Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's true. I have a crush on Jay McInerney

Hey Parker, you should take a lesson from Jay McInerney. Number one -- he seems to actually have an extensive palate. Number two, he uses Eric Claption songs in his analogies for wine (which in turn makes him sound much less douche-y then you). And, finally -- number three, he's INTERESTING. You, my friend -- are a big fat yawn. Check out Bacchus & Me, by Mr. McInerney and maybe you'll pick up a few pointers.

From the "Tough Love -- Oregon Pinot" chapter --
"What you don't actually taste from Oregon is that hint of actual dirt that Burgundy freaks believe to be that funky soul of their beloved -like sweat on a handkerchief- the deep, signature Cote d'Or grit, which can be as distinctive as the loamy growl of a Delta bluesman. (Funny how the French wines tend to posses the exact quality that their so called popular music notoriously lacks.) Let's say that in recent years Oregon Pinot Noir has been a little like Clapton playing "Crossroads". It ain't exactly Robert Johnson. But, it's more danceable. And the '98 vintage may well be Oregon's "Layla"."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Mr. Ray Isle, Quit your job.

SO.. He (my LEAST favorite person, ever -- Ray Isle, who is - in case you didn't know- the FandW executive Wine Editor) did a spot on The Today Show, about holiday wine and what you should serve with your Christmas dinner. It left me seriously agitated to say the least. In fact, that man makes me down right crazy.

This would have been the PERFECT time to discuss some really fantastic small, organic, terroir obsessed, and obscure vineyards that are not only delicious and affordable (I'm sure that is exactly what the viewers of The Today Show are looking for) but are REAL! They aren't all liquid wood chips, chemically altered and over produced. Why wouldn't you give the little guys that awesome publicity? WHY? you ask -- because he is probably paid (via the magazine) to push the typical, lame ass, same old same old vineyards that buy advertising space (GASP)-- that, btw. AREN'T EVEN GOOD!

Shocker -- He kicks it off with Moet and Chandon (to accompany ham, mind you) and makes it sound like at $60/bottle; it's God's gift. I'm serious. He then follows it up with Domaine Chandon as the less expensive bubbly to serve. Seriously? Shame on you. Next came KJ Chardonnay with TURKEY? Really? Where's MY Riesling for the turkey? Oh, there it is -- with the pork chops... And, it happens to be CRAP. He literally chose the worst Riesling, I've ever tasted. In typical Ray-SELL OUT-fashion, he finished things up on the Napa Cab train. If I hear one more thing about the "great" Napa Cab's from him -- I will come unglued. It wouldn't be so bad if he was promoting the hell out of some truly great Napa Cab's.... I'm so sorry but, Sterling and BV just don't cut it in my world as GREAT.

Watch the clip, and see for yourself....

The best wines for any holiday meal

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the weekend, so we all deserve a little giggle.

Just for the Somm's out there..

Please. If you are anything like this lady. Stay home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I think his nose is worth 5 bucks.

This one is for all you Robert Parker followers. Or perhaps, I should call you bootlickers, stooges, lackeys, zealots, apostles, servants, ad nauseum (all synonyms of Follower in case it went over your head).
Parker and his million dollar nose have ruined a lot of things when it comes to wine. Yes, I said ruined.
It is so easy for people to fall right in with the masses that believe his palate is THE palate. It almost becomes "lemming" like... I wouldn't be surprised if you all drank his most recent "96" pointer, right off the cliff.
The man has a HUGE voice in the wine world. I understand, that inevitably, people are going to take his word as gold. But, why not let someone else, with a completely DIFFERENT palate share the spotlight with you? He can't possibly think that HIS taste is the ONLY taste. Can he?

Perhaps he could use his word to explain that wine is totally idiosyncratic. It's not about what Parker thinks, smells, tastes. It's about what YOU think, smell, and taste. Aren't you the one buying the bottle? Aren't you the one making the Turkey Tetrazzini w/ Thanksgiving leftovers? Don't you want to enjoy the Riesling that goes with it? Why not support a smaller vineyard, that specializes in Riesling? A vineyard that cares about their wine, and what it tastes like. Just because it's on the pages of FandW doesn't make it true.

Perhaps, it isn't Mr. Parker that pisses me off. It's the people that have the inability to think for themselves that allow him to keep doing what he's doing. I mean, honestly... if The Wine Advocate didn't sell, if his every sniff, sip, and word weren't absorbed at every turn, then he'd have no reason to impart his sticky opinion on us.


So I've decided that what I hate more than anything, is people telling me what I can and cannot do. The whole notion that there are a prescribed set of rules that I have to adhere to... because... just because. The only thing this does is severely limit the opportunities to appreciate the realness of what is offered up each and every day.
We wait. For that perfect vacation. To own that perfect house or car. What we miss is that the real pleasures... the opportunities to feel the realness of life come in appreciating and preserving our own personal freedom. 

They say that drinking in the morning is a bad thing. And while I suppose even I find it startling to think of enjoying a glass of scotch or a vodka martini before coffee, there are many more ways to live a little while still in sweats and big comfy slippers.

Which brings us to waffles. 

Those warm wafers with pockets to hold deliciousness are the perfect breakfast food for a comfort food freak like me, with one caveat. They're just generally too sweet for me. I love the bready aspect of waffles; as glutens actually occupy the space of three of my five food groups.
It's the syrup that just ruins them. And the 100% natural pure maple kind just doesn't do the trick. The deep, dark general mapley-ness of this syrup is still the wrong kind of sweet for me so early in the morning.

So in my desire to preserve the use of my Belgian waffle iron, I set out to explore what I could drizzle over these warm creations. Something that would pour. Something that would be sweet but not cloying. Something with dimension.  It seemed so obvious but so against the rules. So here's how I spend Sunday mornings now...

I meticulously whisk my Belgian waffle batter and patiently wait for them to become golden brown and perfectly crisp... easily popping out of the maker and onto my plate.
I then take out the special bottle with its smooth, gently sloping shoulders... smooth and cool to the touch. I wrap my hands around its waist and gently pull... the cork.. people, the cork! I have brought home the perfect pairing. A bottle of 2006 Royal Tokaji Red Label 5 Puttonyos. At first, botrytis, apricot, orange peel and honey hit the nose. The palate is rich with orange and notes of botrytis, which is then swept by apricot with a citrusy aftertaste. The lively acidity of this "dessert" wine contrasts nicely with the richness of the waffle. Nothing like the normally cloying feeling of the sticky sweetness offered up by syrup. It's almost refreshing thanks to the crisp acidity. And with sugar content of 178g/l my topping comes in at less than half as sweet as a dose of Vermont's finest. Making my choice a healthy choice by comparison -- and every bit as natural.

And the 10% alcohol content? Easily burned off with a brisk walk around the block or an hour of raking leaves. And as I lick my plate (literally), I am content in knowing that this morning, I have done it my way and have tasted a bit of perfection from a land half way across the world.