Glass Jar Goes Home – Your Home – for the Holidays.

The Holidays are over. But for one tBoW reporter the Holidays are just eleven short months away.

Is eleven months sufficient time to find a new line of beeswax? What will the future bring for the Reluctant Millennial.

The Glass Jar did not have time to wish all tBoW readers a happy holiday. You see, after my slap in the face from the pizzeria, I had to find a new calling. It was time for something far from the pizza crowd to help stay the horrible memories. There was blue wave work in Clarksville, TN where a Yankee is welcome in any waffle house should he dare set foot. My days working for the Democrats were long and often grueling. However, working on a campaign in the south was worth it. The payoff was not our candidate’s victory. He got crushed. The 250+ phone calls personally made along with endless doors knocked on were worth it. I felt qualified for my next gig; putting packages on doorsteps [ed. Mr. Story: Some of the packages delivered by the Glass Jar must have been the gifts I recommended for wine lovers in my December post.]

I was ready to walk into UPS for a job interview to see if I was qualified. Like a field organizer trusted to organize Democrats in Trump country, the pressure was on. It was time to see if I was ready for the demands of “put the box by that front door.”

The interview was brief. I walked in. The test aimed to identify one qualification. Was I breathing. Anybody with a pulse got offered the job. My “boss” confirmed I was a living human capable of movement. Could I start tomorrow? The holidays are truly a magical time. [ed. Mr. Story: Indeed- a magical time- with lots of wine AND cheese!]

I waited for my driver with the other driver helpers in a commuter lot for about an hour. It was cold. I made my elementary health teachers proud. I was the only helper waiting for my driver without smoking a cigarette. I worked for three different drivers who expressed their thoughts in words that would not belong in a Christmas special. By the time the holidays ended, I had lasted in a job for which the demands where beyond daunting. Putting the correct packages on the correct doorsteps will go down as one of my signature achievements.

Contrary to what others may say, this is a wine blog. Wine is relevant to the life of a UPS driver helper. When we delivered wine to homes we had to collect a signature. If the residents were not there, we had to leave them a note without dropping off the package. This was not the way to spread holiday cheer. Nothing spoils the holidays more than a paper saying “I brought wine but you were not here so let’s wait 24 more hours.” I did the best I could to bring the wine boxes to the doorstep but if there was nobody there to sign, there was nothing I could do. The Glass Jar is now seeking $550,000 for 3% of his new company, Holiday Winesigners. We hire elves over the age of 21 to sign for your booze over the holidays. Interested? [ed. Mr. Story: I must review the financials while sipping on some wine before I make a commitment to this new endeavor of the Glass Jar.]

BONUS DIGRESSIVE WINE MOMENT: The Field Mouse (known to and knows the Glass Jar) offers wine wisdom from decades of research. “At age 60 I can lay out my list of wines. Riesling from anywhere except California. Rousanne. Dessert wine would be Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Pinot Noir from anywhere except the Loire.. Just about any Italian red.

The acorn does not fall far from the tree. Or should that be “the acorn falls near the tree.” Let’s unpack this then take a deep dive.

Holiday Winesigners. Any Italian red. Genius. Prevent your holiday blues by delivering your holiday booze. Happy New Year everyone!

HELL NO. NOT ON HIS WATCH!!

Burgundy Shall Not Be Defeated.

“WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE HILLS” SPAKE CHURCHILL IN THE DARKEST HOUR OF A FADING EMPIRE.

 

Under tremendous pressure from the Bosch, looking into the abyss of Teutonic damnation, one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century found himself rallying a nation for collective strength and a new energy to preserve a civilized history shared by women and men living on an island in the North Atlantic.

Things may seem familiar today with our own internal doofus who has – in a petulant mood – shut down our institutions without any clear goal.

I am writing about the survival of French Pinot Noir facing the ascent of German and American Pinot Noir wines which seek to dominate this beloved market.

Not without a fight! A hero has emerged.

