Posts Filed Under wine appreciation
My oversized dog, Brunello – so named because he’s big (well over 115 lbs) and Italian (a Cane Corso) – is one of the most trainable dogs I’ve ever owned.
He’s also dumber than a bag of hammers.
Bruno is sweet, fairly gentle, and learns quickly; don’t get me wrong here, we love the big lug. But as far as being able to exercise independent, intelligent, problem-solving thought, I know furniture that might be able to give him a run for the money.
Contrast that with our previous dog, a fleet-footed (and equally as sweet) weimaraner named Samson. Sam always knew what he wanted, whether it was sneaking from his floor bed into into our cozy (and, presumably, warmer) bed while we were asleep, or “liberating” some of his expensive pet food from one of its metal can prisons on his own (I once came home to an empty pet food can that Sam had opened up like a rose petal, having devoured all of the contents inside without once cutting himself on the remaining bent metal). And he was adept at trying to get it. Want to go outside and join the family while they’re working in the yard? NO problem… I’ll just use my paws to wiggle the door handle and… hey everybody! here I am!!! Let’s run out into the street!!!
Sam, possessing a large volume of independent thought and spirit, always made training a bit of a chore. “Why the f*ck should I do that?” seemed to be his primary reaction to training sessions; “can you just give me the treats already since that seems to be what all this about anyway?” But he could assemble input from his surroundings into the ability to get himself into trouble by going after something that he wanted but knew he wasn’t supposed to have. Now, that isn’t being trainable, but it sure as hell is being intelligent.
Okay, so now those of you who’ve asked for more blog posts about my dog are happy. But what’s this got to do with vino? More than you’d think, actually; you see, the wine biz would happily like you to act a lot more like Bruno than like Sam. And I’m here to tell you why that makes you the wine biz’s figurative “bitch”…
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Long-time 1WD readers will recall the name of my buddy Jason Whiteside, who has appeared numerous times on these virtual pages playing the refined-palate-straight-man to my more… errr… slapstick approach to all things vinous.
I’m happy to report that since his last 1WD appearance, Jason has more-or-less been kicking ass and taking labels in the wine world, and is now preparing for the Masters of Wine exam (which I’ve little doubt he will pass – I know few people who can taste with as much focus and precision as Jason, and since I know a lot of people who do wine for a living, that might actually be saying something…).
Jason also has no shortage of practical, in-the-trenches wine director / restaurant experience, and so after enjoying some of his cooking over the holidays (and talking him out of a bottle of Gonzalez Byass 30 year aged Del Duque Amontillado “Muy Viejo” Sherry), I concocted a scheme to raid Jason’s brain about wine faults for my Wined Down column on Playboy.com. The result is our view of the wine faults that most normal people are likely to encounter “in the wild,” and – more importantly – what to do about them if/when they do rear their stinky heads; which you can now read over at PB’s website.
Even the more experienced winos among you might be surprised at what Jason considers the single most common/likely fault, which actually has nothing to do whatsoever with what’s inside the bottle (think dirty glasses)…
Anyway, head on over to PB and check it out, and feel free to toss your thoughts from the peanut gallery into the comments section.
Some brief wine advice for those who feel the need to apologize for wines that they enjoy drinking, but that for whatever reason make them “feel” uncultured. Bottom line: the only person to whom you owe an apology for your choice in wines is yourself, but only because you doubted your own tastes for even a minute!
1WineDude.com TV Episode 55: No Apologies!
One of the ancillary benefits of being hosted at Auction Napa Valley are the winery-sponsored dinners that take place during the evenings preceding the big auction event.The food is usually fantastic, the wine is flowing (often a bit too) freely, and it’s hard to beat the locations.
For example, when I attended a few weeks ago, I joined bidders on one evening at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville for dinner and wines provided by Ma(i)sonry and Blackbird Vineyards owner Michael Polenske (where I finally met Blackbird’s winemaker Aaron Pott, whose humorous personality matches exactly what’s been described in the media published about him over the last few years).
The dinners aren’t exactly my scene – the people, food, and beverages are all top-notch, don’t get me wrong, but I’m nowhere near fitting the ascot-wearing-rich-white-guy mold, and while most of the guests are affable, welcoming, and only fit that mold peripherally, I still feel mostly out of place at those things.
So when I showed up for the second dinner on my itinerary, at Nickel & Nickel in Rutherford, I expected to feel the odd-man-out (which I did) but to be welcomed warmly (which I was, by proprietress Beth Nickel), and to be served over-the-top steakhouse food, probably in the cellar (which we were).
What I didn’t expect, though, was to get a sort of masterclass in Napa Valley Cabernet terroir.
Which I did…
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