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.”

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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.

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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.

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The Wines of Anjou-Saumur Take Me Back to a Classier Time

Chapter Sixteen. Part Twelve.
Wines of Anjou-Saumur WineSnark

If you follow the Loire River about a hundred miles eastward from Saint-Nazaire on France’s Atlantic coastline, you will come to the picturesque vineyards of Anjou and Saumur. Both red and white wines are produced here but the largest production in Anjou is a dry rosé that goes by the name of Rosé d’Anjou.

This uncomplicated wine, produced from the Grolleau grape,  is hardly revered around the world but it has a special place in my heart because it was briefly popular when I was a young man courting my wife. For you Millennials in the audience, “courting” is an English term for “hooking-up”. Courting was a refined ritual, a classy pursuit that entailed actually “driving” to her house and “picking her up” in my “car”. Then we’d dance and drink Rosé d’Anjou like a couple of sophisticated continentals until we puked.

Today Rosé d’Anjou has fallen out of fashion as young American consumers have decided it’s much classier to regurgitate Provence rosé.

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Super Bowl – The Menu Says Sweet, Your Friends Want Dry

Football Chips WineSnarkThe 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.

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