Saturday, March 29, 2008


I sit listening to dance music and wait for spring. Spring is going to the return to hardcore riesling and bubbles drinking (not that I didn't guzzle those midwinter) sitting outside with my friends with some fruit and fromage. We've vowed to seize the summer and get outside. Daily runs along the lake, picnics, Hollywood beach, Ravinia, and tons of free shit!

Speaking of my friends, I think they should get some link-ups!

Since half of Bloomington moved to ChiChi, here are my faves!
  • Kate, who's doing some kick-ass art, lives across the street from me. It's dangerous.
  • Miss Casey, also an amazing artist, lives close by and makes me smile as she did when she was my roomie for three years!
  • Some IU theatre-folks who are tryin' to inspire the big Chi.
  • Co-worker super-Carl and his porkiliciousness.

In wine-lusciousness I got to taste some motherfuckinkickass Burgundies--again a lesson that terroir does matter. The best Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc that I've ever had (Flowers and Chalk) and a rouge Corton-Hautes Mourottes Grand Cru 2005 that was totally a more svelte Barolo (Violets and Dirt).

My favorite affordable wine of the day was a really esoteric, funky, and high-yum-factor white from the Fiefs Vendéens (You have to find this esoteric Loire-ish AOC for yourself.), Dom. St. Nicolas, a rockin', affordable, BioD producer of truly unique and yum wines. Chenin/Chardonnay, fresh, acidity kissed, not too-ripe, gulpable, uber-food friendly. I heart it.

Summer, hurry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Really, enough said. People with balls and ideas who aren't afraid to limit what people get and teach them a thing or two. I'm getting sick and tired of catering to people's taste sometimes, and would love to get to be a forward-thinking cerebral jackass once in a while...all with a sense of humor, of course.

This wine bar rulez. The wine list should go a little farther with the concept and attitude, but it's just a baby, and we'll see where things go. The political/propoganda aesthetic does the trick, and it's about time we politicize our consumption.

Anyway, that's enough for today. I need a Bartolo t-shirt.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Respect Beer

The title says enough, but let me elaborate on my relationship with beer.

After forcing myself to like Keystone Light in college, I gave up on beer for a few years. (Some bad nights/mornings led to an extreme distaste for the hoppy beverage.)

Then I fell for wine, in all its varied splendor. While wine (like coffee, whiskey, and gin, in my opinion) rarely impresses upon the first time it touches your tongue, I was intrigued by this interesting beverage. It involved geography, botany, chemistry, and artistry. After a year or so riding the wine wagon and developing a discerning palate, I came to appreciate the artistry of beer.

Even more so lately, as I begin to draw huge similarities between beer and wine, I understand it as geographical (but not to the purported degree that wine is), which rocks my socks. Beer pairs with much food just as well, if not better than most wines (aside from the bubbly). The beer industry has many of the same issues that the wine industry faces: monster corperations, overblown beers (like qintuple IPAs), and people with a fear to try new and interesting beers from different places. Anyway. Gotta love the suds.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thoughts of Spring Travel

So it was about a year ago that I went to Barcelona. (After a week horrendous flu.) And amid the ever-lingering winter of Chicago, I really miss travelling someplace warm. There's this juxtaposition when you leave your frigid, extreme midwestern climate for something moderate, sunny, and beach adorned. Something that makes you sensual.

Speaking of sensual! Last night I got to enjoy a wine by one of my favorite white-wine producers ever, Do Ferreiro from the Salnes region of the Rias Baixas. I desperately want to go to Galicia, and this gets me pretty damn close (except for the cash it puts me back). A blend of about 85% Albarino and 15% Treixadura from a single vineyard. I love and appreciate Do Ferreiro's use of old vines, very low crop levels, and great ripeness--underripe, overcropped young vines lead to a more tart, less comples, less finesse, and that's mainly because certain crappy producers just want quantity of a somewhat trendy grape. Native yeasts are important to give the wines some character, as opposed to that icky international style.

