Friday, December 14, 2012

Five predictions for 2013

2012 has been an eventful year in the wine industry. There are more licensed American wineries than ever before (almost three times as many wineries as breweries...). California (and Colorado) had a bumper crop of high (not exceptional) quality. The Rudy Kurniawan story made headlines in the non-wine world after he was arrested for producing and selling millions of dollars of fraudulent wine. And in probably the biggest news that wasn't really wasn't that big (see yesterday's post), Robert Parker, Jr. announced that he was stepping down as editor-in-chief of the Wine Advocate, opening a second office in Singapore and sold a share of the ownership to three Asian investors (rumor is they aren't all Asian...). So what will 2013 bring in terms of worthy wine news?

Here are five prognostications:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

So I lied... (or at least a change of heart)

Yesterday, I tweeted that I was abstaining from writing a blog post about Robert Parker, Jr.'s announcement regarding the changes taking place at the Wine Advocate. I had a change of heart. This seemingly game-changing news story has been so blown out of proportion that I figured I had to throw my two cents (and common sense) into the bloggers' ring of buffoonery. Yes, the way this announcement was handled could have been improved, but that seems to be Lettie Teague's fault (which comes back to Parker for personally selecting her to write the story). Aside from that, this news isn't really worthy of the massive attention it has received.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Celebrating a safe return

Sparkling wine is all too often reserved only for celebrations. New Year's Eve, promotions, weddings and the birth of a new child are all typical occasions for open a bottle of bubbly. I most certainly believe that sparkling wines should be drunk as often as white and red wines. As regular readers will now, for most of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, I opened a bottle of sparkling wine every week to continue the celebration of the birth of my first child, Benjamin. While each bottle was in a way a celebration of Ben, sparkling wine became a regular part of our routine for one year. This journey allowed my wife and I to explore a style of wine that we often neglected. It was quite eye opening that changed the way my wife and I approached sparkling wine.

One thing that didn't change throughout that year was the fact that sparkling wine is still the go-to wine for commemorating significant events in our lives. So, when my younger brother returned from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan it only made sense to open something sparkling. Any soldier's safe return home is something that should be celebrated, but showing my, and my family's, bias my brother's return is all the more special. My brother and I don't always see eye-to-eye politically and I wasn't a huge advocate of his joining the Army a few years ago. And when he decided to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician, my whole family wondered why he wanted to do perhaps the most dangerous job in all of the Army. For those who don't know what EOD is, watch The Hurt Locker. My brother has been to Iraq and Afghanistan and most likely seen things that most of us only get a Hollywood version of on the big screen. Having him home is a wonderful feeling that only others with family members in the military can fully understand.

Ben saying, "Welcome home!"
After the Captain retired to bed following a long series of flights home, my parents and I went back to my house and opened a bottle of 2005 J Vineyards & Winery Vintage Brut to celebrate his safe return. It didn't matter that the wine offered a wonderful toasty and appley nose. The rich yeasty, fruity palate didn't mean much. The long finish that followed delicious marzipan and butterscotch apple flavors seemed trivial. All that mattered in those moments were that my family, along with a handful of other families, was able to celebrate the safe return of a brave individual who risked his life so that we could enjoy something as insignificant as a wonderful bottle of wine.