Notes From All Over

Got Art?
Wine Art

What IS Art?

Merriam Webster defines it as: the expression or application of human creative skill or imagination. So drawing, painting, sculpting, etc all qualify as art. The performing arts-dance, music, acting-do, too. But what about wine? Are winemakers artists? I'd argue that some of them are.

Winemaking involves using creativity to manipulate a medium (grapes) in much the same way chefs use their creativity to craft food. We speak of the culinary arts, so why not the winemaking arts?

Who's Your Daddy?

Once upon a time, two grapes mingled in a vineyard and produced an offspring so brash and bold it was destined to eclipse them both-and then some. That 'baby grape' was Cabernet Sauvignon, so ubiquitous that some people think it's synonymous with 'red wine'. Actual conversation:

'This is a Grenache'.
'What kind of Cabernet is that?'

All About the Cut
Bowmore Stills

Driving to work one morning, tuned in to NPR, I heard the host announce, 'Tomorrow, we'll be talking to the head brewer at Bully Boy.' Hmm? Bully Boy is a delightful local distillery, which makes some truly excellent spirits. They do not, however, brew. That's a different process. I think Dave Willis, Bully Boy's head distiller, would be very surprised to hear himself accused of making beer.


One of the perks of starting your own business is the ability to structure your environment to your own taste. You don't enjoy sitting? Install the desk at standing height. You're a coffee snob? Get an excellent coffee maker. Add a grinder, while you're at it. Put your bargain wine in a boat? Sure. Maybe the gin should be displayed in a bathtub...

Little Things
A Small Fiction

A Small Fiction, a flash fiction site authored by James Miller, has become one of my favorite indulgences. I brew a cup of good coffee and delve into the site, where humor, logic, mysticism, and more are doled out in 140 character bursts. Yes, the same number of characters and spaces as a Twitter post, but otherwise entirely different: Miller aims to tell a small but complete story in each.

Old Friends

Enough, already with the snow. It's like a poorly behaved guest who arrives far later than expected, causes disruption and general mayhem, and then hangs around preventing you from going to bed. Do I sound bitter? Let me explain...

Storm #1 directly conflicted with the New York Tre Bicchieri tasting. Fans of Pour Richard's know we aren't big on critics and scores, but Tre Bicch is different; out of the many many thousands of wines released in Italy each year, a few hundred win this award. These wines are worth your time, even in a 'Bomb Cyclone' snowstorm.

The Artistry of It
Mark White, Mark Poniatowski, Kenny Hadley

If you'd like to add more creativity, insight, satisfaction, and happiness to your life, try this: add a little artistry to the mix. Engaging with art and artists teaches us that we are not alone; contemplating a painting, experiencing music, or enjoying wonderful food and beverages reminds us that art is about expressing ideas and sharing them with others.

Customer Service: One Size Does NOT Fit All
One Size Fits All

On a recent trip to New York, I didn't feel like running in the cold and instead hit a local gym. This particular gym did a pretty hard sell on using their personal trainers, which I didn't really need for my one day visit, but I did observe a number of them as they worked with their clients. One client/trainer pair was especially noticeable; their interaction has been bothering me ever since.

What's In a Name?
Great Western

I am a licorice lover. And by licorice, I mean black licorice. Preferably Dutch black licorice, which is not so much sweet as pungent and even slightly salty. I find black licorice addictively delicious, but other colors bland and boring. Licorice, in its purest form, is the root of a perennial plant loosely related to beans and native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. Black licorice is heavily flavored with this root; red licorice contains none at all.

Giacosa, Clerico, Arrivabene

I spend a lot of my work hours with bottles. Buying bottles, selling bottles, moving bottles, arranging bottles. Lots and lots of bottles. And as long as I am not counting the bottles, I'm ok with that. I love my bottles. But frequently, the people behind the best bottles are as fascinating as the liquid within. Prime example: Oscar Arrivabene, winemaker at Domenico Clerico. Passionate about his work, and steeped in the wines of Barolo, Oscar is like a walking mini-seminar in all things Piemontese, so I was delighted that he could stop by the store last week.