2009 Domaine du Chateau de Chorey Beaunes Les Cras $60 (supposedly K&L). I know we just wrote about the un-Burgs and the wisdom of buying wines from the continent – and the USA – that rise near the height of good Burgs, are sold at fair value prices, and that deliver high quality-to-value drink. All it takes is one memorable and unexpected Burgundy wine to disrupt that idea.

We opened the “realBurg” bottle with the obscure and confusing label so common to Burgundy. Tight, fragrant and lean. Kirsch-like cherries. tBoW Jr and I talked about hoops and latkes punctuated by the wine in our glasses. It was changing. It was demanding. Then it happened about 40 minutes in. Pinot opened up like it only does when it comes from Burgundy. Cherry fruit showed texture and seductiveness that immediately made us wish this was a magnum. Not to worry there was plenty to taste. Sublime is a word pretty much reserved for Burgundy wines that hit the mark. So many miss this mark adding sting with the cost factor to even hold a Burg today. These wines can be very fussy; just this side of petulant. When one opens up…it’s like New Years in Havana.

I shared my delight with tBoW contributor KrisB who badgered tBoW to try Fass Wine Selections. I am halfway there. It is one thing to find a wine store like Woodland Hills Wine Co with guys on the floor who know wines AND there is a decent selection of Burgs, AND an excellent sales team. Is this a good time to populate the cellar once more? Can we work out a more sensible shipping schedule? Certainly it is timely with the cool climate for a few months.

Until these questions are answered…or the Big Cheetoh is removed from office…Happy 2019 to all from the writing team at The Best of Wines. FYI – if traveling to Havana for New Years please heed the following warning.

A Mr Story Christmas Story

‘twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even, MAUS!

The barrels were hung
By the chimney with care
In hopes that the WINEMEISTER soon will be there!

The winers were all snuggled up in their beds
While visions of squashed grapes, danced in their heads

We think about Christmas in a different way here at the Best of Wines and today I will be sharing with you my analytical perspective on the holiday and it’s relevance in the wine industry, while suggesting Christmas gifts for your wine lover friends (or family or simply strangers who you must share oxygen with at a holiday party) that will pop their cork off with more excitement and spark than a bottle of champagne on New Year’s eve. So, let’s get to it.

The reality is that the holiday season is basically a large-scale wine exchange. It’s the Shanghai market of wine, if you will. This phenomenon is especially true in the United States where colleagues, friends, and family simply give a bottle of some mysterious wine that they received as a gift in the past. The regifting of wine is quite troubling to me, as I believe that the selection of a wine and then the act of gifting it is very serious and sacred.

The issue is that we as a species have become rather stubborn and set in our ways when it comes to gift giving during the holidays. We have become programmed and don’t think creatively. You see, there are far superior gifts that one can give to a wine lover during the holidays that aren’t wine and may also incorporate some of their other tastes. Here are a few that I ordered on Amazon for the folks on my Excel Spreadsheet Christmas list (Click on the images to buy on Amazon!):

For the Feline Fans:

Funny Gray Kitty Cat Wine Bottle Holder Sculpture for Unique Tabletop Wine Racks & Stands or Feline Statues and Animal Figurines As Holiday Gifts for Pet Owners 

ed tBoW: makes me wanna purrrrr

 

 

For the Classical Music Lovers:

 

Glass Violin Decanter, Mahogany Base – The Wine Savant 1000 ML Glass Decanter For Whiskey, Scotch, Spirits, Wine Or Vodka For Music Lovers.

ed tBoW: can I get this in a Ludwig van B head?

 

For the Intellectual Drinker

Fred WINESTEIN Double-Walled Stemware Mug 

ed tBoW: in my best Spiccoli “hey I know that dude”

 

 

For the Photographer

Neoprene Stemstrap Wine Glass Holder, Black 

ed tBoW: black is my color for 2019!

