Category:Wine Curmudgeon

Happy New Year from the Wine Curmudgeon

The blog is mostly off until Monday, when the 2009 $10 Hall of Fame makes goes up. Until then, this, from one of the early proponents of cheap wine, Carlo Rossi. This commercial is from the early 1970s (there are two others on the Rossi web site). A couple of notes: Burgundy, in those days, referred to almost any California red wine and not pinot noir from the Burgundy region of France, and Rossi was a real person ? a distant relative of the Gallo family, whose company owned (and still owns) the brand.

It ?s funny. Watch the commercial, and you ?ll realize how little wine has changed in the U.S. in the past 35 years despite all the scores and wine writing and our supposedly improved and sophisticated palates. ?It ?s not fancy labels and big prices that make good wine, ? says Carlo, and who can argue with that?

Wine terms: Good and bad and why they don’t matter

If you like chardonnay, it's good wine. If you don't like it, it's bad. So what's the middle ground? Regular visitors here may have noticed that the Wine Curmudgeon doesn ?t label wines as good or bad. Instead, I try to describe the flavors and suggest pairings. The adjectives I use, like well-made or professionally made or classic, are objective – ? they should be accurate regardless of who is writing them.

This doesn ?t mean that I don ?t have opinions, of course (in what may be the wine understatement of the year). Rather, it ?s that good and bad are subjective, and don ?t help anyone understand wine. What I think of as good ?- a subtle yet powerful Puligny Montrachet from Sauzet, for example – ? others might consider bad. They might prefer the oak and vanilla flavors of classic Napa chardonnay, which I think tastes like drinking a baseball bat.

This is also why scores are so useless; they ?re just extensions of good and bad. The writer who gives an octopus inky, 16.5 percent alcohol shiraz a 93 says more about his or her palate than the quality of the wine. If I did scores, the same wine could get a 78 for the same reasons.

After the jump, a look at why good and bad don ?t apply to wine, using one of the best-made wines I ?ve ever had as an example.

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$10 Hall of Fame: 10 days away

The Wine Curmudgeon has the 2009 edition mostly ready to go, though I ?ll probably do some final sniffing, tasting and spitting. It looks like 2008 was a great year for cheap wine.

Until then, while I take the rest of the holiday weekend off, enjoy this. It's from the 2007 Canadian ice wine harvest. This helps explain why ice wine is so expensive, and makes normal grape harvesting look easy.

Happy Holidays from the Wine Curmudgeon

The blog is mostly off the next couple of days. Enjoy the holiday with people you care about and your favorite wine.

And take a listen to this, from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (courtesy vinylman86 on YouTube). Sadly, the song has been taken down for violation of copyright.

With apologies to Bing Crosby and White Christmas, this is the greatest version of a Christmas song ever. I still have the single — vinyl, of course, the B side of My Hometown — and I play it every year.

Happy Holidays.

Blog housekeeping: Ads and comments

I wanted to keep everyone posted on the two major recent developments, the appearance of advertising and a new comment format.

So far, the ads seem to be what they should be. I ?ve had to block a couple, but even they weren ?t tremendously inappropriate. A friend of mine gets sex ads on the site he runs for his college journalism classes, and he spends as much time blocking ads as he does writing, I think.

My blog is part of an ad network put together by Six Apart, the company that owns TypePad, the blog platform I use. I ?ve been quite impressed, though the money I get won ?t do much to feather the Wine Curmudgeon ?s retirement. A good day brings in about a quarter, though I set a record yesterday with 37 cents. And don ?t worry ? I ?m not going to write something here about how you need to click on the links to save me from penury (or drinking poorly made cheap wine). The ads are more about seeing how the system works than making any money. For instance, I don't get paid until I accrue $200 in earnings — which should take about six years.

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Happy birthday, Wine Curmudgeon


We celebrate our first birthday here on the blog on Nov. 16. Since that ?s a Sunday, when I don ?t post, I thought I ?d commence the activities today. Of course, the gang will be at Wine Curmudgeon world headquarters this weekend for the big blowout, where we'll be popping Cristalino, sharing bottles of Bogle and Solaz, and passing around all the Gascogne wine we can drink.

Thank you for participating. This has been tremendous fun for me, much more than I thought it would be. I started the blog a year ago for several reasons, none of which involved having a good time. (That I was wrong isn ?t a big surprise, is it?)

The blog has allowed me to write about a topic I like, learn even more about wine, and meet people I would not have met otherwise. Plus, I get to fight the good fight ? for regional wine, against scores, and for a sensible, level-headed approach to wine.

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