What’s In a Burgundy?

Chapter Sixteen. Part Eight.

Real Conversation Overheard in a Fine Wine Store:

CUSTOMER: Can you recommend a Chardonnay to go with pan-seared scallops?
ME: I highly recommend this Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy.
CUSTOMER: But I asked for Chardonnay.
ME: Yes, white Burgundy is made from Chardonnay.
CUSTOMER: White Burgundy? I thought you were a wine expert. Everybody knows Burgundy is red. Why do you think it’s called Burgundy?

“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” - Ron Burgundy

“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” – Ron Burgundy

As the customer turned to leave it dawned on me that in many circles Burgundy is synonymous with world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and in other circles people are a pain in the ass.

It’s understandable that most Americans don’t know what’s inside a Burgundy bottle because so many things bear the Burgundy name. First there’s the place Burgundy, then there’s the wine Burgundy, of course there’s the color Burgundy, and most famously there’s anchorman Ron Burgundy.

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Bordeaux Grape Varieties; Comfort Food For The Oenophile.

Chapter Sixteen. Part Five.

Left Bank vineyard at Chateau Margaux.

Left Bank vineyard at Chateau Margaux.

California winemakers like to imitate the French. No, they’re not on strike. In an attempt to mimic the classic wines of Bordeaux, they often blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (the main varieties found in red Bordeaux wine), then they take a 3-hour lunch and go on strike.

Hey, I’m kidding. It’s what I do. I poke fun at my friends which probably explains why my Facebook page only has unfriend and unlike buttons. Seriously, many of these Bordeaux imitations are very elegant, feminine wines – in an unshaven sort of way.

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It’s Willamette Dammit. Oregon Pinot Noir Rated in Blind Tasting.

winesnark 5 posterEverybody does it the first time. You pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir from Willamette, Oregon and the little voice in your head says, “That’s pronounced WILLA-met”. Years later you find yourself at a wine tasting and you tell a winemaker, “I’m a big fan of WILLA-met wines’. He rolls his eyes and says, “It’s pronounced will-AM-et, dammit.”

Get it? “will-AM-et, dammit” is a mnemonic device. No, not an iron lung, that’s a pneumonic device. It’s not an air compressor either, that’s a pneumatic device. A mnemonic device helps you remember things. For example, spring forward, fall back is a mnemonic device that helps you remember what to do at the beginning and end of a wine tasting.

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Wine Industry Battles ‘Silent But Deadly’ Gas Emissions

Mucca al pascoloIn the aftermath of Auction Napa Valley’s annual charitable fundraiser it’s clear that those in the wine industry are seriously invested in helping their fellow man. Some in the trade go further than others in their mission to make the world a better place for our children, in their quest to preserve our precious natural resources, or in their resounding commitment to save the world from cow flatulence.

There are many serious threats to the future of mankind and paramount among these are global warming, worldwide pandemic and insipid Pinot Grigio. While the wine industry is powerless in the fight against frightening new diseases and wishy-washy wine, there are some winemakers who are partnering with agricultural concerns to combat global warming.

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The Most Interesting Man in the World is Banished to Mars!

His waterbed is filled with 1945 Chateau Pétrus.

When he buys a bottle of wine, The Wine Advocate automatically gives it 100 points.

He once created the Wine of the Year with Popeil’s Veg-O-Matic and some Tupperware. 

He is … “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.

At least he was until Dos Equis, the beer brand he helped turn into a popular internet meme, announced he was being replaced by a younger actor. Jonathan Goldsmith, the 77 year-old star who has WineSnark Don Carter Don't Drink and Danceplayed the role since the ad campaign’s inception in 2006, is much more than an old guy with a smarmy Fernando Lamas accent and a bad spray-on tan. He is the life of parties he has never attended. When he drives a new car off the lot, it increases in value. He was last seen entering a rocket ship headed for outer space where he is destined to become “The Most Interesting Man on Mars”.

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Gimme Somm Lovin’

What Does It take To Become A Wine Blogger?

