Hearty Bowl, Hearty Glass

When pairing wine with your food, there are some very important rules.   Don’t Take it Too Seriously You wouldn’t catch me dead drinking red Bordeaux with seafood, but there are people who do, and they’re not wrong. I could make my writing completely unreadable with the chemistry of wine pairing; how bitter tannic flavors […]

The Elusive Charm of Sparkling Wine

I have always had trouble liking sparkling wine. This is an embarrassing confession for a self-professed wine nerd; because there’s nothing nerdier in the universe than sparkling wine, and since it comes in so many shapes and sizes, the category fills in enough of the flavor rainbow to impress a mantis shrimp. I can’t even […]

Why Do We Like Dry Wine?

Do you like cookies? Chocolate? Ice cream? Do you drizzle syrup on your pancakes?[1] If you answered yes to any of the above, you like sweet things.[2] On the other hand, if global sales are any indication, most of you have been presented with sweet wine at a restaurant or a wine shop and reacted […]

Alsace Unfiltered

I am a translator. When I describe a wine, the process begins in my actual nose and on my actual palate, where chemical compounds mix with my sensory receptors, and transmit aroma and flavor information to my brain. I have trained myself to process that information into a fairly rigorous set of official terms found […]

2012, Another Discussion of Vintage

I went to a wine tasting the other night. Fifteen 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. According to both the winemaker’s and the critic’s opinion, these were the earliest blooming flowers of a coming brilliant spring, the shock troops of a world conquering cohort of wines that will be remembered as one of Oregon’s finest vintages […]

I’m Almost Certain This Wine Is Awesome

On January 8th, I had the rare treat of drinking an aged Vouvray. Here’s what I wrote: “Dry, unbelievably complex, with red apple, cooked green apple, cream, wet wool, biscuit, toast, honey, and slate.” It was full bodied; the texture mouth-filling, and as of 1:30 PM on January 19th, the finish is still just detectable. […]

It Was The Worst Of Times: A Discussion of Vintage in 2013

Well that sucked. If you haven’t heard, 2013 was a bit of a weird year in most of the world’s wine regions. While few places had quite the gateau de merde Bordeaux suffered, it was a problem year for many people. My home region, the Willamette Valley, was on track for one of those excellent, […]

Loire, What is it Good For

Chapter 108 The Loire river valley is the most famous wine region in the world that no one ever remembers. The oft put upon Dumb American Geography Student would be hard pressed to guess what continent the Loire is on, and I’ve been corrected by self professed wine snobs: “No no, it’s Bur-Gun-Dee, not Bourgueil”. […]

Italy, Bedlam

Chapter 107 There are three stages of becoming a wine connoisseur. The first is the initiate, who just learned the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir yesterday;[1] these people look for the pretty labels and usually drink the wine their parents drink. While they might find some comfort in the charming old style labels […]

The Best

Chapter 106 A very long time ago, the Penobscot tribes who lived at the base of Mount Katahdin believed that the summit of this awkward bubble of magma was the highest point in the world. There were similar legends in circulation among the early Armenian settlements of the Ararat Valley and the Celts looking up […]