Category:Wine humor

The epic LeBron James wine birthday present

lebron james wine

LeBron, there’s a Ralphs near the Staples Center — and it’s open until 2 a.m.

LeBron James received 16 very nice and expensive bottles for his birthday, but even the NBA’s ranking superstar should know a little about cheap wine

Dear LeBron:

The wine world is all agog with your recent birthday present – 16 expensive and rare wines worth thousands of dollars. But I’m here to tell you, as someone who also has close ties to Cleveland (my dad went to college there), pro sports (I used to write about it), and wine that there is more to enjoying wine than all that pricey stuff.

Yes, each of those 16 bottles is wonderful, but even someone who makes as much money as you do needs to know what’s available at your neighborhood Ralphs. What happens if you want a glass or two when you get home from the Lakers’ game and don’t feel like like opening the Sassicaia?

Which is where I come in. Because who knows more about cheap wine that you can buy at the grocery store than I do? Dare I use the term GOAT?

So here are a few cheap wine supermarket suggestions to keep in mind when you’re just not in the mood for the Opus One. Most of these are in the $10 Hall of Fame, by the way.

• The Bieler Provencal rose, about $10. It was the blog’s 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year, and is always one of the best roses in the world regardless of price. Plus, winemaker Charles Bieler pushes for it to be sold in grocery stores.

• The McManis chardonnay, about $10. My pal Jay Bileti, a noted wine judge, can’t believe how well made this California white is; similar wines cost $18 or $20.

• The Cannonball cabernet sauvignon, about $15. Classic California cab – lots of ripe fruit and soft tannins – but not overdone like other, more expensive California reds.

• The Matua sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, each about $12. Who knew a Big Wine company could produce varietally correct and satisfying cheap wine like this?

• The Banfi Centine red, white, and rose, each about $10. Full disclosure: A good friend of mine is a big deal at Banfi, but these are so well done that I’d buy them even if he wasn’t. Which I do. Great with red sauce, by the way.

Let me know if you need any more cheap wine advice.

The Wine Curmudgeon

2019 Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions

Do-it-yourself New Year's wine resolutionsThe Wine Curmudgeon’s sixth annual Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions — because in 2019, w’re going to need all the help we can get

Just click on the drop-down menus and select your wine resolutions for the new year. Those who get the blog via email or RSS may need to click this link to go the blog to use the menus.

In 2019, I’m going to follow trends and:

In 2019, I’ll buy more wine at:

In 2019, I’m going to read the Wine Curmudgeon because:

In 2019, I’m going to drink:

In 2019, I will buy:

More New Year’s wine resolutions:
Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions 2018
Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions 2017
Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions 2016

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: The cheap wine version

Night before ChristmasWith abject apologies to whoever actually wrote the “Night Before Christmas“(as well as to Mrs. Kramsky from the seventh grade, who warned me about my poetry)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the Wine Curmudgeon soon would be there.

And Mamma and I were nestled all snug in our bed;
While visions of cheap wine danced in our heads;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature keyboard without any reindeer,
Instead a bearded typist so full of high dudgeon,
I knew in a moment it must be the Wine Curmudgeon.

More rapid than eagles his cheap wines they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Tariquet! Now, Falesco! Now, McManis! Now, Bogle!”
“On, Bonnet! On, Bieler! On, Charles and Charles!”

“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!”
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
Down the chimney he came and landed on one foot;
His hat and his glasses all tarnished with soot;

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
The last thing I expected was his cranky, middle-aged self
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the wine racks, and did not lurk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his keyboard and the clatter was endless;
And I heard him exclaim, ere he typed out of sight:

“Quality cheap wine to all, and to all a good night!”

Halloween wine tales 2018

halloween wine taleNo Halloween wine tale for 2018. But you can read the previous six and enjoy. Because who else can combine wine, classic characters, and Halloween?

