Benevolent Wine Dictator Strikes Again

July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

You know how when there’s something you know something about, and you talk with someone who’s interested in that something but has her or his facts a bit screwy, but thinks she or he knows quite a bit, and you want to correct the misinformation but don’t want to come off like a jerk, so you’re caught between fake-smiling and letting it go, or bringing the knowledge hammer down, and in the aftermath you resent yourself for either the fake abiding or the heavy-handed pedantry?

That was how I started my Portland Press Herald wine column last week. The rest of what I wrote was my way of exploring the best way to be of true help when you know something someone doesn’t.

Along the way, I mention some particular wines I like a lot — Chablis, Pinot Noir, Riesling — which betray many calcified notions we have of grape variety, region and style.

The big lesson is: Kill your idols, smash your categories. Every moment is a new one, and the primary purpose of your knowledge is to help you see how little you know. Knowledge to make you more curious, less rigid, more open and accepting.

Drown me in Beaujolais! Vielle if possible, but I’ll take Nouveau

November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Beaujolais needs the what-the-hell-it’s-November-I’ll-buy-a-bottle-of-Nouveau masses to step up their game, and the Gamay-is-great-but-only-in-Morgon-or-another-fancy-Cru snobs to step down theirs. My column in the Portland Press Herald today is the field on which we all can play games together. And play we should. Play is what Beaujolais is all about.

This year I ended up charmed and accepting with the Nouveau (Joseph Drouhin’s more than Georges Duboeuf’s), and delighted deep-style by one particular non-Cru Old-Vines Beaujolais, from the splendid Pierre-Marie Chermette (which also got a shout-out today, coincidentally [?] by Eric Asimov in the New York Times). The latter is so pure, so supple and joyous, you’ll probably want to keep drinking nothing else for a long time.

Nouveau is a fun game of hopscotch on the driveway. The Chermette is a more involved, hours-long, soul-satisfying capture-the-flag contest at summer camp. Either way you go, please join in our game.

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