Wine: Eternal In Our Minds, Not On Our Shelves


I had a customer come in the other day looking for a bottle of Ridge Monte Bello. The thing is, he didn’t just want any old bottle. He was specifically looking for the 1995 vintage.

“1995?” I sputtered. “Yeah, you won’t find anything that old in our store. You’d be hard pressed to find it anywhere.”

The customer seemed confused. “A wine from 1995 is old?”

In the end, the whole endeavor was pointless, as we didn’t even have a current vintage of the Monte Bello available, but it illustrates a curious and commonly held misconception: that wine lasts forever. Much like the concept of “love at first sight” and astrology, these notions are deeply ingrained in culture, and difficult to root out.

I can tell you definitively, though: wine is not eternal.

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Chardonnay, Reviews, Varietal, Wine Reviews

Wine Review: Quimay Chardonnay 2012

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Get down with the Southern Hemisphere.

Naturally, right after writing an article about how oak is not to blame for the butteriness of Chardonnay, I end up running a tasting with a buttery Chardonnay that is not oaky. Full disclosure: the wine is only available at BevMo, and I happen to work for BevMo (part time, retail wine specialist). Implied conflict of interests aside, I promise to be fair in my assessment of the wine.

The Quimay Chardonnay is full of both varietal rhyme and locational Q’s, hailing from the exotic-sounding and deceptively-easy-to-pronounce Argentine region of Neuquen (Wikipedia has directed me to pronounce it as “new ken”). This is the first wine I’ve had from the region, which is evidently arid yet cool–or at least cooler than its confederate Argentine regions–giving the wines produced there characteristics unique from your typical Mendoza wine.

And the Quimay Chardonnay is certainly unique. Right off the bat, you get a lot of earthiness and minerality off the nose, with wet hay and limestone coming up strong, along with a good dose of green apple, nectarine, and a decided yeastiness, which–according to the tasting notes–comes from the natural yeast fermentation used in the production of the wine.  Take a sip, and right away you notice how heavy and creamy the texture of the wine is, though in spite of that creaminess the wine still retains a medium-high acidity and is quite dry, with crisp green apple and grapefruit peel coming in hard and fast, along with a hint of lemon custard and pineapple. The finish is fairly long and mouth coating, echoing with hints of toasty meyer lemons. Visually, the wine sits rich yellow in the glass with a slight green tinge to it.

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Chardonnay, Commentary, Varietal

Buttery Chards: Who the Hell Are You Calling Oaky, Pal?



California is known for its big, oaky, B-52 Butter-Bomber Chardonnays, but lately there’s been an emerging shift towards the drier, more traditional (read: French) stainless steel approach. As this trend gains more and more momentum, the number of customers who come up to me and say “I hate big oaky Chards” has dramatically increased. However, lately I’ve begun to wonder:

Do they even know what “oaky” means…?

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Progress marches on, but at what cost?

Reviews, Wine Reviews

Wine Review: Coppola Director’s Cut Merlot

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Not bad from the guy who directed Captain Eo…

Francis Ford Coppola isn’t exactly new to the world of wine (let’s be honest: he’s made more quality vintages in the last decade than movies), yet I am often met with skepticism when I suggest a Coppola wine to a customer. Their suspicions are understandable: it’s not usually a good sign when famous people choose to redirect their careers into ventures unrelated to what they’re known for, like when Eddie Murphy recorded that music album, or when Ronald Reagan decided to dabble in politics. However, not all celebrities should be condemned to the creative legacies they built during–and were consequently unable to sustain beyond–the 1970’s, and in the case of Coppola, some of them are even able to make a tasty wine here and there.

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In Defense of the Classic Gimlet (and its most Traditional Constituent)


In this day and age of muddled fruit and 7 ingredient cocktails, the simplicity of the old classics can be a refreshing change of pace, and no cocktail in the classical repertoire could be simpler than the Gimlet. But for a drink with nothing but gin and lime juice in it, how is it possible that so many bartenders manage to mess it up?

Now, I should qualify upfront what I consider to be a quality gimlet: brisk and tangy, a good hit of limey-ness, but not so much that the character of the gin is drowned out completely. If you wish to experience the Owen Ideal of gimlets at home, here is my preferred recipe:

The Owen Ideal Gimlet

  • 2 oz. gin, dry as the dickens.
  • 3/4 oz. Rose’s lime juice.

Give it a reasonable shake, serve up in an old school martini glass (none of this giant 8 oz. martini glass nonsense, please). Stick a lime wheel on the edge of the glass and pretend Jayne Mansfield is eyeing you from across the bar.

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So, apparently we are infusing fluids with fluids now…


Bold new markets to be capitalized upon!