27 October 2008

27Oct-NYTimes article on a wine-oriented comic book

I'm torn a bit. I like the idea of making wine more accessible but I'm getting this trendy vibe off of the article. And what if it encourages people to drink certain wines before they, the drinker, are ready for them? Especially considering how much they seem to push French wine. I keep thinking of the gallons of irreplaceable wines being drunk without layered, nuanced enjoyment. I've guided customers, palates tired from enthusiastic drinking, away from some of the better wines we offer because it would just be a damn shame to watch something delicate and precious slurped down to keep a buzz going.
But it's a new culture and a new generation introduced to wine. And the more people who drink it and start to understand it, the less people might perceive it as a haughty beverage. And the article would suggest that much of it is about gaining wine knowledge and enjoying it on a visceral as well as intellectual level with the use of a non-traditional, more approachable (and perhaps more honest?) vocabulary.

And it's refreshing that they love French wine as much as they do. I like what Yuko Kibayashi (one half of the brother/sister team that writes the comic) has to say on the subject of American versus French wines:

“They’re too simple. Wines are like human beings. The first time you meet, instead of being all smiles and wanting to become friends right away, there has to be some formality, some conversation, before gradually becoming close. When you open an American bottle, it’s all big smiles.”

Maybe it's a Asian thing; I don't know. But that's how I like my people and my wine. I find I'm suspicious of someone who's too friendly and open when I first meet them. More often than not I end up part of a sales pitch.

Anyway, here's the article:

Next Week, Our Hero Chooses a M├ędoc

This is not the hero.

24 October 2008

24Oct - New Yorker cartoon
it's funny because it's true

22 October 2008

22Oct- NYTimes article "restaurants feel the pinch"
Well. It's some some consolation that it's not just us. On the other hand, what a bleak future this spells out.

Across the Country, Restaurants feel the Pinch

Look at them...Brave little soldiers. still smiling in these hard times...
...reading the paper instead of straightening those curtains...

21 October 2008

21Oct- Finally ordered some Eyrie
I'm quite excited about this. This afternoon my Eyrie Vineyards 2002 reserve Pinot Noir arrived. After hearing the news of David Lett's passing I felt it would be an honorable (if somewhat indulgent) thing to toast him with the first of his wines I ever tasted and, after some shopping around, I managed to find some at winerz.com for more than I wanted to spend (particularly with 3-day shipping since I'd hate for there to be a heat spell on its way here) but, I suppose, that's why I have a credit card. And they had a good price on it. Besides, I'm glad that my desired vintage was at least still available for an affordable price. So I'm at work now, waiting for when I return home to open a bottle. I went out and bought some Pinot Noir specific wine glasses from World Market (the Connossieur line, not the more expensive line since the latter actually had a thicker lip than the former). Normally I wouldn't spend money on a varietal specific glass but I wanted a bit of ceremony. And they weren't terribly expensive.

So they're washed and polished and my wine is still in its styrofoam package. And I'm excited about uncorking it and watching its lovely, rust cascade tumble into my new glasses and filling my lungs with wonderful notes of strawberry and earth. And, in particular, I want Leigh to experience this, as well. That 2000 Montille Volnay is going to be a tough one to beat, for her especially, but I think this bottle will do it.
7.30. Only a few more hours before it's Eyrie time.

I'm so happy.
Leigh and I opened the bottle not too long ago, sat on the kitchen floor, and enjoyed the hell out of the wine.
It was not as rusty a color as I remember it but it had a wonderful, light red color that gradually disappeared to clear at the edges. Strawberry on the nose with a touch of earth, but not as much as i remember. And a wonderful, clean, smooth, strawberry entry with a touch of raspberry on the finish. A beautiful finish that lingered on and almost seemed to undulate. Oh, I love this wine. I wish I could afford more of it, but such is the life of the poor restaurateur.
Leigh was duly impressed. We couldn't help but compare it to Montille's Volnay, as that was the last truly impressive pinot either of us has had in a while. We agreed that they came from similar places. What Montille had that Eyrie did not was some brown sugar, dirt, and pipe smoke to the nose, plus a slightly older feel. Eyrie's finish still seemed a tad young, which is wonderful because given how much fruit and acid this has got, I have high hopes for its cellaring potential.
And, as something of an aside, the Pinot specific glasses I got turned out to be much more enjoyable than I thought they'd be. Its wide mouth allowed us to get our noses deep in the glass to enjoy the bouquet while the taper towards the lip concentrated its aroma. And its big bowl, of course, allowed the wine to move and breathe.

So good times, this Eyrie. I miss Oregon.

18 October 2008

18Oct- weekend in the country
I figured it'd be slow enough not to worry, so naturally we had a pretty busy night last night.
but I'm not going to worry about it. They'll be fine.
I work kind of hard. I sleep kind of poorly on account of the working kind of hard. I kind of deserve a weekend off.
So tonight until Monday Leigh and I will be at an undisclosed location with a wood burning fireplace, a capacious bathtub, books, and the following wines.

