this: Production of wine during the Great Recession was steadily increasing, but the bottom fell out of the market for many wines, especially in the $30-$75 range domestically. Yes, there was less demand — but not because people didn’t want these wines as much as they had before; instead, it was because they had less disposable income. So wineries had to reassess and reconfigure what they could charge for wines based on what (wait for it!) the market would bear.

The same principles have been at work in the Bordeaux futures market. And they will hold true as the 2017 vintages get released. Supply and demand are absolutely factors, but only in the sense of the role they play in what the market will bear.


Linkin’ logs: 10-19-17

It’s a big ol’ goofy world, as John Prine intones, especially in the vinous realm:

• My kind of memorial to my kind of mayor, who purportedly drank a gallon of wine to save the city.

• Cork dork-osity: It appears that wine tastes better, or so we think, after that popping sound.

• I might be a bit too claustrophobic to sleep here. Probably should opt for an igloo instead.

• Words matter, except when they don’t, as this semi-frivolous lawsuit shows.

• In the “What the fuck is the matter with people?” category, Snopes felt compelled to post that Mexican drug cartels did not start the Wine Country fires. On the same topic — and decidedly not fake news — I talked to several former Minnesotans dealing with the crisis (photo courtesy of Tom Thornton).

• I buy wine to enjoy with friends and loved ones, not as an “investment.” But financially speaking, that’s apparently a good idea.

• Finally, I don’t care to try this, but it is worth noting:


Linkin’ logs 9-23-17

Cool links unearthed while drowning in great wine in Sonoma:

• Day-um! I’m going to be in western North Carolina later this month, but not in time for a seriously cool-looking wine train excursion.

• “Baby, you’re a star,” a friend quipped after I posted this shameless self-promotion TV clip on Facebook.

• Proof that the world will never run out of wacky ideas: wine flour.

• Some fab photos here, and Decanter nailed the winner by George Rose.

• I’m grateful that these guys did it so I don;t have to: chape-wine throwdowns at Thrillist and the Washington Post.

• Finally, a worthy vocabulary expansion:


Linkin’ logs: 9-1-17

Scrollin’, scrollin’, scrollin’, keeps those cool links flowin’:

• It’s heeeeere, for better or whatever: blue wine.

• I love to garden almost as much as I love wine, so these ideas combining the two work for me.

• It’s possible that our wine predilections might be linked to our DNA. Not sure what that means for those of us who like pretty much everything.

• Guess I need to drink more wine so’s I can blog more. :o)

• O yeah: Here’s a great feature on my friend Bill Hooper and a cool, seriously tasty wine he makes

• Finally, being an ink-stained wretch is actually my “secret identity,” a la Clark Kent:



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