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the Glass Jar Looks Back on 2019 and Foresees 2020: from Mindless to Winedless

The Glass Jar has returned to The Best of Wines bearing words of wisdom learned from the past while also casting an eye to 2020. For this we are grateful. Amen. Let us read..

ancient winemaker with fuzzy revus

modern winemaker seeking comeback

GJ: When is it a good time to take a break from the blog? This a trick question. People often live in states of uncertainty demonstrating little remains constant in life. Except the blog. For years now, the Glass Jar has considered the blog to be somewhat of a second tier Thanksgiving relative. Maybe I am not always in touch with the blog as much as I should be and perhaps I struggle to understand everything the blog says but I will always know the blog is there. I mean would you rather be talking about your life plans with some dull relative or would you rather be in the company of the greatest wine blog ever to exist? The choice is yours. So make it wisely and don’t look back. 

The Glass Jar has been making a lot of phone calls lately as he is spending this chapter of my life in a “sales type” role. [ed. he is selling stuff on cold calls]. My employer will not be named to protect its questionable reputation. The Director of Sales asked a co-worker why he wanted the job. He responded he was driven to leave a prior job of great intensity. He wanted to simplify his life by doing something mindless. He got the job. The Sales Director fired this go-getter. Last month the Sales Manager was fired.

I did make some friends, for example a man who taught me some basic archery. He got fired. My other friend has not been fired and is one of the better salesmen at the company. But he has kept a box under his desk for years for when the day comes.

Darwinism in cubicles? The Glass Jar walks in the building with no fear as he learned a tender lesson in his pizza employment [ed. read about giving back to the pizza here]. He has bounced back through unimaginable hardships.

So what is my word for 2020? You may have guessed: Mindlessness. The word captures giving time and energy towards an endeavor that doesn’t really mean anything. Those in search of mindlessness will likely find some form of it nearer than realized. Which leaves me wondering…is wine mindless? Is there no point regarding wines celebrated by blogs such as The Best of Wines? Or is there a truer meaning in wine which must be discovered?

I remember in my younger years, watching people sit around tables sipping wine and talking about the flavors. I remember wondering if there was really a point to this. It seemed pretty mindless but the drinkers enjoyed it. Maybe mindlessness is an excuse to enjoy life. Why else would salespeople putt golf balls on the rug? Is wine mindless or not? Why not be a little mindless? Word for 2020 – Winedless!!

bombast sells in politix!

tBoW: Oh my. The Glass Jar uncovers yet another corner of cognitive dissonance; an experience omnipresent in life. Mindlessness runs the gamut from the current President and his moronic cabinet, to the endless news cycle which runs the idiocy like a broken bicycle, to annual wine holiday catalogs for the oenologically challenged. Wallys Wine used to be a terrific wine shop in West Los Angeles. tBoW found purpose every time in the Westwood Boulevard store owned by Steve Wallace and managed by Gary Fishman. Steve had been buying great wines for so long his backroom was littered with bottles. Wallys backroom was like the storerooms with Euro antiquities purchased mindlessly by Charles Foster Kane [ed. cue Citizen Kane]. It was well known in the 40s that the controversial movie was inspired by the ultra wealthy protagonist newspaper publisher Charles Foster Kane who was William Randolph Hearst. tBoW’s purpose was to locate and capture the fab bottles lost to time In Wally’s backroom. tBow even placed his own son as curator of Wally’s backroom.

Steve Wallace sold out at least a decade ago. Wally’s today is a mindless wine store that caters to mindless “wine collectors.” WINEDLESSNESS applies! The holiday catalog is a monument to mindlessness. tBoW was so appaled wth the tastelessness of the premier post sale catalog we featured it here.

Is the Glass Jar presaging the greatest events of 2020…the national and key state elections? Stay tuned. And pop a great Cava sparkler during the holidays…something like Raventos i Blanc Blanc de Blancs U20 at ~$20: YUMMY JUMMY NUMMY NUM NUMS! Cava sparkler perfectly balanced, good weight golden apples sez Mrs tBoW. We could say poor mans Krug but that would be quite a stretch. Or would it? Great backstory here worth reading how this Penedes winery stepped it up champagne style in 2012. Sold to tBoW by Katie of Desert Wine Shop [ed. now there’s a surprise.]

