Super Bowl Wine Pairings: Bashful, Happy, Dopey, Grumpy & Sleepy

One small gray and white tabby kitten isolated on white backgrouOMG! The Super Bowl is tomorrow and I haven’t written my annual wine and food pairing suggestions for the big game. Lucky you – this will have to be a short article because somewhere there’s a plate of nachos with my name on it (it’s true – my parents named me Don Jalapeño Carter).

The game time temperature in Minneapolis is expected to be in the single digits but the wind chill factor will make it feel colder than Melania Trump’s bedroom. That’s going to be rough on the players who will have to perform in the comfort of U.S. Bank Stadium – which is indoors! (You never see badminton players competing indoors.) Football players can be such p≈ssies. It’s no wonder they won’t go to the White House; they’re afraid the president might grab them.

Read More

The Best Of WineSnark 2017

Authentic 100% Top QualityEver since grade school I’ve felt motivated to express myself through writing and by the time I was ten years old I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up; a mortgage banker. That’s right, I figured I’d make a fortune writing books so that I could follow my true passion; reading amortization schedules.

January is when we reflect on the memorable moments of the past year and I can think of no better way to bid 2017 adieu (that’s French for good riddance) than with a glass of wine. On second thought, better make that a bottle of wine. A magnum should suffice.

Read More

Proper Stemware? Bah Humbug!

Winesnark Wally World 2 posterI‘m not one to obsess over matching each specific wine varietal to its own particular type of wine glass. Just last week I tasted Shiraz from a Riedel Syrah glass and I couldn’t even tell they were spelled differently. I’m even less sensitive when it comes to spirits. I drink my whiskey from one of those pint beer glasses. Anything less and I’d have to get out of my chair too often.

Read More

Thanksgiving With Umami, & The Rest Of The Family

Cooking chicken in the oven.Thanksgiving is that special time of year when wine and food writers give thanks for the overabundance of tired old clichés they get to recycle. I firmly believe that writers shouldn’t rehash old boring clichés. My job as a writer is to create new boring clichés.

The family will be gathering at my house this Thanksgiving which means an assortment of drunkards, criminals and racists will soon gorge themselves on my hard-earned bounty. No wait, that’s not my family, that’s congress.

I want to stress in no uncertain terms that my family are not drunkards, criminals and racists; they’re just drunkards.

Read More

WineSnark is a Finalist For Best Editorial/Opinion Writing Award Despite Boycott by Pluto

BDWAbyWIM-Logo_WebThis year the international Born Digital Wine Awards received entries from Italy, China, Australia, India, UK, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, France, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, USA, Mars, Venus and Uranus. Pluto was disqualified when it lost its “planet” designation and their entry took light years to get here. 

What’s In A Burgundy?

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 stupid 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.

Read More

Wine Country Under Siege

Photo: Peter Marks

Photo: Peter Marks

A mandatory evacuation order forced some 5,000 Calistoga residents from their homes last night. For many, the escape from this picturesque northern Napa Valley town meant threading over-burdened cars and trucks through flame-encircled roadways. The few friends and colleagues that I’ve been able to reach say that even though sporadic evacuations are the norm, there’s nothing quite as shocking as a bang on the door and the words, “Get out now!” Take your pets and go.”

Read More

Writer’s Digest 86th Writing Competition Honors WineSnark

winesnark-grahams-port

writers digest award 2017 copy Movies have the Oscars, theatre has the Tonys, television has the Emmys, and it has just been announced (insert fanfare) … that WineSnark now has something in common with the winners of these prestigious awards. That’s right, I am also a pathetic, insecure narcissist desperately seeking validation! It has come in the form of an Honorable Mention in the Magazine Feature Article category of the 86th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. This venerable competition received over 5,100 entries spread over several genres. WineSnark’s winning entry can be found below.

Christmas with Graham’s Port – Oh, and the Family’s Coming Too

The holidays are all about sharing. I get together with my family on Christmas and we share fine wines, great food, and several strains of influenza. Even though I’m blessed with a terrific family, surviving the holidays can be challenging. To get through Christmas I have to muster up every ounce of courage and several ounces of bourbon.

Read More

Into the Stormtroopers. Part Two

the writers workshop logo 2

 

Today’s post has nothing to do with wine but I promise to get back to wise-ass wine appreciation with my next post. This is part two of a true story about assassination, Nazis, and the de-evolution of truth. SPOILER ALERT; you may want to read part one HERE first. All photographs ©1981 Donald Carter.

The De-Evolution of Truth

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” ― George Orwell, 1984

May 1981
New York Post page 1 crop

The phone rang at dawn and as I pulled the receiver close a metallic shout from the caller jolted me upright and awake.

“FEDS SEIZE NAZI PIX!”

“Wha …?”

“The New York Post. Front page. FEDS … SEIZE … NAZI … PIX!”

Five minutes later I stood sockless at the corner newsstand, scrutinizing the front page of the New York Post. Two familiar Nazis stared back. Adolf Hitler’s portrait hung in the background, his stare intense and chilling. A young neo-Nazi with a raised pistol in hand stood in the foreground, his expression unreadable and lifeless – but no less chilling. My eyes went to the photo credit beneath the picture where I found my name.

Read More

Into the Stormtroopers. Part One

the writers workshop logo 2

 

Today’s post has nothing to do with wine. It’s a personal memoir about an event that happened over thirty years ago. It’s the story of a presidential assassination attempt, the American Nazi Party, and personal regret. In light of recent events it seemed an appropriate time to tell the tale. All photographs ©1981 Donald Carter.

Of White Power and White Guilt

Group shot 1As a younger man I seldom gave thought to motivation or consequence. I felt compelled to take risks – to seek out the dark places and walk with the beasts – but the nearest I got to reflection was when I inevitably picked myself up, checked for injuries and wondered, “What the hell was I thinking?”

As an older man I’ve struggled with the emotional fallout that comes from second-guessing ones actions but despite some feelings of regret, I believe my raison d’être was well intentioned. I like to think I climbed under the bed in the middle of the night, faced the monsters and dragged them into the light so that we might all better understand the hatefulness that grows in the shadows we choose to ignore.

When I was a freshman at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I set out to expose these darker places. Little did I suspect that the images I captured would one day attract international attention and the FBI, subpoena in hand, would come looking for the monsters I uncovered.

More on that later.

*****

Read More

Sweet Rejection – Returning Wine in a Restaurant

WineSnark Snobby WaiterLately I’ve come across several articles about the uncomfortable task of rejecting a flawed bottle of wine when it arrives at your table. I thought I’d join the conversation since I’ve been married for over 30 years and that qualifies me as an expert in rejection. It’s actually been a great 30 years and my wife openly admits it’s been the best ten years of her life. If she could turn back time she wouldn’t ask me to change a thing – except maybe the white suit I wore for ten years following Saturday Night Fever.

Years ago a new restaurant opened in our neighborhood and given the high praise it received from the gourmand filling my gas tank I decided to put on my white suit and take my wife there for her birthday. It’s these kinds of decisions that make me the unequivocal rejection expert I am today.

Read More