The Rebisaca 2005 was amazing with a mix of sushi. It's a very firm, mineral wine, deep golden color, with notes of honeydew, meyer lemon, fennel, and loads of sort of this granite/slate aroma (Even though grown on the sandy too-well-drained Galician soil.) It had a very Burgundian balance and firmess of structure, which made me drool and reminded me why great wines from the Rias Baixas are some of my favorite in the world, combining the richness of white Burgs with the minerality and expressiveness of great Mosel, Rheingau, Pfaltz, and Nahe rieslings. Do Ferreiro knows how good their wines are, so they are all priced at or above $20, which, in terms of other wines of this stature, is a steal.

What I must try is the Cepas Vellas, rumored to be made from 200+ year-old prephylloxera albarino vines. Check out the video here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fat Packer

My reaction to the recent NYTimes article.
I read the NYTimes food section religiously, especially for Asimov's outstanding wine writing (and a similar taste preference to my own).

The Times published an article today about fat foodies and fat foodies loosing weight. Now, I understand the point of the article, and I think it is important to show their transformations, but it is presumptuous to assume that all foodies overindulge in pork fat (which is delicious, by the way).

True foodies know how to balance indulgence and exercise, and know how to limit themselves. The latter is no easy feat for me, especially, when I'm known as the garbage disposal among my friends. But you have to realize that it's not about eating pasta and pork at all times. In the summer, foodies relish the fresh produce and, I, personally, eat very little meat in the summer, and tons of fresh produce--as much as I can get my paws on.

Foodies appreciate what they put into their bodies. We don't just grab McD's if we need to eat, we have to scrounge for something tasty and honest.

And I have to be careful what I eat, or the reflux attacks.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Biodynamique! or Loire again!

Today I hit up a tiny, focused and awesome tasting. Naturally produced Loire Valley wines (with two wines from the Luberon that snuck in). ROCK IT. I was pumped, and rightfully so. We got to taste from the Fiefs all the way to Sancerre (which is more Burgundy than not). Chenin wins! (Sorry Sauvignon I could care less about you when Chenin is around.)

This is the sexy beast.

The ghost of Nicolas Joly was haunting me.
He, alone, hooked me on Loire wines, and unknowingly on BioD.
Why does this have to be so damn good and interesting?
First transcendent wine experience.
Daddy of BioD. (Granddaddy Steiner)

Anyway, back to the tasting. I loved the delicacy off most of the wines, the bubbles were fantastarific, got to taste Eric Bordelet's awesome, AWESOME ciders with the cidermaster himself! These organic ciders are more wine-like than the crappity carbonated ciders you may be thinking of. Very very complex bottles. There is Eric next to one of his 300-year-old pear trees that he harvests from. Look at him shake it! He's cool and a little crazy.

Had some very sexy Savennieres (my personal fave AOC), some charming bubbles, a rocking Cot (aka Malbec) with some freshness and cut and wanted me to drink it. The Fiefs Vendeens were rockin'. Some other nicely fresh Cab Francs, specially the St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil. Yum. I appreciate the Dom Roches Neuves, but I feel the winemaking and ripeness sort of gets in the way of the charm of the wine. The Chenin was totally barrel-y in a very well-made way, but not in an interesting way. Same with the Marginale--OAK TANNINS! Not oak flavor, but more like, hey baby wine, go back to bed for a few years. That was my only drawback. It was faboo to meet people who worked so hard to make delicious, honest, earth friendly wines. This, along with too many overmanipulated, overripe, uninteresting, fruit nukes, brought me back to Europe with a ravenous need for more Loire goodness.

I came home and had some dry Mosel riesling, but don't tell chenin I'm cheating on him.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wonderful Superiority

This post is entirely tangental to the actual tastes of wine. Sort of. It's more of a stream-of-consciousness type of post so, here we go. 'Tis the season of spring portfolio/importer tastings, which rocks my socks--free learning, but is also slightly annoying. There so many very predictable types of people at these things that it makes me vomitrocious.

1. The typical "snob" who walks around throwing out unnecessary French vocabulary and asks the importer/winemaker questions BEFORE they taste, and who hops from Bordeaux, directly to Burgundy, to Barolo and Brunello, and maybe hits a few Cali/Oregon Pinot Noir or Napa Cabs. Never mind the great Rosso Piceno, Marzemino, or (god forbid) Beaujolais that begs to be tasted. Not to metion Bubbly.

2. The "oh, we go way back" sort of taster. "I've poured this wine by the glass for years." "I was the only person in Chicago to sell this wine back before it was so popular." "I know __winemaker__, he has me to his places and I make some BBQ and he pours me a vertical."

