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Vin de Napkin - Wine Snob

A post inspired by the realization that you’re at a party and all of a sudden, you’re “that” guy.  The wine guy that at once inspires interest and disgust.  It happens without forethought, or even an ‘in place’ realization.  After the fact, as you contemplate the evening, you think back and know that you’re guilty of providing too much detail—you discussed cellar space, wine club memberships, bottle prices, climatic conditions and varietal nuance that completely goes over the head of your small talk partner.  He or she just asked what you were drinking.

You’re a wine snob, and it happens so innocently.



Vin de Napkin - Cat Fight

With two proud wine writers taking a recent beating from the eRobert Parker board, I think it’s high time they call the mob mentality jackals off ...

See here and here.

In honor of Jancis Robinson’s recent “parasitical” wine comments and the receipt of my copy of Alice Feiring’s new book, hot off the press:



20 Not So Penetrating “Getting to Know You” Questions with Jeff Bundschu

Ask any comedian and they’ll tell you it’s damn hard to be funny in person, let alone in the written word.  But, as I put this post together, I have to say that today’s interview with Jeff Bundschu, President of Gundlach Bundschu, shines as an example of his wit and accessibility.  Students of leadership say that leaders imbue their organizations with their attitude and I’m virtually certain that the Gundlach Bundschu ethos is about intellect and a laugh.  Anybody that can combine references to Don Quixote, KEXP, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Harold and Kumar go to White Castle while admitting to watching American Idol is one okay guy in my book.  And, it also happens that he oversees some damn fine winemaking, as well.

Herewith, 20 not so penetrating questions for a wine craftsman (and be sure to leave a comment and take a guess at the last question):

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you most guilty of? 

Jeff: No fair.  This is like asking me which of my kids I love more.  Today it’s Sloth.  No, it’s Lust.  We’ll call it Slust.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Jeff: Easy. LITTER. Thinking about it just makes me want to change the last answer to WRATH!!!!!!

What is on your nightstand?

Jeff: GQ april, Don Quixote (Cervantes), 3 New Yorkers, The Art and Craft of Playwriting (Hatcher) , Alpine Sierra Trailblazer (Sprout), The Invention of Everything Else (Hunt), Collapse (Diamond),  Creating Effective Boards for Private Enterprises, (Ward).  I wish American Idol wasn’t on so late so I could read some of it…

What is in your refrigerator or pantry that you wouldn’t openly admit?

Jeff: Mice.  Just kidding.  Ants.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking wine? 

Jeff: Hmm.. scary.  Depending on the time of day and the occasion I drink the following regularly: water, mineral water, decaf coffee, emergen-c, cytomax, espresso, red-bull, diet seven-up, diet-coke, and organic milk.

What type of music or radio station is played most often on Rhinefarm?

Jeff: KEXP streaming live from Seattle.  Check it out!!!! 

In what era would you live if you transport yourself?

Jeff: I am most always more exited about tomorrow than yesterday, but if I have to choose, it would be Paris in the 1920’s.

What is the best wine-related book you’ve read?

Jeff: ‘Reflexions’ by Richard Olney.  A controversial book by a controversial man, though I knew nothing of him nor his reputation when I read it.  This is a rough autobiography of perhaps the most influential American palate of the last century, who spent his entire adult life in a one room house in the south of France, rarely (if ever) working in a restaurant.  These writings gave me deep insight into the richness a life with wine and food can have,  provided you take the time to truly appreciate ingredients and their origins.  Along the way, it is a great (and at times eyebrow-raising) first hand history of some of the most revered names in 20th century food and wine.  Beware though, the guy comes across as a petulant priss.

What is your favorite movie genre? 

Jeff: If ‘Dazed and Confused’ and the ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ gave birth, that would be it.  Wait a minute…. They already made Harold and Kumar go to White Castle!

Is your desk messy or organized?

Jeff: I have three in the same room.  One is spotless, one is average, and the other doesn’t look like a desk because it has so much crap on it.

Are you always early or terminally late?

Jeff: Let’s put it this way: I am gleefully postponing a meeting that was supposed to start 17 minutes ago to finish this important (interview).

Do you read the comics in the newspaper?  If so, what’s your favorite comic?

Jeff: Zippy the Pinhead. Period.

Who would you want to play you in the movie about your life?

