Wine – California, US

January 1st 2014


I am going to concentrate on a backward approach. Wine Advice (that means the person who advised me and talks to others who discuss blah blah) says I write plenty to get back in. They do have a valid point. I learned about wine through specific wine bottles then ended up in studies which are hard and general in nature. The next step is same again and I need to make friends with many wine bottles to cover the whole spectrum. That is a difficult approach but necessary and what is meant by wine writing first. Wine experts are now identified differently. As one progresses through this field one comes across many. They all speak the same language and more or less same things but careful systems make us deal with them properly. It is like living in a community. We come across many people and all of them pass as “people” but we know by cultural learning who is who and what is what. We avoid. We approach and so on. Culture teaches us how to choose. Wine people are similar. Everyone talks of wine and has their angle on wine. Most need to be banned from discussing wine. Culture teaches us that. Dealing with them leads to losses. Many sell wine. Many write on wine. Most drink or serve wine. They need care in handling. Their angles on wine and industry are very incomplete if not destructive. Avoiding them is the rule. A few and a very few of those few know what they talk about. They naturally avoid you and all the rest. That is not a bad thing. The time has come once again to go through the field and one comes across so many “people” who are known collectively as “wine people” and most have this introductory line of “I have been in wine business for X number of years and….” and “I have been in restaurant business for X number of years and ….” These are the people to avoid the most. They think they are authorities. They have the worst and most biased and possibly most erroneous ideas of the field and don’t you dare have an alternate view as they told X number of years right in their opinions. We need avoid them. And personally, I have to deal with another group in my quest. The so-called knowledge people who have some education or a lot, have some name or drag a celebrity of the field as being part in their work and are equally a problem. The higher folks have a good name for them. They are called “professional wine drinkers.” These folks have had enough background to be in the field at a higher than casual or tenure point and cannot be pushed off their step but their primary knowledge and ability lies in “drinking” a lot of wines and throwing labels, names, vintages, tastes and stories out at audience as their “knowledge” you cannot argue with unless you also drink their same and then can battle them. It sounds like there are not many left in the field. I guess that is why most “wine people” fit the nickname “doushbags” so aptly. We don’t have an industry in spite of what we are told. I have told people and I have been told by higher folks what the hell I am talking about. Experience will prove they are right. Food, wine, liquor, hospitality and the rest at least on the West Coast are just businesses. They market themselves and persons as many things but all in all are just that. They don’t have a deeper foundation of common principles and organization making them an industry. That means some level of regulation which fights easy dollars and let’s face it at least the restaurant part of this great “industry” (don’t forget great! That is a needed adjective in wine and food writing or upset some) many illegal activities are housed inside “restaurant biz” fronts and the existence of an industry structure would create serious conflicts with their “business” activities hence we promote “industry” but lack one. That is still the state of a lot of things on the West Coast. Who cares? We do so we avoid them. We need to look for and spend time with “good” parts of the food, wine, liquor and hospitality industry. That does not mean promoting them blindly but there are many “good” and “notable” things out there. The bads outnumber the “goods” by too many hence waste of time unless we are criminologists. The future needs more of “good” of this whatever we call “the industry.” Let’s stick to that in our path of visits, exploration and findings. 1 Jan 2013 12:05 pm San Leandro, California

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Tuesday the 31st


Happy New Year! I should call my readers idiots or morons as I do in my other blogs but I am a professional wine person so I CAN be polite. Just don’t forget the CAN part. It can change. I am upset. Everything is fine but I am getting pushed. My ostracized art adviser says I should begin by Googling finding an editor. I did. It was too easy. As Monk put it in Barton Fink restaurant scene all Fink had to do was throw a rock in the room and would hit another writer to help him with his problem. Apparently editors are in large supply and I even found out why! Half upfront and half after? Are they talking about money? I can get any question I have answered by the top of the top people in any industry locally and turn around and insult them in writing the next day AND they still insist to answer future questions! Pay? Uncle Cush does not like that! In better or worse feedback I am told to find a school teacher to correct my typos and grammar before posting AND they tell me the life of the teacher is not in danger regardless what I write about wine business. “Who would target a school teacher for correcting my grammar?” I get a lot of help. I ask Department of State to find me an editor and if gets hit will be remembered as lost in action while serving the country! They really like to help. I will find a brave soul to edit my wine blog and threats are real hence editorial help is a must. Some of us have all kinds of protection but is not fair to the injured party to have such a hard time getting back for their loss so editorial help is recruited. They fear nothing. Humble writers eat and drink and write obscene criticisms. That is not a balanced equation. When the editor goes down it becomes fair and square. I am just kidding but I am famous. I need a strong editor who can handle a famous person. 31 Dec 2013 5:09 pm Hayward, California

