“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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Top Wine Stories of 2015 From The Star Wars Galactic Empire

Tyler Crum Jedi Sith 3

Star Wars VII, The Force Awakens has landed in Hollywood and opens in theatres throughout the Galactic Empire in the next few days.¹ Will the Dark Side come out on top or will the Jedi bring balance to the Force. If you’ve just woken from a 40 year coma, the Force is “an energy field created by all living things that…binds the galaxy together”² kind of like a colossal, cosmic dose of Pepto Bismol.

If the past year for the wine trade is any indication, the Dark Side has the upper hand, as stories of discrimination, wine toxins, fires and drought monopolized the headlines. Following are the top wine stories of 2015 compiled from a galaxy far, far away.

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Similes In Wine Journalism Are Like ‘Totally Awesome’.

Chapter Six, Part Two.
Afroamerikanischer Jazzmusiker mit FlügelhornAmericans often have difficulty with the vocabulary of wine analysis, which is odd as we seem to have no problem talking about our “feelings”. We’ve become so sensitive that I often well up with tears just watching a Hallmark commercial and something really emotional can send me to bed for a week, say something like picking up the check.

When it comes to describing wine our vocabulary is often limited to “I like it” or “I don’t”. The French on the other hand, have no difficulty when it comes to expressing their feelings about wine. Perhaps that’s because the language of wine is much like the language of love; it’s euphemistic, metaphoric, similecious, and pornographic.

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Pain & Sulfuring.

Chapter Twelve. Part Six.
Amphora contains sulfites

Contrary to public opinion, wineries didn’t start adding sulfites to wine in 1987. That’s simply the year the US government dictated all wine containing more than 10 ppm, the smallest detectable amount at the time, be labeled with the warning “contains sulfites.”¹ If a winery can produce wine with less than 10 ppm of detectable sulfites they can forgo the warning label. I’ve sold organic wine for years and only once have I seen a label that read, “contains no detectable sulfites”. It may have been a misprint as the label should have read, “contains no detectable flavor”.

The warning label only applies to wines sold in America, leading many consumers to mistakenly believe that just those bottles destined for America are adulterated with sulfur while their European counterparts remain sulfite-free. The European Union has recently instituted a similar sulfur warning label so the idea that they are sulfite-free should soon be exposed as a myth – just like the idea that vampires can’t go out in daylight (like, have you even seen Twilight?).

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The Best Of WineSnark 2014.

One Day You’ll Look Back At This And It Will All Seem Funny – I Hope.

Best of 2014 - The year in reviewJanuary marks the official start of the “BEST OF” season. Wine publications have already released their TOP 100 WINES OF THE YEAR, strategically unveiled just before the drinking playoffs (also known as the holidays). Soon newsstands will be overflowing with trendy magazines flaunting the SEXIEST MEN & WOMEN OF 2014, the TOP 100 SELFIES OF 2014, or THE TOP 100 STUPIDEST TOP 100 LISTS OF 2014.

In an effort to remain trendy, sexy and stupid, WineSnark has created its own BEST OF 2014 list. I tried to create a TOP 100 list but I dozed off at 30 so that’s where I left it. So here are 30 of the snarkiest comments culled from the pages of this august institution and very precisely presented in absolutely no particular order.

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