Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why Do Americans Think Riesling is Sweet?

Chapter 24 In my time working with wine, I’ve developed[1] a couple soap boxes.  I don’t like it when people refuse to try new things,[2] I don’t like it when people ask me really stupid questions;[3] and, in a fit of weird particularity, I don’t like it when people think riesling is always sweet. I’ve […]

Drink Different Things

Chapter 23 I am often asked to recommend a wine.[1] I have several principles for this; I’ve mentioned before that I like to steer people away from the wineries they know, but I also try to steer people into new styles and new kinds of wine.  Sometimes this means if they like Bordeaux I’ll point […]

The Spectacle

Chapter 22 It is possible that in hammering the Wine Spectator the way I’m about to do, I will some day do disservice to my career in wine.  If that’s the case, here’s a hearty middle finger to my future self who cares what the Spectacle thinks.[1] There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of wine […]

The Agony of Defeat

Chapter 21 Wine expires.  Corks fail.  The air conditioning in the cellar conks out and the whole teetering mass of gently dozing tannins, tasty acids and particulates react like an angry father who sees his daughter’s boyfriend sneaking out her bedroom window.[1] The point is, wine is alive, and wine can die.[2] All wines fail […]


Chapter 20 True wine geeks never have more fun than at blind tastings.  They are the ultimate test of manliness for men who don’t know what football is.[1] It’s quite a simple concept.  The taster simply doesn’t know which wine is which, and the idea is to guess based on look, smell, taste and feel.  […]

Icewine Road Trip

Chapter 19 If it’s sunny, and if I lean out my bedroom window and squint, I can see Vancouver.[1] What I can’t do is walk down to the wine shop near me and buy a bottle of Canada’s most magical oenological product: icewine from the Okanagan valley[2].  This is because of import duties designed to […]

The Wine Date

Chapter 18 I don’t have a huge amount of money, which makes my chosen vocation a dangerous one.  There is the constant risk in falling for that $90 bottle,[1] or the dreaded case-discount-related moment of weakness.  When I go out to eat, I can get in even more trouble, because my eyes scan up and […]