29 April 2009

29April - NYTimes article on American Pilsners
Not always my the most interesting style to my palate but there's certainly a place for it in my fridge, particularly in the heat of the South Carolina summer.

Take These Out to the Ballgame

As an aside, speaking of Victory beers, I hear the Cock & Bull will be getting the Victory Stout. I like that beer. And I will drink that beer.

Also, as an aside, is it really already the 29th? That's messed up

26 April 2009

26April - great comic strip

19 April 2009

19April- Morgan Winery's Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Verdelho.

So I received the bottles sent to me by Tom from Morgan Winery. Always an exciting event, opening up a mailed box filled with wine.

Naturally, the one i started with was the Pinot Gris, which was beautiful. Softer than I'd expected it to be but it definitely had that spice that I enjoy and the minerality I look for. The Syrah was a wonderful surprise and an excellent point maker about style differences. Just the night before we'd had the Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre, a deep, rich, oaky thing that was very nice, certainly, but kind of on the hot side. Definitely a style but not one for which I'm always in the mood. But the Morgan was a great, lighter style that was so unexpectedly bright without sacrificing richness of flavor, if that makes any sense. I could certainly see this taking to a touch of viognier (or verdelho, maybe?) for a cote-rotie kind of thing. While I don't think I'd have mistaken this for a northern Rhone, I can see stylistic similarities that really appealed to me.
And the Lee Family Verdelho was also a pleasant surprise. I'd had very few experiences with verdelho, none of them outstanding, so it was interesting that I'd recently been brought the Molly Dooker Verdelho. Molly Dooker, as you well know, loves that aggressive style and they certainly don't pull any punches when it comes to their white wines. 15.5% alcohol? Really? Anyway, it was certainly interesting. Rich, peachy nose with a drier mouthfeel than I'd expected. Full and forceful. By extraordinary contrast, the Lee Family Verdelho was, like with the Syrah, much brighter and floral and light. Firm, medium-ish body and a great acidity. Very refreshing when it was colder and, like the Morgan Pinot Gris, it just got more interesting the warmer it got.
Without question I think there's a place for all three of these wines down at the restaurant. Not only are they all excellent sippers but their brighter, fresher approach makes them great food wines, as well.

14 April 2009

15April- a fleeting thought on aromas
I was sitting at Cloud Nine Market the other day, as I tend to do, when a young woman happened to walk behind me as I sipped my beer and read a book. She looked at something and moved away and, in doing so, eddies of air carried her perfume to me and, for a moment, I was struck by a sudden imposition of emotion. It doesn't matter of whom or of when her aroma reminded me, but it sent me back to a time and place and company that stirred my soul. I sat in my chair and breathed in the last little wisps that were left in the air as I tried to place my emotions and I closed my eyes when the pieces fell into place.
Aromas are interesting. Whether it be people, places, or things there are times when an aroma is all you need to know. There are some wines whose smell take you to just the right place. Domaine Montille's Volnay does that to me. Hell, Grand Vin de Latour (when I'm lucky enough for someone to share a bottle with me) does that. Their bouquets takes my hand and rests their chins on my shoulder and make me feel like there's no where else I'd like to be. They make me feel understood. If something can smell so right, it must understand me.
This happens with people sometimes. That moment when the smell of the nape of a neck is enough to make a popping sensation in the chest and the little hairs on your arms tingle. That moment when you think you'd like a filter that smells like that person to help you get through the day.
In many ways, I judge wine and beer for a living. It is but a facet of my responsibilities but it is high up on what makes the job worthwhile, emotionally as well as financially. And I find that I respond very viscerally to aromas. Research has shown that, as a person's sense of smell diminishes, their libido diminishes as well. So...I wonder if people in this business of smell and taste (chefs, sommeliers, wine/beer/spirit reps) are possessed of a hightened sexuality.
When a person in this profession tells you that you smell good, does that mean more than a person whose senses aren't trained to extract as much as possible? If it's a matter of chemistry above cognizance, then it can be argued that training is meaningless. but if it's a combination of the two...
Honestly, I have no idea where I'm going with this. It's been one of those those long, albeit slow, days that can be more exhausting that a simply busy day.

I suppose I'm just reflecting on that moment of recognition when something's in the air. Whether it be how a person smells or how a wine or beer smells. Whether you're picking out marzipan in an eight year old hermitage blanc or if you're rubbing someone's shoulders and head and breathe in a deep, subtle, earthy perfume that goes right to your gut like an olfactory dog whistle.

14April - Protesters in Thai Capital Retreat

Protesters in Thai Capital Retreat

13 April 2009

Tom Tomlinson from Morgan Winery came by for a visit the other day and I got to tug on his sleeve about nerdy wine things for a little while. While I feel mildly comfortable with French regions, France's centuries of vinous heritage and structure making things fairly predictable, I'm just now beginning to investigate our own west coast.
The map of California seems dauntingly complex, particularly considering that anyone with a vineyard can approach their wines from any direction. That is to say, a person on a certain road might go minimalist in their style, allowing for the fruit to speak for itself in a light, fresh style while someone else just down the road a piece might pick later and over-extract and yield a heavy, high-alcohol wine that tastes completely different.

So this is where I find it difficult (and expensive) to explore like I did with the various French portfolios available to me, especially in these days of woe and want. And this is where it's great to meet people from the wineries. I've seen Morgan around but have never tried their work before earlier last week. I ended up really enjoying what they do. I found their wines to be thoughtfully constructed and in line with how i generally like my wines, i.e. reflective of their grapes. By which I mean i like my wines to express grape and region, not the winemaker.
So I'd suggest looking for Morgan out there in the world, as well as the restaurant, in time. There's a very fun, fairly affordable Syrah/Grenache blend as well as a lovely single-vineyard Pinot Noir (rosella's) that shows nice red fruit and a bit of spice. I await eagerly their Pinot Gris, as it sounds like it might be right up my alley. And it just occurred to me that I could be extra wine-nerdy and start saying that things are "right up my valley."
I don't think I'll be doing that.

08 April 2009

08April - an auto-bar?
Like an automat, I guess. Not a bar in a car or a bar for cars.


I wonder if such a thing could work in America. I wonder how quickly it would be abused.
I wonder if I can install a conveyor belt on the bar and turn the restaurant into an automat.