The holiday season comes to an end this Sunday. We celebrated a harvest Thanksgiving, rejoiced in the birth of our savior, and welcomed a new year. Now comes that most sacred of American holidays – the Super Bowl, a holiday commemorated by 114 million people paying homage to hostile 300-pound men battling in day-glo tights. Don’t you just love this planet?
I didn’t expect the Giants to make it to the Super Bowl and they didn’t let me down. They lost in the first round of the playoffs and I spent the following week watching game replays on ESPN because depression makes me so happy. I was so disheartened I actually stopped eating for a minute.
To cheer me up my wife decided to have friends over on Super Bowl Sunday even though she knows I like watching football without a lot of distractions. That’s why I always make the kids leave the room when the game begins. This starts with some simple cajoling but usually ends with a tantrum and a lot of tears. Sometimes the kids get upset too.Read More
“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.” Steven Wright
I’m sorry to report that it’s that time of year again – time for the annual “Best Of WineSnark”. It’s been nearly three years since I first put pun to paper for this blog and most nights I still find myself thoughtfully staring into the monitor, a glass of wine in hand, thinking, “I wonder what’s on HBO tonight?”
Over the past year this blog has prompted trips to several wine regions and resulted in the consumption of some incredible wine. Unpaid I might add. On some of my posts I received analytical assistance from a group of certified sommeliers. Oops, did I say sommeliers? I meant drunks. The fact is, on many occasions I do find myself drinking with sommeliers and it has made me appreciate what I like most about wine, namely, drinking it alone.Read More
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.
Our Thanksgiving celebration was weeks ago and the wounds have healed nicely – although the turkey may disagree. The rest of us are speaking again and the ER doctor did a great job on my brother-in-law’s stitches.
This Christmas I invited some distant relatives. Not “second cousin twice removed” distant. By “distant” I mean they don’t like me very much. I promised my wife I wouldn’t be baited into any confrontations and when the most combative relative of all arrives I will greet her with a cheery “Merry Christmas Mom.”
In a moment of inspired masochism I invited my cousin Eddie and his new wife Yolanda. I’m not saying the marriage is off to a bad start but their wedding song was “The Thrill is Gone.” Yolanda used to drive Eddie to drink, but that stopped when he got his driver’s license back.Read More
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the winery,
my tasting room staff wore their holiday finery.
The sales were outstanding. ‘Twas like nothing before.
All the wines (even Merlot) seemed to fly out the door.
My winemaker fretted as the deadline drew near.
Wine Spectator 100, would this be the year?
To be on that list would be so prestigious.
But another year missed would be so egregious.
Then out in the vineyard there arose such a clatter.
I feared it was mildew, Pierce’s or shatter.
There, atop a small sleigh that defied quantum physics,
sat a round, bearded man and eight tiny critics.
They were chuggin’ down Harlan, the music was crankin’.
I knew in a moment it had to be Shanken.Read More
The Angel’s Share. It Will Be Mist. (Revisited)
Centuries ago, Cognac producers learned that impermeable oak barrels were very good for keeping spirits in, but not very good at keeping spirits out. When cellarmasters discovered their precious product was disappearing from the barrels locked in their basements, they came to the logical conclusion that angels must be visiting the cellars and drinking from the heavenly casks. The missing portion became known as “la part des anges” or the “angel’s share”. I think most Cognac producers believe the 2% to 4% that disappears every year is fair compensation for the angel’s empyrean influence on their maturing brandy.
Two to four percentage points might not seem like much but it adds up over time. A single Cognac cask holds 263 bottles when full. Sixty years later the angel’s share will reduce that by 83 bottles, or approximately half the Cognac Busta Rhymes and Snoop Doggy Dog drink on Tuesday night. On the bright side, Cognac producers don’t have to pay tax on the missing spirit, leaving me to wonder; what does a line item deduction for angel’s consumption look like on a tax return?Read More
How the sweet red wine trend sent me off my rocker.
It’s the fall wine-tasting season and after sampling a thousand wines over the past month I’m left with the uneasy feeling that I may be suffering from old-timer’s disease. The symptoms include difficulty understanding why red wines are getting sweeter, confusion about labels that look like gothic murder scenes, and appalling marksmanship around the spit bucket. I think there might also be something about forgetfulness.
You may be thinking, “Aw fiddlesticks! Tasting wine doesn’t make you feel old.”
Just as sure as eggs is eggs there’s a chasm forming in the bedrock of wines priced under $20 that make us prellennials scratch our balding heads and wonder what in tarnation is going on. I feel old because by golly, I can remember back in the day when wines were dry!Read More