Archive for the ‘Wine and Life’ Category

When I recently wrote a cover story on wine and pregnancy for a local newspaper, I got lots of feedback—equal parts negative and positive. That much I was expecting. What I wasn’t expecting was the strong reaction so many readers had to my brief reference to a “home glass”—so named, to borrow from the article, “because you are unlikely to get a pour this generous anywhere but at home, when you yourself are doing the pouring.”

Drinking during pregnancy? Who cares. You want to stir passions and find resonance with your readers, start talking about the glass of wine you pour yourself at home after a long day. People just love their home glass, and it’s not just about the quantity—or even the quality—of what it contains. It seems to have much more to do with the mood it lifts, erases, or evokes. The person with whom it’s shared. The stories told while sharing it. The food and/or family drama it’s paired with; the adventures planned or remembered over sips, gulps, tastes, and toasts.

For all those reasons, I’m adopting The Home Glass as this blog’s new moniker. In the days and weeks that follow, I’ll be adding more images and posts that fit this theme—and I’ll do my best to make it a generous pour.

This is not a home glass. Photo by Danny Palmerlee.


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My husband and I both love gin-and-tonics, but only one of us (guess who) believes that they can’t be served after Labor Day—so only one of us is feeling a little sad that today’s G&T will be her last of the year.

The question of whether such rules matter made me wonder if any comparable rules exist in the world of wine. The only example I could think of was Beaujolais Nouveau, which is released every year on the third Thursday of November and—for reasons having to do with both taste and marketing—is usually consumed soon thereafter.

Nothing speaks better to matters of culinary tradition than the Joy of Cooking, so I consulted our copy and found a recipe for May Wine, which is meant to be consumed only in the spring. But May Wine—made from dry white wine, powdered sugar, carbonated water, and sprigs of something called waldmeister—is essentially a punch, so that doesn’t count…

Thinking that perhaps this is more an etiquette question than a culinary one, I turned to Emily Post, but all she has to say on the matter is that only wine (as opposed to cocktails) should be served at luncheons—unless there are men present, in which case the hooch can flow freely. Oh Emily

But while I don’t think we need to get sexist about it, I’m also not really one for cocktails before 5 p.m., except for Bloody Marys on Thanksgiving. And lest that makes me sound like too much of a rules freak, I’ll give the final word on the topic to this guy.

Happy Labor Day!

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This year’s Outside Lands festival, taking place August 14 and 15 in Golden Gate Park, is showcasing more than just big bands — Kings of Leon, Al Green, Phoenix, and The Strokes among them. It also features what the festival’s organizers are billing — probably accurately — as “the most extensive wine tasting to be found at a U.S. music festival.”

The festival’s Wine Lands will consist of a a large tent in the park, where wine-thirsty festival-goers have 75 different wines to choose from. Notables on the list of 25 participating wineries include Ridge, Hess, Bonny Doon, Pine Ridge, and Robert Sinksey, and Berkeley’s A Donkey & Goat winery will be serving up its Mendocino Grenache in a keg.

Wines will be sold by the taste and by the glass. For more information, visit http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/wine.

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Wine and life—or at least wine and pop culture—intersected in two very enjoyable ways for me last week. I happened upon the first in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, which is my daily paper of choice (I suffer the pun-filled headlines and painful editorial page for the outstanding culture and food-and-wine features). The Journal has just added two new wine columnists: Jay McInerney and Lettie Teague. McInerney has long written about wine for the now-defunct House & Garden magazine, and his two books on wine, A Hedonist in the Cellar and Bacchus and Me, are collections of those H&G columns.

I love his new column in the Journal—it’s brimming with evocative, conversational descriptors, like when he compares Dom Pérignon pink Champagne to the actress Julianne Moore, whom he had just run into in the West Village. Teague’s column is equally impressive, but there’s a bit more ‘wine industry insider’ in her tone—which makes sense, given her longtime status as wine editor for Food and Wine magazine. The two writers will share the On Wine column, appearing on alternate Saturdays.

Later in the day that marked McInerney’s column debut, I happened to rent A Good Year, the Russell Crowe adaptation of Peter Mayle’s novel about a London financier who gives up—not quite voluntarily—his manic urban existence to run a long-lost uncle’s vineyard in Provence. The plot is a bit thin, but the film is pure eye candy. Pair it with a nice Bandol.

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