Archive for March, 2009

I am not a mouthpiece.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009




I just received an email from a winery’s PR person telling me how so-and-so magazine gave their wine this really great score and included the wine in one of those best-of lists.

I have a few questions for winery PR staff, and I truly do not mean to sound flip:

I write about wine, I review wine. What purpose does it serve for the winery to send a critic a press release telling them how another critic rated their wine?

What am I to do with this “90-some points” information? (more…)

How do you say “Chopped Liver” in Japanese?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


Sideways goes sideways. From:

Sideways goes sideways.

What a jip! What a rip!

Jumping on the opportunity that is the rising popularity of wine in Japan, the movie Sideways is being remade in Japanese.

This lack of originality (seemingly typical of Hollywood – where ideas for U.S. video entertainment are recycled scripts and concepts of shows and films successful abroad) is topped off with a few changes – the most insulting of which is that the new movie takes place in Napa. There also is no merlot bashing and the movie is replete with product plugs. (more…)

Sparkling wines = Sex

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009


Veuve Cliquot Rosé in chiller

Veuve Cliquot Rosé in chiller

Sparkling wines, in many western minds, seem to be inextricable from the celebratory setting. I think this goes beyond precedents and traditions set by tales of debauchery at the widow’s estate. There is something about the effusive nature of bubbly that is visceral in ways that go beyond what is acceptable in polite company.

But I am not polite company.

I guess the American wine consumer of all ranks is having trouble extricating their definition of sparkling wine from rap videos and NASCAR winner’s circles. But it’s not uniquely American to think of sparklers as celebratory. (more…)

The Pouring Trip: A micro look at the state of wine sales

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


Just before the storm. Cerro Prieto Vineyard, Paso robles. Early spring. Courtesy Larry Stanton.

Just before the storm.

Guest post by Larry Stanton

We are just back from our first pouring trip, and it was an eye opener. Following our first bottling several months ago, we were anxious to get our new, 1-2 Ton/acre wines “out there”, convinced that once someone tries them, the wines will sell themselves. Starting a new venture in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930’s, we pressed ahead, anxious, but nonetheless, optimistic.

“There’s always room at the top”, as the saying goes. We had an excellent product, and priced it fairly, factoring 25% off just because of financially chaotic times. People want…people demand and deserve true quality at an affordable price. That is our niche and we truly believe we have filled it. (more…)

The wine world needs a Jon Stewart

Monday, March 16th, 2009


A through grilling. Jon Stewart takes Jim Cramer to task.

A thorough grilling.

Watching the unedited version of The Daily Show episode in which Jon Stewart interviews CNBC’s Jim Cramer, I was struck by how much of the finance-related terms in the discussion could be replaced with wine-related terminology. I was also impressed with Stewart and inspired by his staunch position on the responsibilities of journalists.

When I started, one of my founding principles was that I (and the website) should be a conduit of wine information. The thinking behind this approach is that the information offered should be complete, minimally redacted and true and an intelligent reader can see the obvious conclusions. (more…)