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

 

Wine Dinner with the Krisses

What? Sounds boring? Hardly. Neither was the Krisses Tasting boring. In fact, it was splendid. KrisA is preggers again so no wine for her and more for us. KrisB, tBoW and Sam-the-Rioja-Man [ed. SRM?] were on hand to help out with the h-e-a-v-y lifting…if ya git mah drrriiiiffftttt. PT8Y handled child care with the very active 4 y.o. Everett. Mrs. tBoW assisted with light sipping esp when the desert wine cork was pulled. She’s like that.

Count on KrisB to pull corks on cool, unusual and top quality bottles. No wonder we like him. The West Coast Maus. After a grueling 90 minute ride to go 20 miles – LA baby – we were greeted with a glass of chilled 2006 Gaillez Lemaire Champagne Cuvee Jadis. Mostly Petite Meunier which the Krisses prefer in their champagne. Bracing acidity buttressed by the cool temp. Comes thru Fass Selections [ed. ~$46] which KrisB has seriously engaged as a purveyor! Here is some typical Fass prose and praise: “Gorgeous nose. Biscuits. Mineral. Brioche. Palate is opulent and deep but so elegant and wonderfully vivid. What a stunning wine. Huge and elegant.” Sooooo, we found the wine to be crisp, bright, richly flavored and bracing. Opulent? Why not. Only if Grace Jones is opulent. Alcohol on the lable estimated at 11% to 14%. Hey. Beats a 100 point rating scale when it comes to precision.

2007 Pricum Prieto Picude 13.5% $25. The grape is prieto picudo. The reviewer from Wine Enthusiast called out “tomato, red currant, raspberry and herbs” which he said are snappy. Excuseme fro being droll bbuuutttt if tBoWcalls out herbs he usually names which ones… e.g., Herbert Hoover (US prez), Herb Adderley (Green Bay Packers safety) or Herbert Lom (Inspector Dreyfus who oversaw the investigations of the bumbling idiot Inspector Clouseau). This bottle mollified SRM and pleased Mrs tBoW.

Glasses in hand KrisB agreed to show us his wine cellar. He was in the midst of unpacking nine [ed. nicht nein, jah nine!] Fass shipping boxes so thw space was a tad unruly. KrisB shared his sorting scheme: ready to drink now, will be ready soon, and not ready for a while. We immediately felt a wave of relief as if the 100 point rating scheme had been hurled into the Santa Maia volcano never to be seen again. 

tBoW brought a bottle of $14 2017 Gelsons Mayfair. Bottled by Margerum in Santa Barbara with a 13.5% rating. Medium weight blend of 50% Marsanne, 25% Grenache Blanc and the last quarter Viognier. This is a very pleasant drink that will suffice for any season.

Following grilled Japanese yams, salmon and scallops the final cork was removed from the neck of a svelte bottle. Yesitwas the 2007 Domaine des Bories Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. It was desert wine. KrisB did not disappoint with the perfectly chilled bottle. The wine comes from a region referred to as Madiran in Gascony in southwest France which is easier to “see” as northeast Spain. It is so off the beaten path in France that it is known more for surfing than for wine. I kid you not. Basque I tell you. This wine is also a Fass find and as it seems nearly every Fass wine…it is delicious and delightful. So are the Krisses.

As for the aforementioned bumbling idiot…I almost choked watching the following clip! Happy Thanksgiving all. Enjoy some wines especially bubbly and desert styles. Do not watch the following with food in your mouth…which the Inspector would surely pronounce “moooth.”

 

 

 

 

Minneapolis Hoedown: GREAT wines & a superb set of museums

Minneapolis Impresses like its Early Gehry Tin Can

A wedding obligation pulled Mr. and Mrs. tBoW to Minneapolis for the last days of summer/fall. Temps between 30 and 50. Balmy. The groom and betrothed selected a very fine restaurant for the first evening out: Alma Cafe [ed. click for winelist and food choices]. The wine and food set the standard for the remaining dozens of hours in town. Let’s get the other stuff out of the way.

