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My Chablis drag name is Kimmeridgian Kardashian

The last memorable time I had Chablis was a premier cru during a first date at an oyster bar. The lusher version of the wine seemed right for what I remember was slightly chilly weather, and what tensity that remained in the wine matched the nervousness of said date. To skip to the last chapter: the same day I received a text from him wanting to end things was the same day I found out I had an opportunity to move out of the city. I'll save the gritty middle details for never, but maybe I'll reveal them one day in that pipe dream of a book involving people I've dated and the wines that accompanied said adventures. Anyway, that's one of my Chablis stories....

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Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut twelve seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652...

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Jerez-ted Development

In my early 20s, I once brought a bottle of Lustau's "East India Solera" Sherry to a house party - and to sincerely enjoy it while sharing recent revelations on the tipple rather than for its elevated alcohol. I've slowly started to bring less and less esoteric things to these types of shindigs and my choices have devolved from cool sherries to anonymous six-packs. Stumbling upon Lustau's Certified Sherry Wine Specialist course, I couldn't not awaken a category I've put on hold, especially after a recent hoo-ha at work involving a Manzanilla that everyone hated but which I gladly paired with a Saturday morning American Horror Story binge. Within the past few years, the fortified wines from the southwestern corner of Spain have shed their reputation for drinks...

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Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

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“Backroads of California”

I can't believe I even made it to this masterclass, because tickets to these GuildSomm events usually sell out quicker than it takes today's somm to name their favourite natural wine producer. Then again, I guess it's a California-themed one held in, well, California, so perhaps everyone else in this city is just more familiar with these tipples. I've lived here for around a year, so a masterclass titled "Backroads of California" implies that the theme is the vinous road less travelled - but considering this state was a quasi-neglected region during my WSET diploma studies, you could imagine how badly this information stuck. That being said, our presenter, Kelli White - author of Napa Valley Then & Now - was a fantastic guide who eventually tipped the scale in my mind...

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Sake it to me

...and other overused puns. Look, you guys: after a brief ("brief") dip, I've worked out that I actually fucking love school. Along with these queer history books a friend has inspired me to read, I haven't been this excited to learn about a subject in such a long time. Thusly, the spirit of Hermione Granger consumed most of my soul as I made more flash cards than necessary in preparation for this one-day class that had an exam tacked on the end. I'm talking about the WSET Sake level 1 course; for reference, I've passed the years-long WSET Wine & Spirits level 4 diploma, so the thought of diving into a fun beginner course was thrilling. Plus, I don't get to drink a lot of sake: it's always seemed vastly...

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Aesop’s wines aren’t fables

I just asked an artist whether or not deadlines interfered with his creative process. His response was that it did a little, but the only thing I can confirm is that I suck at giving myself writing deadlines, and that the thought of deadlines often smothers any inkling of inspiration. Also: I'm not an artist. A stroke of lucky meetings led me to samples of Aesop, whose wines are so limited that the locales in which it's offered can be counted on one jittery hand. One half of Aesop is a designer, and the other half is a winemaker. It's odd how cleanly this translates to the wines, whose impressions of creativity can be both experienced by both the eye and the tongue. Are they called...

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Sissy That Wine: Trixie Mattel and Katya

My current journey has led me to San Francisco's tech world, where the constant and profuse flow of genius rarely wanes. This city has drilled its tech life into me so viciously that I regretfully find myself trying to turn every non-work situation into a slightly more productive one. Did I buy a bottle of Dolcetto to enjoy before going to see Trixie Mattel's drag show, only to force myself to write a detailed draft blog post on the grape? Possibly. Did I hand out two sets of business cards to four people I met in line for Katya's drag show? Maybe. Did I use the 60 seconds I had, meeting Trixie and Katya, to ask what their favourite wines were? A strong and unabashed "perhaps". Thusly, enter: drag queens...

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On pairing wines with moods: Keber 2015 Bianco Collio

I suppose pairing wine with a mood is sort of like pairing wine and food, where you can either complement the atmosphere, like a melty and indulgent oaked Viognier for a broken heart - or contrast - like a taut and high-acid sparkling Riesling to slap you in the face and tell you to get your shit together. There are classic pairings, though, like oysters and Muscadet, and pairings like Champagne and merriment weave together well enough that their sales correlate with the average American income in the following year; wines like vintage port seem fitting as a pensively cerebral way of celebrating a journey involving arduous efforts. What a surprise, then, that this wine from northeast Italy was an unintentional complement to the previous night, providing cologne-like florals, gentle intrigue,...

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Demière-Ansiot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut

I'm not going to pretend that an ill-planned day involving a rideshare vehicle arriving at the same time as an unexpectedly delayed train deserves a bottle of wine, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it does because my standards are low this week. Maybe they usually are? Part of me wonders whether watching all three seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix counts as doing something productive on my spare time - though a friend unquestionably defeated me in that domain by finishing up the first season at the gym. I've convinced myself that kneading dough burns calories though, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong: one particular odd spark of inspiration on a Monday involved my regular two pans of cauliflower pizza followed...

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