Tag Archives: Germany

Little Golden Drops of Wine: or, Bargain Shopping in Boston

11 Jul

There’s something great about coming into a new, unexplored city, a sense of adventure and possibility.  Though I’m not well-traveled by any means, I have been privileged to see a lot of the ole’ U S of A.  Most places–even Wilmington, DE!–have their own set of charms and attractions.  Lexington, NC was full of pork barbecue and sweet tea, and Hamden, CT is home to the illustrious Three Brothers Diner.  Last week I added yet another city to my list, and Boston for me will be forever linked with wine.

While the centerpiece of my trip to Boston was taking the Court of Master Sommeliers’ introductory course, I did also have a little bit of time to explore the neighborhood in which I was staying.  South End is a very nice, very settled area with stately townhouses, ample greenery, and hip little cafes and restaurants.  I really enjoyed Render Coffee’s dyslexic but delicious BTL and cold-brewed coffee, and had way too much grease from Laz Cafe, and sipped some delightful fino and amontillado Sherry at Toro.  I also had some good kidneys and a pint of dark wheat Pretty Things Brewery beer at the South End location of Le Petit Robert, a local Boston chain of French bistros.

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The Quiet After the Storm: Two More Wines With Which to Get Through Snowmageddon

7 Feb

I’ve been on a wine-drinking and -writing bender lately.  Counterintuitively, I found that there’s something liberating about being trapped indoors by the falling snow: the physical fact of being kept indoors turns the mind inward as well, so there’s been plenty of time for reflection and self-analysis.

And of course, eating and drinking.

Added to the bottles thus far consumed during Snowmageddon are the two below:

The one on the left is a Riesling, the 2008 Selbach Riesling Spätlese ($14.99 from MacArthur Beverages).  I opened this for a dinner of mahi-mahi, wild rice, and roasted asparagus.  The mahi-mahi was pre-marinated, courtesy of Trader Joe’s, in a sweet-salty sauce, so I figured that the semi-sweet Spätlese would be a decent match.

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Three Days of Wine

20 Sep

I’m listening to Cannonball Adderley’s rendition of “Autumn Leaves” (with Miles helping out on trumpet) with the window open–the air is fresh, the sky is blue and flecked with fast-moving clouds, and the temperature is a lovely 64 degrees.

Needless to say, I am pretty content right now.  Washington, DC is a great town, and I find myself enjoying law school much more than college.  One of the reasons for that is there are some good people here, and fun things to do.  Like drink.  And cook.  And drink and cook I did for three consecutive days.


My friend Adrian invited a few people over (all guys, regrettably) on Sunday for beef stew and poetry.  I brought over my “house red”–a bottle of Nero d’Avila from Trader Joe’s (retail: $4.99)–and we discussed Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” over steaming bowls of stew and sips of wine.  To repay the favor, I invited Adrian and two of our friends to my place on Wednesday for a meal of roast lamb, honey-rosemary potatoes, and roasted garlic asparagus.

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Mission Wines Tasting: April 19th

28 Apr

I love wine tasting–actually going to a wine bar to try a flight of different wines.  Unfortunately, I don’t like WRITING about the tastings afterward because there are just so many to list.  I can’t imagine how Robert Parker and Kermit Lynch do it (though, of course, they get paid $$$ to do so).

I took a few days off of work just to chill out and get my second wind, so to speak, before heading off to law school in July.  Thursday and Friday were spent with the family doing nothing in particular, so Saturday afternoon was ripe for something fun: Mission Wines with the co-workers was in order.

The official lineup for the day was:

  • 2006 Leitz Drachenstein Riesling
  • 1996 Lopez de Heredia Gravonia
  • 2005 Rauzan Despagne
  • 2005 Foulaquier Pic St Loup
  • 2005 Ridge Lytton Springs
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    Wine Snobbery

    20 Jan

    It’s easy to poke fun at people like Miles in the movie Sideways (which was better as a movie than the book was as a book, in my opinion)–people for whom the entire world revolves around wine.  It’s also fun to stand around in some fancy wine bar and agree with your friends that adjectives like gunflint, slate, leather, barnyard, plum, stone fruit, etc., etc., etc. are just the sign of snobbishness.

    But in reality, isn’t that what much of the fun of wine is all about?

    Sitting around a table at night with one of two of your friends, a bottle or two of newly-purchased wine.  The first is–say, the 2006 estate riesling from Robert Eymael, which is a gorgeous amber or straw color, sweet, with a honeyed mouthfeel.  It’s nice to take turns describing the wine in terms wine critics would be proud of, nice to know that for a little bit of money one can feel part of the social and cultural elite.

    Because that’s a huge reason for why someone would start to have an interest in wine.  People who choose to take an active interest in anything–poetry, sports, cars, food, photography, music–start to delve deeper into their subject, to examine all the details and nuances of the Red Sox or William Carlos Williams (one point for someone who can name the very superficial link between those two!).

    Yet wine transcends mere hobby.  It’s a lifestyle–more than that, it’s a statement of a lifestyle.  It’s very possible to drink wine casually with dinner or during social gatherings.  But why not… water… or soda…?  Or malt liquor, for that matter? 

    To get a nice buzz is a good reason.  But come on.  Anyone who’s ever tried to impress a date would know that a glass of good wine is more showy than a glass of Mr. Pibb (which is delicious).  A glass of wine says something.  A glass of soda does not.

    There is the 100-point scale of Robert Parker.  There is the “Do You Know What You Like?” metric developed by Best Cellars (try it–it’s great!).  There is the rather unorthodox method of Wine X Magazine of comparing wines to songs, or ideas like “a deep French kiss in a phone booth–nice depth, great mouth feel, a little woody, a bit tight.”  Then there is the Song family method of “good” and “bad” wine.

    There are so many wines out there, so many different regions and winemakers and varietals and cuvees and blends–it’s impossible to learn about wine without relying on categorizations.  So have fun–feel classy–write tasting notes–get a little bit snobby.  Give wines a score, assign them an idea, or split them into the good and the bad.  It’s why you picked up that bottle before showing up to a fancy dinner party, right?

    UPDATE: My friend Laszlo just as I published this post sent me this link for an article from The Wall Street Journal that talks about wine snobbery!  Give it a read!