Samurai headdress in Mia

Minneapolis is a very cool town. Easy to get around. Excellent public trans. A bevy of top flight museums that put “classic big ticket” LA museums to shame. Like the Brentwood Getty and LACMA. The Minneapolis Institute of Art [ed. Mia to the locals] has outstanding collections in modern, turn of the 20th cenury and international paintings and artifacts. The Weisman Art Museum covers modern artists and movements like a light scarf on a blustery downtown day.

What to do after the museums? Eat and drink of course. The wedding was also really fun…but how often does one go to Minnesota for a wedding?

Sonia the somm with her tBoW selection

The principal wine and dine highlights took place at Alma Cafe. Seven wedding goers sat and chatted. tBoW spent his evening in the capable hands of Michael the waiter and Sonia the somm. The daily cocktails featured a Sangria unlike any other we have seen or tasted: “Burgundy & Chablis, Miro Vermouth, XO Brandy, Elderflower, Pink Peppercorns, Cyelon CInammon.” Is it a drink or a travel guide? The blend was superb. Of course tBoW wants to re-create this. Must check the bottom shelf where he puts the never used bottles of whatever – mostly forgotten and forgettable Kahlua brands.

From there to the wine list; the most varied and thoughtful selection encountered in a very long time with a strong adherence to the PQR – Price Quality Ratio. For examples, the red wines offered fell under six sections: France, Chile/Argentina; North America; Italy/Central and Eastern Europe; Australia/South Africa; and Spain. Flip the single page for the White Wine list which is similar with exceptional additions; i.e., the Italy/Central Euro group adds Eastern Europe. Name a wine list in SoCal with this range.

Selections that required a mini study hall with Sonia:

2016 Grenache/Syrah Pic St Loup “La Closerie du Pic” from Puech-Haut – $16/glass

NV Sangiovese “plus” from Merkin “Shinola” from Cochise County Arizona $15/glass (winery started by Tool frontman)

Pinot Noir plus, Pearl Morrissette (Alana?) “Metis Rouge” Niagra Penninsual – $17/glass

The list included so many labels we never see in LA (and perhaps the West Coast) it was thrilling. Sonia poured a Croatian red for one of our group. Light to medium body with enough flavor to drink. Just like the wine [ed. nyuk nyuk].

When Sonia asked what tBoW might like with my veggie plate I asked her to choose. She returned with a Sardinian wine that was medium bodied and unique: Monica di Sardegna, Cardedu “Praja” $17/glass. [ed. U20 looks like it is available at Wine House]!

Why do we not see more of these wines in LA? Could be the importers of gem wines from the continent just do not get out here. If we do encounter a thoughtful even creatively considered wine list in our town the cost for food and drink is abhorrent. Could be the industry is undergoing a welcome overhaul post-Kermit-Rosenthal-Louis Dressner, as Lettie Teague recently noted. The closest destination next to the Pacific Ocean where food and wine and cost would align in harmony is probably Portland. Better choices and golf in Minneapolis? Must fly to either one.

If you’re flying to Minneapolis just becuz you can you must go in May after the winter thaw and before the Summer mosquitos.

Akira Kurosawa would eat and drink at Alma…check out his samurai fight from “Seven Samurai.”

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Cellar Purge: Wait Too Long & Suffer Like Postseason Doyers

SIGN OF GREAT WINE? BE REAL.

Would you pull the cork on one of these dusty moldy bottles with excitement or trepidation? The task is not any easier for much larger concerns. Consider the Dodgers. Their pitching staff is somewhat like the photo. They got rid of one very bad bottle but held onto a couple showing serious signs of age.

Los Doyers had the chance to get another relief pitcher before the deadline and failed to do what was obvious. Now comes the lesson. When one fails to do the obvious now one often pays the price later on.

