Some days are just better than others. Last Wednesday, was a very good day, as I was fortunate enough to attend a tasting featuring a number of beautiful wines and two fascinating personalities. Steven Bitterman presented his amazing, old-vine Rieslings. Then Giuseppe Vajra, producer of exquisite Barolo and other lovely wines from the Langhe hills, practically brought down the house with his remarks about his family’s winery.
Notes From All Over
Questions are good. ‘What’s the difference between these two bourbons?’ ‘Do you have any organic wines?’ ‘Can you tell me about this producer?’ ‘How does the mix-your-own sixpack work?’ We love those kinds of questions.
Other questions can be harder to answer. ‘I bought a wine here before. I think it was white. Do you have that?’ ‘I like this beer that has a T on the label, and I think it’s from Wisconsin. Or maybe Wyoming?’ A little perplexing, but I like a puzzle as well as the next person. Usually, we can figure it out.
"Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs".
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ouch! America may have liked Ike, but Ike wasn't showing a lot of love for American's favorite road food. Why not Champagne and hot dogs...Pinot Noir and hot dogs? At the very least, killer craft brew and hot dogs-especially if the dog in question is a Snappy Dog.
In the 1974 classic Mame, Lucille Ball and company decide to celebrate Christmas in the middle of the summer, complete with the full-scale song and dance number 'We Need a Little Christmas'. Well.
As stated last week, I need a little more summer. With apologies to Dylan Thomas, I will not go gently into that good autumn. Fie, pumpkin beer! Begone, Oktoberfest! Instead, we're holding the end-all, be-all summer party, Pour Richard's Snappy End of Summer Bash.
August 1st is a fixed point. It's still high summer, but the days are dwindling. Department stores display sweaters and-sniff!-coats. The grocery store is stocked with Halloween candy. Every glance at the calendar reminds you that those long, indolent days of lazing on the beach, reading on the porch, and evenings around the firepit are numbered.
Several of our favorite customers have let us know how much they appreciate expanding their wine horizons: new regions, new grapes, new winemakers or styles. And we truly enjoy introducing people to our latest finds. But apparently, there's also a downside....when you've been drinking crisp Gruner Veltliner, spicy little Cotes-du-Rhone, or a perfect Provencal rose, the jug of Yellow Tail at the neighborhood BBQ will probably fail to light your fire.
France will 'always be stronger, I promise you, than the fanatics who want to strike it'.
-President Francois Hollande
Thursday's attack on Nice has spread waves of shock and sadness. Shock at the audacious strike on a holiday crowd. Unutterable sadness for the people of France after yet another assault on the motto of 'Liberte, Egalite, et Fraternite'.
July 14 is the French equivalent to our Independence Day, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison and the beginnings of the French Revolution. Also in July: Canada Day, celebrating Canada's independence from Great Britain. Fourteen other countries, from the Bahamas to Belarus, celebrate their nation's independence in July-far more than any other month- which makes me wonder why this month seems to foment revolution. Is it the hot weather that gets people up in arms? Or is it the food supply, running low before the harvest?
In the wake of Britain's historic vote to exit the EU, the world is finding out that the United Kingdom is a bit of an oxymoron. Far from United, the 'leave' side eked out a narrow victory largely based on older, whiter, poorer, and more rural districts in northern England. Younger voters and urban voters voted to stay. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay by overwhelming margins.
"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary..."
Reading the Declaration of Independence, history geeks like me might ponder the authors' state of mind. Were they exhilarated to be -finally- casting off the chains of English governance? Or terrified at the step they were taking, and its possible consequences? Probably both.