Linkin’ logs: 5-16-17

Work, play and incarceration are on this week’s agenda via the World Wine Web:

• OK, if I were a bucket-list kind of guy, this would definitely be on there: going to an idyllic Italian island to drink jailbird juice.

• In the meantime, I’ll seek out some rosé and Prosecco popsicles.

• I love my work, but this job — as a “canbassador” — would not blow.

• Here’s a clever bit about, well, BS-ing on wine.

• Just what the world needs: a wine-themed Disneyland in China, costing nigh onto a billion bucks.

• Finally, a question for the ages:


Linkin’ logs: 4-30-17

People, places and playfulness are on docket on today’s “surf”:

• Here’s a nice overview of up-and-comers in the wine world, if (predictably) a bit too hipster-leaning,

• What the world has decidedly not been waiting for: blue wine.

• Spit-take alert: Chris Figgins of Leonetti and Figgins touted this look at “single-berry fermentation,” and with good reason.

• My friend Mike Dunne, an ever-enterprising soul, delves into wine in Thailand.

• Just in time for a certain Hallmark Holiday: Why wine is good, if not essential, for Mumsy.

• Speaking of which:


Judgment days: Pacific Rim gleanings

Master somm Fred Dame is a daunting figure in the movie “Somm” and has a reputation in some circles of being, well, prickly. So upon learning that I was to be on his panel at Pacific Rim, I checked with my somm friend Peter, who told me not to be at all concerned.

As we began our judging, Dame (left, behind our best-of-class sweepstakes flight), perhaps mindful of his reputation, quipped “oh, I left my cattle prod at home.” The rest of us on the panel laughed, and did so again early and often as we plowed through about 130 wines. Dame was a stone-cold delight, open with his knowledge and with his family life, warm and collegial.

As usual, there were highlights — of seven sangioveses entered, we gave gold medals to four and silvers to the rest — and a few lowlights. The latter, of course, provided fodder for more than a few gibes.

As one of the staffers came to empty the dump bucket for a particularly uneven flight, Fred quipped, “Better bring in a Haz Mat Team for that.” But he edified as well as entertained, pointing out with a misbegotten cabernet that “it smells like the ML [malolactic fermentation] went way wrong on that.” Now I’ll know what happened next time I encounter that aroma.

The worst group by far was “Meritage Under $30,” which made me wonder why wineries are using that pretentious designation for less expensive stuff. Best guess: to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear, but that actually is an insult to our porcine pals.

Anyway, two of the entries were mephitic miasma in a glass. And of course when encountering something this olid, one has no choice but to share, in this case with another panel. It rendered them speechless, except for my clever friend Spreti, who said in all seriousness, “It smells like a donkey took a bath in it.” To me, it smelled like a donkey had pooped in it, but no need to quibble in this case.

Most of the wines in the thousand or so entries (above) were actually worthwhile. The winners (all worth your while):

Red: Frank Family Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $53
White: South Coast Winery 2016 Dry Gewürztraminer, Temecula Valley, $20
Rosé: Abacela 2016 Estate Grenache Rosé, Umpqua Valley, $18
Dessert: Navarro Vineyards 2016 Late Harvest Riesling, Anderson Valley $49
Sparkling: Barefoot NV Bubbly Brut Cuveé, California, $10
Nongrape wine: Ackerman Winery NV Red Raspberry, Iowa, $13 (I loved this wine)


Linkin’ logs: 4-19-17

A little history, a little biology, a little less geometry and more in this week’s World Wine Web roundup:

• Wine and weed are pals, I’ve always maintained. And the estimable Eric Asimov agrees.

• More that I concur with Eric about, via a second source, on wine labelling.

• Boy, I hope this plays out, especially since I sniff thousands of wines a year, including a hundred or so today while judging at Pacific Rim: The practice might help stave off Alzheimer’s.

• Wine is better for our brains than math, according to one report. Does this mean we should pay less attention to scores/ratings?

• Come and listen to my story about a man named Chuck, small winemaker who was smart with a buck: How Mr. Taylor made gobs of money for Trader Joe’s and himself.

• Finally, in honor of my sistah Claiborne’s birfday this week:



Linkin’ logs: 3-25-17

People, places, devices and more on the docket at Linkin’ Memorial High:

• I was already a major fan of the current pope even before he declared what many of us already know about a certain beverage’s importance.

• Think Pink: A pop-music star recounts her love affair with fermented grape juice.

• A great review of a book about “punctilious sybarites,” a k a most of us.

• Amidst a fun pitch to join their club, my friends Adam and Gabe included a hilarious drinking device.

• Soon enough, drip-free wine bottles might be a thing.

• Finally, wine speaks to us:



Linkin’ logs: 3-15-17

Seasonal greetings, the world of wordsmiths and much more:

• Winter (allegedly) will be over too soon, but it’s never too late for beautiful wintry vineyard photos.

• Here’s a really cool story about Europe’s westernmost viticultural region, Colares in Portugal.

• It’s great not to be the sole wine blogger in the Twin Cities – especially when so many others are doing such a stellar job.

• One of said bloggers, my friend Jeff Burrows, checks out a winery treating transparency as more than a buzzword.

• More swell news on the MSP front: Domacin was just named one of the best wine bars in the land, and deservedly so.

• Finally, my mantra of the day, 365 times a year:



Linkin’ logs: 3-11-17

News you can use, or not, from the InterTubes:

• Looks like the drought is over in California Wine Country.

• I’ll write a bit more about this, but the quality of the cold-climate-wine documentary “Wine Diamonds” can be gleaned from this trailer.

• I can dig it: a mimosa slushy recipe. I’d go with Mionetto or Adami for the bubbles part, though.

• My friend the Hosemaster loves the chenin made by my friends Gabe & Adam (left) as much as I do. The post also makes some great points about brett.

• One of my favorite wine shops, Thomas Liquors in St. Paul, has a Prohibition-era basement. But this one in Florida really taxes the Way Back Machine.

• Finally, the coolest man in the world weighs in on our favorite beverage:


Linkin’ logs: 2-26-17

We’ll have fun fun fun on the InterWebs today:

• Make mine a Pierre Caillot: Yes, there is a Champagne vending machine – in Vegas, of course.

• Pop open the door: a house made of bubbly bottles.

• Spit-take alert: The Hosemaster is in fine fettle in interviewing the power behind the Wine Euthanist.

• Crossover hits: what wines the beer geeks should try.

• News we can all use: Red wine could help stave off dementia.

• Finally, a sign combining two of my great loves into a swell sentiment:



Linkin’ logs: 2-17-17

It’s a multi-media day here at Linking’ Memorial High:

• Cue the song “Pressure”: A grocery chain is being “asked” semi-nicely to stop selling Trump wines.

• My buddy Jason unearthed a compilation of cool wine commercials. The lame Yellow Tail Super Bowl ad is not amongst ’em.

• Merlot for cats? Cabernet? Uh, whatever.

• My friend Anna Katharine has great advice in this piece: It’s completely OK if you can’t taste like a somm.

• Finally, safety first, last and always:

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