Image result for CLAYTON KERSHAW SLIPPING

PAST HIS PRIME

So it is also true with wine “collecting.” As the reader should understand we no longer “collect” wine. Although we have in the past. “Collecting” involves buying “trophy bottles” [ed. see Wine Speculator and 100 point scores] with heavily hyped name winemakers or labels. This rarely works out when it comes to actually pulling a cork. Another “collecting” mistake is buying a wine because it “means something” like a favorite travel destination. Or winning a World Series.

The final collecting mistake is actually good advice. Somebody gives you a bottle of plonk over the upcoming horrible holidays? Get rid of it. Re-gift it. Just do not let the Riesling from Yakima WA occupy any space on the bar or god forbid in the cellar. We learned these lessons once again when recently re-doing the cellar. Think about how the Dodgers dumped Yasiel Puig. He had to go. Stuck around way too long.

tBoW and Ikorb went thru our shared cellar last week. Every bottle was under consideration. The new cellar features a new cooler (Whisperkool 5000 on Craigslist $600 cash) and half as much space which means half as many bins. Many many bottles were purged. The new org scheme features the most precious wines, e.g., Ital Nebs and French Pinots. It had to be. [ed. he has a handful of domestic Pinot Noir which has-to-go] Ten cases of bought-and-paid-for wines will be arriving in 60 days from Fass Selections, Kermit Lynch and even Garagiste [ed. Fass and Rimmerman in dead heat for most entertaining online retailers]. tBoW Sr. has decided to devote his wine selections to David Russell of WHWC [ed. just picked up two Corsican DR picks].

HE HAD TO GO

Wines that did not make the cellar cut: Rangeland 2009 Cabernet and 2009 Zinfandel. tBoW felt strong ties to the young winemaker when visiting on 2010. When tBoW writes the following about a winemaker you know a purchase of wine will follow. “Shannon is Audrey Hepburn in a hoodie, Astrud Gilberto punching down the cap.” Bought too many bottles. Most opened within a couple years. Waiting 10 years for the last couple three makes the point.

Do not wait too long – like more than four years -on 95% of California wines. Unless the wines are from Tablas Creek. We expect those to be ready in another five years [ed. which would be a total of 15 to 20 years]! And they will be finally ready. Will they be worth the wait? Who can say. We are no longer fond of red Rhone style wines no matter the vintage! [ed. note to readers white Rhones not included]. At ten years the Rangeland – which was not intended to go this long – was completely out of sorts.

POWERHOUSE CONSISTENCY

The other wine we held far too long was the 2009 Chateau Cambon. This illustrates another “collector” mistake – buying the winemaker [ed. see above Rangeland] and not the wine. This was the last wine made by Marcel Lapierre the “legendary winemaker” of Beaujolais, in particular Morgon [ed. Beaujolais has more than 5 but less than ten villages – look it up!]. Beauj is 100% Gamay juice. Every wine drinker needs to make up her mind about Gamay juice. Part of the argument aside from palate preference, was that Beaujolais and Gamay were the poor man’s Burgundy choice. Not really. It is always about the Price-Quality ratio aannnndddd what your palate prefers. Gamay just does not do it for tBoW.

We still have Beaujolais in the cellar. None from 2009 any more. However there are several from 2013. These can form the first flight to a late summer tasting.

After three “flawed” wines we settled on Burgundy [ed. duh]. We had a 2010 and a 2011 Roty Marsannay. Right. We opened both. 

The 2010 was delishus. The 2011 was delishus. These Roty wines from Marsannay were a tad more rustic than the Fournier Marsannay slugged down recently. Small point. Both bottles were exhausted enthusiastically. Ikorb noted that the nose on the 2011 “stinks of truffles.” His sniffer is legendary.

One needs a guide to identifying quality Burgs. If you like truffles – or cherries or beets – you will love Burgundy wines however selection is everything. I believe the same can be said of German Rieslings. And Maus will tell us we may apply these same considerations to his special spots [ed. Rhone plus other off the trail regions in France] where he knows exactly what to buy.

