Archive for September, 2009

A father’s wish

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Two weeks ago I wrote about a commentary supporting lowering the legal drinking age in the US.

Today, Toben F. Nelson and Traci L. Toomey, both faculty members at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health have offered a commentary in support of keeping the legal drinking age at 21. (more…)

What’s the deal with wine and cigar pairing?…

Thursday, September 24th, 2009


…Hey! Wanna go ride bikes?!

"Ritalin", by thh70. From:

"Ritalin", by thh70.

Every so often, I come across a winery event or some class focused on pairing wine and cigars or wine and spirits. I’ve never understood this pairing. I’ve tried it, but didn’t “get” it. I’ve read a fair amount on the subject. The general rules seem to focus around matching aromatics or the textures of the smoke and beverage.

With these guidelines in mind, I’ve tried to experiment with wine or spirit and cigar pairings. Still, I don’t understand what the deal is. I can describe nuances of the smoke’s aromatics, but the smoke overpowers the beverage and the pairing does nothing for me – at least not in the way wine and food pairing does. (more…)

Does latitude matter?

Monday, September 21st, 2009


Does latitude matter? Annotated from Google Maps. (latitudes given are rough approximations)

Does latitude matter?

As wine growing culture in a particular region evolves, it sometimes becomes apparent that what has been grown for a long time is just not going to cut it anymore. The interplay between climate (rainfall and temperatures), soil, a variety’s productivity, the character of its fruit does not always yield a desired quality level in the finished wine.

So, through the initiative of individual growers, as part of an organized effort or by official mandate, different cultivars are brought in to a particular region with the hopes of elevating the quality of a regions wines. This is the essence of Cépage améliorateur. (more…)

That will fix everything!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009


A commentary on by John McCardell, president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont asserts that the legal drinking age of 21 has not curbed on-campus binge drinking – or the problems that come with it.

As with many arguments of this sort, the commentary misses the core of the problem: no legal drinking age, by itself, will ever be successful in curbing binge drinking or the injuries and fatalities that stem from it.

Furthermore, I do not believe any amount of education, heart-to-heart chats, preaching, scare tactics, etc can put a serious dent in the statistics McCardell cites. (more…)

Better wine

Monday, September 14th, 2009


A sweet gift.

A sweet gift.

As I was growing up in Poland, wine was not a focal point of social life or the dinner table. There was some Russian (Armenian, really) demi-sec sparkling wines, Hungarian Tokaj and some Bulgarian, Romanian and Yugoslavian wines. I was too young to drink them, so I only have my immediate family’s preferences to use as a barometer of regional preferences.

My barometer underwent a serious calibration on Labor Day.

I prepared two wines to pour with the dinner of grilled fillet mignon: an Aglianico del Vulture and a “semi-dry” (Kindzmarauli) Georgian Saperavi sent to me by a friend living in Chicago.


It just got harder to make money on the Internet

Friday, September 11th, 2009


According to Wine Industry Insight, wine sites and blogs based in California cannot advertise wine sales sites in the context of commission-based affiliate programs.

It appears, on first glance, that California-based bloggers and site operators would have to pull affiliate ad banners. This would adversely affect web site and blog owners who seek to monetize their content through this route.

It is not clear if this is an absolute, categorical ban or if site operators could acquire an ABC license of some sort.

No details on the ruling or the rationale or precedent behind it yet.

More to come…

Palate Press, The Online Wine Magazine

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


Palate Press, The Online Wine Magiazine.

Palate Press.

Fifteen months ago, I wrote that bloggers should consolidate to increase their exposure and potential for revenue. A few months ago, I became involved in Palate Press, The Online Wine Magazine. In many ways, this project fulfills the vision I had.

Spearheaded by Publisher David Honig, with W.R. Tish as Executive Editor, Palate Press seeks to raise the bar for online wine writing. See here for a list of editors and contributors. (more…)