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Monday the 30th


I miss working in restaurants. About midnight tomorrow there would be a riot. Fireworks as part of work is another thing. I am glad I am Unavailable. New Year’s Eve expenditure? Zero! It is good to be Unavailable. I am officially too busy to care about life on this planet. I am back in wine business. What bothers me is everyone praising this field of wine and pumping me up how good I am too AND knocking the electronics and wireless field in being no good and not having a future. That is new and won’t stop. I believe in the idea of being in multiple fields and always thought high tech was good! I guess I agree I was in retail not high tech. That is another story but we are doing same old stuff again AND I get a lot of notices now when I am to do what! My business adviser will notify me of my decision regarding wireless on Tuesday! He has been saying for a few days. And I was to wait a week before wine advice will follow on my next big step! Apparently I am where I am to be and don’t have to wait. Before I continue with anything else in wine I ought to do as much wine writing as possible. I got confused over the talk about kicking everyone’s ass by writing about wine, etc. I think I get it now. I forgot we are in the realm of Master Sommeliers now AND we are back on the old topic that the industry does not need legions of new Master Sommeliers manufactured annually so restaurants and hotels look good. The top echelon like to be the keepers of standards for industry NOT issuers of certificates including Master Sommelier papers. That is where kicking ass part is from. Majority of people in this shady but very glamorous industry know shit about the industry. Their asses can be kicked if they come across the wrong person from the industry whom knows what he or she is doing. That is my destiny in wine business before I am in wine business again? I don’t know and I hate the part that we listen to what we are told by only a handful of people. I can do. The only problem is how? I am a nice guy now. I should have a PR person and an editor to fix my typos and deliberate abuses of language so I can be a legitimate writer not a destroyer of language on purpose! That I can find but having two mediums as my old Wine by Cush blog for informal stuff and a decent business blog is so difficult as I was told by third party. The wine advice was to please write all in Wine by Cush blog because wine people like that. I don’t mind and will probably serve right than having an honest blog and a censored one! The only problem is I have said a lot of bad things about a lot of people in that blog and some people read the past stuff and will get mad! I think the solution is to find some fool editor who thinks editing the Wine by Cush is a legitimate literary activity. I just forward all the hate emails for the blog to him or her. “It is for you!” That way we should have no trouble authoring wine stuff and kicking ass while any hostility coming our way we direct to the editor person who is a professional journalistic person. They get trained to handle this stuff like cops do crime. Gotta give editors credit for jobs none of us can do! If that becomes reality I can even do the better advice I was given which is to travel! I was told why just scare San Francisco businesses? I agree. As the cliche goes I can do more damage that way except Unavailable folks have travel limitations. We have begun. How far and where we go is in the works. 30 Dec 2013 5:52 pm Fruitvale, California

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The High Price of Casal Garcia Vihno Verde (Wine Tasting Notes)(Short Piece)