Wine Blog AwardsWhen I heard WineSnark.com was a finalist for the Wine Blog Awards “Best Overall Wine Blog” I immediately thought of the classic Steve Winwood¹ song, “Gimme Somm Lovin’”. Who knew Winwood and I had so much in common? Sure, he’s as creative, talented and handsome as I’m not, but if he’s going around yelling, “You gotta gimme, gimme somm lovin’” he must be an insecure sommelier desperate for approval just like me. We’re practically twins!

Writing has always been a part of my life. Ever since I was ten years old I’ve known exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up; an astronaut. I’ve been blogging for 2 ½ years and this is my third round as a WBA finalist so I need you to gimme somm lovin’ and vote at “Wine Blog Awards”. I’ve never won and I’ve got to get past this “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” jinx because the frilly dresses are piling up in my closet.

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“Judgement at Don’s House” Revisited

It’s hard to believe the famous “Judgement at Paris” happened exactly 40 years ago. The blind tasting, pitting California wines against the great wines of France, stunned the world when French judges picked California wines over their own.

It’s even harder to believe it’s been a full year and a half since the “Judgement at Don’s House” sent shockwaves throughout my entire dining room. The blind tasting, pitting a New Jersey wine against California and French counterparts did not make the august pages of TIME Magazine, as George M. Tabor’s account did 40 years earlier, but the event has become a significant part of our celebrated American history. You know, like the duel between Raymond Burr and George Hamilton.

New Jersey's Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

New Jersey’s Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

Wines from New Jersey are the Rodney Dangerfield of the wine world – they don’t get no respect. Winemakers here sometimes feel like the rest of the world hates their wines. How could that be? The rest of the world hasn’t tasted them yet.

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Red Blend Sales Come Alive – Merlot Sales Take A Dive. Plus Blendfest On The Coast

Blendfest sign

American wines are mixed up – and getting more so every day. According to IRi, a market research company that tracks wine industry metrics¸ annual sales of ‘red blends’ exceeded Merlot sales for the first time this past October, moving into second place behind Cabernet Sauvignon. This raises two important questions. First, what exactly constitutes a “red blend” and second, who the hell still drinks Merlot?

I thought my Uncle Ralph was the only one still drinking Merlot, but that’s not surprising since he still spikes his hair with Brylcreem and sleeps in a waterbed, a combination that has led to the occasional wet dream.

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Riedel Glass Unveils the “C Cup” for Coffee Connoisseurs

Riedel Stemware unveils the "C-Cup" for Coffee connoisseurs

Riedel Stemware unveils the “C-Cup” for Coffee connoisseurs

Reuters April 1, 2016

KUFSTIEN, AUSTRIA The Riedel Glass Company today revealed a new product line that may do for the coffee drinker what Riedel stemware did for fine wine aficionados worldwide. Over fifty years ago Riedel developed revolutionary stemware designed for specific wine varietals. TIME MAGAZINE wrote, “this Austrian clan of master glassmakers has done more to enhance the oenophile’s pleasure than almost any winemaking dynasty”.

The 11th generation scion of the Riedel empire, Maximilian J. Riedel, proclaimed, “if my father could convince the Baby Boomer generation to buy a different glass for every type of wine, how hard will it be for me to convince the Millennial Generation, a generation that shells out 9 bucks at Starbucks without batting an eye, to buy a different cup for every type of coffee?”

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Found Object Art Found in Wine Country

Duck Trailor

Grapevines aren’t the only thing you’ll spot when driving through Sonoma County wine country. As you near Sebastopol, located in the heart of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of an immense metal cow driving a tractor in a field, or a roadside trailer that’s been transformed into a colossal yellow duck. Don’t worry; you haven’t visited one too many tasting rooms. These and hundreds of other metallic creations are located all around Sebastopol.

Cupid Car Salesman
I first learned Sebastopol was home to these alien personas when a glitch in my GPS system sent me off the main road and onto Florence Avenue. This quiet street, lined with cottages and mission-styled bungalows, is ground zero for the imaginative creatures created by the husband and wife team of Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent (Patrick sculpts and Brigitte paints). I felt compelled to take a closer look and I soon realized that these whimsical sculptures are really garbage. I mean it. This is real trash I’m talking about. No,they’re not poor quality, this art is actually created from honest-to-God junk.

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