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Posts Filed Under zen wine

The Hopeless Quest To Define Wines Of True Character (Or “Screw The Ratings, Even Mine”)

Vinted on August 17, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, zen wine

Roughly two months ago, in the follow-on discussions on a feature on the wines of Lodi producer Matt Powell, a reader named Olivier chimed on with some though-provoking questions, the kind that, for me, define the 1WD readership because they exponentially increase the value of the content on this little ol’ website.

The discussion was around how we might define wines of “true character,” and it ended with a bit of a challenge from Olivier:

“…[It] would be nice to dig into detailed info (taste/aroma/flavors) that differentiate wines of true character and C+/B- wines. I have my own idea, but listening to others and getting examples would be great and very educational.”

That’s the kind of request that often sends me so far down the wine world rabbit hole that I’m seeing Jules Verne style dinosaurs.  In other words, the really fun kind.

We are certainly rabbit-hole bound, because in the course of thinking about this question, I had to get deep into the very heart of wine ratings.

And I’ve determined that all of them (mine included) kind of suck, even if they do provide value to a lot of people (and they do), and even if they help sell wine (and they do).

Once again, don your miner’s hat, the one with integrated flashlight bulb and intercom link, because you’re gonna need it where we’re going

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Welcome Bruno: What Dogs Can Teach You About Wine Appreciation, Redux

Vinted on April 25, 2011 binned in wine appreciation, wine publications, zen wine

WARNING: This is one of those “it’s-my-blog-and-I’m-gonna-get-personal-if-I-wanna” posts.  And it’s probably also a blatant appeal to pet-lovers everywhere. Proceed with caution!

Presumably because my life isn’t insane enough already, my family (read: Mrs. Dudette, the “boss-of-all-bosses”) decided the time was right for us to adopt a new dog.  Frequent 1WD readers will recall that our previous pooch, Samson, had to be put down last Summer while I was in Walla Walla at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference.  We’re dog people at Chateau Dude – no offense to you cat people out there, but I am not down with cats; cats will eat you if you die and that kind of freaks me out.

Anyway… bear with me, this will come back to wine… eventually…

Presumably because just getting a dog itself isn’t anywhere near challenging enough, we picked up a rescue case: an 18-month-old, just-had-lots-of-surgery, not-housebroken, kept-outside, never-really-been-walked, underfed, under-weight, and under-loved rescue that is part Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) and (we think) part Doberman Pinscher. His new name (apparently, he has had several) is Bruno, short for “Brunello,” because he’s big and Italian, after all…

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Zen Wine: 1971 J.J. Prüm And The Greatest Of Wine’s Gifts Outside The Glass

Vinted on March 22, 2011 binned in german wine, wine review, zen wine

Doug Cook, founder of the amazing wine search engine AbleGrape, is smart guy. A really smart guy; as in, instantly-doubles-the-IQ-of-the-room-when-he-walks-in-no-matter-how-many-people-are-there smart.  His intelligence level is matched only by his largesse, especially when it comes to sharing wines from his extensive and impressive cellar.

That generosity was on full display at the recent Pro Wine Writers Symposium in Napa, when Doug busted-out some vinous gems at one of the post-post-prandial (PPP?), informal gatherings (a.k.a., after-after-parties), the most brilliant and multi-faceted of which was a wine whose existence on Earth slightly predates my own, a 1971 J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese from the Mosel.

The wine was, in a word, amazing: honey, flowers, orange rind, nuts, beeswax (yes, I actually know what that smells / tastes like, not because I’m a beekeeper – though I think beekeepers totally rock – but because I play didgeridoo, which uses beeswax as a mouthpiece); basically, a delicate and pure example of everything that Mosel Riesling stands for and to which the best examples should aspire. Alder Yarrow, who was with me at the PPP, summed up the sensory experience of that wine recently on Vinogrpahy.com so I won’t repeat it here.  By the way, it was fun to watch a normally poised Alder about lose his sh*t over some of those wines.

Anyway, what I do want to talk about here is why the wine was so glorious – and what was in the bottle is only partly responsible for that…

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Wine Appreciation, The Andromeda Paradox, and The Forever Present Moment

Vinted on August 2, 2010 binned in wine appreciation, zen wine

Hang on to your tin foil cone hats, people.  Today’s discussion is about to get… freaky.  For those of you who give up on me in this post, I promise this will be the last time I talk about the Andromeda Paradox in relation to wine, ok?

You see, the thing is, time is relative.  Which means that your future may be predetermined; which means that you might not actually have the freewill that you thought you had, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you need to fulfill the destiny of the present moment because that’s the only moment that truly matters because it’s immutable.  So if you’re drinking a glass of wine right now, give it your full attention because as far as that immutable moment is concerned, you will be appreciating that wine for eternity.

Don’t worry – it will all make sense in a minute or two.  Or several.  I think.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Time is relative

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the sense that time is the same for all of us is an illusion, though happily the relativistic nature of time only manifests itself when dealing with extreme circumstances, like, say, traveling in a car at almost the speed of light (sorry, speed demons – even the latest Yahama crotch-rocket motorcycles can’t even come close to that speed).  But the fact remains, proven scientifically with astounding accuracy: time is not the same for all observers in the Universe.  Which results in interesting phenomena like the Andromeda Paradox.

Your Future Has Already Happened.  Sort Of.

In the Andromeda Paradox, "when someone is moving towards a distant point there are later events at that point than for someone who is not moving towards the distant point. There is a time gap between the events in the present moment of the two people." 

Let’s look at it this way – let’s say you’re on vacation in the Andromeda galaxy and are planning on enjoying some kick-ass Andromedean wine.  Back on Earth, one of your wine-loving friends is looking to the sky via telescope to see how your Andromeda wine-vacation is coming along (let’s ignore the fact that it would take about two million years for the light to reach her telescope).  If your friend is at her house (stationary, in Earth terms), what she might see is you contemplating what wine to buy and where to drink it.  Simple enough, right?

Let’s say your friend then calls one of her friends via cell phone.  That particular friend is in a car, moving very fast (like, almost light-speed fast) in the general direction of the Andromeda galaxy, and also has a kick-ass telescope.  Ignoring the rules of good road safety, he decides to look into his telescope while driving to see how you’re coming along on your vacation, now that your first friend has piqued his interest by mentioning that you were vacationing in Andromeda. 

But what he sees is not what your other friend sees.  He sees you already at an Andromedean restaurant and drinking the wine that you’ve not even yet decided on trying according to your other friend.  Your stationary friend?  She sees you still deciding what wine to try.  And both of them are right.

Hence the paradox: "…two observers observe the same events – two million year old events in their telescopes – but the moving observer must assume that events at the present moment on Andromeda are a day or two in advance of those in the present moment of the stationary observer."

And the freakiness has only just begun…

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