Sunday, September 18, 2022

Wine, Watches & Cigars – Is There No Ceiling?

Recently, I popped into my local grocery store, Central Market, in Dallas. On the wall was a bottle of Château Pontet-Canet 2016 for $200.00.

On the Rolex website, one of their newest watches, a GMT-Master II “Pepsi” lists for $10,750 retail, but try and find one new for that price. On the secondary market though, you might be able to find one for twice retail.

I’m reading an article in Cigar Aficionado, and they’re talking about Cohiba Cuban cigars now retailing for over $100.

Before the great disruption event of 2016, you could have easily found a bottle of Pontet-Canet for under $80, still a price most people wouldn’t consider, except for maybe a special occasion, and well above the price I remember seeing the 1982 stacked in my local Safeway (for $12.99!). A Rolex, five years ago you could have gone into a local AD (authorized dealer) and picked one up, at retail. Still a pricey proposition, but reachable for folks with the means. And that Cohiba Splendido? Well, in Canada or Italy I saw them for about $10, back in the day. Still, a pricey smoke, but not a C-note!

Something is out of whack. Are we living in a world exclusively comprised of billionaires? Is there no ceiling on these consumer items? Have we all gone mad? Where in hell have we landed? Is there a way off of this planet?

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A World Without Italian Wine

Who among us could imagine a world without wine from Italy? Well, I’m sure there are those teetotalers who have and do. And there are those for whom alcohol is an addiction, and they as well could, and should, imagine such. But for those of us who are not controlled by alcoholic urges and for whom wine is a safe and healthy accompaniment to our meals and our friendships, wine no longer from Italy is unthinkable.

But not impossible. With threats from global climate change, changes in animal migrations, land wars, and general convulsive nature of our world, could Italian wine be wiped off the face of Earth?

Sunday, September 04, 2022

I Numeri Del Vino - My World in Italian Wine

eople who know me, know I have this thing about spread sheets. No, I’m not a bean counter or a number cruncher. I don’t even like the word “metrics,” as it triggers uncomfortable meetings with dull accountants. But I do like lists, and they often include numerical jottings.

For instance, I have a spread sheet on my cholesterol numbers going back to the mid 1980’s. And a list of all the foreign trips I have taken to Italy and elsewhere. I also have a spreadsheet which tells me what I have in my freezer. A list of my watches. A list of valuable coins I’ve inherited (watches and coins are vaulted up, folks). I have a spread sheet of the wines I have collected, so I can access any wine I want within seconds. Ditto for my vinyl LP and CD collection. You never know when one will want to spin Steely Dan’s Aja or Moondog’s Snaketime Series.

Sunday, August 28, 2022


From the archives

Bagging 'n Bragging

How many times do we have to read about it? Yes, some folks out there get to taste some amazing wines. But to open up the wine magazines or blogs and constantly have to be reminded how lowly we are because we didn’t taste a 10-year vertical of Gaja Darmagi or an 1852 Naval Reserve Madeira Sercial, really, how much of this can we take? I am on a riff about Elitism again, because it is rife in the 21st century of electronic wine literature. A wine lover opens up a whole slew of rare wines and invites a friend or two over and, Pow! An enthusiast or blogger has to regurgitate every wine, every nuance, every breath of their so wonderful evening. As if us knowing about it will make it greater for us? As if their life was all "A" side with no "B" side. Maybe for them. But really, is it?

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Why you can’t find your favorite natural wine at the local liquor shop.

I’ve often ventured into random wine and liquor stores across the globe. It can give one a cultural snapshot of a sort. What people sell and what people buy. What’s on the shelf and what’s not on the shelf. I’m often baffled, sometimes surprised, but seldom disappointed. I mean, we’re not looking for King Tut’s tomb in Flower Mound, Texas.

What intrigues me about any selection one finds in their local liquor store is the polarity between what the buyer thinks will sell and what some of us folks want to see in the store because it personally resonates with us. And I have to say, natural wine and the selection, or lack thereof, can offer a sociological cautionary tale, here in the bowels of America.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Why do you wish to explain my world to me?

This is going to be a bit of a ramble. But humor me. I think I’m going somewhere with this. It’s just going to take time to unpack this bag of seemingly disparate notions that recently came into confluence. I promise I’ll get to it, eventually.  