Jeff: My talented brother from another mother, Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

What super-power would you most like to have, and why?

Jeff: I don’t know if beaming, a-la Star Trek, is a super power but I want that.  Just think- Dawn patrol in Hanalei, coffee in Hollywood, lunch at Dellas in Sonoma, an afternoon ride at Mont Ventoux, dinner at Chanterelle in NYC, the Foo Fighters at Wembley,  and home to sleep in my own bed.

You are moving and can only take three or four articles you want to take with you. What would you grab? 

Jeff: Wife, kid, kid, in any order.  I’d leave the guinea pigs.

What do you do if you have a spare hour?

Jeff: As of late, Tweet and be Twat on Twitter. 

What was the last great restaurant you ate at?

Jeff: Chanterelle in NYC.  Some would call it old school, I would call it timeless.  French inspired dining experience in lower Manhattan.  Incredible service, ambiance, flavors, portions, wine and conversation.  Ruth Reichl wrote in her 1993 review of the place, ‘Leaving the restaurant late at night…turn back and take one last look.  The people inside, caught in the shimmering golden light of the room, look blessed.’ 15 years later, I concur.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Jeff: Butterscotch

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Jeff: Hmmmm, I can’t remember.  Is that a bad sign?

“2 Truths And a Lie” – Share 3 unique things about yourself and your life, 2 of them true, 1 false. Readers will guess by leaving a comment

1.  I believe over-extracted wines are the smog of our industry: pervasive, obscuring, and throat burning.
2.  I never miss an issue of the Wine Spectator.
3.  I am shy.


2005 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay Pt. 1 of 2

Do you remember the Price Pfister faucet commercials from a few years ago?  It is the commercial with the tag line, “The Fabulous faucet with the funny name”

That’s how I feel about Gundlach Bundschu: the “fabulous wine with the funny name.”

Then again, my own name, Lefevere, doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue to most people, either.  But, the folks at Gundlach Bundschu have enough sense of humor and wherewithal to have their web address as while also placing imagery on their corks for anybody that may be just a touch uncertain about the pronunciation of the namesake winery that produces delightful Chardonnay, Gewurtz, Cab. Franc, and other varietals.

For the record, it’s:  gun-lock bun-shoe

They have been at it for 150 years, celebrating a sesquicentennial this year, long enough for them to be on the tip of any wine lovers tongue, and at the same location on the estate at Rhinefarm. Gundlach Bundschu is the oldest family-owned winery in California.  Six generations …

I would expect that longevity of that sort, against the odds, would manifest itself in quality markers that set the pace against their peers.  Sure enough, that is true.

Likewise, over that long course of history, as an industry leader, Gunlach Bundschu has gotten to know itself.  Combining a level of seriousness in their wines with enough verve in their personality is a delicate balancing act, one in which they excel.  And, frankly, it is always nice to appreciate a winery whose back-story is exactly that—a true living history, not constructed with a sense of marketing, as a lot of contemporary wine marketing is these days.

A lot of current day credit must go to Jeff Bundschu, President of the Winery, for not only bringing an updated joie de vivre to the winery, but also for his pioneering work as Co-founder of Wine Brats, a seminal marketing group from the mid to late 1990’s that really changed the landscape for wine industry event marketing to a youthful audience.

Bundschu and cohorts don’t get much credit for some of the contemporary marketing practices that are used to engage today’s Millenials, but they should as their work with Gen. X’ers in a similar vein a decade ago really paved the way for today’s Millenials to adopt wine as a part of their lifestyle.

Tomorrow I will have an interview with Jeff Bundschu, a likable chap, even though he went to Southern Cal, which as a Notre Dame Football fan is akin to us being in rival gangs.  So be it, the last couple of years have not been kind to Notre Dame Football in the annual ND-USC showdown, and the Gun-lock Bun-shoe wine is tasty.

For additional reading

My review can be found here.

*Authors Note*  Gundlach Bundschu wine was purchased at full retail price and was not a sample.


Vin de Napkin - Hunting Down the Apple Moth

Inspired by the sometimes funny and blind eye that is turned to the various components in the wine supply chain.

I should note that I am not educated enough to have a stance on the issue of immigration other than an observation on our ability to focus on what is important to $$ and cents in business.

This article notes a single apple moth caught in Sonoma county.



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