As most of you know, in 2003 I was booted from the doctoral program at UC Davis for attempting to sell crack cocaine to all four members of the Supervisory Committee, for trying to finance my sixth semester with Monopoly money and for ending my dissertation, ‘Plotting Silting Efficiency Data In Various Applications While Solving Filtration Problems Through Microbiological Detection, Pressure Relationships and Cross-Flow Systems’ with the (I thought) innocuous phrase, ‘And then I woke up.’
Ever since, I have wandered the byways of enology in a sort of psychogenic fugue state—a rare mental disorder characterized by dissociative personal-identity amnesia and delirium. Historically—other than mine—famous fugue states include Lydia’s in season two of Teen Wolf and when that Breaking Bad dude showed up naked in the supermarket.
In any case, I tend to slip in and out of frontotemporal dementia as suits my mood and inclination. When out, I write in my usual mature and competent style—columns embodying the results of significant introspection and research. When in, I ramble on and on in vignettes, like Kerouac did in that awful, aimless On The Road—and wind producing work as pointless and inglourious as stepping in front of a bus.
Well, friends and lovers, I am in a dissociative fugue state right now, and so, here are some brief bobbles on the wine world that are not worth getting all sane over:
Praise the Lord and Pass the Psychotropics: It Was All A Misunderstanding!
Hollywood’s Jeff Wagner Agency was kind enough to inform me that today, March 5, is ‘National Abstinence Day’ and that we all should spend it soberly and sedately in zennish meditation. But, see, my medications make me woozy sometimes, and it turns out that Jeff was actually informing me that today is ‘National Absinthe Day’, where we express our gratitude that America has seen fit to finally legalize this strange, emerald-color Victorian liqueur which causes the user to commit suicide, imagine he’s a werewolf or go to the supermarket naked. Woo-hoo!
Only problem is, unlike the stuff you buy in the Czech Republic, the crap that’s legal in the United States contains no thujone—which is the only reason to drink absinthe in the first place. Otherwise, might as well have a shot of Sambuca, which is anise-flavored and has coffee beans in it; absinthe, if you’ve ever had the misfortune, is closer to being anus-flavored.
Wine is Purple, Not Syruple
We all know that when it comes to maple syrup, Canada isn’t playing with a full deck of euchre cards: For instance, as the United States keeps a stock of oil buried in salt caverns in case of a geopolitical emergency, Québéc has warehouses full of surplus syruple. But, I always imagined that Michigandalfs were a bit brighter than that: Look how many of us moved out of Detroit when everything turned to shite.
But now Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson, MI has announced a limited release ‘maple syrup wine’ called Sugar Snow, failing to understand that even its most generous and encompassing interpretation, wine is no more a product of tree juice than it is of bee vomit: Those are better referred to as ‘brew’ and likely predate agriculture.
Another Sloppy Misread on My Part—Mea Robert Culpa
Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine released a study that re-proves what has already been proven over many millennia in laboratories both clinical and social: The Mediterranean Diet is good for you.
Said diet, of course, is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, nuts, veggies, fruits, shellfish… and wine.
What stuck in my crawfish was first, my mistaken read that the seven allowable glasses of wine were per day instead of per week (per meal would have been closer to my health regimen), and second is that the diet recommends the consumption of one liter of olive oil each week. When you figure that you get a bit less than seven glasses of wine from a liter, that means you would be consuming like amounts of pure fat and wine every week, far exceeding the FDA’s allowance of about 2 cups of all fats per week.
Not sure I could sign up to that in good conscience; could you?
Kosher Karmel Kornball
Adam Montefiore, wine director at Carmel Winery, Israel’s largest wine producer, said recently, “Jews came to this land, made the desert bloom, started planting vineyards, making wine, and in doing so began reclaiming their heritage and reviving this ancient wine producing region.”
No problem with that statement. But for some reason, Tzora Vineyards general manager Uri Ran decided to chirp up with a sarcastic sound-bite of his own, no doubt intending to draw attention to his flea-sized winery in the Judean Hills: “The first time Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate tasted Israeli wines was 2008. So what, before that Parker didn’t know there was a country called Israel that makes quality wine?”
Considering that the Advocate has been hosting yearly wine tastings devoted exclusively to Israeli wines since 2007, I’d say this comment is in breach of the 9th Commandment.
Seeing Red Over Red Chinese Drinking All the Red
The CEO of the world’s second largest wine company is licking his chops over record profits ($53 million) over the first half of the company’s fiscal year.
David Dearie of Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates explained to CNBC that the Asian market was largely responsible for the 30% increase in sales of this ‘recession-proof’ commodity: “What we’re seeing is the Asian consumer, particularly China, really enjoying their red wine.”
No, Davy dearest, not their red wine. By any sense of Aussie ethics and moral integrity, they are really enjoying our red wine. We were supporting you brown-eyed mullets—buying your wine and loving it—long before those strange little left-handed bowlers who use a wrist-spin action started buying up all the Penfolds and Wolf Blass—which, not for nothing, they can’t pronounce anyway—all I can find at my local Piggly Wiggly is Lindeman’s and Rosemount—which they can’t pronounce either. Come on, Treasury; what happened to customer loyalty? Americans were buying Grange and Platinum Label when the don’t-call-me-Oriental faction were still ganbei-ing over rotgut sorghum moonshine and raping political prisoners.
And Now For Some Good News:
February 9 and 10, 2013, in St. Charles, MO, the 28th Annual Midwest Grape Conference and Trade Show saw its doors darkened, rafters rung and agenda cheered by over 1600 attendees, making it the premier wine industry event in the Midwest.
Keynote speaker was Tim Hanni, who bills himself as ‘The Wine Anti-Snob’ but still tacks the rather snobbish-sounding title of Master of Wine * after his name. You and I both know that a really humble dude would call himself a Workhouse of Wine or a Vassal of Vino or even a Skivvy of Scuppernong—the word ‘Master’ has too many negative connotations, particularly among non-Caucasians like me who refer to Tim as Massa ob Wine; yessa, we damn sho’ nuff do.
Besides, Tim, when you brag about being an ‘anti-snob’, it is like you are saying that you are somehow better than us snobs. And brother, you don’t get any snobbier than that.
* Tim also goes by the cutesy web-page title of The Swami of Umami, a.k.a. to us bluegum golliwogging cracker-nots as De Swami ob Yo’ Mammy.
Call me “Captain Obvious” but you really have a uniqueness about you that is vastly entertaining and a good deal insightful. Love the creative use of pictures. Keep it up.
Great site. I did however want to clarify some issues you have with absinthe. I’ve been studying and collecting absinthe for over 16 years now, and I can definitively tell you that what is produced in the U.S. by reputable distillers is indeed authentic absinthe in every way. It is in fact the ‘Czech style’ absinth that is not remotely similar to what was produced during the Belle Époque in France and Switzerland.
I’ve written extensively about the comparisons between currently produced absinthes and those produced during the B.E., both through production and through scientific analysis. Feel free to stop by the Wormwood Society for more information, or peruse the article I’ve linked below that I wrote for Mutineer Magazine.
The Wormwood Society
I guess I am a snob in wolf’s clothing (kinda looks like cork) massa. sorry to be cute or use my hard-earned title. I be mo’ careful. My momma tole me I wuz a better snob, but guess I iz just like da rest. Come have lunch with me sometime.
Gotcha, bro. I know how hard it is to hit MoW status, because I failed (obviously). Lunch anytime. I pay, although this said in advance: I am straight