Oh, “natur-el”. Wine debate heats up.

March 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

My most recent column in the Portland Press Herald tries to untangle some of what’s at stake in the ongoing debates over…I hesitate even to use the phrase…”natural wine”. I really don’t think this is tempest-in-a-decanter stuff, despite the rolled eyes of many wine pros, sighing “here we go again” as if conversations about oak chips, sulfur, tartaric acid, and biodynamics aren’t actually what they (we)┬álive for.

Anyway, there are all kinds of call-outs in the recent press, especially at Gambero Rosso and Intravino. Regardless of where you stand, I think it’s an exciting set of discussions, and most importantly, many wines that are in one way or another allied with the “natural wine movement” are undeniably delicious. They can be strange (or not), they can get funky or play it straight. They are usually exciting. If you care about wine, and if you care about culture and where we’re all heading at this moment in world time, you owe it to yourself to participate in the conversation.

Which, by the way, I’ll pick up again soon in future posts and articles…talk to you then…

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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