Glory Be to the Blind Taster

I think this was taken around wine #20...

I think this was taken around wine #20…

The other night, one of my accounts spontaneously invited me to a blind tasting party at her house. It was a flattering gesture. I guess once people start inviting you to parties you really are part of the “industry.” Honor aside, I always jump at the chance to blind taste some wine. There’s a certain thrill in being able to determine more or less what’s in your glass based on nothing more than the sight, smell and taste of what’s been poured, especially if there are other people in the room and you’re determining it better than them.

Of course, like any test of wits, you can hedge the bets in your favor if your clever. Continue reading

Food, Reviews, Wine

My Dinner with Haggis

My friend invited me over for an honest to goodness Burns Supper the other night, and naturally my first thought was “What would be a good wine to pair with haggis?” I texted one of my wine friends asking for advice. Her response: “Don’t.”

It’s certainly an odd, maybe even blasphemous, thing to consider. The Scots aren’t known for their wine consumption, and their food certainly wasn’t developed with wine in mind (only someone drunk on Scotch could have ever thought haggis was a reasonable thing to invent). However, wine is a versatile thing and I figured if I was up to the challenge of eating haggis, there must be a wine out there up to the challenge of pairing with it.

Nothing says "appetizing" like ground organs bursting out of another organ.

Nothing says “appetizing” like ground organs bursting out of another organ.

Continue reading


photo (2)


Progress marches on, but at what cost?

Reviews, Wine Reviews

Wine Review: Coppola Director’s Cut Merlot

photo (1)

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.

Continue reading


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.

Continue reading


So, apparently we are infusing fluids with fluids now…


Bold new markets to be capitalized upon!


A Treatise on Taste, in lieu of a Proper Introduction

There's a difference.

The wine nerd in his native environment (not to be confused with a wine snob, which is different)

What is taste? Is it the sum of our neurological responses to environmental stimuli, or is it more significantly focused through the lens of cultural, experiential, and intellectual context than we are sometimes willing to admit? In other words, do things taste good, or do we simply decide to enjoy them?

The reason I ask is: I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. Yet I like tasting it.

This is the inherent paradox that shapes my perspective on the world of alcohol, a world on which I have suddenly and unexpectedly found my attentions focused. I do not enjoy alcohol under the most common and direct definitions — I don’t really like the way it tastes, I don’t particularly enjoy the experience of being drunk, nor do I seek such experiences out — and yet I enjoy alcohol very much by a wholly different set of standards: the experience of tasting different alcohols for comparison and understanding, exploring the history and context of different types of alcohol, and the social and aesthetic circumstances in which alcohol is enjoyed by others.

So do I actually like it, or am I just fooling myself?

Well, the real question is: are we all just fooling ourselves?

Continue reading