Olds gonna old

Don’t ask me where, but dinner the other night made me realize there could be a perfect wine scam: Offer one list for ordering and another if a customer challenges the price on the check. Suddenly those $8 and $9 glasses are $11 and $12 and the markup is all yours. All you’d lose would be repeat business.

Tortillas, tacos and “cornmeal mush”

Also to be filed under remembrances of funnies past: I had to stop at one winery’s table at a food festival/gangbang the other weekend (more below) because I had such an amazing experience 15(!) years ago as its guest at the Trois Glorieuses in Beaune. Part of which involved sitting next to the new owner at lunch one day and having to make conversation across a divide that was clearly wider on my only-menu-French side. I forget what I asked him, but the answer was: “I am in the Champagne like the pickle in the vinegar.” Little did I realize he was offering inside information years out on the next big thing in food: fermentation.

400 and no accent

I was a little more restrained this trip, but I still made a serious effort to try as many Turkish rosés as possible, even though too many places seemed to be pushing Italian for much more (and as I’ve noted, the Italians do great whites and reds, but nothing decent in between). That meant stopping by Sensus again, near the Galata Tower, where I tried a good one made from very particular Turkish grapes from a very particular region, as the woman who poured it explained. You would think it would take off anywhere wine snoots congregate. But on the way out, I noticed it was simply labeled “blush.” Why not just sell it as pink chardonnay?

The tipoff was that it was Red, not Rouge

One swirler-and-spitter I no longer have to read won a writing prize, but from overseas, which makes me suspect translation can do more wonders for copy than editing. And another snared the Rupert gig, the ultimate deal with the Tasmanian media-devil. Maybe he has gotten more accessible since the Chateau d’Yquem splashdown way back when, but I just wonder why the Foxy news machine didn’t seize the opportunity to find an original voice. As I’ve noted to the point of overkill, I was no fan of the Delicious Duo and their dumbed-down coverage. But isn’t there someone whose byline is not blurred by moss who could bring something new to the cellar? Even as I type that, though, I realize it ain’t about the reader who might be looking for good value and honest deals at a time when Gallo has fake pinot noir on its balance sheets and reputation. It’s about image and advertisers. So, hey, has anyone taken a good look at Chateau d’Yquem lately?

Now in white: Merlot

The WSJournal must think wine writers are like wine: Older is better. It finally dumps the Delicious Duo and doesn’t even seize the opportunity to try a new voice to generate more buzz? At least her regular joint knows what it’s doing, letting a certain chef pull a Britney Spears with salmon carpaccio. Who didn’t click over to see the rosé surrendered?

Fancy meeting my wine merchant there

I gotta start saving my best lines for my real life here rather than squandering them on Twitter. But I can’t say often enough that if I had to drink only Long Island wines I would have to stop drinking. Not that they’re bad — judging by the sauvignon blancs and rosés I tried at the latest tasting, they are vastly improved from the sweet old days of only chardonnay and merlot out on that spit o’ rich land. But they just are, and have to be, too expensive for what they are. I was glad I trekked to give them another try, though, if only because I saw two things vaut the voyage: A freelance wine writer asking for a wine editor’s autograph (subtle, huh?), and a Japanese taster picking up tasty tidbits provided as palate cleansers and putting them back down again as if swine flu were no problema. Thank the wine allahs for truffle oil. I hope it was strong enough to ward off any germs.