26 December 2011

26dec- be wary around the vinturi...
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So there’s a thing out there and that has been out there for a while: the vinturi.
I’d like to share my opinions and experiences with this thing.
This device is presented as a wonder; a cure-all and panacea the likes of which snake-oil would be proud but it is not always the wisest recourse when pouring your wine.
Yes, I know that because of its reputation and perhaps some positive experiences there are people who will, taste untasted, pour their poor wine through this funnel like a frightened child through a waterpark slide and presume that a corpse won’t tumble lifelessly out the other side.
The vinturi forces air through the wine that is poured through it. The idea is that this sudden oxygenation will expedite the the subtle oxygenation for which time is usually responsible. This modern, impatient viewpoint can be beneficial in some walks of life but can also be detrimental in others.
Look at wine as (yes, it’s cliché) a flower. When bottled a wine could be thought of as rather like a flower bud. Within this bottle there exists a great deal of potential but it is wrapped up tight and safe. Only upon opening does this bottle have the opportunity to show itself for the flower it can be. (if it blossoms in the bottle it will surely be tired and faded by time it is opened.)
If one opens a simple young cab or young shiraz, wines that need time to relax (to blossom) then something as aggressive as a vinturi might surely pry open the petals of this flower and, given the simplicity (of let’s say a six-petalled daisy or a 3-petal trillium) one might very well be rewarded with a smoother, tamed wine. I have certainly experienced the rough-edged, simple offerings of a $10 California cabernet polished to palatability by the vinturi.
It is here that the doohickey shines.
However, I have sadly experienced the nuance and grace of a $mumble-mumble red Bordeaux ground under the heel of the vinturi. You see, the subtleties of delicate cedar spice can be stripped away by sudden and aggressive oxygenation. The delicate song of a truffled pinot noir can be obliterated by the over-eager dance of the vinturi. One cannot pry open all the layered petals of a carnation and not destroy the flower in the process. It may look like a flower when you’re done but it won’t have any of the natural beauty if would’ve had if you’d simply allowed it to blossom at its own pace.
It pains me to see the review page on the vinturi site. So many accolades that could be entirely accurate but that ignore that fact that this powerful device can be used for evil and this risk shouldn’t be ignored.
I have cautioned against the use of this machine in baan sawan. I have one, yes. Its use is novelty to me but I’m not ashamed to have one perched in the wings. Delicate wines don’t need this gadget.
Somebody suggested this weekend “but what about a nice, aged wine.”, as though a superior wine would surely improve by coursing it through this thing. I told him it would be like punching an old man. He countered that a mutual acquanitance regularly ran very expensive bottles through it.
I am not going to tell anybody how to enjoy their wines. That is by no means my place and if someone gets more enjoyment from running it through a vinturi or drinking it while playing nina simone (a personal favorite) or serving it from $80 glasses or from the high heels of a sex symbol then it’s not my place to say that isn’t more enjoyable for them. But I can say that, given my tastes, experiences, and given the physical structure of some wines, the vinturi can do more harm than good.
Nothing is a cure-all. Nothing works under the promise of “perfectly blah blah.” It’s like a menu that says their steak is ‘grilled to perfection’. I hate to say it but those words mean nothing. Value judgments of good and bad work most efficiently in your own tasting notes but mean little when discussing how other people are likely to enjoy something.
“Is this wine good? Is this wine bad? Is this wine better through a vinturi” I honestly couldn’t tell you how you will feel about it. But I can tell you if I like it or if I don’t or if I feel as though the vinturi has throttled the life out of a potentially nuance driven red vaucluse. And if I’ve known you for a little while and supplied you with enough wine I might be able to extrapolate from what I know of you enough to tell you if you might or might not like something.
But don’t let a generality or a review define how you approach your enjoyment of something. Decide for yourself.
If nothing else, always test what goes through your vinturi with a small pour.

23 December 2011

holiday hours: closed 24thdec-3rdjan
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so...bah! humbug...
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having said that, we'll be closed from christmas eve, dec24, all through the following week and we'll re-open on january 3rd.

during this time it's our wish that you have a relatively tolerable and stress-free week whether it be with family, friends, or, as i'd have it, with your loved one, pet(s), a bottle of lovely wine, some quiet music, a book, and the a/c cranked to simulate winter weather.

we hope that you don't have to drive too much and that if you do that the streets are safe and free of people driving and texting "gotta go. driving. going into next lane. lol."

we hope that no drunk friends or relations do or say anything embarrassing or if you are, yourself, the drunk friend or relation, that nobody brings up later the embarrassing thing you said or did.

we hope that if you have a lovely and special bottle of something delicious that, upon opening it, it is everything that you'd hoped for and more.

we hope that the food eaten by you is wonderful and to your liking and that you don't eat too much, unless that's what you want.

and if presents are given we hope that they are received well and if presents are received by you we hope that you enjoy/could use them.

so...

we'll see you maybe tonight and, if not, when we get back on january the 3rd.



09 December 2011

09Dec- friday stuff




friday's my busiest day here. i generally get here around 9 and it's pretty much work work until 11:30 or so. not the worst hours out there but not the best. my favorite productive hour (not counting the hour i get to spend with my girlfriend for lunch) is between 3 and 4. by this time all of my deliveries should have arrived so the stress of that is over. it's the last full hour i get before i see anybody else, really, so it's just the beer, wine, restocking, finishing the menu writing, menu printing and listening to music. usually accompanied by a glass of wine.
it feels productive and busyish but at my pace.
it's fun for me to line up the new bottles and to see where they might fit on the menu. it's not fun having to leave some off, however, and there are always up to a dozen different wines for which there isn't room on the menu.
but i don't want to overwhelm anybody, myself included, so the list generally hovers around 55 items. certainly enough to have fun with and, with no room to grow, i'm not tempted to get too self-indulgent with it.
the list must be carefully pruned every week so that it's as healthy as it can be.

(if you'll notice, that north coast syrah is 11.9% alcohol. i'm excited to try this...)


02 December 2011



these are our new bottles with various kinds of booze in them.
02Dec- oh my, yes
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and with these two new wines to the arsenal i feel a pleasant, glowing happiness to have drunk of them. to have had them bolster my mood and to have reminded me about the simple pleasures to be found in wine. the beaujolais nouveau is an exercise in gouleyant and simple joy. how i'd love to have a slightly chilled bottle while sitting and reading in a sunny field.
and the riesling, pleasantly a full twenty years older than the gamay, is a happy and sly pear and lime dry riesling with a hint of petrol.

these are wines.
these are currently my wines, though they could be your wines, too...

...while supplies last...

01 December 2011