 

 

Before we close, I must address the elephant in the room and that is the white elephant gift exchanges. These games are quite fun and entertaining and I believe the gifts above would make fantastic white elephant gifts. Also, don’t bring red wine to a white elephant gift exchange. It doesn’t pair well. After all, it is a white elephant gift exchange, so white wine is the more appropriate selection, if you or your spouse insists on bringing wine. Secondly, wrap the gift oddly so that no one can predict that it is a bottle of wine and make it extremely challenging to unwrap. I once wrapped a pair of socks in $60 in pennies and 3 roles of duct tape for a white elephant gift exchange. It certainly provided a good 20 minutes of entertainment during the event for all of the guests to enjoy!

And from tBOW…find Bad Santa on teevee, watch it with a cocktail…and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

Cheers for the Holidays

Family. Wines. Hoops. Big Dinners. Friends…and Fires.

Fires in Los Angeles are seasonal…just like the holidays. Fires come every few years. Hmmm. They were especially brutal this year especially in NoCal. The SoCal fires burned through the brush-filled canyons of northern LA. The foto above is looking northwest from Las Virgenes Road. Shows how the fire was left to burn out the empty canyons. Fires did burn right up to several housing compounds. Wealthy homes adjacent to these fuel centers particularly in Malibu went up in smoke.

Here is an excerpt from a 1998 NYT review of a book that received renewed attention post firestorm.

In “Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster,” Mike Davis has the temerity to argue not only that Southern California has always been a place where extremes of earth, wind and fire make notions like “average rainfall” a mere abstraction, but that the modern, man-made monstrosity of Los Angeles “has deliberately put itself in harm’s way.”

A suitable introduction to tBoW’s views about the end-of-year holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. For many folks the holidays are celebratory times. Here are the things we observe as the 60-some days envelope of time gently unfolds. Get your curmudgeon on.

#1 The arrival of the Wally’s catalog. Since the Marciano family bought out founder Steve Wallace the annual catalog has featured Dom Perignon on the cover. The first catalog was ostentatious and – to be frank – ostentatious to the point of laughable. The 2018 edition is restrained, even understated…until one turns the mag over and finds the Marciano Estate label on the back. The vintage is 2015, the fourth release for Marciano Estate. It is the synthesis of Napa in its current rendition; glitzy, out of reach, foolish. [ed. Mr. Story: I concur.]

men who mean well

#2 Thanksgiving meal is a family affair. It is not a wine tasting. There are essentials which make a great family dinner at Thanksgiving. [ed. Mr. Story: such as turkey marinated in wine, brussel sprouts baked in wine, whipped potatoes with a hint of buttery chardonnay, and of course a glass of wine that compliments each element of the meal, rightfully poured into a pumpkin-shaped wine wineglass.] A cadre of members must travel from “afar.” Eventful news should be “revealed” such as a wedding or pregnancy which causes a stir among the kindt. [ed. Mr. Story: Other forms of eventful news should include which wines each family member purchased that year, where they got them, how consuming the wines made them feel, what they thought about during the time of consumption, if the wines encouraged them to think about things in a different way, and so on and so forth.] [ed. tBoW: I concur!]

men who know better

The doomed attempt to “taste wines” should be abandoned in favor of an opportunity to toast and tilt with the cousins aka the “young ‘uns.” tBoW and the Larj work each year to bring an assortment of wines red and blanc that will complement the meal and entertain the troops. Let us end this pretense of a tasting and call it what is; a chance to clean our cellars just like the meal is an opportunity to clean our colons. Bottles are opened and poured like beer at a home football game. Let the wine flow! Nobody knows what they are tasting. This year’s amusement was provided by the young ‘uns who have acquired tasting lingo. “I get rhubarb, slate, charcoal, freshly layed asphalt…” Exactamemente monte mous! Makes me look forward to 2019 T-Day!

Despite all odds that any wine would distinguish itself there was a U20 winner. The Soave had some slate, strong acid and worked with every freakin’ bizarro plate put in front of the chattel. Bravo Mssr. Larj and Mdm. Patty of Hi Times Wines.