Casal Garcia Vihno Verde

I managed to stop by and pick up a few bottles of wine a few days ago. I had had such a busy week ( and still am in a way) I was unable to do much including stop and drink some wine. Generally speaking, I don’t avoid white wines but wine has always been red to me. The only white I picked up was Casal Garcia Vinho Verde. It was no cheaper than other whites around there and should have been less. A good and bad thing for wine drinkers is all food and beverages get priced for what the market can afford to pay. A bottle of wine which should sell for $1.99 or $2.99 and would make money also will be marketed for a whole lot more simply because the market can afford it. Anyone who remembers business courses or economic courses the supply and demand chart meet somewhere and that is where we get screwed. If the price goes above that too few people can afford it and if price goes below it too many will afford it. This crosspoint is where most money is made with least number of inventory and expenses. That is another story but the point made here is Vinho Verde is a great wine to drink when you just drink and not trying to pretend. American culture is new to wine drinking amongst many social classes. The richer and more sophisticated whom have been drinking wine are not exactly part of the new wine drinking culture. Their choices are within the same ranges as before because of their ability to pay and knowledge available to them. The rest of the society have been drinking one for food value or as a resource that provides alcohol into the veins. The latter is what American wines have been most suitable for over the years. The minority of wines which have been genuine wines were too few in numbers until recent years and recognition (and greed) moved their numbers higher and higher. The American wines of today are suitable for many purposes but may not be suitable for others. Personally, I really like the idea of wine as a beverage that comes out of a bottle or other container and does not pretend to be great or awesome or whatever. The absence of a need to compare the simple, everyday wine to any wine of quality is the most important criteria for me. American wine and other wines should be available for everyday drinking at prices that DO NOT EXIST! A bottle of wine priced at $1.99 is same as zero dollars. A bottle of wine priced at $2.99 is same as zero dollars. Food items have to be priced this way to be food items. Bread cannot cost $15 a roll and be bread. The cost is too high and cannot be consumed as bread. It is something else. Wine has same problem. Bottle of wine that is $15 is not meant for dinner table or a couple of glasses regardless of what the culture and the industry will TELL or ADVERTISE into the public. That bottle should have no price so it is food. Vinho Verde is a great wine for such a category and so is Muscadet (the hell with the Sur Lie but only 25% of production is not Sur Lie) and many other wines. They are just food. The bottle is opened and one drinks them. They should be priced at zero dollars. That means a bottle is $1.99 or $2.99. They should also be of acceptable quality. What is acceptable quality? They should be well-made. They should be true to their type and genre. They should NOT pretend to be something else. They should lack the necessity to compare to some expensive wine. Maybe, they should be systematically labeled somehow so all these possibilities and many others are eliminated. What is left is a container with contents that qualify as simple every day wine. AND they may not have alcohol. Too many wines from the Old World are very inexpensive, good in quality and also lack alcohol. A low number of alcohol percentage is a must for such wines so one can drink them and not drink them. The biggest problem with the local industry is the climate is generally too warm where American vines are planted and grapes are ripened too much and and and. They consequence is wine that is too much to be everyday drink. It is great as a source of alcohol for some and will sell that way. Or, it has to PRETEND to be something great or like great to be marketable at higher prices and also not judged so much for flaws and weaknesses. I personally think there is tremendous demand in the American market for such wines. If Americans are to be wine drinkers, they ought to drink wine and not the stuff manufactured by the industry and sold to them as THE American wine. That stuff can and will stay around and have their own place but what is missing is the everyday, simple drinking, aperitif or food wine that costs ZERO DOLLARS and is available for benefit of our health and not to celebrate an occasion or pretend we are hip and in. What percentage of the American wine drinkers are connoisseur to really appreciate the good American wine? The industry needs to regulate itself so categories of products can be created based on principles that match the needs and the benefits of most purchasers. The American wine industry can turn itself from a sh+t industry to a GOOD industry providing millions and millions of Americans with GOOD everyday wine without ripping them off or pretending. That is wine culture is where wine is drank as food. This Vinho Verde was very good. It went in the fridge where all white wines belong if one is drinking in California and was too cold to drink needless to say. That did not bother me. It had the bubbles, the acid, the light to medium body and who knows some hint of fruits to justify drinking. I really enjoyed the wine but not the price. I don’t even know the vintage and does it matter that much? It is recent. I strongly encourage the industry to work on creating a category of wines that will fit the above mentioned. I may have to kick everybody’s a++ if proper action is not taken. Yes sir I will.

This post belongs to this week’s edition of My Week In Wine and may appear in Reviews by Cush.

Hurray, America is Number One Again (Essay)


 

Today is Wednesday and I don’t work till later so have some free time. I did not feel like cooking and had no errands to run. I did bring my Netbook because I did know some free time will be on hand. Today is not a good nor a bad day. Wednesdays in retail and restaurant business are always mixed. Sometimes they are very good and sometimes very bad. There is hardly any in between. My personal theory has been that customers are confused. Certain things happen toward end of the week and others are pushed toward the beginning of the week but the middle is not fixed. Sometimes, much happens by plan or chance and the opposite at other times. Today is a normal Wednesday for me except chances of rain is 80% but no rain in sight for now.

I see everywhere in social media how exciting it is that America is finally number one when it comes to wine consumption. America is always happy to be number one and many times number one can be something meaningless or bad in short or long term. Wine consumption has significance on many scales. One thing to consider is it has been on the extreme decline in countries where wine is a mainstay of the culture and diet. It is great to see it has come down so much that America (a non-wine drinking country by history and tradition) is finally able to achieve number one! What does number one mean in this case?