14 October 2008

14Oct- Oregon Wine god dies

David Lett, Oregon Wine Pioneer, Dies at 69

69 is so young!
His Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir has haunted my dreams since I first had it at Pinot Camp. Where would west coast wines be without this man? Without his bold, daring convictions would Oregon and Washington be producing the focused, clean, and balanced wines of which it's capable?

I wish, wish, wish I had a bottle of Eyrie to open in his honor.
Instead, the closest thing I have is a bottle of 2000 Domaine de Montille Volnay. It's Pinot, focused, perfumed and made by a house that seems to care truly about maintaining a terroir-based identity, ratings be damned.

David Lett deserves a moment of silence over an honest glass of wine.

a young David Lett. photo from www.eyrievineyards.com

update: Today, just after this initial post, I went on winezap and located some bottle of Eyrie Vineyards 2002 Reserve. I could only afford three bottles but I wanted to taste again the wine that moved me that one day in Oregon over a year ago.

here's how we toasted David Lett tonight. Leigh and I opened a wonderful bottle of Hubert Montille's Volnay 1er Crus 2000. A choice which, I hope, Mr Lett would've respected. It was perfumed, light, and translucent with notes of strawberry, earth, brown sugar, and pipe smoke. It reminded me, at least, of Eyrie pinot noirs. We sat back, raised our glasses to him, and just enjoyed all that which the wine had to offer. We discussed its aromas, its flavors, Burgundy in general, and Volnay in particular. We discussed terroir. We enjoyed the wine and each other's company.
I never had the honor of meeting the man but I've had the pleasure of drinking his wine, which I believe is indicative of him in some way. And knowing that, I'd like to think that our toast, our wine choice (in the unavoidable absence of his own wines) and our mindsets were respectful to his beliefs.

13 October 2008

13Oct- self-indulgent post on naps, families, & baan sawan
I think I need to take more naps. I had a relatively busy but benign day but still found myself exhausted by late afternoon. Over a book, a beer, and a cappucino at Cloud Nine I actually fell asleep. That's what i get, i suppose, for drinking a stimulant and a depressant to see which will win.
Working with family is difficult. I think being with family is difficult anyway, but this day after day business I think is weighing heavily on all of us in the family. I described it the other night as having an awkward, tense Thanksgiving dinner 5 nights a week. In addition to this unpleasantness, imagine you've brought an employee who's still coming to a decision about you and your family has no level of discretion. Then toss in the stress of being a business in the throes of economic doldrums and you've just about gotten the idea of one facet of this Baan Sawan craziness.

I fully understand the wonderous, unique and fleeting treasure that is family and that we must cherish all the possible time together that we can. I also understand how important it is to shop early for Christmas.

I think I've taken to dealing with family as i would an upset customer: I try to do my best so that, even if they remain unhappy, I can feel sure that it's not because I didn't try. Which does mean that reduces my pool of people with whom I can be genuine. Which means I'm working that much more. Which might account for my poor sleep, work dreams when I do sleep, and the bags under my eyes on which a server commented when he saw them upon the removal of my evidently stress-concealing eyeglasses.
Work is work, says I. Nobody said this would be easy. That's why they call it "work" and other maxims I use to remind myself that this is life.
Besides. Could be much worse.
Morale of the story? Find the time to take naps. they can be very refreshing.


09 October 2008

09Oct - pointlessly placed Regina Spektor video
I like this. And it appeals to my desire to do rather than to wish I'd done.
And the aesthetic pleases me, though I generally don't care for empire waists. Or French sailor shirts. Or plastic Louis XIV chairs.

07 October 2008

07Oct - Eep.
Thai Protestors trap Legislators

and this is exactly why I didn't want to be a member of Thai Parliament

Anti-government protesters fleeing from tear gas fired by riot police in front of parliament in Bangkok on Tuesday.

04 October 2008

04Oct-pff. and the servers call me cold

03 October 2008

02Oct- Bangkok governor hopeful punches TV Host
Thu Oct 2, 2008 1:28pm BST

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An underdog in Sunday's election for governor of Bangkok punched and kicked a television journalist Thursday, saying he was provoked by tough questions during a live interview.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, dubbed Bangkok's massage parlour king by the Thai press, later apologised for losing his temper and assaulting host Visarn Dilokwanich after the interview.

"I admit I did it. I couldn't stand it when he humiliated me on air," said Chuvit, a stocky former bodybuilder who owned a strip of girly bars before entering politics a few years ago.

"What I did was a petty crime and I am happy to pay the fine for elbowing him and kicking him," Chuvit said at his campaign headquarters next to a park he built and gave to the public.

Visarn filed a complaint with police, saying Chuvit had "behaved like a thug."

"He was very upset when I told him during the show that what he said off-air and on-air was totally different," Visarn said, showing reporters bruises on his neck and head.

(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Alan Raybould)


So. You know. Think about that.

Chuvit Kamolvisit
02Oct - Slate article on wine & this financial crisis
Will the Financial Crisis affect the price of wine?