Wait! One more lesson learned. Start with the highest quality when filing your cellar; not from the bottom. Andrew Friedman chose not to replace his GM who left for the Giants [ed. nice job there]. Instead he split the job of one technocrat among three others. Expect to see postseason analysis of that failure–to–fulfill. Astros in 6…again. However I actually hope the Dodgers prevail so there will never be another World Series trophy wine like this one below.

From Yasgur’s Farm to a Back Yard in Woodstock: Eyewitness Account of the 50th Anniversary That Fell Apart Like a Hand-Rolled Doobie

The 50th Anniversary of Woodstock did not get far. Reflections include the failure as being endemic of the Woodstock Generation. You know. Unable to foment nationwide revolution.
Jerry Image result for yippies surround pentagonRubin who helped start the Yippies (Youth International party) switched to the Venture Capitalist Party and hosted networking events on Wall Street. Wikipedia (where tBoW gets mucho research done quickly) says Rubin hosted Yippie Meets Yuppie “debates” with his fellow “rad” Abbie Hoffman. Both dead now. Those were the days. The greatest Yippie event was to surround the Pentagon with thousands of Yippies and levitate it. Great idea. Political theater. Today the reproduction would be in Yankee Stadium. Fox would disapprove and MSNBC would ask what Bernie thought about it.
The resurrection of Woodstock has mercifully passed away. tBoW DID NOT go. Nor did anyone else cuz it was cancelled.Altamont Magic

He did go to Altamont in 1970 where the Hells Angels beat a guy to death with pool cues while boring bands tried to play boring rock to hundreds of thousands. It has been said Altamont killed the 60s. So did Charlie Manson and his Family. Thank goodness we dwell on wine and other more sane cultural events like the Herbie Hancock show at the Hollywood Bowl with Thundercat guesting. Garden box. Chilled Rose’ and epoises cheese on a summery cool night in LA. Mayhaps Le Large will report.

By the bye tBoW has a reporter who lives in Woodstock. Her handle is “The Heavenly One or THO.” And she did celebrate the unseminal Woodstock affair. She has agreed to share her impressions. Here are her uncensored comments.

“Michael Lang [ed. original festival sponsor] is kind of a pig so I didn’t mind that his festival didn’t come off. We went to a Woodstock themed party on Saturday night and everybody was dressed predictably — Emily [ed. her lovely daughter] wore her Woodstock Elementary School tie-dyed tee shirt; the one they have to wear on field trips) and I thought she was the only authentic Woodstocker there, having been born and raised here!
The people were old but the music was great. The only acid I saw was the balsamic on the quinoa and heirloom-farmstand tomato salad. We group-hallucinated that we were still capable of dancing without straining anything. Most of the food was along the lines of hot dogs and hamburgers. There was some good cheese, however, and the aforementioned quinoa salad. I ‘sampled’ a rose’, which was perfectly fine, and my friend Jonathan (who is an organic wine nut — also writes about it) raved over the random bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in the cooler.
This is only THO’s second wine blog post. Her other was about a wine-and-cheese pairing. “It was so much fun! Mostly my pieces are about internet fraud. Scary and boring at the same time.” I don’t know about you but this is all I need to know about Woodstock in 1969 and 2019. tBoW is very interested in having “friend-of-THO Jonathan” write a post for the best of wines.

 

We also like pink wines especially in the summertime. Here is one that satisfied immensely.
2017 Wagner Stempel Rose Gutswein: Imported by Rudi Wiest from the Rheinhessen (the wine not Rudi – good to remember Rudi’s name as he brings in super German wines; dependably). Bright acid. Lean but not mean. High tone fruit. Like drinking some kind of not quite ripe Lychee. Good thing Mrs. tBoW was not fond of it. The bottle was finished that evening under cool LA summertime skies. [ed. Little help here with the grape and price.]
The J Dilla moment: an interview with Thundercat and Lotus [Flying] chatting with Herbie Hancock and inform the Genius that J Dilla sampled one of his songs and Herbie DID NOT KNOW THAT.