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Eric Asimov

Are SF Sommeliers Sustainable?

In a bizarre coincidence Jon Bonné of the Chronicle and Eric Asimov of the New York Times wrote and published eerily similar articles on the same day. (Bonné's is here; Asimov's here).

The gist of both articles is that chef and diners here in the Bay Area promote a food culture that's local and sustainable, while the sommeliers seem strangely immune to the cause, often ignoring the local wines while loading up on European selections. Is it hypocracy? Is it reverse-snobbism?

Should Wine Bars Keep the Lecture Under the Cork?

Eric Asimov has a blog post today on The Ten Bells, his favorite Manhattan wine bar. His advocacy of this place really hit a mark, as it has been tweeted and re-tweeted all afternoon. What makes Ten Bells so cool? Well, the headline says it's a "place for wine without the lecture." Asimov adds that "the Ten Bells is just a great place to hang out" and that "perhaps most telling, you can always find a few people at the Ten Bells with no interest at all in wine."

I share Eric's appreciation for the unpretentious. What he wishes for, as do I, is a world without "wine bars," per se. Instead: a world with great bars that also have great wine lists.

Manga Sommeliers and Suitcase Clones

Two good articles in the New York Times yesterday on wine.  The first is on the Japanese manga sensation "The Drops of the Gods," which is a comic book drama about wine tasting with its heroes and anti-heroes being sommeliers. I'd been hearing about the books for quite some time before I finally saw a few copies in a bookstore in Burgundy a few months ago. The works have yet to be translated in English, but there they were in French, which I could generally follow. I stood for 15 minutes in the bookstore, trying to figure out what this wine-soaked melodrama was about.   Apparently they are quite the tastemakers.
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