The Best of WineSnark 2016

“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.” Steven Wright

the-best-quality-orangeI’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

Born Digital Wine Awards – WineSnark Honored in Europe

bdwabywim-logo_transparentThe Born Digital Wine Awards has shortlisted WineSnark in the Best Editorial/Opinion Wine Writing competition. I think of BDWA as an international version of the Wine Blog Awards and WineSnark is up against competition from the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil. Here’s the post that somehow fooled the judges.

The Angel’s Share. It Will Be Mist. (Revisited)

Angel in Montepulciano wine cellar copyCenturies 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

Not Another Boring Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Article

Chapter Nine, Part Four.
Don Carter Turkey. 2jpgOn Thanksgiving my family comes together, shares some wine, enjoys a harvest feast, and watches football, football, and more football. It’s an afternoon filled with aggressive, smash-mouth offence and bold defensive maneuvers. Then we turn on the TV and watch the game.

Cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 20 people can be a lot of work and very stressful for everyone involved, by which I mean my wife. Of course I help out in a big way as I’m in charge of the wine and stay far from the kitchen. That probably doesn’t sound like much help to you, but then you haven’t been at my house when the wine locusts arrive. The eighth plague was nothing compared to what happens when my people are thirsty.

My wine selection process is simple. I sit on the front porch and sample wine before the guests arrive. Last year the first wine I tasted was so good that I drank the whole bottle. I wasn’t alone mind you, there were lots of people driving by.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I have a lovely family. In fact I love my wife’s brother like a brother-in-law. We gather around the table and I take a heart-warming look at the family, my Uncle Ralph, the turkey, and then my wife brings in the bird. No casual attire at this table. No sir, even the greens are collard.

Read More

A Look At French Wine Laws

Chapter Sixteen, Part Two.
Donald eyeballing wineFrance has hundreds of wine appellations that are broken down into three quality levels; Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AC or AOC), Vin de Pays (VdP), and Vin de Table (VdT). These designations are controlled by the Minister of Agriculture, under the auspices of the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité. Rather than adopt the logical acronym INOQ, the organization retained an earlier acronym INAO (for Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) so they wouldn’t have to replace the stationary.

Read More

Wine Regulations, Also Known As Acronymphomania

Chapter Fifteen, Part Two.
Flying Saucer Over Vineyard 2Laws regulating wine end when your blood alcohol level drops below 0.08%, but they start in the vineyard, even before grapes turn into alcohol. Inspired by European appellation wine laws, American wine grape-growing regions fall within demarcated geographic boundaries established by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Before the creation of American Viticultural Area’s (AVA) wine regions were simply designated by county or state. Surprisingly the first AVA, established in 1980, was not in Napa Valley. It was in the Mecca of fine wine production, Augusta, Missouri.

Read More