‘Twas the Night Before the ‘Wine of the Year’ Was Announced

Santa Claus

‘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.

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Either I’m Getting Older or I’m Not As Young As I Used To Be

How the sweet red wine trend sent me off my rocker.

don-carter-old-codger-posterIt’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!

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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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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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Super Bowl; Because We Need Another Reason To Drink Wine

Don draws the short straw.

Don draws the short straw.

My family always drinks wine during religious observations, whether it’s a baptism, Easter, or Super Bowl Sunday. This year is no different even though the Giants are not playing (I guess God found the New Jersey tithes a little light).

The congregation is meeting at my house this year. That’s what happens when you draw the short straw (see illustration 1). We will gather around the 60″ LED 1080i high-definition altar with a glass of wine and watch colossal men try to maim and kill one another. It falls on me to pick the perfect wine to pair with this joyful occasion.

What is the calling, the hidden force, the innate primal drive that makes violent sports so appealing to men? Can anyone explain the macho impulses that drive men to create life threatening competitions like the Super Bowl, cliff diving and beer pong?

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