Field Notes from a Wine Life – Power Structure Edition

Odds and ends from a life lived through the prism of the wine glass…

Naked Wine and Occupy Wall Street

It’s not hard to notice the parallels between the natural wine movement and Occupy Wall Street - both are valid causes sorely lacking coherence and a rallying point that would move them from fringe head-scratcher to mainstream momentum.

  Natural wine is about purity of wine expression—shepherding grapes grown without chemicals to the bottle with as little human manipulation as possible, representing the place where they came from in the process.

  Occupy Wall Street is about re-calibrating the world’s best economic system – capitalism—to preserve the middle-class, the labor force that has allowed the U.S. to create the most productive economy in the world.

Neither movement represents fringe radicalism as some would have you believe.  I look at both as being valid inflection points and, at their core, about keeping a balance between big and small, allowing every man and woman an equal opportunity at pursuing success around their particular truth.


What reasonable person would deny the validity of either if not clouded by confusion?

One idea well-conceived and well-communicated can change the world, but, unfortunately, both the natural wine movement and Occupy Wall Street are prevaricating from their essential truth, rendering them both toothless and feckless.

No need to crib from Che Guevara, but appealing to base logic and the common denominator would do both movements some good.

Just one man’s opinion…

On the Aussies, Redux

A few weeks back, I noted how the Australian wine industry was poised for a rebound in public perception due in part to two things happening in concert – public backlash to Yellow Tail wine, what I call the, “Derision Decision,” and an unspoken coalition of influencers recognizing Australia’s artisanal wine production – the antithesis of Yellow Tail.  I cited recent sympathetic mentions from Jay McInerney in the Wall Street Journal and Dan Berger, wine writing’s current patriarch, as proof points.

You can add to the list of sympathetic mentions about artisanal Australia with recent mentions from Jancis Robinson and James Suckling.

Don’t sleep on Australia.  It’s making a comeback slowly, but surely in public perception.

Tim Mondavi and Wine Spectator

Thomas Matthews, the Executive Editor for Wine Spectator magazine (WS), has commented on my site a few times.  Each of these instances has been to protect or project Wine Spectator around its editorial goals.


Good on Thomas for not being afraid to get in the ring.  Certainly, WS takes its fair share of shots from the wine chatterati, mostly with grace and aplomb.

Lest I cast myself as anything but objective, I should note that James Laube’s article on Tim Mondavi and Continuum in the current issue of WS (November 15th issue) is everything right about what mainstream wine media can offer wine consumers that online wine writing (mostly) doesn’t –long-form, depth, first-person access and an effort that takes weeks and not hours.

Laube’s piece is excellent - well-written and balanced; acknowledgement thereof is in order.

Besides the Wine

Jordan winery has two wines – a Cabernet and Chardonnay, but they really have a triumvirate in terms of things to buy.  Jordan focuses on food and wine as being partners at the table and, to that end, any purchase from Jordan should also include their olive oil.  Wow!

The Jordan olive oil makes Trader Joe’s EVOO seem like Two Buck Chuck, comparatively speaking.  A little whole wheat Barilla pasta, some homemade pesto using the Jordan olive oil and some artisan bread in five minutes a day and you’re assuredly living the good life.  The rub is I wouldn’t pour the round Jordan Chard with the pesto, probably a Sauvignon Blanc, but don’t let that dissuade you from picking up their olive oil – it’s good stuff.