Author Archives: admin

By Any Other Name

There is a place on the French Mediterranean coast filled with vineyards. The soil is sandy, because in this part of the French Mediterranean coast near Montpellier, the sky is blue, water is wet, and soil is sandy. The vines are tossed to and fro more or less constantly by the northbound wind off the […]

duck duck Goose

Geese are terrible. Geese are mean, loud, smelly, and aggressive; like a bluejay made out of raccoon. It’s no wonder we eat them, because I have no doubt that the first person to come face to face with Geese had to kill them, because Geese are bastards and it was him or them. Goose is […]

The Terraces of Carema

We have to talk about Alto Piemonte. There is a town perched on the northern edge of Piedmont called Carema. One theory for where the name came from is the latin word Quadraginta, or ‘forty’, as in ‘forty miles to Augusta’, the next town of note to the north on the way through the Alps […]

In Praise of… Elbling?

The Mosel river valley is among the most impressive wine growing regions on earth. Towering, steep hillsides sheath the winding river on both banks, sparkling with slate. Riesling vineyards planted on impossibly steep slopes cast shadows over ancient and gorgeous villages lifted straight out of the adorable vignettes festooning the region’s wine bottles. Today I’m […]

Drinking at the Savoie

Like most people who studied European history, I early on discovered that there’s a lot of it. An awful lot, actually; so much so that certain parts of Europe might spend half a millennia rolling quietly along with dukes and wars and international intrigue, all the while pregnant with potential to lay a stamp on […]


Have you had an Arneis? If you’ve been trolling the middle rows of the supermarket, you might assume it’s the Other other Piedmont white, neither as full bodied as Gavi, nor as sweet as Moscatto, perhaps you’ve had a little and it seemed like an acceptable alternative to the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc someone told […]

Wines I Hate

I am on record saying that I like all kinds of wine. I enjoy bodaciously bodied, pugnaciously pungent reds from sun-baked places like Priorat. I equally enjoy water white–feather light Vinho Verde, crisp as the Queen’s Linen. Like Captain Hammer, I like the weird stuff, like Blanc de Morgex–planted in the very shadow of the […]


Arrogance is a tricky thing. Some people in the middle 2000s called Roger Federer arrogant because it became hard to believe him when he praised Nikolai Davydenko for being a tough out after barely ruffling his shirt while crushing the poor guy 6-0 6-1 6-0 for the seventh time in a row. I happen to […]

The Oasis

This Northstar merlot was the very model of a modern new world wine. Supple to a nearly embarrassing degree, the sort of mouth-filling texture that traces a perfect bell curve across your palate. The aroma was rich black fruit, accented with the sort of earth that makes a cloud when you walk across it, and […]


There are few words in English with as interesting a history as brand. Originally, a brand was simply a burning thing, usually a stick.[1] Since people were in the habit of using burning sticks to mark their cattle for, like, most of human history, the burning stick grew a verb, as nouns are wont to […]