Sunday, December 29, 2013

The O-N-D Winelovers Diet

Hint: Eat lots of fruit
The wine and food industry can take its toll. Days of tastings followed by lunches, dinners and more tastings. No one’s complaining but after 30 years the wines (and the pounds) add up. The high selling season known as O-N-D (October-November-December) represents the lion’s share of wine and spirits sold during any year. Those of you who have followed this blog have been subjected to posts about O-N-D and the various intricacies. Hey, I don’t have scads of beautiful babies to show off. O-N-D is my baby.

And as any mother will tell you, losing weight after giving birth to one of those beauties is no small task.

On September 29, I’d had it. The scale was tipping in a direction I swore I’d never take. I tightened my resolve and took the plunge.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Milestone on the Wine Trail in Italy

Dec 28, 2005, eight years ago, I started On The Wine Trail Italy. There weren't a lot of wine bloggers back then. Hell, electricity had just been discovered a few years before and the internets were still in diapers. But here we are now, 1,100 blog posts and millions of hits later. Thanks, Tracie, for being my first commenter. Now you have a husband and two kids because of it.

Thank you all for reading, encouraging and putting up with my twice weekly posts all these years. I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Just getting warmed up over here...

And yes, I will post Italian Wine in 2014 - Personal Strategies for Collecting - Part II, next week.

After I write ( and post) The O-N-D Winelovers Diet.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Italian Wine in 2014 - Personal Strategies for Collecting - Part I

Im very worried. The world is getting flatter. And with that folks, in every corner are finding out about wine. And they are collecting it. Until now, many of the collectors have been collecting classified growth Bordeaux, grand marque Champagne, small production Burgundy and thoroughbred Napa Valley reds. But pricing and availability of those wines have headed into the stratosphere. They have become wine for the 1%.

This isn’t news. I remember a mentor who once lamented that he when he got into the business he could get a bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild for $4.00. A few days after he told me, I spied a half bottle of 1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild for $25.00 and thought “my how times have changed.” Yeah, and how they keep changing.

I’ve had my share of 1% moments. You won’t find me crying in my beer. Over the years I have sold, collected and tasted the wines of Gaja, Giacosa, Conterno's Monfortino, Sassicaia, Solaia, Biondi-Santi, Case Basse di Soldera, Dal Forno and Quintarelli. These are the some of the wines several friends have told me are starting to surface in the auction houses, some with possible questionable provenance. One friend went so far as to tell me that there is a place deep inside China where these labels are being reproduced at an alarming pace. I shudder to think, but I am not surprised. Reports say the recent trial and conviction of Indonesian wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan is just the “tip of the iceberg.” And while much of the report centers on wine other than Italian, the day will come when we hear more Italian wines surfacing from God knows where.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Mystery of Italian Wine

Recently I spent a day with some of the brightest mystery writers in America. Long a fan of the Judge Dee series and the Inspector Montalbano mystery series (tip of the hat to Eric Asimov, who turned me on to them), I admit Italian wine can be a bit of a whodunit as well. Mystery writers understand setting and plot better than most. While there is no shortage of either in the Italian landscape, better writing about Italy and Italian wines is getting harder to sort out among the constant noise of the internets.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Old California Wine

From the "What's old is new again" dept

Holidays are the perfect time to bring out the wines you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Food, relaxed times, friends and family; what are you saving it for? Many of us who have been drinking wine and collecting the stuff have these little time bombs waiting top go off in our glasses. Open some of them this year.

This week, after our recent trip to far North Texas, my pal Hank offered to open some of the wines we found at my pals place. It was a Petite Sirah (and Syrah) night with some of the regular guys that I taste with in a relaxed, un-academic setting. In other words we sit around, drink and eat and talk about women, not wine. The good news, I am the youngest guy in the group, the baby. Which is rare these days.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Chianti: An Elusive Arrangement, Wrapped in a Fiasco, Inside a Conundrum

How is it classic wine regions like Bordeaux, Napa, the Mosel, are relatively easy to follow but Tuscany’s Chianti zone is still baffling to me and others? This question has been one I have asked for decades. I’ve read every book I could get my hands on. Traveled to the region countless times. Tasted, tasted, tasted, year after year. And still the idea of Chianti has yet to set up in my mind in a way in which I actually can say “I get it.” Is this my grail?

Friday, December 06, 2013

“The world belongs to those who let go.” - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Late in posting, due to winter storm.

Yesterday in Austin for a Chianti class I was putting on for the trade. Great crowd, young trade folk and some of the brightest sommeliers in Austin were on hand to gather insights about Sangiovese, etc. Really happy we did it, even with the crazy weather heading towards Texas. Thanks, all who came.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

From the Cellar of a North Texas Gentleman

Imagine if you will, the autumn of 1981, when I got my first job in the wine distribution industry. I had a young son and needed to be home during normal hours. I left the restaurant side and came over to the wholesale world. One of my first managers, an old guy (probably younger than I am now), his name was Lee High. He was a by-the-book sales manager, had seen it all. A pretty nice guy and very well experienced in the business. He told me a couple of things I never forgot. The first one was that this business was cyclical and as the year unfolded there would be sequences that one could see and these patterns would pretty well much replay every year. More or less. The other thing he told me was that December 1 was traditionally the busiest billing day of the year for wholesale.
Real Time Analytics