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Postcard From France: Alsatian Cousin’s Visit to Vino Strada

Vinted on April 2, 2009 binned in wine tasting, zen wine
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Well, I’m not actually an Alsatian.  And I’m not (to the best of my knowledge) related to any Alsatians.

That naturally didn’t stop me whatsoever from sampling the wine in Alsace last week while I was in nearby Strasbourg.  In fact, in a very un-Alsatian manner I joined a native Strasbourgian (Stras-borg?), a Spaniard, and an Australian and visited the IlVino (Vino Strada) wine bar, located in a converted boat right on the river in downtown Strasbourg.

The French aren’t nearly as snobbish about wine as most Amahr-icahhhns might expect, of course.  At Vino Strada, they sit at tables named after famed French wine regions and sample French wine over dishes of French-inspired tapas (smoked meats, cheese, nuts, fruit, cheese, bread, cheese, and cheese).  And they don’t really talk about the wine – at least, they didn’t talk about it as much as I wanted to talk about it.

They also snuck some Aussie and Chilean selections in there.  But nothing from California (it hasn’t been that long since Bush left office, I’m afraid).

It’s a tiny place with tight quarters, but a very decent selections of wine (I started with Cremant d’Alsace, and worked my way up to some Vendange Tardive Rouge), and if I’d spent more time writing things down instead of talking, drinking, eating, and living, then I might have more to tell you about it all.

So, why am I telling you this?  After all, it’s probably some boring-ass reading, right?  Guy goes to France; guy goes to wine bar in France; guy has French wine in French wine bar.

So what?!??

Well, I could have whipped out the tasting notebook, taken copious notes, and come back here detailing the anecdotal intricacies of my tastings, and probably going gonzo-style and embellishing fats about my dining partners, sort of like Hunter S. Thompson meets Bruce Chatwin.

But as it stands, I decided to instead follow my own advice, and enjoy the moment, the wine, the company, the food.  Might be boring reading for some of you, but for others I’ll bet that a little zen wine action probably can’t hurt.

As it stands, I opted for the living and not the writing, so you’re just going to have to get your butt over to France and check it out for yourself.

If you can stand taking a break from all that California vino, that is.

Cheers!

Pennsylvania Repeals Prohibition!

Vinted on April 1, 2009 binned in best of, Inebriated Press, pennsylvania, PLCB

Associated Grape Press (ha-ha… get it?)

In a stunning and bizarre turn of events today, Pennsylvania has repealed Prohibition, thus ending years of tyrannical and strict governance over the sale and distribution of alcohol within the Commonwealth.

Upon reports of the repeal, elated Pennsylvanians stormed the Harrisburg, PA offices of the state-run monopoly Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), dismantling the building and retaining small pieces of its edifice to keep as mementos of the historic occasion.  A confused and inebriated State Governor Ed Rendell, believing the events to be related to an Eagles football pep rally, attempted to lead the crowd in a rendition of Eagles fight song “Fly Eagles Fly” before vomiting on himself, and then passing out.

At the state borders, heart-rending and tearful reunions between state residents and their beloved bottles of previously unavailable wine took place, as both were finally free to legally cross state lines without fear of incarceration or retribution.

The repeal was the result of a strange cascade of events in which the increasingly complicated rules and laws protecting the PLCB imploded in on themselves.

As former PLCB CEO Joe Conti explained, “Well, we thought that we’d try to continue our balladromic move towards making the PLCB and the state of Pennsylvania a Communist institution.  To that end, we realized that the PLCB actually belonged to the People of the Commonwealth, so naturally we turned control of the PLCB over to the People, in order to completely fulfill the Communist manifesto.  Quite simle, really.”

Once the Commonwealth’s citizens were informed that they now controlled the PLCB, they promptly disbanded the institution, thus ending nearly 90 years of monopolized alcohol control in the state.

When asked what he would do now that the PLCB had been disbanded, former CEO Conti replied, “Well, I guess I’ll have a drink.  There’s a sweet Oregon Pinot I’ve been dying to try, but until now the PLCB laws had made it too expensive for them to sell here…”

Govenor Ed Rendell was understandably unavailable for comment…

Biggest On-Line Wine Event Ever (Update)

Vinted on March 31, 2009 binned in twitter taste live

hdr2Here’s an update on the BIGGEST On-Line Wine Event EVER coming on April 17th…

Just to recap where we are currently for those viewers who are just tuning in to the happenings:

  • Hospice du Rhone, the biggest non-profit business league promoting Rhone wine varieties (and host of one of the biggest yearly wine shin-digs) are teaming up with Twitter Taste Live for an on-line wine tasting event that will span three time zones (UK, U.S. East Coast, and U.S. West Coast).
  • All three time zones will be co-hosted with regional wine bloggers and will focus on different Rhone-related wine themes.
  • Yours truly will be co-hosting the East Coast portion of the event LIVE in Boston with the staff of Bin Ends Wine and on-line wine magazine The Second Glass.  UK duties will be ably fulfilled by The Wine Conversation, and Luscious Lushes will be leading things on the West Coast.
  • In Boston, we will be joined by over 500 of our soon-to-be closest friends at the kick-ass Wine Riot! event.
  • We will also be debuting the new TwitterTasteLive.com website for the event.
  • Like I said… Biggest… On-Line Wine Event… EVER!!!

logo1Honestly, do you need to know any more than that to sign up for this?  We’ve already got a healthy amount of folks who have RSVP’d – get your name on the list!

Anyway, we’ve just about finalized the Rhone-inspired wine selections for the East Coast portion of the event.  We’ve gone through a few iterations and potential sub-themes, mostly because my original wine picks were a bit on the pricey side.

We’ve managed to scour the (very long) list of Rhone varietals and HdR producers and have selected 4 wines (identities to be revealed soon – hint: they all have cutesy nicknames) that will make for an awesome (and reasonably priced!) tasting:

  1. An Aussie Viognier/Marsanne white blend
  2. An Aussie Grenache Noir
  3. A Paso Robles Grenache Noir
  4. A Rousanne dessert wine

Basically, this is going to kick all kinds of ass.  You will definitely want to be there!

Cheers – and see you On-Line on April 17th!

DREGS REPORT Coming April 1!

Vinted on March 30, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog, wine publications

Photobucket“Something’s coming, something good…”

Ok, folks – I’m interrupting my mini-vacation in Alligator Point, FL to bring you a special announcement.

You’ve got a mere two days before DREGS REPORT goes live!

On April 1, dregsreport.com will start to bring you the best of the bottom of the barrel.  I can’t say too much about the project before it goes live (sworn to secrecy and all that jazz), but I can tell you that it’s going to be very, very funny.

Don’t say you weren’t warned…

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