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Odd Italy

The Vancouver International Wine Fest of 2016 is creeping up slowly - already? I distantly remember my tongue-related worries about trying Shiraz after Shiraz after Shiraz, so a duplicate worry replaced with the acidic Sangiovese grape was the first thing that came to mind when I found out that the theme for 2016 was Italy. And originally I wasn't super stoked to find out Italy was the featured region, but recent bottles of inspiration have reminded me of grapes and regions I, for some reason, forgot to consider. I'm secretly hoping there will be a seminar on something fucked like a long flight of artisanal Pinot Grigio or "You Won't Believe These 8 Pinot Grigios That Pair Well With Shitty Buzzfeed Videos". FINGERS CROSSED, YOU GUYS. If I...

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Fetească Albă: the Eastern European grape that means “white young girl”

...according to Wine Grapes. Originally, I wanted something slutty and decadently atypical like the strawberry jam that is the Meiomi Pinot Noir. I'm ditching a warm mouth blanket for what could possibly be an angular wine, but really, my motivation is that I want to spend $13 instead of $30. Also: diving into the alcoholic unknown. Yes. My books tell me that Fetească Albă probably originated in the historic region of Moldavia; that it produces small, thin-skinned berries; and that it produces wines that are soft, with Muscat-like aromas of apricots, peaches, and spice. It's mostly grown in eastern Europe, producing wines that can lack character. Romania, where this particular wine is from, has two different varieties of Fetească: Albă (e.g. this wine)...

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Barcelona: Cava to end the Saga

Spoiler alert: my few days in Spain were better than my two and a half weeks in France. Sorry, France. I was rooting for you, we were all rooting for you. #BeQuietTiffany Our hostel was superior to the one in Paris: Erin and I helped cook dinner one night, we met a Canadian from Edmonton, and we made a cab driver go through McDonalds after a hostel-hosted bar-hopping session that eventually ended on a club next to a beach. And then drinking on said beach, which was a reaaaaal big blur. Have you ever drunkenly told someone they look like Ygritte from Game of Thrones way too many times? There's a story later that night involving myself ejecting the Devil's Liquids from my soul, but...

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Pain in Champagne

When your only clean shirt is that floral one you bought in Paris, but everyone in this city dresses in understated colours, and then for some reason your ankle is busted in the morning so your swag level dips into the negative as you hobble past some college students who stare at you. I suppose life was finally punishing me for being so seemingly masturbatory on social media despite my lack of #blessed, and I thought sucking it up and drinking a couple of pints of beer in quick succession would numb the pain. But after dinner, we had to cab home not without me drawing more attention by hopping on one foot out of the fucking restaurant, though luckily Theran ran out...

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Chenin Flair in Savennières

I'm scared and embarrassed to accept what Erin and Theran say is true, which is that I inadvertently speak with a bit of a French accent when I talk in English with other French people. Gross. If I were a travel bingo card, would that be one of the squares? Right as we arrived in Angers, our Airbnb host Julien (who created this, by the way) drove us to our designated living quarters, in the centre of the city, where seemingly ancient buildings, castles, and churches were spiffily fused with fresh energy and bright streets you could get lost in. Not unlike the vitality of a non-vintage Champagne that has a dollop of older reserve wine added to its house blend, you know? Whatever. We learned that Julien once made a...

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Josh Likes Paris

I've unapologetically become my parents when it comes to travelling, which primarily means that I like to arrive at airports hours and hours before I realistically need to. Combine that with what Erin and I decided to drink the night prior, which was all of Cava, fresh hop beer, and bourbon. Why?! But the morning turned out fine, and we had shitty mimosas and beer at the airport to satisfy the unending ghosts of the night prior. The short layover in Montreal slowly eased us into our French-speaking modes, followed by a decent 7-hour flight to Paris. I sheepishly told the flight attendant that I would like the chicken option for dinner, which really just means I muttered "poulet". I don't remember what in-flight movie I...

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Post-Pride and Pre-WBC15 Wine Dump

Bit of a tasting note dump between the Maryland trip and Vancouver Pride, since I am not drinking for a week in a simultaneous effort to recover from Vancouver Pride antics and to prepare my liver for the Wine Bloggers Conference in New York. Huzzah. I am surprisingly doing well so far, and I have stepped into the world of non-alcoholic beer. [caption id="attachment_4492" align="aligncenter" width="300"] pictured: Vancouver Pride and fun and yay[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4491" align="aligncenter" width="300"] nah[/caption] (I've failed miserably.) There's not really a common thread here, except for maybe the general Old World? I've also found out that my travel buddy had to cancel her attendance to both the Wine Bloggers Conference and our pre-conference trip to NYC due to a health issue, so I'm semi-alone in...

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Josh Likes Maryland: Part 3

We were literally scheduled to just chill out and have an appropriate lazy Monday the day after New York City, though some of the family opted to go visit some large church or something. Monkeying around seemed much more fun, though I can say I went to a Chipotle for the first time ever, so technically I accomplished something. #goals We ventured back out to DC the next day, getting as close as we could to the White House because how can you not, and then we had a big nerdy day at both the Freer Gallery of Art and the Museum of National History, both of which I loved. You can only retain so much information, but hey: cool rock exhibits are pretty and...

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Josh Likes Maryland: Part 1

I've found that I can't enjoy full-fledged roller coasters anymore, but I enjoy the hints of thrills from airplane turbulence and chunky landings. Kinda gross. We fly to the eastern part of the continent for a family reunion on the mother's side - not just the immediate family, but a whole congregation of 19 humans of all ages on a plane. And Baltimore is the closest relevant city to where we're staying - so that's where I tell people where we're going for 13 days - and I have little knowledge on these parts of the United States so I understand none of the references on crabs ("...

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Exams and grand slams

It's done. I've completed (or performed, rather, since we'll find out whether or not I've actually completed the thing come September) the last unit I needed to complete for the WSET Diploma! I'm tempted to prance around maniacally while getting drunk really quickly on this fantastically sunny day, but September will have to wait for even bigger celebrations, I suppose. Which calls for fancy Cava instead of Champagne, maybe?! I mean, no, of course, but I bought this already so let's. In a couple of days I envision myself in a state of academic and mental paralysis. I will have a weird need to study, and I will give in. Someone make me watch a TV series or something! Alta Alella "Laietà" 2011 Gran Reserva...

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