Tag Archives: wine humor

Welcome to the wine business, Sarah Jessica Parker

sarah jessica parker wineSome friendly advice as you embark on Sarah Jessica Parker wine

Dear Ms. Parker:

Several news reports say you’re starting your own wine brand, a sauvignon blanc and rose from New Zealand. I figured someone should offer you a few words of wisdom, since the wine business, in its own way, is as treacherous as acting. Which, of course, you know a little about.

• Celebrity wine ventures rarely come to a good end. Just ask Joe Montana. Or Dan Aykroyd.

• The wine business’ attitude toward women has been less than progressive. In this, it’s not as backward as Hollywood and it’s much better than it used to be. But there are still comparatively few female winemakers; the same is true for executives who aren’t in marketing.

• Your marketing types report you will be “hands-on” during production. You should clarify this with them, since some smart-ass wine writer will ask if hands-on during production means you will fly to New Zealand to pick grapes.

• The wine’s availability may be a problem. No one will be able to buy the wine from Amazon or in a grocery store in Manhattan, thanks to the three-tier system. Also, there’s no guarantee it will be in your neighborhood wine shop (so don’t get mad at Matthew when he tells you he can’t find it). Plus, since three-tier is constitutionally protected, there’s nothing you can do except complain to your distributor.

• The news stories say the rose will be dry. Please hold them to this. The 21st century wine business treats sweet and dry the same way Hollywood treats net and gross. In other words, it lies.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, let me know.

Yours in wine,
The Wine Curmudgeon

Winebits 581: Wine humor, Cooper’s Hawk, wine palates

wine humorThis week’s wine news: Even The Onion can’t make wine humor funny, plus Cooper’s Hawk may be for sale and women may not have better palates than men

Still not funny: The Onion, which can make almost anything funny, can’t do it with wine. A recent effort mostly recycled the cliches that have bored millions for decades, including this: “MYTH: Red wine lowers blood pressure. FACT: It’s probably not great that you’re so eager to justify drinking poison.” The blog has long considered why so much wine humor isn’t funny, but to no avail. One would think that wine offers so many targets that it would make us laugh without any effort. But apparently not. One scholarly paper, without naming wine, does offer an explanation about how humor works, and wine doesn’t really fit into any of them. Could it be that wine is so boring and cliched that wine humor is an oxymoron?

On the market? Cooper’s Hawk, the Illinois-based winery and restaurant with 25 units in nine states, may be the next target for restaurant conglomerate Darden, which owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. Ron Ruggles of Nation’s Restaurant News reports that the chain fits “quite well with what Darden would ideally seek.” And the 325,000-member wine club and 30 percent annual sales growth probably don’t hurt, either. The Wine Curmudgeon once judged with Cooper’s Hawk founder Tim McEnery at the Indy International, and famously told him the concept didn’t sound like it would be too successful.

Wine palates: Do women have better palates than man? That has been accepted for as long as I’ve been writing about wine, but one study says it may not be true. Research using wine competition scores says men and women taste wine with equal precision, something that bothered me when I read it. That’s because wine judging isn’t exactly tasting. As one expert says in the story, judging “is not very good sensory [evaluation] …. The sheer number of wines they go through in that time frame is hugely fatiguing. There has been some interesting work that shows that wine judging is very inconsistent.” So more work needs to be done.

“Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s overpriced wine all about?”

We’re talkin’ ’bout Curmudgeon. … Then we can dig it!

One of the highlights of my writing career was interviewing the legendary Gordon Parks, who — among many other things — directed “Shaft.” My apologies for this effort to the late Mr. Parks, as well as to Richard Roundtree, who played Shaft, and Issac Hayes, who wrote the theme.

But I just couldn’t help myself. Those wah-wah guitars always make me crazy. And, given all the foolishness in the wine world these days, don’t we need a giggle? Or even a groan? I can certainly dig that.

Parks told me the opening scene, part of which is pictured in the video, was shot live. When Roundtree bumps into the car, he really bumps into the car. The idea, Parks said, was to make New York look as real as possible, and to give the movie its gritty, urban look. Which it does.

A tip o’ the WC’s fedora to WineParody, whose Robert Parker epic is the standard by which these efforts are judged. Make sure you turn captions on when you watch the video; you can make the captions bigger or change their color by clicking on the settings gear on the lower right. The original video is courtesy of Margo Shares via YouTube.

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