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A Once-in-a-Lifetime Wine



Okay, don't hate me. As a member of the wine press, I have to do a lot of odious things: taste vile boxed wines, write tasting notes about wines I don't like, cut my fingers while removing the foil of Champagne bottles and search endlessly for shops that sell the wines I really want to write about. [Ed.: Life’s tough, Mackay.] So it's only fair that once in a while I get to do something fun.

Tuna and Beans

My good friend—Sandro Rossi (former Oakland cafe owner, food and wine savant) from our porcini mushroom adventure—was kind enough to drop off a bag of caponi beans and some bottles of Da Capo wines from Italy. (Seriously, life is good.)


Sparkling Wine Snuff Film

It felt kind of creepy to watch this, so passing it along to you makes me feel, well, sleazy. I know, it’s scary what can happen to you in Europe, as depicted in movies like Hostel, Hostel: Part 2, Midnight Express or the YouTube video of the giant robotic arm of Belgian customs snapping the necks of 3,200 bottles of innocent, whimpering California wine. Like lambs to the slaughter, lambs to the slaughter . .

Parr Selections

I've been to many tastings where winemakers put their wines up against the top wines of France—Cabernet versus first growth Bordeaux, sparkling wine versus tête de cuvée Champagne and Pinot Noir versus Grand Cru Burgundy. It's always a good exercise, and as predicted, the California versions usually fare pretty well against the greats of Europe. There's always an element of hubris in the act, though, as implicit in the exercise is the assertion that "my wines that I've been making for 20 years are as good as this French property that's been making wines for 200."


How Romantic



Wine that Loves, a new wine brand that doesn’t seem to tell where the wine is from, of what grapes it’s made or the vintage. It just makes things easy for you by declaring on the label that it’s the Wine that Loves Pizza. Or the Wine that Loves Pasta with Tomato Sauce.

I’m not joking—that’s what it says on the label. It’s really brilliant as there’s an endless number of possible versions: Wine that Loves Tiki Masala, Wine that Loves Stale Bagel Chips…. Then they could move on to other areas:

Mazel Tov



Good news for the wine industry of Israel. While I have my own opinions about the merit of critic’s points, there’s no question as to the value and importance in the marketplace of high scores from Robert Parker. These scores give the industry the legitimacy that I, among others, have been lobbying for over the last several years. Maybe now I won’t have to trot out that old, “You don’t have to drink Israeli wines just because they’re kosher” column at Passover anymore.

What I Drank on Christmas Eve

I drank sake and a beer on Christmas Eve. We decided to get the homey stuff—pan-seared steak, Caesar salad, a bottle of Napa Cabernet—out of the way on the 23rd while watching season four of The Wire. The Cab was a rather unromantic wine, but still really good.



On Christmas Eve, we went for Sushi at Ebisu. It was packed and convivial, and the walk there and back through SF’s quiet, deadened streets was simply beautiful.

Dept. of Silly Wine Products Part 1

I gotta get one of these “wine enhancers.” I love the idea of using crystals and metals to “balance tannins and astringency of young wines,” but I’m even more excited that it has a similar application for coffee.

Tool Time

Oenophilia is still such a minority hobby that wine lovers always get excited when someone famous from outside their realm shows an interest. That’s why you can always find articles in Wine Spectator about some football or baseball player or actor who collects wine. Such was the excitement last week, when a dinner was organized around Maynard Keenan, lead singer of the rock band Tool and avowed wine geek and now wine producer.


Dee Vine Wedding

One of my favorite people in the wine industry is Dade Theriot, the owner of Dee Vine Wines on Pier 19. Dade is the most knowledgeable person about his passion—German wines—that I know, and he’s exceedingly generous with them, as he is with all things. He's also a Beethoven fanatic and an all-around eccentric, as was evinced by his wedding in which attendees were invited to come either in formal dress or in early 19th century costume.


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