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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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“Looking to bone in Beaune”

...was the working draft for a Tinder profile in Burgundy. "Que cherches-tu?" I hopped off my bike near one of the villages - Pommard, I think - and ran down the road before jumping up onto a short brick wall surrounding some vineyard so that I could see better. I told the vigneron that I lost my friend and he said that the diverging roads would both eventually lead to Pommard. Though actually, I'm totally filling in the blanks with bullshit and I mostly don't know what he said (except for "tu comprends?" to which I responded with "oui"), but his hand signals sure helped. Theran and I decided to bike to the other edge of the town and wait, despite the itch to haphazardly bike down the next...

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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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New York with Age; Brazil on the Page; Tuscany Backstage

There was another set of seminars: I had to choose between a study on South American wines, the range of Riesling grown in Alsace, or the aging potential of New York wines. When Brandon Seager - the Chair of the Winemaking Department at Tompkins College, Winemaker, and Finger Lakes Wine Country LGBT Ambassador (cool, I didn't even know that was a thing!) - used Brad Pitt analogies and pictures to explain the nuances of wine aging, I knew that I had chosen the right seminar. Huzzah. The wines were what I was mostly looking forward to, especially the aged ice wine, which can be quite a divisive topic when it comes to cellaring wine. Opponents of the idea believe that ice wine...

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“The Fizzyology of Lambrusco”

There's something about Lambrusco I'm not totally drawn to, despite its joyful distinctive sparkling red incarnation (or more infrequently, rosé, and even more infrequently, white). It might be because, at face value, its red form seems like a combination of competing textures, like bubble wrap made out of velvet, or carbonated lube. I once wrote an in-class essay on how Lambrusco - and other sparkling reds, really - are going to be the next ~big thing~ after Prosecco, because something something Millennials something 80s revival something something. Like Christina Aguilera sampling a-ha. Indeed, the Lambrusco cycle is apparently rotating back to the side of popularity. "Trust me. Just try it with food," is the everlasting Lambrusco (Lambruscan?) promise that I never trusted until this seminar, because there's something...

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Fox Run and fun rocks

We went to Fox Run right after Anthony Road, for the WBC15 pre-conference: the sun was sure punishing me for being bald, and slathering scented sunscreen on my head would be a death sentence to the people trying to sniff the shit out of their glasses of Lemberger. At least my head would be shiny enough to be used as a security mirror at a grocery store. Yes? Yes? Halloween costume idea? [caption id="attachment_4815" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] I saw no foxes running.[/caption] A display of the vineyards, winery gadgetry, and discussions with the winemaker were followed by a lunch involving six wines, and then a geological tasting on different vineyards and the subsequent expressions of Riesling. Here, we compared the Hanging Delta vineyard to the Lake Dana vineyard, the...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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Josh tastes 41 New York wines

I can be a combination of thrifty and stubborn. If I'm spending money to fly to New York for the Wine Bloggers Conference, there's no way I'm going to waste a single sober second not writing down a tasting note. I'm getting my money's worth, y'all. Militantly shoving my head in between suits and dresses has trained me for these moments (I wonder if I was born easily?), and I planned to taste every wine in the damn room during the opening reception. Which I did, I think. Followed by cocktails, because why not gloss over my dying mouth with vodka? I obviously tasted fewer wines than that time I tasted 173 BC wines in a row, but the BC torture session was in a brightly-lit room...

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Women in Wine, Ventosa Vineyards, and Anthony Road

After the WBC15 pre-excursion to Villa Bellangelo, we travel to our living quarters. We're handed our room keys as we get off of the bus, and the front desk worker stops me as I walk through the lobby. She specifically stops me asks if I'm Josh - I say yes, obviously, and I wonder whether or not it's because she's secretly an undercover agent, and that this is the beginning of some really exciting spy film where I would discover my undiscovered penchant for leaping off buildings and using my wine knowledge to save the world. God, I need water. I know she's asking because there was some sort of logistical airplane snafu with my friend Kayla (who was also a scholarship recipient last year) which led to her having...

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