The blog is off today for New Year's, but will return tomorrow with our usual features in the run-up to the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame on Monday.
Until then, enjoy quite possibly the greatest cooking song ever: Whit Hill's "Cook a Chicken" (courtesy of the singer at YouTube). This was taped live at one of Kerrville Folk Festival weekends, so the video is a little shaky and the sound gets iffy (and I could swear I know the woman in the gray ponytail in front of the camera). "Cook a Chicken" starts at about the five-minute mark.
Joyeux Noël! from The Boss (whose accent, surprisingly, is even worse than mine) -- Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" in front of an enthusiastic French audience (courtesy of The Stone Pony Fan Club at YouTube). "Santa Claus," of course, is the blog's annual Christmas tradition.
Enjoy the holiday with the people you care about. The Wine Curmudgeon will return on Wednesday with a wine of the week to drink for New Year's.
Christmas and New Year’s Day each fall on a Tuesday this season, so I’ve had to make some adjustments to the the blog’s schedule:
• The blog will be off Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 for the holiday. On Christmas, the annual Bruce Springsteen “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” video will post, while I’ll run Whit Hill’s “Cook a Chicken” video on New Year’s Day.
• The wine notes that usually run on Tuesday will appear on Monday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 31.
• The 2013 $10 Hall of Fame will appear on Jan. 7.
Anyone can give out year-end awards, honor best wines and the like. Only the Wine Curmudgeon can hand out the Curmudgies, presented annually (we hope) to the people who did their best in 2012 to make sure that wine remained confusing, difficult to understand, and something reserved for only the haughtiest among us. Plus, a tip 'o the Curmudgeon's fedora to someone more people need to listen to.
This is a work in progress, so any thoughts are welcome. The categories could change in the future, I could give out spiffy trophies, and even design a logo -- or a lawyer could send me a cease and desist letter. Until then, the Curmudgie goes to. ...
Dec. 24 update: The blog has been going crazy for a week, thanks to Barefoot and Cupcake. Six of the top 15 days ever have come since Dec. 18, as people search the Internet for Barefoot and Cupcake reviews. If I'm getting numbers like this, imagine how much wine Gallo and The Wine Group are selling -- and imagine how little they care what wine writers think of their products.
The blog has had four of its top 10 days ever in the last week, mostly because wine drinkers are looking for reviews of Cupcake and Barefoot for the holidays. And, as we well know, there aren't a lot of places to find those reviews in the cyber-ether.
Almost 10 percent of the visitors yesterday -- the seventh-best day ever -- used the search terms Barefoot or Cupcake to get to the blog. Which, if I understand how this stuff works, is an impressive figure, especially for a one-man operation like this.
The other thing worth noting: The people who visit the blog are much better educated and make a lot more money than the typical Internet user, according to Quantcast. And they're searching for cheap, grocery store wine. What does that say about the wine business?
And, because the Wine Curmudgeon is always eager to boost traffic, here are links to the most recent Cupcake and Barefoot reviews.
No, I'm not reverting to my newspaper days, but my old pal Tim McNally switched stations for his immensely popular New Orleans radio show about wine and spirits. His new home is WWWL, ESPN1350 AM in New Orleans. He's on every Friday at noon, pre-empting the sports programming. Which, Tim reports, has led to some irate phone calls, given that football is part of south Louisiana's Holy Trinity, with family and food.
You can stream the show live; there's a link in the upper right hand corner. I'll be on around 1 p.m. CST on Friday. We'll talk about holiday wine and perhaps Robert Parker's impending semi-retirement. Though, to be honest, I don't know how we'll be able to avoid Bounty-gate.