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Souzãoberry Fields Forever: hang time with Portuguese grapes in Lodi

Of the mad scientist-viticulturist laboratory that is Lodi, California, we've touched upon southern French varieties; grapes classically grown in cooler areas of Europe like Germany and Austria; and Lodian odes to Spanish wines. We reached the part of the conference where we would end up on one of twenty-or-so different excursions - and to complete the circle of a trip, or at least extend the semi-circle or whatever - I eventually decided to go on the excursion that hinted at a visit to a winery with a heavy lean towards Portuguese grape varieties. What the fuck is Souzão, anyways? Let's whip out a tome and read the following paragraph in our Jancis voices. (She is, by the way, in the running for being my...

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I’ll be your Zin-ner in secret

First of all, Carly Slay Jepsen's Emotion: Side B. Better than the original album? Is this reference still relevant? How long will it take my roommate to notice I'm drinking all of his gin? Should I pair these wines with a pathetic recollection of that time I actually met Carly Rae Jepsen at a Marianas Trench concert while interning for their record company? These are the questions I want answered vaguely by fortune cookies and clairvoyant wine pairings. (Also, thanks to this post, the beginning of Run Away With Me starts playing every time I sip Zinfandel, which...

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Getting drunk-ish with Bokisch

Upon a first visit to the area, I'm not surprised that Lodi's land is as flat as my love life oft is, because, perhaps unfairly, I expected the mainstream homeland of Zinfandel to be just that. Zing. For real, though: we arrive at Bokisch, which from what I remember at the time, had more slopes than I remember in all of Lodi - and then a big oak tree located in the middle of some vineyards that was so prominent that "giant oak" was literally listed in our prepared itinerary, under which we would have a lunch, themed northeastern Spain. Barcelona flashbacks. There may have been a flying wine camera drone but anything could've happened at this point. Like our lunch, the wines of Bokisch focus on...

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My neck, my Bacchus

Most of the wine people I know got into its magical world after tasting some kind of superlative bottle that made them orgasm right into the industry. Like, we get it: you had a teaspoon of 1982 Bordeaux and wept. I literally had canned cranberry sauce with a corner store sandwich just a few weeks ago that was so good that it made me re-evaluate my life, so I guess I understand you. As much as I say that Marechal Foch is better as a drag name than it is a wine grape, and that most Canadian Cabernet Sauvignon is best used to remove dead skin off the soles of your feet, I absolutely live for the weird unorthodox shit. After waking up at...

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Getting Harney in Lodi

After the magic that was Acquiesce (everything's magic after ingesting wine but the wines were good), our pre-excursion group meandered to the Lizzy James vineyard, sipped some Zin, and then went to Harney Lane winery. I remember how distracted I get in vineyards, simultaneously trying to soak in all the personal stories and vineyard information while trying to find refuge for my naked round head. Sunscreen's a no-no since it fucks with everyone's nasal cavity, and so is eucalypt-scented shaving cream, where in specific cases I've made people sniff my fresh head at tastings just to make sure I've done no sin. I attempted to kneel behind someone's outrageously large clown hat. My "I'm actually here!" montage lasted longer during my...

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The time has come for you to lip-sting for… your… life.

I imagine that the Venn diagram representing the overlapping sets of people who are familiar with Picpoul and people who watch RuPaul's Drag Race is smaller than those who drink Prosecco and watch the Bachelor, but if you happen to find yourself in the middle of this precious diagram, we need to be best friends immediately. One half of said diagram would be able to tell you that Picpoul is the southern French grape that can release lemony power and body, and therefore purportedly translates to "lip-stinger"; the other half of the diagram would be able to tell you that the premiere to RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars season 2 was amazing. I did not drink Picpoul that night but instead watched the episode at a bar...

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It must have been clove, but it’s over now: Speed Wine Tasting at WBC16

I used to love the hectic clusterfuck of the two Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting events, each involving twenty or so different tables and winery principals that rotate tables every five minutes for a total of ten sessions. Every micro-meeting involves at least a pour of a wine followed by a spiel, while we each have to: absorb as much information as we can; taste and take notes; desperately yell out questions as if the internet doesn't exist; take blurry bottle shots; and perhaps come up with a witty tweet. I've mostly given up on giving my 110% on the whole shebang, but hey: I tried. Newcomers to the conference were all "well, this isn't so bad!" I side-eyed in tacit protest but actually mostly agreed. I'm...

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Is it too late now to say Syrah-ry?

I have a substantial place in my heart for New World Syrah. Though my favourite is probably British Columbia's Nichol, My first (legal) bottle was the 2007 vintage of BC's Burrowing Owl - a 19th birthday gift from my best friend, and a winery from BC whose wines have the tendency to puff their chests across grape varieties. Like, yeah, we get it - your Pinot is weirdly thick and you have Freudian tannins. Anyways: a American Syrah seminar at a Rhone Rangers tasting in Presidio, San Francisco (feat. Arizona!). I remember zoning out for a split second only to come back to my senses when a winemaker made a joke about pH levels and the entire room burst out in laughter. Is this heaven or hell? The seminar was...

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Brun-hello? It’s me. San Francisco and a throwback to 12 bottles

You guys! It's been around three weeks since I've arrived in San Francisco for what I've been telling everyone are secret wine projects. Which they are. It hasn't really kicked in that I'm here yet, to be honest, and the whole city just seems like a stretched-out Vancouver with Inception-like shifting of buildings. And much less green. It's like Vancouver and San Francisco were made from the same grape - but clearly have different expressions - like Chianti and Brunello, or something. [caption id="attachment_6111" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] vermouth![/caption] And it's fucking tech central, you guys. I mean - yes, obviously - but have you seen HBO's Silicon Valley? I'm convinced that it's not satire. Attempting to suavely grab a baby carrot while maintaining eye contact during someone's pitch during a Stanford mixer, and...

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Gamay Noir: the Sansa Stark of Wine Grapes

(The night is dark and full of small spoilers. Tread carefully past the picture for the wines!) I mention Beaujolais to people - in the same way that I might bring up Sansa Stark in a Game of Thrones discussion - and I watch as faces crinkle before I make my case for the dark horses. Gamay is a red grape that hails from the Beaujolais region in France (and Sansa hails from Winterfell, but you knew that), and it's fashionable to dislike Beaujolais. The ditzy Beaujolais Nouveau variations of the 1970s and 1980s - all laden with pear drops, banana, and bubble gum flavours from carbonic maceration - once represented half of all Beaujolais sold. It's since dropped to around a third, but I...

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