#3 Christmas and New Years end the seemingly endless season. Let’s save these thoughts and observations for another few weeks. Until then…flog on!

Jim Gaffigan reviews Halloween which actually kicks off the “holidays.”

The Unburgs – Enjoy Great Wine For Less

HOW TO ENJOY BURGUNDY FOR HALF THE PRICE

Every wine snob has had this moment: discovering wines from Burgundy; finding out premium wines are not necessarily heavy cabs from Napa with the large corpulent fruit, prices and ratings. Wines that are made from Pinot Noir, a grape that is not friendly to Napa. F-R-E-N-C-H wines with complicated labels one can hardly tell what is in the bottle. Hold on. One CANNOT tell what is in the bottle.

Dotore and tBoW were initiated together, bitten by a Burg-hound werewolf [there wolf!] while groveling at a holiday tasting party with dozens of long forgotten wines filling every inch of a 12 by 5 table in a basement/cellar beneath a food market. The market is gone. The big cabs are gone, we wish Parker’s ratings were gone. 100 point scores made no sense if labels could not be easily understood.

One cannot put a score on a Burg. You might as well try and saddle up a butterfly. Hold starlight in your hand. Have a lunch date with Sasquatch. Our wine lives immediately changed. Forever.

That was then. Today the cognoscenti know that Burgundy is elusive especially when trying to pair quality with value [ed. readers may harrumph here]. One way to beat the hustle is to buy the importer . . . maybe. Burgs are expensive and $30 and $40 bargains are . . elusive.

What to do? Drink wines that have not been tainted by 100 point scoring fools. Drink wines that are not from Burgundy – UnBurgs! [ed. readers may stand up and shout here!] The UnBurgs include Schiava, Alto Piemonte, Sicily, the Canary Islands. Corsica. And that other island off the Italian coast. These are wines from a PLACE; not one lone grape. Blended wines. Local, ancient. Light weight, lower alcohol, balanced (much of the time), distinctive.

The UnBurgs. Here are three wines that share similar qualities as the best value Burgs. And are fairly priced.

2014 Patrick Javellier Savigny les Beaunes Premier Cru blahblahblah. $40 at Total Yawn (aka Total Wine – $35 in Chicago today). It is just as likely to find that the decent bottle of wine found online at Total Wine is no longer sold [ed. Beronia 2009]. However, IGTY found it, bought this Javellier Savigny and brought it to the dinner party. Excellent flavors. Tasted like Burg. Would not mistake for Rioja or Oregon Pinot. Sucked it down.

2010 Ayres Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir $20 at “winery in 2012” [$25 for 2015/16 in USA]: This held up really well. Won’t mistake this for Burgundy. But I will have another glass please. More full, more earthy. The old forest floor – pprrraaaaappp! tBoW went on a four or five year Oregon Pinot jag which was followed by a Mendocino Pinot jag. Searching for New World Burgundy? Fuggadaboudid. Does not exist.

One cannot find New World Burgundy because the grapes would have to come from Canada to come close to the Beaune fruit profile (forget the Nuits). And then the Canadian soil would not be right. Weather is getting very similar now. Nuff said there.

2008 San Francesco Antoniolo Gattinara $40 for the 2008 in Illinois, or $30 for the 2012 in New York/Joizy: You know you are getting close to Burgundy wine when the label becomes more obtuse and practically indecipherable. If the wine is white then it is likely German. But this is Burg-like from AltoPiemonte which is where tBoWfinally found Burgundy with the proper value/quality ratio. Like memorable Burgs the wine can take a bissel age. Balanced like Olga Korbut on the balance beam. Richness like KrisB in the market. Brimming with charm like IGTY himself.

If you must search for decent Burgundy wine [ed. we always will] then stay around Beaune and south. Look for wines imported by Rosenthal, Louis/Dressner, Kermit Lynch and Charles Neal. Should you feel you must spend more than $60 then look for wines imported by Becky Wasserman. Or consult your local REAL wine shop.

Halloween warm up from a true cohort of wine conno-sewers…