Thursday, November 20, 2014


And I thought the day would never arrive.

Today, the 3rd Thursday of November, is traditionally "Beaujolais Nouveau  Day", when the fresh pressed juice of the Gamay grape is rushed into bottles and shipped from Beaujolais around the world to celebrate this year's harvest and to portend the quality of the traditionally aged and bottled Beaujolais yet to come.

I will report back here as soon as I've secured a few bottlings to sample. I'll be roasting  a turkey tonight for dinner, and making some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes to go alongside, to test this year's Nouveau's legs in advance of next week's big food orgy. So check back here later today and tonight.

And now that the dust has settled after the evening meal, let me tell you about this year's Nouveau. First of all, buy it. It's going to be a good year for Beaujolais. Lots of strawberry and blueberry in the nose, and some of that green vineyard aroma that makes you think of a walk in the vineyard. I personally love that about Nouveau, that you taste the entire cycle of the wine from earth to vine to grape to drink. So few wines ever give you that gift, unless you get to visit a winery and taste a new wine from the siphon.

But the drink is what is so  worth it this year: blackberries, wild blackberries right up front in that first sip, wild Oregon blackberries like the ones I found alongside the highways outside of Portland, big blasts of juice. Then nice, round jammy grapes, nicely sweet with a little tang. The wine bounced nicely off my herb-roasted turkey,  nicely counterpointing the sage and marjoram pepper, salt and oregano that I rubbed all over the turkey. Married well with the oniony, celery stuffing I made as well.  A nice finishing dryness to this year's Nouveau, too, cutting nicely through the buttery mashed potatoes and gravy.

Sipping a glass now, after dinner, this year's  wine has enough to pair with a nibble of  cheese, maybe a medium to sharp cheddar, nothing complicated.. But you will definitely be able to enjoy this wine on its own, long after you've basked in the compliments for pouring it at Thanksgiving. It's that good.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


You've gotta give new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver credit. The man has balls. And he knows what makes the NBA world go 'round.

In a league that is 80% African American, and with a team in a city that is heavily populated with Hispanics, what Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling thinks in private and says in private is still his business, but once it becomes public, no matter HOW it becomes public, you can't turn back. You can't put the genie back in the bottle, the toothpaste back in the tube, whatever analogy you wanna use. 

The league was on the brink of a league-wide player boycott, the exit of substantial sponsorship dollars, and national/international ridicule. And Adam Silver, the OTHER 29 owners, and the 450+ players, were not about to suffer through that. 

Money talks, and exposed racism walks. And Adam Silver knows that. And now, so does Donald Sterling.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


It has probably been years since I'd actually opened and tasted a Budweiser. But last night, I broke down and bought a six pack of those uniquely shaped cans and popped one open. Beautiful yellow pour, bright white head.  Gentle subtle aroma of, well, it was absolutely 100% Budweiser aroma. I could almost smell the beechwood and rice (yes, they use rice).  Big bright light crisp first sip, playful bubbles (they tickled my nose!), with a lingering Budweiser finish.

Something in Annheuser-Busch beers has always given me a headache. I've been told by brewer friends that there is something they put in the beer to make the head white that often doesn't agree with some people. Well, I am one of them, and I waited for the headache as I sipped each sip, sip after sip, until my glass was empty.  The head ache will come soon enough, I guess.

But I have seen the light.  I have been missing this experience for most of my life and now I feel free. I have grown SO tired of craft beer, so tired of the bourbon barrel aging, so tired of the hop varietals, so tired of the brettomyces, so tired of the wild yeasts running free. So tired of the collaborations, the blends, the bombers, the brewpubs, the tickets for Pliny the Elder and his son/nephew, Pliny the Younger, so weary of the wait for Pliny the Great Grandfather and Pliny The Grandmama.  I mean, what ever happened to simple , plain yellow beer with a bubbly white head (that tickles your nose!)?

This is my beer now.The voice of George Clooney in all those Bud commercials has finally broken through and spoken to me. And I have heard. And I have acted on what I have heard. And I have drunk the bright yellow beer and it was good. I can endure the headaches.

I'm a Bud man now.

Monday, March 17, 2014


The gaps between posts here have been growing larger in the past two years, and I don't really have a good explanation, but this time of year always gets my attention and ruffles my feathers and gets me writing about my favorite sporting event:  the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament, forever re-dubbed by CBS Sports as March Madness.

I am falling for every bracket contest out there, from those sponsored by local hoagie joints, to the more visible and popular bracket challenges from ESPN, CBS Sports (of course), P.C. Richard & Sons (the regional appliance retailer), and yes, that silly "Billion Dollar Challenge" from Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports that promises to pay you $1 billion of Warren Buffett's money if you happen to fill out a perfect bracket.

I believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny, and I'm ready for the Zombie Apocalypse, too.

But I'll still fill out any and all brackets that I find.  I like the challenge, and lately, I've been pretty good at it. Even won a few things. Coupla TVs. Cash.  Gift cards. What good's a billion from a billionaire, if you don't at least try to win it, silly as it may be? Am I right, or am I right?

Good luck with YOUR brackets!