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How to Bitchslap Your Wine-Monopolizing Legislators

Vinted on April 1, 2010 binned in best of, commentary, wine shipping

[Editor’s Note: this is a little ditty for those of you who, like the editor, live in one of the many U.S. states that prohibit the direct sale and/or shipping of wine.  Enjoy!]

Bitchslapping your state legislator is not a simple matter.  In fact, it’s fraught with potential pitfalls.

What  if your legislator is bigger than you are?  What if s/he tries to bitchslap you back? What would my mother think of this? etc.

A proper bitchslap needs to be delivered decisively and confidently.  Therefore, it’s vitally important not to let minor concerns, like personal safety and the threat of incarceration, get into the way of a good bitchslapping.  So, buck and let’s continue, shall we?

A proper bitchslap also need to be delivered firmly.  Which is why it’s often less effective to deliver the bitchslap by hand, and more effective to deliver the bitchslap via proxy.  Which is not to say that it is delivered by someone else, but is to say that use of a prop is always in good form, especially when the prop delivers enough noise and bodily pain upon striking the other person’s face to be embarrassing , but not enough to permanently injure the bitchslappee (apart from the bitchslappee’s pride, that is).  The prop therefore should be heavy enough to inflict the above damage but flexible and light enough for the bitchslapper to wield effectively and adroitly.

You may have already guessed that a printed book or stack of paper of proper thickness and quality material would be an ideal prop for the bitchslapper to wield, and you’d be correct in that assessment.

Which is why I recommend the following simple steps for properly bitchslapping your wine-monopolizing state legislator…

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Useless California Vintage Reports: A Template

Vinted on March 11, 2010 binned in best of, California wine, commentary

I get my fair share of wine samples, with a large proportion coming from California.  This is due mostly to proximity (regional wines), as well as the fact that the CA makes the vast majority of U.S. wine, hence the large number of CA samples stopping on my doorstep.

Most of those CA samples come with some form of wine information / tech sheets, and when they do, those tech sheets almost invariably contain a vintage report.

An utterly useless vintage report.

The vintage report is often utterly useless because no one ever says anything except that the grapes ended the vintage with optimal ripeness.

It’s become a joke for me, a game almost, to see if any of these press release vintage reports would ever admit that the grapes absolutely fried on the vine this year, or that they ended up greener than an under-ripe banana. It will probably never happen.

So I decided to do CA wine PR folks a favor, and I’ve created a template below that can freely be used as the vintage report for any CA wine! I’ve taken some minor liberties, primarily to make the choices sexier, because let’s face it, sex sells even when it comes to vintage reports.  If you’re in PR, you can simply circle the appropriate response and not have to bother with the rest!  Anyway, you can thank me later!…

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You Can Keep Your Varietal and Shove It Up Your Variety

Vinted on February 16, 2010 binned in best of, commentary

I am giving up on what has become a totally fruitless quest ending in a miasma of heartbreak and despair; I hereby renounce my Sisyphusian efforts, and will no longer roll this impossibly heavy boulder of writing wisdom up the mountain of populist adversity, only to have it come heaving down to crush the vulnerable bones of my hopes time and time again.

Not that I feel overly dramatic about it or anything.

What is the heart of this painful linguistic matter?  The brilliant and terrible rays of sunlight on the wax wings of my personal flight of Icarus?

It’s the rampant misuse of the word varietal.

To quote Inigo Montoya, “Joo keep using daht word. I donah tink it means what joo tink it means…”

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Wine Satan or Wine Savior? An Interview With Wine Trials Author Robin Goldstein

Vinted on January 25, 2010 binned in best of, book reviews, interviews, wine books, wine publications

Depending on who you ask, Wine Trials author Robin Goldstein is either the wine world’s Satan, or the wine consumer’s Savior.

Whether you feel that Goldstein’s powers are being used for good or evil, you can’t say that he harbors a fear of shaking things up.  Goldstein became a polarizing figure in the wine world in 2008, when he ruffled the feathers of Wine Spectator by creating a fictitious restaurant whose wine list included some of their lowest-scoring Italian wines in the past two decades, and subsequently won their restaurant Award of Excellence.  The aftermath caused one of the most heated debates of the year in the wine world.

Goldstein also coauthored The Wine Trials, the first edition of which is the bestselling wine guide (for inexpensive wines, anyway) in the world.  The premise of the Wine Trials was simple: compare everyday wines to more expensive equivalents in blind tastings, and see which ones the average person preferred.  As it turns out, most wine consumers – to a statistically significant degree – enjoy the less expensive options; more feathers ruffled!

Goldstein has a new website, BlindTaste.com, and the 2010 edition of the Wine Trials has recently been released.  I tore through my review copy of The Wine Trials, and I found the first 50 pages (which describe the approach and science behind the book, and hint at its future implications on the wine industry) to be some of the most profound reading on wine appreciation that I have ever come across.  The Wine Trials doesn’t just poke at wine’s sacred cows – it skewers them, grills them, and serves them up with an inexpensive Spanish red (Lan Rioja Crianza in this case, which took the Wine of the Year honors in the 2010 Wine Trials).  A similar take on beer, The Beer Trials, is set to be released this Spring.

Robin kindly agreed to answer a few questions for our readers.  I’ll warn you that you should be prepared for a quick and opinionated mind – and you might want to pad the walls of your wine world, because that world is about to get turned squarely onto its ear…

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