Archive for April, 2008

“We are at an abyss”

The view from the MGM GrandJust before Garagiste Mike and I arrived in Las Vegas for the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention last week, actor Tim Robbins shot the moon in his keynote address, earning a press blackout and a “controversial” label on his remarks. The only controversy, of course, is that what he said about the state of broadcasting was controversial.

Enough is enough… Now is the time to move away from our lesser selves. Now is the time to stop making money on the misfortunes of others and the prurient and salacious desires of the public.

Amazingly, his speech seemed resonate across the political spectrum. As one Chicago conservative wrote in the comments below the original link in Advertising Age,

Hard to believe I agree with anything Tim Robbins or his odious partner has ever said. However, his speech was a 10 ring bulls-eye with which I fully agree and wholeheartedly support. I always saw him as Crash (Costner) did – “Meat.” But on this particular occaision I applaud his opinion efforts with[out] ambiguity or qualification. Well done Mr. Robbins – try and keep it up.

There’s some hope yet. Well worth the six minutes of your life it will take to watch the highlights here.

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Putting a cork in 2006

A Case \'o PeugeotSomewhere around 10pm last night, we stretched the last label over the last bottle of 2006 Peugeot, drawing to a close that plucky vintage. It’s kind of like putting the last fin-fold on a paper airplane and then flicking it into space — it could crash, it could sail, but aside from the momentum you put into the construction and the toss, its destiny is now pretty much out of your hands.

Based on what I tasted last night, though, I think it’ll float on the breeze quite elegantly for a while. Into a holding tank, we siphoned half of each of the barrels we’d put the blend into back in the fall, and then added half of the stainless steel container that held the rest of the blend. After bottling that, we siphoned what remained in each of those containers into the tank, bottling until the last dregs dripped through the hose. A pain in the ass, but the idea behind it was that each barrel probably evolved a little differently over the last 7 months, so bottling them one after the other would result in different wines. More critically, the wine stored in the stainless — because it had no further oak exposure after blending — was indeed tighter, so it at least had to be spread around.

We’d never bottled this much wine at one sitting, so while we knew it would be a slog, we didn’t really know how much of one. A few volunteers came early to think through the system, get it set up, and begin the first blend into tank, and then the full complement came a few hours later at 3. While the two blends into tank added to the time, it was, as always, the labeling that took for-effing-ever. We’ve got to figure out a better way to do that. If George hadn’t requested his cases come un-labeled, we might still be sticky with glue.

All in all, though, I think it was worth it. The Peug was remarkably fragrant in the tank, and it laid gracefully in the mouth with lovely ripe fruit, subtle tannin, and a good spine of acidity. Before we added the first portion from the stainless, it tasted round, full, and ready to slide down the gullet; after the tighter product from the stainless, it clenched up again, but it says to me that after a year or so, this one should be exceptionally lovely. That’s borne out by the 2005 Peug, which blossomed about 3 years out.

Mmmmmm… when is 2009 again? Pics from bottling after the break…
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Stratospheric record for Garagiste wines

Garagistes Proffer for Alice AuctionI just got word from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that the Garagistes package I donated to their Alice Awards fundraising auction pulled in a record haul: $285 smackers!

Contrats to the lucky (and so savvy) bidder — and thanks for supporting the BTA so generously!

Let’s break out the slide rule. In addition to DVDs of Life in Vine, The Real Dirt on Pinot Noir, and Mondo Ego, the package included a temporal panorama of Garagiste flavors:

    2003 Klipsun Cabernet
    2004 Peugeot
    2005 Cabernet Franc
    2005 Peugeot
    2006 Merlot
    2006 Deux-Chevaux

So, let’s stipulate that the DVDs made up $75 of the price ($25 each – what a deal!). That leaves $210 for the six bottles, or $35 each. Since the 6-pack we donated to the Auction last year pulled in $22.50 each, that’s a new world record!

Start screaming in earnest, Screaming Eagle

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Winners and… us

Just back from traveling in California, I learned that sadly, the ultimate prize in the American Wine Blog Awards has eluded us. As emcee Tom Wark put it in announcing the winners, “it was not even close”: Alder Yarrow’s Vinography creamed the competition.

And rightly so. As Tom succinctly notes, “I don’t know a blogger more serious about what he does than Alder.” As I mentioned in a previous post, the guy is tireless — and he actually has a real, and quite demanding job, to boot. We’re lucky to rub the sand out of our eyes and post once a week; he posts with authority and detail pretty much every day. Considering the quantity and quality of what he produces, there’s no question that the award went to the right blog. Congrats, Alder!

But enough about winners; what about us? Is there any way we can slip past the Vinography juggernaut next year? Well, I have a plan: we compete in categories which Alder can’t possibly enter, and therefore win. For example:

  • “Best Overall Wine Blog Produced in a Basement”
  • “Best Use of ‘Ent’ and ‘Van Halen’ in the Same Post”
  • “Best Blog with Worst French Grammar” (see “Les Blog,” for starters)
  • “Best Red Sox Coverage in a Wine Blog”
  • “Most Disgraceful Use of Sex To Sell a Post about Wine Machinery”
  • “Blog most likely to be Sued by a French Car Manufacturer if it is Ever Unwise Enought to Turn Pro”

What, those aren’t real categories? Damn. We’re doomed…

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