Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Fraud

Sadly, I was dry on Thanksgiving.

Not that it's really such a major deal, but the big wine director who made pairing suggestions to hundreds in the last couple weeks enjoyed his turkey and trimmings with...fruit punch!

A late arrival to dinner coupled with a 30+ family member gathering with lots of catching up to do left my mind not really on wine. I did have some on hand, as I asked my mother to tote 3 bottles to the dinner for me and anyone else who cared to enjoy. 3 bottles, 30 people? Have you lost your mojo, Le Monstre?

As I previously chronicled, there is not much of a wine (or any sort of imbibing) culture in my family, so I'm a bit of a renegade in that respect. On top of that, my mother forgot to bring the bottles in from her car and I wasn't in the mood to run out and get them as the food began to flow. No matter...a late night bottle of bubbly with Madame Bruce was delicious, the NV Eric Rodez Champagne Brut "Cuvee des Crayeres". It has more crisp apple tones with a chalky personality and long, lascivious finish. It's so bad, it's good.

JCB the 4th

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wine Diversion #1

This is unreal live grown folks music. Enjoy!

JCB the 4th

Lyrics Hall & Oates - She’s Gone lyrics

Thanksgiving Juice

Believe it or not, my family is not big on wine. I didn't grow up with parents who drank much at all and wine was never really a part of the dinner atmosphere. So when we gather for Thanksgiving, I usually bring something tasty and not terribly expensive, dare I say Cellar Defender™?

NV Michel Fonne Cremant d'Alsace Brut - A great Champagne alternative, crisp and dry Pinot Blanc with bubbles.

2007 Alain Corcia Bourgogne Chardonnay - This is delicious Chardonnay from declassified fruit from Meursault. An outstanding deal.

2008 Willi Schaefer Riesling Qba Mosel - Just enough sweetness, just enough minerals, just the right price. Bring on the yams!

2007 Domaine des Billards St. Amour - Devastatingly good Gamay, the best I've ever had. Those who poo-poo Beaujolais should taste this Cru Beaujo and prepare to be rocked!

Happy Thanksgiving!

JCB the 4th

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Respect!

Can anyone explain to me why the retail wine merchant is the Rodney Dangerfield of the wine business?

I mean, ok, I get it. There are a lot of uninformed, slovenly folks out there who happen to own licenses that don't really give a hoot about wine. They lack passion, imagination and a firm understanding about the how and why wine is the magnificent, lovely and essential beverage that it is. Perfectly comfortable to just pump out wine scores and sell on the merits of other palates rather than their own, they do a disservice to the wine world as a whole. It's very irksome to ponder...

I'm often invited to lunch or dinner by our stable of distributors and importers to meet and dine with various winemakers from around the globe. It's usually at a very swank restaurant in the city and I'm always thrilled and very appreciative to attend. The first thing that I notice upon arriving is the ratio of retailers to sommeliers. It's usually in the 4 to 1 range in favor of the somms. Not sure why I care or why I even mention this but I always perceive it as a (very tiny) disrespect to the power of the educated and effective retailer. What is usually more surprising to me is that many winemakers are in love with sommeliers and having their wines on the lists of great restaurants. Don't get me wrong, a great sommelier is essential to the dining experience and some of my best friends are sommeliers. But the somms themselves feed into this also. Can't tell you how many times I've met one and upon me introducing myself they ask, "What part of the city is the restaurant?" When I mention that it's a retail store AND in NJ (another no-no) they usually try to end the conversation as soon as possible and find another somm.

It's a bit of an ego thing on the winemakers part, that much I understand. But the bottom line is unless your wine is being poured by the glass, the great restaurant might go through a couple cases of your wine in a year. A good retailer can do five (or twenty) times more than that in a day. No one goes in a restaurant and orders a case of the same wine. Would be kinda nutty to do so considering the markup.

Show a little love toward your friendly neighborhood wineshop.

JCB the 4th