So, we’ve been watching this TV series at home called, “This Is Us.” We’re into the 5th season of six. It was a popular series, seen on broadcast television. We’re streaming it. Of course.

All this to say, when they got into the season of 2020, with Covid and George Floyd, a lot of issues between White and Black people in the series were laid bare. And it got me to thinking about my blind spots, with regard to Bipoc and Apida peoples.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

How to destroy your Italian wine legacy in one generation

The following is a pirated Zoom transcript from a putative conversation between two old friends – an ancient matriarch (Maria, or, M) of a renown Italian wine estate and her venerable importer (Carl, or, C) in the US. Howdy-do from an innermost and very particular cyber-labyrinth, seldom penetrated by we mere mortals.  

C: Hello darling, how goes it in the bowels of Italy in August? Are you somewhere cool and wet, I hope?

M: I wish, my dear. No, I am sequestered on our family estate, as my three nieces have Covid. They came for a visit and brought this dreadful virus with them.

C: Oh no! You poor dear. I hope your satellite internet is working, so the children can document their every breath on their Insta.

M: Of course. They live such fascinating lives and we all must keep up with it. What a time we live in, yes?

C: Tell me about it. Shall we jump right in?

M: Of course. Fire away, maestro.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Are “The Best Italian Wines” the Best We Can Do?

From the archives
I thought we might have dodged the bullet. You know, the one whereby all the wines of the country are judged by a few? France has had that moment a time or two. Lately it’s been in China, where Lafite ruled. Now it’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s turn.

Italy, ah Italy, land of wine for the everyday person. Maybe in Italy. But in the rest of the world, has Italy managed to escape the curse of the wine snob?

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Exclusive: Interview with a Bottle of Italian Wine

It’s been a while since we last chatted, so I figured it was time to set up the recorder and ask my favorite bottle of Italian wine how their life is these days. Come along for the ride, let’s see what they have to say for themself.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Italian Table & The Venus Flytrap

I grew up in a home where most of the meals were made from scratch. We didn’t eat a lot of frozen anything, except for ice cream. And we didn’t live in a time when processed foods were as prevalent as they are now. So, when I went to Italy for the first time, it wasn’t the revelatory experience it might have been for the average American. Most of the foods were pretty familiar, with a few regional exceptions. None the less, when I went to Italy, and I went a lot, I always looked forward to dining at the Italian table.

And at those tables, whether they were commercial enterprises like a restaurant or a trattoria, or a farm side or village meal, made by the local people who were involved with the farm or lived in the villages, it always seemed to be an uplifting experience, compared to what I was experiencing back in the US when working in the wine trade. Mind you, I had to eat at a lot of Italian restaurants in America for business. But they rarely achieved the heights of enjoying a meal in Italy.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Wine Trade’s Dirty Little Secret

For the past three weeks I’ve not been imbibing in alcoholic beverages, part of a seasonal cleanse, taking an active part in becoming healthier. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying wine isn’t healthy for you. Actually, wine has alcohol in it, and alcohol is pretty toxic. But we usually give wine a pass, because it is so delicious, and we have it with meals. And we age it, and fetishize it, and worship it. So, that must make it OK.

But really folks, the wine trade has a problem. A drinking problem.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

How to Optimize Your Wine Brand ~ A Press Junket Punch List

As promised, a constructive follow-up from an earlier post, Keep On Trucklin’ – Press Junkets in the Age of Disruption.

If you are a winery owner or a winemaker, here are some simple suggestions for you when pondering over sponsoring a wine junket for journalists/bloggers/micro bloggers, whether it be to Italy, South Africa or California’s Central Coast, etc.

First thing that I’d suggest is to consider why you are inviting strangers into your home. Are you trying to grow your brand? Increase your brand awareness? Throw some marketing money at the wine in the hopes it will differentiate you from your neighbor? You want it to stick, yes?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Gone Fishin'

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Featured Father ~ Albert Moulin

from the archives...He's been gone fifteen years, this son of New Orleans, father and mentor to so many of us. Al was one of the forefathers of wine in America. He was there at the beginning, right after World War II, when the budding wine industry got its start. A great story teller, a proud grandfather, a lover of women, a classic New Orleans chef, and a slave to the wine god, in the very best sense.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Keep On Trucklin’ – Press Junkets in the Age of Disruption.

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