Linkin’ logs 11-26-19

The good, the bad and the scary on the vinous front:

• There’s some really cool wine coming out of Slovenia, which also is home to perhaps the world’s oldest vine.

• Anyone who has been to Venice had to have been saddened by the recent flooding, and there might be more bad news on the vinous front.

• Space: the final frontier for wine’s evolution?

• The Cycles Gladiator wines got banned in Alabama because of their risqué labels, so I’m guessing the new Mouton-Rothschild release might be facing a similar fate.

• The headline is a little off here: should be “Local chefs share Thanksgiving wine tips.”

• Interesting poll, and interesting points, about whether independent retailers can survive, and how they should proceed.

• Finally, some sage advice that should come in especially handy if the Turkey Day talk turns to politics:


Linkin’ logs 11-12-19

Looking forward and back on the InterWebs:

• This woman could make a fortune hiring herself out to upgrade refrigerators.

• “Stalin-era Soviet Union” is not a phrase that one expects to show up in the same sentence as “Champagne.” Until now.

• While I’ve never rooted for the Boston Celtics, I’ve always been intrigued by the folks who provided their moniker. Turns out they were wine lovers.

• Looks like wine production will be down this year, which doesn’t augur well for friendly prices. Neither do tariffs, but with challenges comes opportunity.

• I guess people love wine so much that they’re even making it out of potatoes in Peru.

• Finally, this might be the best primer on ordering wine I’ve yet seen:


Linkin’ logs 10-8-19

As usual, I’m hopelessly behind with this stuff:

• What exactly is terroir? Almost a third of Brits think they know.

• Here’s a truly classic example of how if you wait long enough, everything will come back in style.

• My friend Sean Sullivan has an incisive, insightful take on barrels (or no barrels). He also digs into how misleading alcohol listings can be.

• Live long and prosper, palate and brain.

• This might be Japan’s version of sacramental wine :o).

• Finally, my friend Mark, wine and comic-strip aficionado, shared this gem:



Too smart for my own good: Revelations at Sonoma-Cutrer

Today’s lesson, at least for me: Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s not good. In this case, really good.

I had been working under the assumption (a practice fraught with figurative potholes) that because Sonoma-Cutrer was the most popular by-the-glass chardonnay at U.S. restaurants, it must be the kind of oaky, buttery chard that i do not favor.


It’s actually a pretty zesty rendition, undergirding its bright California fruit with a brisk foundation. I checked to make sure that the setting – between two verdant croquet layouts backed by rolling vineyards – wasn’t seducing my taste buds. Nope. This wine was the real deal.

And that wasn’t all. My way better half and I dined with head winemaker Mick Schroeter, as delightful an Aussie (is that redundant?) as one would want to meet. (Have I mentioned that I love my job?). He made it clear that the mega-popular wine’s style emanated from great grapes and an ardor for harmony in the finished product.

Later, winery manager Mark Elcombe was waxing poetically about a new sparkling offering at the winery. So we asked Mick about it, and he obliged us by motioning to the empty tasting room. And this 60-40 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay was as advertised, an exciting, uplifting, delicious concoction.

As we were preparing to leave, I mentioned to Mark that while the wines at the dinner – two chards and a pinot – were quite the treat, I had hoped to taste their sauvignon blanc. Voila, back to the tasting room and another tantalizing delight, with citrus and spice notes and a marvelously bracing finish.

It capped one of my favorite winery dinners ever – and served as a fitting reminder that assumptions are made to be impugned.


Linkin’ logs 9-3-19

Been ramblin’, then scrollin’, where I stumbled across these:

• My kind of fountain: dispensing rosé and shiraz.

• The good people of Florence (and the not-so-good ones) have always known how to live cleverly, as this portal shows.

• “Old Vines” can be a misleading label lure, but not with wine from this baby.

• I had a gut feeling (sorry!) that this potentially positive news would get some pushback.

• I have yet to meet a winemaker or grape-grower who doesn’t believ in climate change. They’re certainly dealing with it in Burgundy.

• Finally, hope you don’t have a spouse like this one (h/t to my friend Mark):


Linkin’ logs: 8-11-19

Lot of catching up to do, but here’s a start:

• As a longtime Megan Rapinhoe fan, I’m not surprised that she celebrated with a stellar bottle of bubbles.

• As an even longer-time Patrick Stewart fan, I’m delighted that wine is being made in the name of his most indelible character.

• This was inevitable, and kinda cool: Marijuana growers talk about terroir.

• One of my favorite winery visits ever was with Boots Brounstein at Diamond Creek. She was spry and spritely 18 months ago but moved to another realm last week.

• When it comes to native grapes, Cincinnati has a great claim to being the nexus.

• On the other hand – isn’t there invariably an “other hand”? – the rise of legal cannabis might not be a good thing for wine and spirits.

• Finally, this sign speaks for us all:


Linkin’ logs: 7-1-19

The World Wine Web continues to enrich our lives, at least with these nuggets:

• The Big Apple is not about to become the Big Grape, but it does have a cool vineyard of sorts.

• Another link from the endlessly fascinating Atlas Obscura site: the local wines that inspired Karl Marx.

• My friend Mark passed along this interesting take on how we might not be drinking much better, or different, wine than folks a millennium or two ago.

• I’ve always thought the Celts had their act together in sundry ways, and appreciating Greek wines (and food) apparently was one of them.

• OK by me, except for the raison d’être: Red Châteauneuf-du-Papes will have more white grapes in the future, thanks to global warming.

• Finally, me want this vessel:


Linkin’ logs: 6-5-19

The good, the not-so-good and the weird as we scroll about:

• Growing up, one of my very favorite TV shows was “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” More than half a century later, I have no desire to buy wine from the bottom of the sea, especially at these prices.

• One of the benefits of living in Tundraland is that we have fewer frightful animals great and small than in my native South. It’s thus unlikely that an alligator would get into my wine collection.

• Seriously great news: Our favorite Sonoma restaurant, Willi’s Wine Bar, is reopening less than two years after being squarely in the way of devastating fires.

• Tablas Creek is a great winery, and Jason Haas’ stewardship is a big reason why. He’s also a stellar writer, and here makes the case for the lamentably neglected half-bottle (375 ml).

• Finally, canine training doesn’t get any better than this:


Linkin’ logs: 5-23-19

Wending our way through the World Wine Web:

• A lovely scene: torched-up vineyards in Italy.

• Why doesn’t this ever happen to me? Diners in Manchester, England were served a crazy-expensive wine by mistake.

• I have ruled myself out of participating, but it would be fun to watch this marathon.

Bottomless wine at the cinema? Sign me up!

• Finally, a couple of shopping situations. First one could be dubbed “Making the right call”; second one “Honesty in labelling”:




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