3. The twenty-something chick/dude who gets carted around by their sommelier/lover who tries to educate their sorry ass, but the chick/dude either doesn't really care or just wants to get drunk or exclaim "I love pinot!" and "Where is this from?"

4. People who don't spit.

5. The people who try to chat with me like I don't know what I'm tasting. People who say thinks like "Have you had this before? It's to die for." Or ask you a question like "So this is a blend of like 75 montepulciano, right? That's what I'm getting, anyway." The best real example being this amazing woman who was tasting an extremely mediocre Puligny-Montrachet alongside me for about the fifth time of the day and said "Now this is a fabulous Chardonnay, just outstanding." and I had to give her some attitude, so I retorted with "It's really nice, [giggle] I love Puligny, but it just tastes like average Puligny and isn't that exciting at the price." and she looked at me like I had caught her in the act. (I rarely open my mouth like that, I promise....but when I do, it's fun!)

6. Vendors/reps who don't know what their pouring. Unprofessional.

People I love at these tastings.

1. My coworkers are usually rockin' people to taste with.

2. Most of the importers are super nice, smart, and will direct you toward the esoteric must-tastes.

3. Most of the winemakers who are so happy you are taking time to taste their wines and will tell you all you need to know.

4. Hot foreign men. Argentines, Spaniards, and Italians, mainly. (There are a few wines I love simply because their winemakers or reps are smokin' hot with accents.)

5. Really nice restaurant people with good taste.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I've been trying to address the previous posts question for the last twenty-four hours or so. In between shlepping cases of wine, that is.

Been drinking some surprising Pinot from Digioia-Royer--this 2005 Bourgogne, which I find to be fascinating. It's like $16, and from a teensy, Chambolle-Musigny-based producer, and has been touted by a few of my cohorts as a "baby Chambolle". I don't think of it as "baby" at all, but, value, hella yes. This producer owns like 4 hecares or something crazy like that. Anyways, it's not as light and ethereal as I think of in a little Bourgogne, but has some really great structure, pretty present tannins, and I think, will be tons better in a few years. It even had a touch of sediment when I picked it up. Lightly floral, with notes of tar, dirty rocks, some shmushed black cherries. The fruit is tempered by the young tannic structure.

What I love about this wine is that it is honest and tasty. Yes, it needs some TIME, but it tastes unique, a little rough around the edges, and is idiosyncratic. It makes me think of wines that are like miss Janice Dickinson. And I don't mean to say that all California wines are like this, because there are wines like this everywhere--even in Burgundy. And I don't mean to say that Janice wines are bad. They are just sort of tweaked, manipulated, blended, and lucky that they are (often) grown in conditions that are so easy to grow grapes. California is just blessed with a humungous amount of these larger-than life personalities and wines. Whatever, I love JDMA to death and could watch her every day be crazy, loud, showy, fake, and intoxicatingly trashy.

Cognitive dissonance: I really enjoy that shit on TV, but not in my glass.

Salud. That is the end of the glass.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Don't let the lack of posts distress you, I vow, for the umpteenth time, to continue updating this godforsaken blog. I always feel like talking about wine in some sort of fashion, yet I don't always feel the need to dwell on wine. Often wine comes as a key to something much more entertaining, and I don't mean because I get krunk and crazy. I mean I think about wine and then watch several episodes of Bravo's Make Me a Supermodel, quite possibly the best trashy show ever (or second only to JDMA).

No, I don't own a television.
No, I don't go over to a friend's house to watch it.
Yes, I youtube it.
Yes, I wish I had some way to get it in HDTV.

But I don't. But my extreme desire to watch and re-watch this show makes me think about taste. While I am uber-picky about the wine that I choose to by, and rarely put my money on sugarfied chocolicious oakies, and strive for reasonably-priced charming, singular wines. Same goes with food generally. (Chicago hot dogs are unique, regional food.) Also, I sort of love trashy music, and listen to it frequently. It induces the strut. How can I relate my bad taste in pop culture to my taste in wine? Or should I? Hmm.

More on this later, I am going to re-watch the SNL spoof of Christian from the P-roject Runway.

"Sweet pea, that dress looks like tranny ice cream."