It means many things and the public hardly know anything of what it can mean except that it must be good if everybody else is doing it and if a lot of it is good. That is typical provincial American thinking that is most commonplace in this country and is widely recognized as one’s right to an opinion. Unfortunately, most Americans do not know that on a bona fide scale of measurement, how few of them would even qualify as “people!” but that is all well as long as one lives in the United States and gets so much support by the media and the popular culture on being right and doing right by being what one is. What is an opinion of who is qualified to have one (so it matters and is LEGITIMATE) may fall within the realm of the field of philosophy but would probably better be explored when studying rhetoric. It is no surprise that the most important topic of “rhetoric” as an academic subject of study (one which was and is the domain of the best of human persons) is only available at TWO American universities. Berkeley and I forgot what on the East Coast still offer Doctors of Philosophy in Rhetoric (whatever that is to an American!) The idea of an opinion is besides this piece but worth mentioning that hardly anyone who lives and walks and talks on the surface of the Earth within the boundaries of this country is able to have a “qualified” opinion on many subjects if any. And that is what America is built on. The make belief that one knows and knows best and should take action based on makes this country what is. In wiser domains, one would seek an “authority” for a “qualified opinion” so one would not take action based on wrong understanding if any. In America, everyone is exempt from such standards and is entitled to making up whatever garbage one wishes and presenting such as an “opinion.”

That is another story but today in a non-wine drinking country, a great accomplishment has been made. The main contenders in the drinking game of how many empty bottles have been abandoning the bottle for alternatives across the generations and it has reached a point that somebody else can reach the heights of this field by counting more empty bottles. Whatever that means? What does it mean? Why does it matter? Those are questions you can ask and seek answers if this is your field.

I remember a few years back, a local magazine had criticized (on behalf of local California wineries) the sommelier at a famous local restaurant for refusing to carry California wines mostly on the grounds that alcohol was too high for dining. I had to send a note of support that day and I could not not agree more. The topic has been exhausted and needless to discuss but the issue remains the alcohol is too high in some local wines. That is a chronic problem which becomes significant on a day such as today. America is now world champion in the highest number of empty bottles and definitely determined to remain there. That means more empty bottles of wine are needed and the public now have a popular culture mandate since America has finally “arrived” that Americans should not be left out. They have to do their share of their drinking wine so they are in. Otherwise, they will be missing out and everyone knows that. This mindset may have been established in high school through peer pressure and advertising but is 100% alive today. Will this have a serious impact on any scale besides emptying warehouses of wine cases? Yes. As any opportunity always is misused and abused, this one will be also. The smarter minds in the business have already figured out how to exploit such an opportunity. Americans have no tradition of drinking wine and need to find one fast. Where does that come from? It comes from America and thus is American. Who makes such traditions? That depends.

But when it comes to drugs (alcohol being one), it is a job for a celebrity to push it. One day when Americans have grown up and become “people” they may be able to agree it is a “qualified opinion” of “experts” that a celebrities primary job is basically to sell the highest profiting commodity to the most vulnerable segments of society (it is also known as selling drugs to children as an example and which music and media star does not do one’s share? Only the backward country music people. Everyone else knows how to live and what is the good life and help the public follow.) America’s wine drinking tradition and how-to will most likely appear (by help of giant distributors and multi-national alcohol companies) through hip celebrities who will teach Americans how to drink, what to drink and so on. Stories of cool people and their cool drinking happenings will be abundant soon and what of it? Lots of empty bottles will be the measure of good life as it is with beer bottles and was chronic smoking at one time for another generation. There is no possibility that this golden opportunity will be missed and America will not become a wine drinking country for good. Americans will learn how to drink from all the wrong people and those “high alcohol” wines that scared many in the business will be the “norm” in no time resulting in populations of good Americans who are dependent on alcohol by drinking the wrong wine the wrong way. There is a big warning sign there for anyone who is in the business for the long run and cares for the health of the non-existent “food and beverage” industry (at least locally in Northern California). Alcohol abuse will turn the country against wine in no time and wine will be the enemy in no time. All the efforts made in education and promotion of qualify wine from various regions of the world will be lost once the society finds new numbers supporting the damage being number one is doing. That will arrive in no time and soon a sommelier will be no different than a drug pusher by offering and promoting wine to the general public. It won’t be long that people scoff at the long and hard training and education to become a professional who pushes wine bottles onto people! By then, everyone will know what “wine” is and what it DOES. Their worthless opinions will answer all questions once again. The field (for the lack of a legitimate industry) of food and wine may face a very serious challenge in only a few years if popular culture is allowed to determine too many things relevant including what is “proper wine consumption” for an American. I know I won’t raise a finger to help since too few care except for those outside of the field who oppose and are waiting to kick the ass of the people in this business being good or bad people. It is up to the top people in the industry to “think” a little and possibly offer “qualified opinions” on what they think proper wine drinking for Americans should be. I think strict rule of two glasses daily (across population and not for industry people) by themselves or drinking wine only with food in more quantities will be a starting rule of thumb. It takes a lot more to save the American public from their “opinions” which they have a right to and the evil of the business world who have had plans for decades how to exploit such an opportunity when and if it arrives. It has. America is number one again and is only good for THEM as usual.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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My Mistake Again (Reflection 47)