A Halloween wine tale 2017: Dr. Who
A Halloween wine tale 2016: Kolchak: The Wine Stalker
A Halloween wine tale 2015: I am Legend
A Halloween wine tale 2014: Frankenstein
A Halloween wine tale 2013: Dracula

“Australian table wines” – because those of us who love wine need a good laugh these days

Monty Python’s “Australian table wines” reminds us the wine business has always been worth a giggle or two

Perspective is all in wine, so that with all is going on around us, this 1972 Monty Python sketch called “Australian table wine,” in which every wine cliché that makes us crazy was making people crazy then, too. Welsh claret, anyone?

The bit is from the group’s third album, “Monty Python’s Previous Record,” dating to a time when comedy records were hugely popular. In fact, owning Python’s 1973 “Matching Tie and Handkerchief” was about as cool as it got for a certain group of young men 45 years ago.

The Pythons didn’t do “Australian table wines” on the TV series, so there is only audio. But it’s more than worth listening to the entire 1:38, and not just for the wine bits. It also points out how the Pythons loved to send up Australians. Right, Bruce? How could anyone not appreciate a wine called Melbourne Old & Yellow, “Another good fighting wine … which is particularly heavy and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.”

Audio courtesy of Monty Python-Topic, via YouTube.

Corks: The most dangerous wine closure in the world

Watch this video, and you’ll understand how dangerous corks are

The Wine Curmudgeon will make no other comment on the following, other than this: “This young man would not have nearly blown up his kitchen if all wines had screwcaps.”

The complete story is here, via BuzzFeed. Lawrence Guo of San Leandro, Calif., wanted to open a bottle of rose, but his corkscrew broke. Disaster then ensued. He tried opening the bottle with a lighter, similar to a video he had seen on YouTube (and which we have detailed here).

When that didn’t work, he used the flame on a gas stove. The results were, in Guo’s words, disastrous – “we could have died,” he said. The bottle shattered, glass flew everywhere, and Guo and his friend were lucky to avoid injury.

He offers a lengthy explanation about what went wrong, quoting thermal shock, molecular vapor expansion, and vapor pressure. But we know the real reason.

Corks.

“We tried everything we could to open it, but the cork wouldn’t budge,” Guo told Buzzfeed. “I would advise to wear some better protective gear covering vital body parts if this were to be replicated.”

None of which you need with a screwcap.

Aliens (no, not that one): A wine parable (sort of)

aliensWhat happens when aliens from another galaxy discover wine – and the scores that go with it?

“I don’t understand,” said Brzyx. “What’s the point?”

“We’re humans,” said Miller. “We rate things. We list them. We rank them. That’s what we do.”

Brzyx’s accent was thick, but Miller could understand it without too much trouble. And why not? If its species was advanced enough to travel hundreds of light years to get to Earth, they could certainly speak passable English.

“But why can’t you just enjoy it?” said Brzyx. “It’s different, this wine, from anything we have at home. It’s pleasant. It’s – what’s your word? – enjoyable. I like the – what are they? – fruit flavors. I like the feeling I get from the thing you said was alcohol.”

“None of that is enough for us,” said Miller. “We have to sort things in order, top to bottom, first to last.”

“But scores?” said Brzyx. “All they do is spoil the fun, take the joy out of this wine thing. What possible difference could it make to anyone if something is 91 points or 92? Who can even tell the difference?”

“They claim they can,” said Miller. “It’s a huge business – lots of multi-million dollar companies, hundreds of experts claiming to know more about wine than anyone else. Telling people what kind of wine they should like.”

Brzyx sighed. At least Miller thought it was a sigh. It was kind of hard to tell.

“So you have all these wine experts spending all this time and money – scarce resources on your world – to give something as wonderful as wine a score, instead of using those resources to solve your world’s real problems, like hunger and poverty?”

“That’s pretty much it,” said Miller.

“Now humans make sense,” said Brzyx. “All that time and energy for nothing. No wonder you’re still stuck in this solar system and we had to find you.” He took a sip. “But I do like the wine.”