Posts Filed Under commentary

Step Forward For Big Brother, Step Backward For PA Wine Lovers

Vinted on August 19, 2010 binned in commentary

Last week, the excellent (and hilarious) Tom Johnson published an article titled “Pennsylvania, Cradle of Liberty” in which he highlighted a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the expansion of PA’s wine kiosk device.

Besides Tom’s normally laugh-out-loud funny and on-point commentary, the post is worth a read (and a click-through to the article) if only for this well-meaning but (in my view) misguided quote in the P-G piece, regarding the expansion of the “automated” wine kiosks to more grocery stores throughout the state (emphasis is mine):

“I’m all for it,” said Marsha Cuffia, a member of American Wine Society of East Pittsburgh. “We should be up with the modern world.”

Call me crazy, but I don’t see how the use of technology equates to being modern, especially when it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with modern common sense.

For example, wouldn’t it make more sense to get “modern” by catching up with some more basic items than the technological marvel of the wine kiosk?  You know, lower-tech things like the free market system, and increasing profits across the state.  Before dumping money into a technology that requires over ten steps, a breathalyzer test, and takes two-and-half minutes to make a single purchase, I mean.

I know, I know… I’m a real pimple on the ass of progress, right?

I’m just not a fan of throwing tech (or money) at a problem when there’s potentially lower-hanging fruit.  Like being more profitable, offering more consumer choice, improving customer service, and (last but not least) getting a bit more in-line with the U.S. Constitution…

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Tattoo You: Hate Points? Get Some Body Art!

Vinted on August 10, 2010 binned in commentary, wine news

I don’t normally read press releases that are e-mailed to me (usually they are destined for the Delete key), but this one hit my (perpetually overflowing, groaning from the strain and taxed beyond all logical, sane measure) Inbox last night and it caught my eye for reasons that will appear obvious in just a minute.

First a bit of background: A few days ago, the Mutineer Magazine blog pointed out a unique contest being held by Washington producer Hedges Family Estates, in which they (HFE, not Mutineer) were offering magnums of HFE wine and other culturally-minded prizes to seven contest winners who would be chosen after submitting mission statements for the terroir of the Red Mountain AVA on Hedges’ Facebook page.

Oh, yeah – and also agreeing to tattoo the Red Mountain AVA symbol (a red triangle with sunbursts surrounding it) somewhere on their bodies.

No, I am not making this up.

In any case, it was substantiated by the press release that I received last night.  What really struck me, though, was not the call to ink (I’ve certainly got nothing against tattoos, and in fact have been waffling on getting my own for about, oh, four or five years now), but that the AVA tattoo itself was being proffered as an act of rebellious defiance.  Against the 100 point wine scoring system…

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Harried Diner and The Goblet of Wine

Vinted on August 5, 2010 binned in commentary, wine appreciation

Last night, the Dudelette and I tried out a relatively new family-dining-style BYO Italian bistro in our area.  Just about everything at this new-ish joint was very, very good – from the friendly service right on through to the tasty, looks-like-it-just-came-out-of-grandma’s-kitchen pasta.

I say “just about everything” because, as you will see in the inset pic (with apologies from me including crappy-ass cellphone shots here), when I pulled out out BYO wines, the restaurant handed me a nice metal “waiter’s friend” style corkscrew (I want one!), along with two wine “glasses” that looked as though they’d serve better duty as flower vases.

Are those glasses pretty?  You bet.  Are they decent glasses for drinking wine?  No way.

I’m not trying to be a wine snob here (it comes naturally after a while!) – you’re reading the words of someone who regularly tries wines out of small plastic cups at outdoor events (you can take the kid out of Elsmere, but you’ll never take the Elsmere out of the kid, baby!) – but trying to get a sense of a wine and really enjoy it out of these things was just about impossible.  Even our potentially kick-ass dinner wine selections (Matthiasson releases – and we all know those folks know what they’re doing because they’re getting mentioned here on an almost weekly basis now) tasted downright pedestrian from those things.  We probably would have had better luck tasting them from our daughter’s sippy-cup (seen in the background).

For my tastes, those vase-glasses have a rim that’s way to wide and so thick that it dumps the wine into your mouth at a strange angle.  All that pretty carving action? No way to really dig on the wine’s color and clarity through that stuff.  The goblet style shape?  More suitable to specialty beer brews than wine – give me a tulip-shaped glass any day.

Think the Dude doth protest too much?  Had a head-on run-in with restaurant wine glasses?  Shout it out in the comments!





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