Posts Filed Under holidays
It’s time for wine writers and wine geeks to heave a collective, heavy sigh.
Just as every story about Australia is spiritually obligated to include a photo of the Sydney Opera House (seriously, what is with that?), the close of November brings the wine geek heartburn of Ye Olde Dreaded Thanksgiving Day Wine Pairing Article.
Long-time 1WD readers already know how I feel about the subject of Ye Olde Dreaded Thanksgiving Day Wine Pairing Article. But there is NO way that any wine writing gig is letting a wine writer out of having to pen that one, because people apparently want the help. Ironically, it’s the very situation that causes wine drinkers angina – the fact that the Turkey Day dinner table, with its clashes of foodstuffs of various flavors, textures, and sweetness levels, is a veritable mine field for any one wine pairing choice – that makes the task of recommending wines for Thanksgiving dinner more or less impossible.
Seriously. It’s like Strangelets or Antiparticles. Theoretically they’re there, and theoretically we can test for their existence, but not without a crap ton of work and learning from failed attempts. Actually, in the case of Strangelets, testing for their existence in a large scale particle collider could theoretically create a chain reaction that turns all matter on Earth into Strangelets, which would suck major donkey bong (but only for a few millionths of a second, after which you’d just be a bunch of Strangelet particles) if it happened on Thanksgiving and you were really looking forward to your Aunt’s pumpkin pie. Best if we just not think about that one from here on out, okay?
Anyway… there are general guidelines that can reduce the impossibility quotient of the Turkey Day wine decision, and this year I’ve used the Answers.com wine gig as the outlet for my latest take on those. They’re in Dos/Don’ts format, and include at least one reversal of a a previous Thanksgiving dinner wine recommendation that I’ve given in the past, which if nothing else can provide you some fodder for making fun of me and calling me a hack, which is another annual tradition for some people (if you’re one of them: you’re welcome!)…
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This month, as part of my Answers.com gig, I penned a short article offering a selection of Halloween Wines Without the Kitsch. I mention it because, well, 1) it’s Halloween and 2) I like to piss off the people who have a near-apoplectic fit at the mere mention of holiday wine selections. [ Editor’s note: to those people – get over it; a lot more people want wine guidance over the holidays than don’t ].
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the holiday topic is sexy or isn’t almost entirely played out – in fact, every holiday wine pairing article I’ve ever written more or less boils down to “drink what you like, but most of all don’t screw it up by buying bad wine gussied up in cute packaging for the holidays.”
But because that’s too short of a sentiment for a paying article, we have to give it the ol’ college try, and so try I did. Look at it this way: if Halloween provides an excuse for people to explore interesting, otherwise-off-the-radar wine options like Bull’s Blood, or a familiar grape from a not-so-familiar region like Romania (now one of the top twenty wine producers in the world by volume, by the way), or a really good wine with a bad name (like The Dead Arm Shiraz), then I say what the hell, let’s go for it.
In any case, Halloween isn’t about trying to find a bottle of booze with a sticker of a werewolf or a zombie on the label; it’s about enjoying a glass of tasty vino about which you don’t have to think too much so that instead you can focus on important things, such as taking pictures of your daughter in her triceratops costume that you will eventually use to embarrass her right before her wedding many years from now (seriously… this costume below is pretty sweet…). At this point, I should add that one of my daughter’s imaginary friends is her “T-Rex dino husband” who “travels a lot for work” and “lives in a house on the beach.” Which I think bodes scarily somehow for my future as a father-in-law, but I’m not 100% sure about all of that yet.
Anyway… If you want werewolves and zombies, buy a Halloween themed thermos in which you can put that Bull’s Blood while you walk the kiddies around the neighborhood trick-or-treating, okay?
Cheers – and have a spooky, but safe, Halloween!
So… it’s Valentine’s Day… 8AM ET on that day, when this post will first hit the virtual airwaves…
Are you sick enough of all of the bubbly and pink wine recommendations to want to rip off your own skull yet? My strong suspicion is “Yes” [ Editor’s Note: please do NOT rip off your own skull ].
Around this time every year, we get bombarded with coverage of V-Day wine picks, mostly spurred on by PR types pushing sparkling and pink (and, preferably to them, sparkling-that-is-pink) wine recommendations for their clients. I love pink, and I love bubbly, and I love pink bubbly – but right now, I don’t even want to look at a bottle of pink sparkling wine. Hey, it’s okay to call me a contrarian, because I am, in fact, a contrarian.
And so it’s with a nod to my contrarian streak that I offer you a wine recommendation based not on the pink-or-bubbly-or-better-yet-pink-and-bubbly annual publicity onslaught, but rather based on evidence suggested by statistical data. My guess is that my take stands a better chance of actually getting you a happy ending to your romantic evening, given the following deemed-important-by-no-one-but-me tidbits:
a) It’s based on real world evidence and not a press release liberally sprinkled with the words “romantic,” “special,” and “pink,”
b) I write for Playboy.com, which superficially links me to sexiness and so maybe makes me slightly more qualified to pronounce upon a wine’s sexiness (okay, that’s a stretch…), and
So if you at least agree that statistical data is potentially better than press releases, you can safely ignore the tongue in cheek b) justification above, and read on about increasing the chances of getting your tongue in someone else’s cheek tonight…
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In what has become an annual tradition within a tradition (which I suppose makes it some sort of Postmodern meta-tradition?), I’ve once again used my band’s appearance at the annual Summer Solstice music festival as an excuse to sneak in some “work.”
The work, such as it is, involves grabbing samples of wine in alternative packaging (bag-in-box, pouches, tetra-pack cartons, etc.), throwing them in a cooler, and sampling them the way that normal people do for wines built for on-the-go drinking; namely, drinking those wines under the bright sun, straight out of the cooler and poured into plastic cups and glasses, on the lawn, with picnic fare.
Seemed a perfect match for the 4th of July, anyway! Wish I could scream “queue the fireworks!” but by-and-large the wines I tried are best described as more capable than cause for celebration. The look on my face in the inset pic (taken by our singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Liberace) can be used as a short-hand version of how I felt overall about this year’s alt packaging round up…
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