Gleanings: 1-4-16

Waaaaay too much to catch up on here, but here are some semi-recent experiences that might prove edifying and/or entertaining:

*Some pals and I had a fascinating, fabulous tasting of 2014 Oregon pinots last week. What a vintage, maybe Willamette’s most promising ever based on our 4-hour lunch. Eyrie, Roco and even A to Z showed beautifully, and many others were quite worth trying and buying. And these were just the appellation wines, the basic stuff. We capped it with a Thomas Dundee Hills Pinot Noir from my cellar. This is a nigh onto perfect wine, and it’s understandable why it has developed a cult following of people who want to keep it to themselves. (Oops.). The ’14 showed incredible aromatics, with a dense but pristine nose, then incredible fruit tucked into spot-on tannins and acid. Its utter harmony make it fabulous now and indicate that it could age for decades.

• I’ve always heard great things about Darrell Conti, a Sacramento-based grocery and wine buyer. I wondered a bit when he took a hard line on alcohol levels in wine, which produced a fascinating thread featuring many vintners here. I learned more about him in this swell profile, and I love love love this quote from the man: “I always travel with the idea that we haven’t found everything in the world. We need to find more things. Interesting things.”

• One of the cool things about expanding your vocabulary is that you learn about who you are, or at least how you might be characterized. My daily-word missive recently passed along “bon viveur: A person who enjoys good food, drinks, luxuries, etc.” Guilty as charged.

• Another recent, useful, new-to-me word to cross the transom: “saporific: producing or imparting flavor or taste.”

• But wait, there’s more: “suberous: like cork in appearance and texture” … And a word I had of course heard at holiday time but never fully understood: “wassail: to drink to the health or success of; toast. 2. to revel with drinking.”

• And finally, in recent months I picked up what might be my favorite toast (or at least rival “Everything in moderation, including moderation”): “May all your joys be pure joys and all your pain be Champagne.”

More to come very soon.


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