This Wine Kills Fascists

August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageThe question: Can California be a home for normal wines, at normal prices? We know it can be a home for ridiculous wines, and extraordinary wines, at prices befitting the adjectives we use to describe them.

But what about the sorts of table wines that Europe made us fall in love with all those years ago? Bistro wine, trattoria wine. Beaujolais, Dolcetto. You get the idea.

Kenny Likitprakong gets the idea, too. He’s the everything behind Hobo Wine Co. Aptly named. Kenny doesn’t own vineyards. He’s a hobo. He loves Woody Guthrie. He’s got a super loose attitude, but super tight principles and action. He represents the best of this country.

And his wines are just what I’m looking for: hand-picked grapes, wild yeasts (he, scientifically, calls them “uninoculated”), low alcohol (even the Zin has 13.6% alc!), no crap-addition or funny stuff in the cellar. The wines are limpid, supple, nuanced, and real. They don’t cost tons of money. The only unfortunate thing is that wines like this, from a place like that, are still in the minority.

The Vouvray-Tokaji Connection

July 25, 2013 § Leave a comment


Don’t follow the grape. Don’t even follow the region. Follow the actual spirit of the thing. I love acidity-laced wines with huge mouthfeel. That’s my spirit-center:  wines that are both ringing with juicy snap and grounded with luxe-y heft. Spätlese as a way of life. Rare.

Prayers answered: Huet Vouvray and Kiràlyudvar Tokaji. Spiritual cousins. White wine for grown-ups. Read on.

Dry Creek Vineyard, the Tom Hanks of Sonoma County?

May 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dependable. Kind. Interesting, with a subtle edgy streak mostly kept under wraps. I usually want adventuresome wines that set me off kilter. Sometimes I don’t. That’s what Dry Creek Vineyard wines are for: when you want something very good but very consistent.


The ever elegant DCV Sauvignon Blanc

Ruffle feathers tomorrow. Today, settle in and settle down. Here’s my take on a benchmark-y, stable, classic line-up of wines from California that will break few-to-no balls, bones, habits,  relationships or banks.

Chenin blanc, not just for Vouvray anymore, but always for Thanksgiving

November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I think “Vouvray” rolls off the tongue better than “Malbec”, and tastes a helluva lot better too, but people don’t buy Vouvray the way they buy Malbec. So, maybe the mellifluous “Chenin” is the better way to get people drinking more wine made from this tantalizing, slightly mysterious varietal.

My column in this week’s Portland Press Herald celebrates the noble Chenin Blanc grape as it is nurtured by appropriate soils and climates outside of the fabled Loire Valley. Specifically, in South Africa — where, in one of the wines, Chenin is blended with deskinned Pinotage! — as well as Washington’s Columbia Valley and Sonoma County’s Dry Creek. Your Thanksgiving table (and guests) will repay you with many, many thanks…

Thanksgiving in France. Nothing says “turkey” like the Loire…

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I just got an email promoting a seminar on how to pair wine for Thanksgiving that spoke of how “difficult” it is to find the right matches for America’s National Food Day. Hogwash! It’s so easy, because the foods range all over the flavor spectrum. You just need wines that have high acidity, low alcohol, and a touch of sweetness. Oh, right, for so many winemakers, wine writers and wine drinkers, that is difficult! Sorry, I forgot.

Anyway, my Portland Press Herald column today explores Thanksgiving wine by way of applauding Cynthia Hurley French Wines, an outstanding importer of wines from France. I emphasize Hurley’s Loire selections because they’re exemplary, but the portfolio represents many great French regions. Drink ’em all year, but there’s no better time than now to get acquainted…

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