CoveyRun Riesling

(Pic from Google Images)

I was checking out the items at BevMo yesterday to benefit from their 5 cent sale and saw a familiar bottle I had good memories of. I bought two bottles of Covey Run Gewurztraminer (one for free basically) and was thinking a quick drink. I woke up this morning thinking I ordered a case of this wine once and was off-dry (sweet but not a lot) and hope did not make the same mistake again!!! I turned the bottle to back label and damn. Not too long later I also remembered last time I did not ordered Gew and it was Covey Run Riesling. The saleslady (vendor) made a convenient mistake and sent me a case of hard-to-get-rid-of off-dry Gew in lieu of highly-scored but very inexpensive Riesling. I kept it and drank most of it but never forgot I got screwed. I got screwed again. Buy one bottle and second one is 5 cents. My mistake.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of My Week In Wine and may appear in Reviews by Cush.

Chris Brocway of Broc Cellars and Broadside Wines at Ferry Wine Merchant (Tasting 52)


 

And here is a winery I know nothing about. Hah and I thought I know a lot….

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Chris Brocway of Broc Cellars and Broadside Wines
Type:
Party – Bar Night
Date:
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Time:
4:30pm – 7:30pm
Location:
ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Description
Join us Wednesday, April 21st, from 4:30-7:30pm, when we welcome Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars & Broadside Wines to our Wine Bar. Broc Cellars was nothing more than an idea not that long ago about making wines that were “site specific”. Where the wines true character came from using only sustainably, organically, or biodynamically grown grapes from areas that most would consider marginal climates. Broc Cellars’ focus is primarily on Rhone varietals with a little Petite Sirah thrown in for fun. Broadside Wines combines the talents of winemakers Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars and Brian Terrizzi of Giornata with the same non-intervention philosophy as Broc Cellars. They harvest at lower sugars, employ native fermentation and use little to no new oak. In other words, they let the wine shine through and taste as it was intended. We love that concept! Broadside specializes in clean, pure wines that are reasonably priced, made for drinking, not collecting. Right on!

We know you will enjoy meeting this dedicated winemaker and you won’t want to miss this opportunity to taste through this distinctive lineup of some of the cleanest, tastiest wines around. So come join us and help us welcome Chris Brockway to the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. It promises to be a memorable tasting of truly delicious and righteous wines. Just as his wines are reasonably priced, this tasting is truly a bargain, particularly for the quality of wines in the bottle. Chris has once again proven himself the champion of pricing sanity. Thank you.

 

The featured wines are served as two ounce glasses. If you find a favorite and would like a full glass just ask your bartender. The wines will be available for retail sale while supplies last…

The cost of the flight will be $20 and will include the following wines:

2008 Broadside “Wild Ferment” Chardonnay, Edna Valley
Retail $18.50, 5oz. glass $8

2008 Broadside “Margarita Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Retail $18, 5oz. glass $7.75

2006 Broc Cellars “Ventana Vyd” Grenache, Monterey
Retail $25, 5oz. glass $9.50

2007 Broc Cellars Vine Starr Red Wine, California
Retail $25, 5oz. glass $9.50

2007 Broc Cellars “Philary Vineyard” Syrah, Napa Valley
Retail $75, 5oz. glass $22

Receive 15% off your retail purchase of these wines the night of the tasting!

Hope to see you all there!
Debbie, Peter, Bo and the entire FPWM team.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.

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