Midtown Wines and Spirits

DIY Cellars — Cheap But Functional

07/18/2011

I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the first few paragraphs of Tim Fish’s latest blog entry over at WineSpectator.com. If you’re into wine and have a significant other who isn’t quite as passionate as yourself, you may have experienced this type of situation — I know I have. But now my fiance and I have a nice little agreement that allows us to avoid any confrontations: I don’t ask her how much her purses/shoes/(insert fashion item here) cost, and she doesn’t ask about my wine purchases.

Ain't fancy, but this works just fine for me.

Here’s a snippet of of the blog:

“My first wine cellar was a lame attempt no matter how you looked at it; I was young and my discretionary income bought 10 minutes on a parking meter. But I had the wine bug and had it bad.

Loitering in wine shops became a favorite hobby. I’d buy a good $10 or $20 bottle on the weekends and occasionally splurge. I still remember the day I bought a Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989 for $45 and worried how I’d explain it when I got home.

Like many new collectors, I avoided explaining it and stashed it in the closet when the wife wasn’t looking. Since she didn’t ask, I wasn’t technically lying, right? I couldn’t help it, wine was my mistress, and I rationalized everything, like all cheating husbands do.

I’m not alone in the ‘what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her’ school of wine collecting. A few years back, I wrote a story titled ‘Inside the Mind of a Wine Collector,’ and Michael Davis of Chicago auction house Hart Davis Hart told me, ‘Hiding purchases is not unusual at all.’” Click here to read the rest of his blog.

You don’t have to have a massive cellar to be a collector. Whether you keep 15 bottles tucked away in the corner of a closet or 1500 in a temperature controlled room, your wine collection is what you make of it. It’s all about having a passion and wanting to learn. It’s fun to pick a favorite bottle of wine and see how it evolves over the course of five or 10 years.

Then again, you must have at least a modicum of patience to make it happen. For some, laying a bottle down for even six months may seem impossible to do, but I would encourage everyone to try it.

So tell me then, is wine your “mistress”?

Memorial Day Wines — Zin, Malbec and More!

05/26/2011

Before diving into our options for wines with your barbecue, burgers and such, let’s all take a few minutes to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

While it may be the unofficial starting point for Summer, Memorial Day is really about remembering all the brave men and women who have died in our armed forces while serving the cause of freedom. Be sure to thank a soldier if you see one and take a few moments to remember those who have died so that we may continue to live and enjoy our nation’s freedoms.

And now… on to the wine!

Some people make ribs and grill barbecue chicken. Others whip up some burgers or throw a nice ribeye over some charcoal. Maybe you throw in some hot dogs or sausage to go with the cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans. But then comes the question — what to drink?

Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Run from Merlot

05/04/2011

One of the most well-known wines in the United States, Merlot has suffered of late. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still immensely popular. Yet in critical wine circles, it suffers from the preconceived notion that much of it is thin, bland and just downright boring.

And in many cases, this assumption is in fact correct. But in equally as many cases, merlot can provide beautiful experiences. From Washington bargains like Columbia Crest’s H3 bottling to top-shelf Napa bottlings from the likes of Duckhorn and Shafer, this is a wine worth a second look.

And don’t let the signature tagline from Sideways deter you: “I’m drinking any *$%!*@% merlot!”

Take a look at the latest blog from The Wine Spectator’s Tim Fish, “Fear and Loathing with Merlot,” for his take on this perplexing grape variety:

I’ve been drinking California Merlot for 20 years, and it still makes me crazy. It’s one of the most popular red wines in the United States, but so much of it is damn boring.

The funny thing is, I still like drinking it. As Wine Spectator’s lead critic for California Merlot since 2005, I’ve come to appreciate the challenges.

Merlot’s reputation as a soft and supple red is only partially deserved in California. In the 1990s, wineries and growers all over the state planted Merlot with the assumption it would thrive. It didn’t.

California learned what France found out long ago. Merlot is a persnickety grape, good for blending but challenging by itself. It’s every bit as difficult to grow and just as finicky about the growing season as Pinot Noir…”

Read the rest of his blog by clicking here, and come on by to ask us to for our recommendations!

Wine Giant Jess Jackson Dies at Age 81

04/21/2011

Few people had a greater impact on American wine than Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson, who passed away early this morning at the age of 81. He personified the American Dream — he began as a dockworker in San Francisco in the 1950s and wound up a self-made billionaire, revolutionizing the wine industry in the process.

Here’s what The Wine Spectator’s Tim Fish had to say about Jackson in today’s article, “In Memoriam: Jess Jackson” –

Jess Jackson, who built a wine empire around Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, becoming a self-made billionaire and one of the most influential and controversial producers in the United States, died in Sonoma County early this morning. He was 81 years of age. The intensely private Jackson reportedly had been undergoing treatment for melanoma for several years.

During nearly three decades, Jackson launched or acquired more than 30 wine brands in California, Italy, South America, Australia and France. Combined, they currently produce more than 5 million cases annually. In addition to Kendall-Jackson, the labels include La Crema, Stonestreet, Cardinale, Arrowood and Matanzas Creek in California, Villa Arceno in Italy, Yangarra in Australia and Château Lassègue in Bordeaux.

Jackson was a maverick by nature, often mercurial and unabashedly competitive. A savvy businessman, he preferred to meet challenges head-on. “I think he enjoyed a good scrap,” said winemaker Richard Arrowood, a friend of many years who later worked for Jackson for four years. “He was a pistol, no two ways about it. But no one could ever call him stupid.”

Jess Stonestreet Jackson was born Feb. 18, 1930, and was raised in San Francisco’s working-class Sunset District. His introduction to wine came while breaking bread with Italian neighbors who made wine at home. Laboring at the docks in San Francisco and as a Berkeley policeman, he worked his way through the University of California at Berkeley, where he also graduated from Boalt Law School…

Click here to read the rest of the article at Wine Spectator.


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