Lost on Lemnos

May 25, 2011

A First for Mount Diablo

I set a record last weekend. It involved a 3800-foot-tall mountain, which made the accomplishment easier. Combined with a bicycle and a bottle of wine from New Zealand, it was a shoe-in: I pedaled up Mount Diablo with a bottle of Cloudy Bay 2007 Marlborough Pinot Noir in my pannier and opened it on top. Though I can't entirely verify it, I believe that this was Cloudy Bay Pinot's first excursion up this summit - ever. I was drenched in sweat and rather uncomfortable in the ripping gale that stormed about the mountaintop, and the wine was too good to sip entirely from the bottle in such conditions - so I only had a glass's worth. It was excellent - earthy and very savory, with smells and flavors of dark purple fruit keeping a low profile behind more frontward notes of soil, mushroom, and a metallic taste I couldn't quite place.

Last year I pedaled up the same mountain with a bottle of bourbon barrel-aged stout from Deschutes Brewing Company - and that, too, was almost certainly a first ever.

As I compile more records atop Diablo I'll record them in this blog.

Feb 10, 2011

The Wrath of Grapes

I'm just a journalist. I know nothing but what people tell me - and a near consensus of North Bay activists say that Sonoma County's government is trading fish for wine.

Feb 5, 2011

Barleywines Under Review

It's winter - and barleywine season, and instead of drinking one of these big, sweet beers by the fire with a bearskin rug grimacing from the plank floor, as much marketing literature indicates is the classic way, we decided to drink five at once. Read our opinions here.

Feb 1, 2011

Vintage 2011

As long ago as July, winemakers statewide were sweating—and not from the high temperatures, but the lack of them. They wrung their hands and watched the sky; the sun soared in all its flame and fury, but where was its heat? Read more here.

Dec 23, 2010

The Box

Update: The box of it. went with me to a party, then home again. In effect I managed to not only provide more alcohol than anyone else but look tacky in doing so. Beat that.

Dec 19, 2010

it. Chardonnay

It's a dangerous business, wine in a box.

I have a new one on my table kitchen table - a 2009 Lodi Reserve Chardonnay named "it." whose volume equals four bottles at roughly $4.50 each. I thought the box would make an unimposing addition to my apartment's decor, but the box haunts and taunts me. it. eyes me as I make my morning coffee, as I work at my desk, as I come in the door from a bike ride - and always it. bullies me with its, "C'mon - you know you want to open me. Just for a glass. It's noon somewhere and, anyway, I'm protected from oxidation and spoiling by my unique plastic-sack interior that shrinks with every sip you take, keeping me away from the air and always fresh."

In other words, I have wine on tap. Awesome. I cracked it. this evening to find a bright and estery wine, alive with sharp and nosey aromas. It. tastes of cider, vanilla, apricot, and tropical fruits. A very round and soft wine, and a worthy buy.

The package says I have a month before it. spoils, now that it.'s been opened. I give it. a week before it.'s gone, though. Speaking of which, has anyone yet addressed the etiquette issue of bringing a box of wine to a party? Because this is four bottles' worth; can I bring the box home with me when I leave without looking tacky?

Opinions are welcomed. I'll be sipping.

Nov 22, 2010

The Hunt for Diversity in Georgia

Follow this link to my Smithsonian article about a government fruit-collecting expedition to Georgia.